Must Read: This will leave you numb. Letter#3 from Muslim prisoner families.
It was the only day I didn’t go to mum’s since the raid because that morning I woke up; I felt heavy, drained from thinking “what if’s?” all night. Feeling emotionally and mentally tired from the anxiety, heart palpitating anxiously, I stayed on the lounge, crying, just feeling overwhelmed. So I called mum, letting her know I’m not going to come today; or would come past later on in the day. The raid was draining; thinking about what would happen next…….
The phone call that would change our lives forever….I answer my younger sisters phone call “They are taking him to Goulburn!!!” and suddenly I can’t feel my legs; my eyes are drenched; “No! No! No! No! NOT MY BROTHER!” Pleading “No!” as if they can hear me, as if my pleading on the phone would make a difference and they would let him stay home and un-cuff him. I fell to the floor, couldn’t breathe, immediate vision of my baby brother in a cold small cell alone; I was confused, scared, shocked, lost, nervous, angry, sad, regretful….WHY DIDNT I GO TODAY! WHY WASNT I THERE! [Maybe Allah swt didn’t want me there as they arrested him and took him away as maybe I wouldn’t have been able to handle it?] …my heart shattered, I felt a huge crack right through the organ they call the heart.
I went straight there; threw on my jilbab, not even sure how I drove as I couldn’t see from my tears blurring my vision, and in mid lengths of a panic attack, ‘”hurry up” I said to myself, “get there before they take him”. I arrive and as I get to the street, I see my father sitting in his car crying, …………. my brother…..WAS GONE.
The car that took him away from us….. leftand I didn’t know when I would see him again….
I walk in the door; the cry of a mother calling out to her son who was taken away; you never are able to get out of your mind…… mum on the floor, red; tears crying, burning through her skin; wearing his jacket, his scarf he wore on Eid, she was wearing the ring I bought him on my wedding day to show him how much I loved him no matter where I was. The house was quiet, filled with heart ache, shock and sorrow. All you could hear was sniffing and crying. Everyone confused and heart wrenched. His youngest brother asking “When is my brother going to come back? Why did they take him?”
Days went by; we went to Silverwater jail every day after his arrest and they refused to let us see him. I called every day a few times to see if I could visit, even when they said no we still went to try our qadar…no success. Days waiting to see him felt like months with no end…. I called on the sixth day and they said he was in transit and they couldn’t say where he was going until he arrives. I knew deep down they were taking my baby brother to Goulburn, hours away, and I felt worse. During the days and nights he was gone, everyone was crying, quiet and if they were talking it was about our baby brother/son and where he was and how he was and why we couldn’t see him. I found mum and dad in his room one night both sitting on the floor with his clothes around them, dad kissing a photo of him with tears running down his tired cheeks saying ‘they took my eldest son, my baby’, as he stared into a photo of my brother.
Mum was shaking her head, crying “They took my baby, he doesn’t hurt anybody, he didn’t do anything, how could they do this?”
Night after night got harder.Waiting to see him, waiting to be approved to see my own flesh and blood.My family member.My brother. I would call every day to check if any of us got approved to see him, finally, after two months, I received confirmation that only myself and his mother could see him as the rest of the family were still not approved. They could not tell us why it was taking so long or how much longer the rest of the family would have to wait to see him. Eventually, after three months wait, his father and other sister got approval to see him for the first time since his arrest.
I couldn’t wait to put my arms around him and see him finally with his beautiful smile and hear him speak and hold his hands and never let go until the visit was over….. it only got harder mentally and emotionally to see my innocent brother wrongly labelled and accused in such a place ….. in such a state.The orange suit…the shackles…the key lock around the back of his neck. I did not let him go, did not stop smelling his hair, holding his hands, looking at him speak, I’m thinking “look at this boy, look at the condition he is in and he’s still smiling, he is still able to smile, I know he is scared and feeling so many emotions but he is still smiling in front of us putting on a brave face to show us he is okay”. How can they put such a caring beautiful soul in such a place? He’s growing… He’s learning….Do the people that put him here know his battles and hardships?…Do they know or even care for all the good he tried doing and dedicated his life to doing?…How could they put such a label on a human being with such a pure heart like his? He felt for everybody. His younger brother had rabbits in a cage and he let them go because, he explained to his brother, it was cruel to leave them locked up. Even when dad had birds, he would warn his dad he was going to let them free and that birds don’t belong in cages. And now here is the very person who even feels for the animals and insects, and does not accept them to be in cages and locked up, who is now in this very situation…. For what? For suspicion? For his thoughts? On presumption? For his expressions?For people?Because his one true love was his Lord? Surely that is oppression on such a young boy who hasn’t seen the world and experienced anything, and is still growing and forming into a man and would only need support and guidance through life to help him through this cruel world.
He always broke his fast at my house every second day. Now I get no more phone calls; “Sister what are you making?” “Sister can you pick me up?” “Sister are you coming over today?” “Sister is everything alright?”
The place I live at even brings me pain; I can see where he used to sit. How he used to take the dishes to the sink and clear the table without me asking him to after we would finish eating, or when I was busy cooking and he’d wait for the athan, reading Quran, and see me juggling lots of things he would take the vacuum off me and help me out without me even asking him! I would make for him whatever he felt like eating that day. He truly was the simplest human being I have ever come across or known and people who knew him on a personal level would say the same. Even if I or anyone else bought him something; he didn’t like us to spend too much on him; on his clothes and shoes, and for dinner he would be happy with vegemite and toast, or eggs and bread if no one felt like cooking at that moment. He was never over fussed; he used to shock us with his simplicity. Such a beautiful and rare trait. We were and are so proud of him. Because we know who he is and what is in his heart, and how he was raised. We know him better than any police officer, any AFP officer, and any counter terrorism officer; any individual who judges such a sweet humble boy based on bogus media headlines and untruthful scripts…….better than anyone. His heart is of gold. He always thinks about the less fortunate. Always taking every hardship that came in our lives as a trial and test, and turning to God when he was sad and distressed. Making duah, always holding his small leather cased pocket Quran with him. When I asked him during a visit what he missed most he said, ”all of you, and giving dawah, and just seeing the younger boys, answering their questions, advising them to stop things that were not good for their health, their future, for their young hearts, reminding them that God is watching them, joking with them, seeing a smile on a young kids face made me happy inside, made me feel like I was helping in some way”.
I think I can speak for everyone in our family when I say, I feel as though I am locked up and imprisoned until he is released. A form of guilt rides over me; when I eat, I think ‘what is he eating?’ when I sleep, ‘is he cold?’ when I have my husband comforting me and supporting me, ‘is he lonely?’ ‘Who is he able to speak to other than speak to Allah swt through his prayers?’ When I smile, his face comes in my mind and then my smile stops half way and my heart aches, an ache I cannot describe in words and I don’t think anyone would feel this ache unless they had a dear loved one in such a situation to comprehend the pain. I cannot control these feelings. He is my baby brother, he is somebody’s son, and brother …how could anyone feel anything but sadness and hurt from such a situation? He is innocent. Allah swt knows he is innocent also. I know Allah swt is testing him because my brother loves and lives for Allah swt alone and Allah swt loves him.
It’s still hard…..to have the thought your family member is in there; while you are out here, always feeling like your lost, helpless, out of the loop, have so much to say but can’t say it, there’s never enough time, and it’s not the right time. As an older sister you feel you have a sense of responsibility over all your siblings equally. I think of things like how will I be able to insha Allah have a baby of my own with my baby brother inside of that cell? Am I able to make that step while he is inside that cell? Will my children visit their uncle in jail? When will he come out? His other sisters say they do not want to get married without their brother present as they can’t comprehend taking such a big step in their lives without their brother around to see it and meet their future husbands and be there for all the transitions in our lives. God only knows what is in store for us all.
Will the people who have power over his imprisonment or release see through his eyes? And see the pain and misjudgement he has endured? Will they see the kind, loving heart that people know him personally also love about him and see? Will they see the beautiful sense of humour and funny side to him? Will they see how big his heart is? Will they see how gentle his nature is? How he cares for women’s rights? How he helps the elderly man carry the shopping bags till the bus comes? How he holds the door open for people? How he says salaams and hello to everyone? How he feels smiling to people is the greatest dawah you can give? Will they see how beautiful this person is? Will the people responsible for his imprisonment or releasesee he is innocent from such horrid accusations? MAY GOD LET THEM SEE THE INNOCENCE IN HIM AND LET HIM FREE FROM A CRIME NOT COMMITTED.
When I saw him last in the small no contact box visit, I couldn’t stop crying. So your brother is in front of you? But you can’t hold him, kiss him or hug him? And you can barely hear him? With your family members inside this tiny little area, each trying to get a word in and he, trying to direct the mood somewhere else and make conversation. But one thing I won’t forget that he said to me before our visit was over; “sister, all of us in here, we are “strangers” to everyone outside. Who’s thinking about us? Speaking for us? Trying something even small to help us since we don’t have a voice in here? Who is our voice? Who is asking about me? All the boys I spent so much time with? Where are they? Does anyone out there care? Who asks my parents how they are and what they need? Who visits my dad? Who visits my mother? Who wants to stand up for us when we are innocent and can’t stand up for ourselves in here?”
And I went home and felt even heavier, because we all ask the same questions, and we are ever so grateful for the minority that do ask, Alhumdulilah! [and may God the almighty reward them and give them good just as they are doing good for their brothers and their families in Islam], try to help, that make duah….that want to speak up against oppression…a minority….sadly.
These new oppressive changes that are happening now to the brothers in jail, are utterly disgusting and unfair with no reason or answers to give as to why they have put them in that place, whether the inmate has been sentenced or not? Whether he has had the opportunity to go through trial to prove his innocence or not? He has not done anything different for them to enforce such horrible conditions; on the contrary the security guards at prison praise our brother on his manners and tidiness and behavior…because he never was a criminal and IS NOT a criminal, and you question yourself as to why the people in charge of setting such nasty laws are doing this? Unless they want a negative reaction from the inmates? Unless they feel threatened from inmates and their calm and placid nature despite the ugly cold lonely cell they are put in? Despite the fact that they are in a tiny cell secluded and not interacting with anyone? Why take normal visit rights away from the inmates and their families? That one hour a week whichhas more value than gold to us! Why take away the ability to buy edible food, hygiene items? Aren’t they going through enough? Isn’t it hard enough?
I ask you….what would you do if this was YOUR son? YOUR husband? YOUR brother? WHAT WOULD YOU DO? Would you still turn your backs?
Our brother/son has taken a big chunk of us all to prison with him. We cannot be whole ever again until he is returned to us. My innocent brother, who was misunderstood and wrongly labeled, was taken from us, for such horrid accusations, with no crime committed. No one would ever wish this upon their family member.
The only thing you can think of in a situation like this that makes you feel a more positive, is that God does not give us more than we can handle and each and every one of us has battles in this life to face and overcome; that there are people all around the world who suffer the same if not worse and that with the will of God they are getting rewarded for their patience with their tribulation…, even though we do not know them, we should still think about them, pray for them, help with whatever we are able to, to feel for them, and NOT FORGET THEM….
May ALLAH swt give us all patience and strength and make this hardship mold us into better Muslims. At the end of the day, no matter what you have…how much or little….you still aren’t content with this life. It will never be enough; because our final destination is paradise….it will be everlasting bliss……
My heart is torn and there is a part of that organ inside of me that no one can see but only I can feel; that is damaged beyond repair so long as he is in there and until justice is served and he is given the equal opportunity and fairness he most definitely deserves to be set free with his family and given the opportunity to start his life like any other young brother/son has and deserves! From the moment I open my eyes till the moment they eventually close to sleep he is in my mind and in my heart and his situation tormenting me from sunrise till sunset. We love him forever.
My brother does not belong behind bars.
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