Tag Archives: Fairness

Salman Hamdani: A vindicated 9/11 Hero

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salman hamdani

Mohammad Salman Hamdani, a September 11th, 2001 1st-Responder, Fire Department of New York Emergency Medical Technician, and New York Police Department Cadet, once accused, then vindicated, of being a part of the conspiracy that was the destruction of the World-Trade Center, has know been honored, by Allah: first by being proven innocent of these horrendous accusations, then, by being posthumously honored, by the City of New York, with a section of 204th St., in Bayside, Queens, where he grew up, baring his name, which is now named “Salman Hamdani Way”. The street-naming ceremony took place in April 28th, 2014. This is such an auspicious opportunity for us all, both Muslim & Non-Muslim, to support the memory of one whom Allah has honored in the Mundane & may Allah honor him in the Hereafter, for sacrificing his own life, to save the lives of others…Amen

Nelson Mandela: One of many who gave all of themsleves for Justice:

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Author’s-Note:
Nelson Mandela, a freedom-fighter, persecuted in his own land for at least 1/2 of his life, forced to endure 26-years of prison-time, for wanting his people, his countrymen, to be treated as Human beings, in the eyes of the World, as well as in the eyes of the Apartheid-driven oppressive regime in South Africa. He was jailed, stripped of all HUman dignity, taken away from his family, left to rot in a cell, for nearly 3-decades, and for what? For the liberation & humanization of his homeland & all those who live there, in spite of constant racial bigotry which was very similar, if not worse than the JIm-Crow era within the United States, from the 1880′-1960’s and as well as in Palestine, under the Israeli-Regime, from 1948-present. This is what I think about Nelson Mandela.

What Price Freedom?

You’ve endured, so that we wouldn’t have to ever suffer…
…When we were orphaned, you were our father & mother.

When no one fought for us, you stood your ground, and held the reins…
…But, they tried to silence you, lock you away and keep you in chains.

However, Allah, out of mercy & justice, saw that you were eventually set free…
…Your life was preserved by He, who is Lord of all things, to witness liberty.

You lived long enough to weather the storm and fight tumultuous & unyielding struggles…
…You were in the trenches, while the rest of us were in our comfortable Western bubbles.

We can never truly understand why you chose to sacrifice what you do, for the betterment of so many…
…The trials for you and your loved ones were incredibly tantmount, the pain real, the toil equally heavy.

Those who were by your side, every step of the way, have been the foundation of your success…
…Those who fought with you are role-models for us, to fight for right & be different from the rest.

We learned from you to never stand aside just “Let it Be”…no disrespect to The Beatles…
…But, speaking truth-to-power is a element of bravery that places you among the Eagles.

You have soared above the expectations of many, feared by most, admired by plenty…
…I wish I could have met you, to inspire me to continue to fight for justice with longevity.

You even become the leader of the same land that sent you away in a concrete box…
…They attempted to bury your memory, just as we bury the Dead, with dirt and rocks.

But, because Allah wanted to let the light of freedom shine through you, your memory never faded…
…It was a long time coming, but, because of hard-work, we’re closer to justice, it’s good we waited.

People like you only come around, to light the way, for others, once in a while…
…Your life was like a Marathon: you didn’t stop until you completed every mile.

Gareth Bryant/2013

The Causes & Dangers of Bullying:

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To put it very simply: Bullying is a form of Oppression & Allah clearly states, within His book how dreadful & harmful Oppression truly is, “”.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.2, V.221; Chpt.5, V.32; Chpt.7, V.33; Chpt.8, V.25)

Let’s face it: in all-reality, we’ve all either been the perpetrators of or the victims of Bullying. This fact is completely undeniable: we have all either been picked-on, either as lil’-kids, or have ourselves, picked-on other lil’-kids. Bullying, for a very long time, within our Human-Experience has been an unwritten acceptable way to downgrade, berate, dehumanize other Humans, for the sake of our own personal-amusement and/or expression of how powerful we are, over others. This is something, however natural that many may view it is a very severe wrong, an evil, which plagues all of us, from the greatest among us, to the least among us: Bullying is the reason why people are driven to Suicide, Homicide, criminality, and all  sorts of (negative) vices. Bullying is the reason why people go to war against one another, why people feel that they only way to resolve their problems, issues, differences with others is via violence.

People are victimized by Bullying, all of te time, for various different reasons, some of these reasons are the following…

1. Religion

2. Ethnic-Background

3. Disabilities

4. National-Origin

5. Sexual-Orientation

6. Family-Ties

7. Socio-Economic Status

…and this list can go on, forever…

…I, myself, have definitely been on bot ends of the Bullying spectrum: I was once the kid that people would pick-on, because I was short, wasn’t as athletic as everyone else was, because my father had died when I was young, because I even had a father, while others, whom were envious of this, not having their own fathers in their lives, because my mom would keep me out of the street, causing many of my peers to taunt & tease me,accusing me of being a momma’s-boy, teasing me about not being able to stay-out as late as they did, etc. Then, I get a lil’ older, by this time, I’m in Junior High School/High School: from 9th grade, onward, I began being the bully, helping my friends from school rob people, from our own school, from other schools, kids, good-kids, whom were just like me: kids with hard-working parents whom loved them, whom sent them to school, to get educated, not to get robbed, beaten and/or dehumanized.

However, sadly, ironically, it was a classic example of how a typical cycle works:

Category# 1- Someone whom wants to be so popular, so relevant, so recognized, so important, as a result of some type of emptiness, within themselves, they feel the need to make others feel low-this is by far the worst of the categories mentioned. They have this arrogance: this posture that they are everything & those whom are not them and/or are not like them are nothing, that they have no value, as in the case of ash-Shaytan/the Devil, the ultimate-bully, whom refused to obey a command from Allah, because of his arrogance, and thus, pledged/vowed to Allah that he would, for the rest of his material-existence, bully the Human-Race, until we are misguided, just like he is.(Noble Qur’an: Cpht.2, V.34; Chpt.7, V.11-18; Chpt.15, V.30-39; Chpt.17, V.60-65; Chpt.38, V.71-81)

Category# 2- Someone with a chip on their shoulder, whom was never embraced positively by anyone, or was cultivated upon any form of positivity, takes things into their own hands, and sets out to make people feel just as bad, sad, negative, about themselves as they were made to feel, once upon a time.

Category# 3- Those whom are victimized by those in category one feel helpless, as if doing the same thing to others will make things right, or at least make feel more positive about themselves, which, really, never works.

Category # 4- Someone whom has been victimized by Bullying, yet, does nothing about it: they don’t resist Bullying, they don’t tell parents, teachers, grown-ups, friends, community-leaders, etc., they just accept being the victims of Bullying, without fighting back against it.

In the Bullying-Cycle, these respective categories play-out, along with one another & actually intertwine with one another. But, what I really wanna focus on is not how interconnected these categories are, but, more so, how many of these categories, if any, do we, as Muslims, we as Human beings, actually fall under. In other words, how many of us are a part of the Bullying-Cycle, how many of us fall under any/all categories, within the Bullying-Cycle? It’s a serious-question, which all of us, as Muslims, People of Conscious, People of Consequence, Human beings, etc., must answer for ourselves. Then, if our answers bring us to the conclusion that we fall under one or all of the categories, of the Bullying-Cycle, then we must ask ourselves, “How did I even become affected by the Bullying Cycle?” “Why did I consciously decide to bully someone/anyone, regardless to whether I, myself, were ever victimized by Bullying?” and “Why did I not resist being a Bully and/or why did I not resist being bullied?”

Granted, none of these questions are very easy to answer, depending upon the individual, of course. But, still, each & ever one of those questions has an answer, an intelligent answer, and we all have an obligation to Allah, the Creator/Lord of the Universe, then, ourselves, then, to all those victimized by Bullying, to answer these questions, honestly/accurately. And, when we don’t stand-up, to our own demons, within us, or in our pasts & begin to deal with the reality which surrounds Bullying, as well as its innumerably (negative) consequences, the damage to ourselves, our families/loved-ones, our friends/neighbors, classmates, and all of Humanity, as we know it could be very well rendered hopeless in salvaging what’s left of our already depleting sense of Humanity, towards our fellow Man.

I choose to end with this: from this day forward, whenever/wherever you see Bullying taking place, we must stop it, in any Humanway possible, as Muhammad (Peace be upon him) has told us that “Whomever witnesses wring/oppression, he must eliminate it by his hand; if he’s not able, then, he must eliminate it by his speach/words; if he is not able, then, he must rsent it internally (within his heart). However, that (internal hatred for wrong/oppression) is the lowest (level) of Faith.”. And there is also this statement of Allah that Muhammad quotes, “Oh, My Slaves (Property/Creation)!!! Verily, I’ve even made Oppression prohibited against Myself, as well as between you all. So,do not oppress one another.”.(an-Nawawi)

Gareth Bryant/2013

Children in Connecticut, children anywhere: They’re all children!!!

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Connecticut Shooting pic

This recent shooting tragedy in Connecticut, where almost 30 persons, Human beings, mostly children, were savagely cut-down by gunfire, reminds me of the malice that occurs the world over. There are places in this world, where people would probably say, “Almost 30 killed, and that’s it?!!! We get that in about 1/2 hour, everyday.”. It’s very morbid for me to even put that out there, I know. But, for a lot of people, in places like Somalia, Palestine, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, these atrocities occur on a daily-basis, and much like what happened recently in Connecticut, most of the victims, at least 70-90% are in fact children.

My question, without getting into the possible-motive of this horrible act, is the following: When we hear, by word-of-mouth, or read news papers/magazines, or watch T.V. news, and we see these atrocities in front of our very own eyes, do we really make a distinction between those children & these children, as to say that a certain demographic of children are more precious than the other/others? This is obviously a question that we would all have to honestly answer for ourselves.

You, whom may be reading this may get defensive & say, “Of course not…children are children!!!”. However, if your heart bleeds less for children in Palestine, because these people are mostly Non-Jewish, or less for children in Somalia, because they’re largely Non-Arab, or less for children outside of your native countries, because they’re not citizens or your native land, than this is a hell of a pathological problem. We don’t want to admit this, but, we do pick favorites, especially when it comes to tragedies, and especially if/when it involves religious, ethnic, or national factors.

Each & every one of us have ties to all of the above mentioned. For example: there have been many Syrian & Palestinian relief-efforts, to help them in their hours of need, and rightfully so. But, when is the last time that we’ve raised money for people living in fear, poverty & oppression, countries like: Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Togo, Mali, Niger, Mauritania, Angola, Jamaica,  Dominican Republic, Cuba, etc.? Why are we not quick to jump on the charity band-wagon for nations such as these?

Some of the answers are very simple:

1. General lack of global-concern for our fellow man-

It’s very easy to just go with the flow & support an effort, which is fueled by so much back-end/backroom politics & is shoved down the throats of the world, as a result of specific propagated agendas. But, what if we were to just step-back and be charitable to/for a nation that hasn’t really ever been focused on in the public-sphere, but, whose people are still in desperate need of urgent assistance? How about we try that. We won’t because we generally don’t see the relevance of it, because they’re not in the spot-light, or because they don’t share our respective religious, ethnic or national commonalities.

2. We are only reactive activists-

Many of us raise funds & go to rallies for justice & all of this good-stuff, when it is deemed popular to do so. But, what about when no else is talking about things that need to be addressed? It’s very clear, to me, that many of us are only followers, who just allow the whim of the day to dominate our activeness like a helpless leaf in the river: it’s just goes with the follow, where it decides to lead it…that’s exactly how we all are.

3. We are generally very internally biased-

It’s very easy to stick-up for someone whom is of the same religion, ethnicity, culture, nationality as you. But, let’s examine how often we actually jump out the window, to help those whom are outside of ourselves, our circles/cliques, or our (religious, ethnic, cultural, national, etc.) communities. We will find that it’s so much more challenging and that it’s a lot easier to give lip-service than to commit to action.  I mean, of course, it’s natural to want to help your own; but, at the same time, why do we not view our entire Human family as our own? Why do we make distinctions, based upon religion, ethnicity, culture, nationality, when the things which people anywhere/everywhere have entitlement to, as to who deserves what and at which time? Whenever, if ever someone is in need of something which is crucial to the preservation of their lives, then it is upon all of Humanity, to make sure that all of Humanity has all that is necessary for their general well being.

Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said it best, “None of you believe, unless he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.”.(an-Nawawi) Unfortunately, most Muslims, think that this only applies to other Muslims, but think about it: We are, in fact, all Human brothers & sisters, by virtue of the fact the we all have the same common-ancestor…and, no…I’m not referring to the Great-Apes…I’m talking about the first Human beings, Adam & Eve (Peace be upon them both). We are all from them, and they are the parents of Humanity.(Qasas-ul-Anbiya’/Stories of the Prophets, ibn-Kathir) And, also, we know from the general character & actions of Muhammad, that he treated all people with a sense of respect, mercy, compassion, love, dignity, and as Muslims, we are obligated to follow in his footsteps, but, alas, we often don’t.

Let us learn from tragedies like this and learn to appreciate the fact that all of the creation of Allah has purpose, rights, relevance, significance, and beauty, and that whenever a tragedy that takes the life of any of Allah’s creation, that it’s not something to make a joke out of, or to think that it is deserved, especially in the case of murder. It doesn’t matter whether those murdered were Muslims or not; it doesn’t matter whether these people were Black or not, it doesn’t matter, whether these people were from wealthy families or not; it doesn’t matter whether it was only 20 something persons killed, or thousands upon thousands, killed in a war-torn nation; it doesn’t matter whether this tragedy happened in a suburb in Connecticut or in a bombed-out city in the Muslim-World; it doesn’t even matter whether the children killed in this tragedy were born to Muslims, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Hindhus, Jains, Shamanists/Tengrists, Animists, Atheists/Anti-Theists…what happened was a tragedy…what happened was a massacre…what happened was murder, and murder is a sin & crime before Allah, and Allah will hold those who sin against Him & His creation, on the Day of Standing.

Gareth Bryant/2012

My thoughts on Misogyny (The hatred & disrespect of Women):

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Author’s note:
I wrote this poem, to shed some much-needed light on how men (Muslim men particularly) have allowed this disgusting concept, that we know as Misogyny, to dictate how we are to treat the most precious & priceless of all of the creation of Allah: the Human female. Allah has placed inside the mind, heart, soul, and body of the Human female so much blessing and abilities to cultivate the growth & development of all of us, generation after generation, century after century, and millennium after millennium. Yet, unfortunately, we’ve allowed ourselves to view the woman as a worthless sexual-prize, only to satisfy the carnal cravings of men. We need to start having real conversations as to why we’ve allowed the Devil to encourage us to treat women in such a demoralized fashion, and we have to correct this vicious cycle of pathological thinking. It’s no wonder why so many women have converted to Feminism, because they’ve been short-changed and pushed around, by the same men Allah has created to respect, honor, protect, secure, cherish & love. And, it is my sincere hope that this poem can help in some way spark some interesting conversations about this topic, as well as get people uncomfortable enough to want to change the Non-Islamic status-quo of how women are allowed to be viewed and treated in our societies.

P.S. Don’t get pissed-off concerning the title of the poem:

Bitches:

Why are our women “Bitches”?
We degrade at them, beat them & crush them.
We belittle them, and destroy their self-esteem.

Why are our mothers “Bitches”?
We don’t respect, honor, appreciate, or love them.
We make them weep, their tears flow like a stream.

Why are the mothers of our children “Bitches”?
We deny responsibility and neglect the Child-Support.
They’re forced to be both parents, it’s the only resort.

Why are our daughters “Bitches”?
Daddy’s little-girl is helpless and completely alone.
No clue how a man is to treat her, he’s long gone.

Why is a “Woman” a female-dog?
It’s really sad how easy it is to call a woman by other than her real name.
This word “Bitch” hurts so many and saying it so comfortably is a shame.

When did our love for women turn into hate?
We seem to let our bad experiences determine how we treat others.
We have to end this cycle and be examples for our young brothers.

If someone calls a woman we care about a “Bitch”, we all wanna fight.
But, if we say the same thing to woman, it’s just supposed to be alright.

We were all birthed by women, so let’s start honoring females.
When we view women as “Bitches”, we disrespect ourselves.

Gareth Bryant/2009