Tag Archives: Fear

Why I’m Against War: A Military-Veteran Speaks

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Author’s-Note:

Abdullah Colon, whom I met online, has welcomed me as a Brother. With us united by our Islāmic-Faith, we’ve gotten the chance to learn more about each other. I’ve had the great opportunity to have him educate me as per his Military-Experience as a Muslim, which he’s also graciously allowed me to interview him based on it.

GB: How long have you been a Muslim: are you a Muslim-Revert, or Born-Muslim?

AC: I am a Muslim-Revert; I became a Muslim when I was 17 back in February of 2000 in El Paso, Texas.

GB: How long have you served in the Military, which National-Military, which Armed-Forces Branch?

AC: I was in the Military from September 2001 to September 2006. I was in the United States Marine Corps.

GB: Have you ever seen Live/Active Combat, and if so, how has that made an impact on your practice of Islām?

AC: I was involved in Combat Operations during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. My Unit earned a Combat Action Ribbon. It has impacted my practice of Islam in the past. After being in combat, I came home and began to rely upon Islam as a way of dealing with my PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Some days were better than others. Some days I didn’t want to get out of bed, other days I isolated myself in the Mosque.

GB: How has Military-Life shaped your Worldview of Peoples whom are Native to the Places where Military-Conflicts take place?

AC: I think that Military life has made me sympathetic to indigenous people’s rebellions and their insurgencies. I saw death and destruction first hand, up close and personal. I saw what we did and I understand why people wanted to attack us.

GB: What has been the Pros & Cons of the Military-Experience?

AC: Pros and Cons of Military life are many. Let me start with the cons: I suffer from anxiety, depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I see the world through jaded lenses. I have a very pessimistic outlook. What I witnessed and have done weighs on my soul deeply. As for the pros, well I think being pushed past my mental and physical limits was a good thing. Other than that I didn’t learn much that would be of any use in a civilian environment.

GB: When did you make the Decision to become Active in the Veterans against War Movement?

AC: It was in 2013 that I decided to join Iraq Veterans against the War. It was after having a discussion with Sheikh Abdullah Bin Hamid Ali that really made me realize that I needed to get involved in an active way against American Imperialism.

GB: How has War generally influenced your Perception of Life & Death, or has it at all?

AC: War has influenced my perception of life and death in a big way. I feel like death can seize us at any moment. Death is real and always near!

GB: Are there any regrets. Is which have, in terms of being in the Military?

AC: I think that I have many regrets, but at the same time I owe my intestinal fortitude, ability to run toward a threat to my training and experience in the Marines.

GB: As both a Muslim & a Minority, who’s literally placed their life on the line via Military-Service for the United States: what’s your Views regarding the Anti-Muslim, Anti-Immigrant Policies being promoted by the Trump-Administration?

AC: My views on the anti Muslims and anti immigration policies are that they all come from the same satanic source of white supremacy. This is why white passing Latinos (Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio for example) can support the policies being pushed by the Trump administration and those of us with brown/indigenous features will hit up the front lines against white supremacy.

GB: How are you able to cope with knowing that you’re the Member of 2-Demographics within the United States which are constantly targeted by Bias & Bigotry?

As for dealing with being part of of two demographics of folks that are being assaulted in Trump’s America-The way I deal with it is through Islam: prayer and good deeds, being a good person based upon what Islam teaches helps my mind & soul attain ease. Also, training myself by: lifting weights, martial arts, boxing, etc. & just keeping the body strong just in case I have to get down. Keeping the company of good people and making alliances with folks that care about the struggle.

GB: What would ultimately be your Advice for any Muslim who’s either currently serving in the US-Military or has aspirations of joining the Ranks of the US-Military?

AC: For Muslims who are currently serving, I say get out! Do whatever it takes to get out of the military.  For those that want to join, I say don’t do it.

GB: Speak more in detail, regarding the Iraq Veterans Against The War: its purpose & objectives, goals, etc. Also, tell me about the Advocacy for bringing Deported-Veterans back to the United States.

AC: For more information regarding the IVAW (Iraq Veterans Against The War) go to: http://www.ivaw.org/mission-values-and-vision

As for the advocacy regarding veterans who have been deported, we are in solidarity with them. Many of those veterans are members of veterans for peace. Our organization IVAW arose from VFP (Veterans For Peace). Many of our members are both VFP and IVAW members. Many of us work with the campaign to bring the deported veterans back to the United States.

GB: What can People like me, as well as others who will read this & get a glimpse of your Story: how can we help People like you in your Struggles coming from a Military-Life & reverting to a Civilian-Life once again?

AC: I think the best thing is Community-Support. Having a community to transition to-Being in the military and being in prison are similar. Veterans are able to transition into prison life with ease. You go from one governmental institution to another. I’m speaking from experience. So having a muslim community to come back to is amazing. I was basically homeless when I came out of the Marines. It was living in a broken down RV in a ‘friends’ backyard. It was a Muslim brother (Afro-American) that took me into his home…fed me and took care of me, even when I was sick, like I was just like a member of his family: a recovering Alcoholic who credits Islam to saving his life.

Well…you’ve most definitely given an insightful Interview, regarding this Chapter of your Life-Journey. My hope for you is that Allah constantly/consistently bring you closer to a space & place of Inner-Peace.

Gareth Bryant/2017

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The Paris-Attacks!!!

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News-Flash-
To all who think that killing and/or maiming Innocent, Non-Combatant, Civilians, in the name of Jihad, Islam, is a good thing to do, well…guess what? You’re wrong & you’re not helping Islam spread…you’re causing People to run away from Guidance, you Morons!!! Your antics are merely painting an even darker image of Islam & Muslims, all across the Globe, which is inspiring even more hatred to be fueled. Your actions don’t raise the Banner of Islam, it in fact lowers it. Your taking of Life doesn’t advance the Ummah/Nation of Muhammad (Peace be upon him), it actually shames us. So, please, for futre reference: anyone impressionable enough to join any/all of these Groups, who advocate senseless violence again Innocents, please do yourselves, and the rest of the Believers a favor…just don’t join them. Acts of Oppression are never justified by other acts of Oppression. Do we resist the onslaught of Spiritual-Perversion in our societies…yes. Do we work to make the Din/Religion of Allah supreme…yes. Do we kill anyone/everyone in the process…no.

Gareth Bryant/2015

The Day I Became A Coward:

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Author’s-Note:
“And, don’t allow your hatred against any People prevent you from being Just.”
(Noble-Qur’an: Chpt.5, V.8)

This is a true-story, of when I had a very gruesomely hostile argument with my Mother, over Religion. I was still fairly a New-Muslim at the time, and she was vehemently against me being a Muslim in the 1st-place. So, because of her blatant Islamophobia, I began to develop a very toxic hatred in my heart against her. I was very enthusiastic concerning my reversion to Islam: it was (and still is) such a liberating experience. However, unfortunately, I had also made the grave mistake of using my newly-found Monotheistic-Faith as a justification to rebel against my Mother, which I did fairly often. I honestly don’t even remember what we had argued about in detail, nor do I remember how this argument started and/or which one of us started it. I have no recollection of how old I was at the time, nor the time, day, month, season, year; I can’t recall what I had worn that day, or what I ate: none of these details come to my mind. But, I do remember getting angry with my Mother, and I remember what I stated to her, which I’m too ashamed to say publicly. I can still see the pain in her face, as the tears began to roll down her face, flowing from her eyes, like river-streams from a snow-capped Mountain in the Springtime.

I can still envision the look of regret that she had on my face for giving birth to me, because of my vile tantrum of disrespect against her. I can still hear her heart breaking into unrecognizable pieces, because of the harshness of my words spewing from my reckless tongue. This is is the day my cowardice was truly exposed. I had displayed such unforgivable rudeness towards the Woman who birthed me, that had Allah decided to strike me dead, as a punishment, it would’ve been what I deserved. I didn’t even know how to apologize: it was like Allah had decided that my prior insults were so despicable, that I wasn’t even worthy of speaking again. It felt like my tongue was paralyzed & being prevented via Allah’s Divine-Discretion, from even being able to say sorry for what I had said. Now, there I was, a Young-Punk, thinking that I’m a “Tough-Guy”, making my Mother cry, using the same voice that would cry-out to her when I wanted/needed her for love & attention, to cause her pain. I felt so low that day. After our argument, self-witnessing the anguish which I had inflicted upon her started to make me reflect as to whether or not I was even worthy of being a Muslim.

That’s how deeply this event had affected me. And, even to the point when there were times after this that I had wished that I had died, because of the shame I bore: the pain of dealing with the consequences of what I had done felt like I was being destroyed from within. Ironically, many years afterwards, my Mother sent me a text-message, telling me how proud of me she is of the Man that I’ve become. This text made feel feel that my entire existence, prior to that point was useless. I’m pretty sure that she doesn’t remember this argument her & I had. But, I’ve never forgotten it, nor will I allow myself to forget it. That episode in my life is one thing, amongst so many others, which I’ll continually use to keep me humble, as well as humbled. I had actually been thinking a lot about the Verse of the Qur’an that I mentioned earlier, and the more I had thought about it, the more things that I had done, People that I had offended out of hatred began to surface from my subconscious. And, then, this incident between my Mother & I resurfaced within me, and it took me to a place of reflection that I didn’t want to be taken, but it was a necessary place to be.

Particularly, and especially as Muslims: it doesn’t matter who opposes your Islam, it gives us no right to treat them unjustly. All Human beings have the right to be treated fairly. And, those who have the greatest rights over us are our Parents. And, the Parent who has the most rights over us are our Mothers.(an-Nawawi) Our jobs as Children are to care for our Parents, in the same ways which they’ve cared for us when we were young & helpless.(Noble-Qur’an: Chpt.17, V.24) And, for a long time, I had done the exact opposite of caring for my Mother, spending more time causing her grief as opposed to joy. When I began to comes to terms about the wrongs against my own Mother, I started to reflect upon how my Mother would always tell my siblings & I growing-up, that our Father always wanted us & told us to listen to our Mother. My Father was my hero growing-up. So, when he died when I was very young, I was only left with memories of him & from what others including my Mother had told me about him.

I started to think about how could I possibly face my Father, knowing what I had done against my own Mother. Then, an even greater fear encompassed me: how am I going to face Allah: the Creator/Lord of the Universe & answer to Him on the Day of Standing for the wrongs that I’ve done against my own Mother? It’s popularly said that “The Wise-Man is he who learns from the Errors of Others.”. So, be wise & learn from my Errors: don’t make your Mothers cry…don’t be Cowards.

Gareth Bryant/2015

Gareth Bryant’s Reasons why ISIS is a Myth:

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Now, after watching this video, from C-Span, a very reputable media outlet, dating back to 1990, I was compelled to seriously examine the reasons as to why ISIS, the so-called “Islamic-State” is another from among so many past/present Phantom-Enemies which the United States & her crony-allies have invented. So, the following are just some of many conclusions that I’ve come to as to why ISIS is a Mythology:

1. The first time that ISIS is largely publicized is in 2014. However, as of recently, the Media now states that ISIS has existed ever since the beginning of the Iraq-War, which started in 2003. My question is why has the Public only being told about ISIS now, if it had existed all this time? The information mentioned in the above video makes that fairly clear.

2. In order for any entity to be given the credibility & acknowledgement of being an Islamic-State, there’s several things which have to take place:

a. Those claiming to be leaders of an Islamic-State have to be Muslims & the identities of those claiming legitimacy to the position of being heads of an Islamic-State have to be well-known to the Public.

b. They have to be Muslims who are respected among their peers & the general body of Muslims everywhere.

c. They have to be given Bay`ah/Allegiance: all Muslims have to acknowledge the legitimacy of those claiming to be the heads of an Islamic-State, which has not happened & will not happen, because the actions of ISIS are inherently antithetical to Islamic-Teachings.

d. They have to possess independent territories, as opposed to what’s happening in the Middle-East, People claiming to be the leaders of the Muslim-World embattled in a country/countries which have been militarily-occupied by Non-Muslims, and/or Muslims who don’t accept their legitimacy in the first place.

3. ISIS, the name itself, is an acronym, and acronyms don’t even exist in the Arabic-Language. the Members of ISIS largely don’t speak English, so how is it that they got the idea to name their Islamic-State with a linguistic concept that doesn’t even exist in the language which they speak? This acronym was placed upon them by Western-Media.

4. ISIS is the actual name of an Ancient-Egyptian pagan-goddess. So, why would any Islamic-State name itself after a pagan god/goddess, when Paganism (a form of Shirk: ascribing false-qualities to Allah) is completely antithetical to Islamic-Teachings?

5. John McCain stated publicly that they’ve sat at the table with Members of ISIS. Now, as a Member of Congress, more specifically the House of the Senate, the largest lawmaking body in the United States, who gave McCain any authority to sit at the table with a so-called terrorist-group, knowing the official-policy of the US is to not sit at the table with Terrorists? How was he able to leave Syria/Iraq safely/with his life? He’s a well-known figure in the World, this Person almost became a US-President, so he’s known: why wasn’t he taken as a hostage, or taken for ransom?  All of these questions have yet to be answered.

Gareth Bryant/2015

America’s Dad falls from Grace

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Bill Cosby…the Man dubbed “America’s-Dad”, has been found to be setting very negative examples for his American-Children: the American-People-those who’ve watched his many shows, such as “The Electric Company”, “I Spy”, “The Cosby Show”, etc. From the late 1960’s to the present, Bill Cosby had been lauded as one of the most ideal role-models for African-Americans, Young-People, on TV. He had successfully managed to star in and also produce some of the most popular shows in Entertainment, portraying African-Americans in the most positive of lights. This had been very useful in the eyes of so many as to breakdown racial-stereotypes against African-Americans, through showing that we also have similar family-values, work-ethics, educational-merits as any other American demographics.

However, it seems as though all of his work has just gone down the drain in light of his admittance of providing sedative drugs to Women he wanted to have sex with & ironically many Women have already accused him of Sexual-Misconduct, Rape, etc. This has truly been a blow to America, more particularly to the African-American Community. This is especially true because at one point in time, there were very few positively portrayed Afro-Americans to aspire to be like, other than the characters on shows which were produced by Bill Cosby. It’s like he both made & broke the progress of the African-American, in both real-life as well as in Entertainment. He has basically destroyed the exact same thing that he helped to build.

And, of course, like so many People, I myself was very skeptical of the Sexual-Abuse allegations against Cosby, and the following questions kept flowing through my mind: why now, that he’s such an elderly Person: why now, while he had once been one of the most respected entertainers in Entertainment-History; why now, when all of the accusers were all grown-ups? Honestly, what really had me mistrust these allegations was the allegations made against him, when Judith Huth had accused Cosby of Sexually-Abusing her at Hugh Hefner’s infamous Playboy-Mansion, while she was a 15 year-old: what the Hell was she doing at the Playboy-Mansion  as a 15 year-old, where were her Parents, why weren’t they sited for Parental-Neglect, why hasn’t Hugh Hefner himself been scrutinized and/or charged with facilitating Sexual-Abuse of Minors at his home?

However, in his own deposition, he had admitted to giving Women the drug Quaalude. This admission has basically sealed his fate, and has made it even easier for his accusers & critics to have ammunition against him. Now that he has admitted to at least one of the allegations against him, the floodgates have been busted open & he has no ability to run away from the responsibility of his actions. Now, where does he go from here? Where do his loved-ones, fans, admirers, go from here? Where do his accusers go from here? Where does America go from here? I really don’t have any answers. But, what I do know is that this has become a national-tragedy.

Gareth Bryant/2015

Apathetic Times

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We live in the days of Malice…
…selfishness make us callous.

All we desire is to pursue our own wants…
…we live by immorality, demonic thoughts.

All day in, all day out…
…we complain & shout.

Forgetting just all too often…
…to be grateful for something.

We look down upon those who have less…
…thinking material things equal success.

It’s like we only concern ourselves with Fashion’s latest trends…
…or how many millions our favorite celebrity makes and spends.

We worry too much about when’s the next time we will eat Steak or Lobster…
…while millions of People on the Planet die because they lack clean Water.

But, in the end, we just chase the Illusion…
…to an dauntingly never ending conclusion.

We perceive that this is all there is to life…
…attaining things while causing others strife.

There will be a day when we will regret not caring for one another…
…we’ll be shamed for treating our fellow Man as less than a brother.

There will be fear, we will shed tears…
…and know that this day is very near.

Gareth Bryant/2015

Muslims Giving Back’s annual participation at the annual AFSP: Out Of the Darkness Overnight promoting Suicide-Awareness & Suicide-Prevention

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Donate to the efforts of Muslims Giving Back below…Support Project: #Walk4life:

http://www.theovernight.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donordrive.participant&participantID=13648

Yasmin Mogahed’s position on the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict:

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Yasmin Mogahed pic

Author’s-Note:
Yasin Mogahed’s spin on the issue takes us to a place that we ca all relate to: it sets us up & forces us to truly reflect upon the different scenarios that she presents, and how we would view them, had they been in place of the Palestinian-Israeli issue.

I used to wonder why some Palestinian people would engage in actions that could only provoke the aggressor further. Then I realized that to ask a people to live quietly, while they have no justice and no freedom, is to ask them to live “peacefully” as slaves. “Peace” without justice or freedom is slavery. It’s like asking a battered woman to live “peacefully” with her abuse. We all want the bloodshed to stop. But what about the daily humiliation and institutionalized oppression?

I was reminded of a part in “The Hunger Games” when Katniss considers abandoning the resistance against the oppressor, in exchange for “safety”. Gale’s response was telling. He said: “Safe to do what? Starve? Work like slaves? Send their kids to the reaping?”

Consider this: If a woman is being raped, things would be a lot more “peaceful” if she didn’t resist. But, asking her not to resist–just because her attacker is physically stronger–is asking her to accept her own abuse and oppression for the sake of “peace”. This is what the world is asking Palestinians to do.

And sometimes what seems to the world as just ineffective tactics, like throwing a rock at a tank, is in fact an act of resistance. It is a powerful statement to the oppressor–and the world–that they refuse to be enslaved. That dignity and self-respect are even more beloved to them than their own lives.

It is a statement that you can take their lives. But not their freedom.

Yasmin Mogahed/2014

For more info. about Yasmin Mogahed:

http://www.yasminmogahed.com

Who gets to decide what a Genocide or Holocaust is?

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There are those who would dare to argue that what’s going on around the World, pertaining to the proliferation of unwarranted Human-Life being mercilessly taken, that only certain types of carnage qualifies to be considered a “Genocide” a “Holocaust”, etc. Well, for those of you who may take this view:

Does it really even matter whether or not Hundreds, Thousands, or Millions of People were killed in one day, one week, one month, one year, one decade, one score, one century, one millennium? No, the point is that all these People were killed. So, in this case, it doesn’t really matter whether People suffered very unnecessary casualties in a year, or within a span of nearly a Century: Human-Life is Human-Life & Allah states that to kill even just one person out of injustice is just like killing the entire Human-Race.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.5, V.32) And, since this is the case, then, the unjust killing of any Human being, whether it be a Million, a Thousand, a Hundred, or just One, whatever: based upon what Allah, Himself, has stated, the killing of one Man is just like the killing of all Men, and that is a Genocide, a Holocaust, by definition.

Gareth Bryant/2014

My Solace from Chaos!!!

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I’m constantly lambasted by hardship…
…as adversity strikes just like a whip…

…I’m completely lost in the Forests of trials & uncertainty…
…as the Wolves of deception just hunt after me tirelessly…

…I’m surrounded by Dessert, as my barren hopes & dreams, carried away from my reach, by the Winds of Providence…
…I came to know that all that I had yearned for, all that I wished for, were play and leisure, utter illusion and nonsense…

…As I look in search of that invisible Log-Cabin, to seek shelter in, during a violent Thunderstorm…
…Only then, had I realized the shield from torrential downpours were already, within me, all along…

…My inner-being, the core of my meaning…
…keeps me safe, from yelling & screaming…

…I know not which test of mine may really break me…
…or, whether or not Allah will choose to set me free…

However, I do know that, regardless of the harshest weather…
…my Lord won’t forget nor desert me, I’m completely secure…

…It’s hard to smile, when Life knocks all of ya teeth out…
…you feel you’re in the 12th-round & can’t win the bout…

…Yet, an important verbal signal, straight from the Soul & Mind…
…tells me what the Body can’t detect and the Heart can’t define…

…The messages says “Just don’t quit!!!”…”Fight on!!!”…
…the battle belongs to the Patient, as well as the Strong.

Gareth Bryant/2014