Tag Archives: Muslim World

What I’ve Finally Learned From Ramadhan:

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Ramadhan of 1437/2016 will always be the year I’ve come to terms with what this month really stands for. To many Muslims, it’s a way to get closer to the proximity of Allah’s Mercy, for Others it’s a reason to fraternize with fellow Muslims in ways that’s not necessarily available at other times of the year, for some it’s an excuse to attempt to get in shape/lose weight, for some it’s the ideal situation to indulge in some Free-Food at various Mosques. But, for me personally, I’ve forced myself to search more indepthly, just to see what can be found within this month.

What I’ve come to realize is that Ramadhan for so many of us is to attempt to be a “Super-Muslim”…only during the Month of Ramadhan, and/or only during the last 9/10 Days of Ramadhan, in the hopes of catching what’s known as Laylat-al-Qadr/the Night of Decree, in which the reward for it is similar to worshipping Allah for 83 years.(Noble-Qur’an: Chpt.97, V.3) For so many Muslims, we wait for this time of year to pretend to be “Super-Pious”: praying, giving Charity, being nice, etc., more than in other times of the year. However, many of us have this all wrong. My personal-assessment is that Ramadhan serves exclusively as a period of Spiritual-Purging. I liken this month to the etymology of the Arabic-Noun Fitnah…the word Fitnah, meaning “Problem”, “Conflict”, “Drama”, “Trial/Tribulation”, etc., comes from Gold/Silver Smithing.(Lisan-ul-`Arab: Lexicon of the Arabic-Language) Because Gold & Silver is from deep beneath the Earth and/or embedded within Mountains: oftentimes these metals themselves are meshed which earthly materials, which diminish their value.

So, then what’s to be done about it? The Gold/Silver must be melted down, and then be forged into a purer substance. But, to do that, these metals need to be placed under extreme temperatures, thousands of degrees, in order to melt them, so that the turbid materials attached to these metals can be sifted away. And, this is exactly what Ramadhan is to me, a way to sift through all of our turbidity, so that we can be forged into purer types of People. We must allow ourselves to be placed into the heat of Hunger, Thirst, denial of our natural inclinations towards: Sexual-Intercourse, Anger, Revenge, Violence, etc. & all other things which naturally make us…well, Humans. The entire purpose for us to be Spiritually-Smithed is so that we can truly be worthy of the Favor of Allah, which is His Mercy, Guidance, via us acquiring Piety (holding ourselves accountable to refrain from all that Allah has made temporarily Mahrum/Prohibited, as well as things which Allah has made Mahrum at all times).(Noble-Qur’an: Chpt.2, V.183)

For some/many, you’ve probably already come to this conclusion, without me even having to write this. But, I’ve deemed it necessary, because it’s something that I’ve come to the realization of, and I’m sure that I’m not the only one who hasn’t truly gotten the point of what Ramadhan truly stands for. Ramadhan, by its nature, isn’t for us to get things right all in one month, because that’s not even realistic. Rather, it’s a time to really dig through one’s self, to reflect upon what makes you work vs. what makes you halt…what makes you strong vs. what makes you weak…what makes you resist vs. what makes you sin, etc. I now have a greater understanding of who I am, as a Muslim, as just simply a Human-Being.

Everyday is like a fierce Internal-Fight: a perfect mixture or even an imbalance of spiritual victories & defeats-Resisting what just naturally comes to you, what automatically feels good and feels right, and struggling to rise above all of that to be someone greater, someone higher. It’s about sacrificing what you think & feel is for you, in order to please you, and really trying your best to replace that mindset with doing what’s expected of you from Allah, in order to please Him. Since arriving at this particular epiphany, in my journey as a Muslim, I’ve attained a better sense of how I am to improve and what I allow myself to still fall victim to. I’ve truly honed in on remaining more conscious of what drives me more towards Obedience vs. Disobedience to Allah. This is what I’ve been allowed to learn during Ramadhan, through the Mercy of Allah.

Gareth Bryant/2016

 

A Necessary Ramadhan Personal-Reflection In Mercy!!!

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Here’s a story for the Record-Books:

Ramadhan 1435 AH/2014 CE…I went to Masjid Ar-Rahman, on 29th St bet. 5th Ave & Broadway, in Manhattan, NYC-After making the congregational Maghrib/Sunset Prayer, my shoes go missing. I’m honestly mad as Hell: those Sneakers were brand-new & fresh out the box, I barely had them for a whole week, I got them for free…they were a gift. So, you can understand why I was duly pissed all the way off!!! I felt so violated that someone, a Muslim, would dare to steal something during Ramadhan in the Mosque no less. I was just thinking in my mind what I would do, and how would I hurt this Person who took what was mine, if I woulda caught-up to them. It even got to the point when I was yelling, and causing a scene, concerning what was taken from me. Some other Muslim-Brothers attempted to clam me down, but it just wasn’t working: I came in the Mosque with my Sneakers, and I had wanted to leave with my same Sneakers. But, guess what happens next?

Check-out how merciful Allah, the Creator/Lord of the Universe is:

1. He bestowed mercy upon the one who took my footwear, so I would not have acted out of anger against a fellow Muslim, during Ramadhan of all times.

2. He touched the heart of a Muslim brother who volunteered to give me his own shoes.

3. He touched the heart of another Muslim brother who actually drove me to a sneaker-store & bought me a brand-new pair of Sneakers…cash, which ironically were fresher & cheaper than the sneakers that I had gotten taken from me at this Mosque…the Sneakers which were taken from me were the Nike Andre Agassis, in Dead-stock/Brand-New condition. But, then the brother had bought me a pair of Nike ACGs, also in Dead-Stock/Brand-New condition.

4. Most importantly: the person who took my Sneakers actually did me a favor, because along with my shoes being taken, then perhaps a portion of my Sins have also been taken from me, which will make it easier to meet Allah on the Day-of-Standing, because the less Sins that a person has on their back, the better for them, when it comes to being judged by Allah on the Day of Days…So, I still considered myself a Winner.

Gareth Bryant/2016

Muhammad Ali: One of the Greatest

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Cassius Clay...Muhammad Ali

Cassius Marcellus Clay, Cassius X, Muhammad Ali…
…born & raised in the South: Louisville, Kentucky.

No matter what you called him, he defined himself…
…he proved he was the best, he was always top-shelf.

Olympic Gold-Medalist with Boxing-Titles…
…he had so many Opponents, but no Rivals.

He was never afraid to stand-up to Oppression…
…always willing to improve a Person’s situation.

He denied accepting the Military-Draft…
…he refused to be a paver of the Warpath.

And, later on became a Muslim in 1975…
…he gave us strength to keep Islam alive.

The World never forgot the way he won back his Belts…
…everywhere he went, greeted by the screams and yells.

A Father and Husband to some, but a Big-Brother to us all…
…he acknowledge the best in all of us, both great and small.

He’s known as Number-One in our eyes…
…despite Parkinson’s-Disease taking rise.

Never letting any of his ailments defeat him…
…till his dying day, he taught us how to win.

Gareth Bryant/2016

 

 

 

 

 

Melody of Madness:

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Winter is no longer cold…I’m no longer young.
Confusion in my life…the War hasn’t been won.

Carnage fills my heart, like war-torn Syria.
AIDS & Ebola ravage from Rwanda to Libya.

The rise of Atheism immersed in Academia.
The demand for Petroleum from Saudi Arabia.

America uses ISIS for their warmongering devices.
Depletion of the Earth isn’t on anyone’s focus.

Climate-Change…something’s strange.
Blacks still lynched, nothing’s changed.

Why do we exist in this World with such pain?
Why is apathy normal & compassion insane?

It seems like everything’s just upside down.
The Oppressor a Hero, the Victim a Clown.

I’m so conflicted…my emotions stifled.
No one’s genuine, everything’s a trifle.

The Law is blind, because Justice is absent.
Xenophobia reign’s supreme, no acceptance.

I’m sad and angry because my nation hates me.
I live in a country threatened by my theology.

What if the banning of Muslims gets approved?
How can I survive in a World that’s so shrewd?

I can only prepare for the coming of the destruction of all I hold dear.
The end is abysmal, dark, and near; we’re now all ruled by fear.

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

My Commentary on Interfaith-Marriage:

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I will be showing you a video posted on YouTube, by the Muslim Public Affairs Council, hosted by Maher Hathout, who died in January of 2015, dubbed the Father of American-Muslim Identity”. This video is a part of a series of videos, concerning topics which are not discussed enough or at all among Muslims, Interfaith-Marriage being one of these recurring hotbed-issues. However, within the video itself, there’s a lot of problematic stances which the personality answering the questions takes, which I’ll discuss after you’ve viewed the video:

This video is incredibly inaccurate & misleading: Allah clearly states, “And do not allow the Men of Shirk to marry you, unless they believe.”(Noble-Qur’an: Chpt.2, V.221) The Men of Shirk are those who commit Shirk: disregard of the existence/oneness of Allah & all Non-Muslim commit Shirk in one way or another, either via Atheism/Anti-Theism (disregarding the existence of Allah/any Divine-Creator generally), as well as any other Non-Muslims who have theological-beliefs contrary to what we’re taught as Muslims via al-Qur’an/the Qur’an & as-Sunnah/the Prophetic-Tradition. In other words, a Muslim-Woman is prohibited from marrying any Non-Muslim Man. And this is because of the following reasons: when a Woman is sexually-attached to a Man, his influence over her is tremendous. Obviously, Allah knowing His Creation better than we know ourselves, places a prohibition upon Muslim-Women being married to Non-Muslim Men, because Non-Muslim Men will influence Muslim-Women to leave Islam & it happens all of the time. And, the major reason that Muslim-Men are allowed to marry (Jewish & Christian) Non-Muslim Women is because of the same reason: as a result of a Man, by Nature being able to influence a Woman via sexual-attachment, he’s better able to encourage her to accept Islam. Also look at it statistically: how often do you hear about Men leaving Islam, because they’re with a Non-Muslim Woman…hardly ever…conversely, how often do you hear about Women leaving Islam, because they’re with a Non-Muslim Man…almost always.

Maher Hathout has purposely…purposefully misinformed People, both Muslims & Non-Muslims alike. Now, I don’t know who gave him the privilege to be any type of authority to speak about Islam, but he has truly not done a good job in dispelling misconceptions and/or clarifying conceptions of Islam. He had mere done what so many, too Muslims past & present have always done: take the go-along to get-along route…instead of being honest about about what Islam allows vs. disallows, in the objective of being Interfaith-Accepted, he had allowed himself to misinform masses of People of various faiths to take his word seriously, and had sadly deceived them…this video being only one of many proofs of this.

Gareth Bryant/2015

Gareth Bryant featured on The Mardiyah Show Episode 4 Part 2

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Author’s Note:
This is the official interview of Gareth Bryant, on one of his most controversial articles to date, “Why Muslim Women Are Against Polygyny and Why Muslim Men Can’t Really Blame Them”:

http://www.garethbryant.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/antipolygyny/

Gareth Bryant featured on The Mardiyah Show Episode 4 Part I

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Author’s Note:
This is the official interview of Gareth Bryant, on one of his most controversial articles to date, “Why Muslim Women Are Against Polygyny and Why Muslim Men Can’t Really Blame Them”:

http://www.garethbryant.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/antipolygyny/

The reason why Muslim-Women are against Polygyny & why Muslim-Men can’t really blame them:

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Author’s-Note:
There’s going to be a lot of controversy behind the release of this article. But, that’s ok because that’s what Gareth Bryant is all about.

Allah states: “Men are Responsible for Women.”.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.4, V.34) And, this status of Qawwamah/Responsibility, that Allah has placed upon Men, to be Responsible for Women, consists of any/all elements of the Human-Experience. But, in the interest of time, I’ll just focus on a few of them, which could very well, ironically, encompass any other facets of Responsibility. Sadly, the problem is that we, as Muslim-Men, really don’t match-up to the standards of Qawwamah for Women that Allah requires of us, neither within the Qur’an nor the Prophetic-Tradition.

All Women (Muslim & Non-Muslim alike) are attracted to Quwwah/Power, which linguistically intersects with the word Qawwamah.(Lisan-ul-`Arab/Lexicon of the Arabic-Language) Yet, Power, within our Modern-World, is something that the typical Muslim-Male has either forfeited, never experienced, or is just pathetically powerless.

Here are some of the many avenues of Power, as is manifested in many significantly different ways:

Intelligence-
Intellectual prowess is something that Women value very highly. Women require to be stimulated on an intellectual plateau. They want to be with someone who can & will stimulate and challenge them, intellectually…no Woman wants a dumb Dude.

Religion-
A Man with strong religious-convictions are qualities that Women are very impressed with, because it shows that he has spiritual structure, boundaries, self-restraint, morals, character, etc.

Politics-
Women respect a Man who is able to control his surroundings, his environment, to be able to dictate policy, which can & will ensure the preservation, goodwill, safety, security of all.

Wealth-
Women want to be maintained…they want to live comfortably, without having to do it all themselves, without having to struggle financially. Women require Men to be able to stand on their own 2-feet, to have some type of financial independence, stability, security, etc.

Sexuality-
Women want a Man who knows what he’s doing in the bedroom. They want a Man to treat them respectfully, yet at the exact same time, take them places sexually that they’ve never been before.

Humor-
Every Woman wants a Man who can make them laugh, when they’re sad, to be able to bring a smile & joyful mood to their person.

Now, contrary to popular-opinion, the reason why the Muslim-Woman doesn’t generally approve or is privy to a Muslim-Man having more than 1-Wife/Multiple-Wives aren’t any of the cop-out reasons some try to give like:

1. Jealousy-
The Wives of Muhammad (Peace be upon him), the best of Women in Human-History (May Allah be pleased with them), often displayed acts & fits of jealousy against one another, over being married to Muhammad. However, his house was still in order, his wives never had to go out into the streets to get food, clothing or shelter, he made sure that these elements of Human sustainability, protection, safety, security, were well taken care of for his wives.(ar-Rahiq-ul-Makhtum/The Sealed-Nectar)

2. Emotional-Disproportion-
This plays on number one a lil’ bit, because the Wives of Muhammad also displayed, at times, disdain for one another, as a result of vying for the affection of Muhammad. In fact, there’s a Hadith/Narration concerning one wife knocking food onto the floor, because Muhammad had decided to eat food made by another one of his wives.(al-Bukhari)

3. Men wanting younger Women-
One of the biggest & most obvious ways to disprove this is the fact that most of the Wives of Muhammad were similar in age as he was. In fact, `Ai’shah was (via [Islamic-Scholarly] Ijma`/Unanimity) the youngest wife that he had ever married. Also, his 1st-Wife, Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) was (via Ijma`) the oldest Woman that he had ever married: they were married even before he had been given Prophecy, 15-years prior, to be exact & she was 15-years his senior. And, she was the only Woman that he was ever married to prior to her death, which was 13-years after Muhammad had become a Prophet.(ar-Rahiq-ul-Makhtum)

4. Lack of ability to spend equal time with all of one’s Wives-
Muhammad had 9-wives at one time; yet, he was able to be a Prophet, a Military-Leader, a Father, a Community-Leader, a Diplomat, a Statesman, and he was also able to give time to all of his wives, relative to their respective needs. Now, if he were able to wear these many hats & perform the duties attached to each of them to their fullest capacity, yet was still able to be the best of husbands to all of the wives he ever had, then, surely, the Muslim-Man, who is religiously-relegated to only having up to 4-wives at a time, can handle 2, or three additional wives to the 1 wife they are currently married to.

Rather, the true reason why so many Muslim-Women are growing more unwilling to agree to their respective husbands to have multiple-wives is simply because they genuinely believe that we’re not even deserving of this. And, why do I say this? The answer will make sense, trust me. Most of the Muslim-World is a direct product of Colonization, nation-building/nation-making, by the Oppressor & with the help of power-hungry, sinful, Muslims, etc. Now, within this process, there have been, unfortunately, so many, too many, atrocities that have plagued the Muslim-World, particularly Muslim-Women, like: being raped, forced to leave Islam at the hands of Non-Muslims, while the Men of the Muslim-World have largely stood by & have done nothing about it. All of the prior things I’ve mentioned, the facets of Power, which are seen in fruition in everyday Life, all around us-To be able to execute the manifestation of any/all of the above means that one possesses an immense amount of Power.

However, within the Muslim-World today, we tend to be very lacking in our manifestations of these particular facets of Power, especially referring to the following: Intelligence…Religion…Politics…Wealth:

1. Intellectual-Weakness-
Muslims have no say as to how Academic policies are conjured, concepted, carried out, etc. We are just influenced by the order of the day by other People, with their Anti-Islamic intellectual theories, like Atheism, Darwinism, etc. In fact, ironically, Atheists/Anti-Theists have more influence within the Academic-World than Muslims do & historically, many of the World’s 1st Universities were incepted by Muslims, several centuries ago.

2. Religious-Weakness-
There Muslims who are Billionaires, like Prince al-Walid ibn-Talal, of Saudi Arabia, nicknamed “The Arab Warren Buffet”, whom have invested their wealth into companies like NewsCorp, which owns FoxNews, the most Islamophobic media-outlet the Human-Race has ever known. This proves that Muslims don’t even control/can’t even control how our own religious image & narrative is portrayed within the media, because here we have one of the most affluent Muslims, in Human-History, financing the Oppressor, against the Oppressed, who happen to largely be his own fellow Muslims.

3. Political-Weakness-
There is no country on Earth, right now, where the Muslim-Woman is 100% secure from getting abused, raped, forced into Prostitution, Slavery, etc. Countless cases have even actually indicated that many of the World’s Oil-Rich Muslim/Arab nations have been responsible for some of the highest Human-Rights Violations against Muslim-Women, on all levels. I’ve already mentioned some of the too many historical instances in which invaders of the lands of the Muslims (both Muslims & Non-Muslims) have pillaged & raped, and forced into Prostitution as well as Slavery, untold thousands, if not millions, of Muslim-Women. And, the Men of the Muslim-World have done nearly nothing, basically nothing to prevent this or to avenge these types of atrocities that our Muslim-Women have been forced to endure, by our own hands, as well as by the hands of Non-Muslims.

4. Financial-Weakness-
With all of the World’s wealthy Billionaire/Millionaire Muslims, there’s absolutely no excuse as to why Poverty exists on planet Earth, particularly/especially within the Muslim-World. And, this is actually how we know that there are Muslims aren’t even properly paying 2.5% of their wealth in az-Zakah/Annual Obligatory (the 3rd among the 5-Pillars of Islam).(Minhaj-ul-Muslim/The Methodology of the Muslim) The reason why I’m bold enough to say this is because there’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that if every Wealthy-Muslim on this planet were to truly pay 2.5% worth of az-Zakah, on their personal-wealth (their net-wealth), there’s absolutely no way that there would/could be any hungry, homeless, jobless Humans on Earth. If the Wealthy-Muslims were to truly implement the payment of true Zakah, the World wouldn’t need the usury-based, exploitative International Monetary Fund, the World-Bank, etc. The World would be able to come to the Muslims for economic balance, fairness, justice, sustainability, etc.

Now, for those of you whom happen to be Men, Muslim-Men especially, reading this article: try looking at these very unfortunate realities, from a Woman’s point of view: knowing the sheer weakness of the Muslim-Man, who has largely no Power of his own to wield globally, where the Muslim-Man has basically become an international Joke-of-the-Party, then, why should Muslim-Women want to have Men like us having more than one Wife? Basically, we don’t have our shit together. Take a look at all of the atrocities that have befallen the Muslim-Woman, within the 19th-Century alone: the inhumane tragedies in the Middle-East (during World-War I), North Africa (during World-War II), The Balkans & the USSR/Russia (during the 90’s), India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Iraq, and the list can go on forever. The Muslim-Man is in absolutely no position to secure the sanctity, the integrity, of the Muslim-Woman. And, that’s the real reason why they are not comfortable with the Muslim-Man having multiple-wives, particularly/especially within the confines of the Western-World, where Feminism is King (an ironic hyperbole obviously), our Muslim-Women are being influenced to the extent that Men generally, particularly/especially that Muslim-Men are completely useless, which unfortunately, we’ve proven that very ugly & malicious stereotype right for far too long.

The issue of Muslim-Women being against Polygyny honestly has so much more to with the inadequacies of the Muslim-Man to serve his environment & protect his Women. Trust me: if the Muslim-Man had his shit together, no Muslim-Woman on planet Earth would have any justification as to why they wouldn’t be in favor of Polygyny at all. But, the weakness of the Muslim-Man gives them that justification, that the Enemies of Islam have helped to indoctrinate the Muslim-Man with, to disempower him, as in the Pharaonic mentality that Allah mentions within the Qur’an, “kill the Men & spare the Women”.

Gareth Bryant/2014

Acid-Violence: Who’s stopping it?

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Before Acid AttackAfter Acid Attack

Laxmi an Indian Woman: disfigured after an Acid-Attack

Author’s-Note:
We’ve had the great privilege to interview Islamic Help, a United-Kingdom based non-profit organisation, which has a very special project: to advocate against Acid-Violence. I’ve gotten to learn a lot from this very sinister phenomenon that Islamic Help is spreading awareness about, and I am glad that they’ve allowed me to interview the, so as to equip us all with the necessary knowledge to keep abreast of such an important issue such as this.

 

G..B: What is “Acid-Violence”?

I.H.: Acid violence is when an attacker uses acid or a corrosive or/and chemical substance to harm, injure, disable and scar, both physically and mentally, their target. It is usually a pre-meditated attack, and a majority of the victims are women and children.

G.B.: What damage does Acid-Violence ensue?

I.H.: An acid attack can leave a victim with mutilated skin, a disability and psychological damage. To give a small example from an actual case, an acid attack survivor who had acid thrown all over her face was left visually impaired as the acid made contact with her eyes. It left her with breathing difficulties as it melted the tissues in her nasal passages, providing very little to no space for oxygen to go through. She was unable to eat or breathe properly through her mouth as the skin which forms her lips was also melted together. This is just the physical damage. The psychological damage that a lot of survivors face is just as, if not more, damaging. Imagine looking into a mirror and not recognising your own reflection. Imagine having to hide your face in public because you’re disgusted with the way you look. Imagine being told that your face, your scars, your appearance makes people feel sick and children cry. And imagine all this being made worse by your own family, who can no longer stand the sight of you and therefore disown you and kick you out of the family home, leaving you to fend for yourself.

G.B.: Can you explain, possibly, how this tradition of Acid-Violence began?

I.H.: Revenge, anger, love, lust, greed, superstition. These are just a few of the motivations which lead to acid violence. It is one of the most reprehensible and horrendous of crimes that one human can inflict on another. How and why is it so easy to throw acid on someone? In many of the countries where acid attacks occur, acid is easily available due to a variety of industries that exist such as the leather trade where acid is used in the production of leather. To give you an idea of why people would turn to acid as a weapon, let’s look at another case. (Just to clarify these are all real cases). A man in Pakistan proposed to a girl who he liked, she refused the proposal, he felt that she had dishonoured him and if he couldn’t have her then no one else could. So he decided to ruin her beauty. He threw acid onto her face, so that in his opinion, she would be seen as ugly forever.

G.B.: How/why have Muslims, of all People, adopt such a barbaric practice?

I.H.: We cannot stress this enough – this is not a crime carried out by Muslims. Religion has nothing to do with it, Islam abhors violence. These are premeditated attacks which are carried out by evil people who are cowards. Acid attacks are not a “Muslim problem”. They happen where acid is accessible and where people want to use it as a weapon. For example, there was a well-publicised acid attack in London in December 2012 when a 21 year old woman was left scarred by a friend after they fell out. The attacker was found guilty last year. Also last year, the Bolshoi Ballet’s artistic director Sergei Filin was left disfigured and visually impaired after an acid attack in Moscow. Acid attacks are rare in Western countries – hence they gain greater publicity when they do occur, as the above examples show where stricter legislation means access to acid is limited. However, there was a tradition of acid being used as a weapon in Europe and the United States from the 18th to the mid-20th century. We’d also like to highlight that our work to help acid attack survivors has included Muslim and non-Muslims in places like Cambodia and Uganda.

G.B.: How long has Acid-Violence existed within the Muslim-World, or within the World, generally?

I.H.: We don’t know when the first acid attack was committed against someone – it probably wasn’t reported. However (to stress that it’s not a Muslim issue), acid attacks were common in Europe and the USA from the 18th century to the mid-20th century when acid (then known as vitriol) was produced on an industrial scale. Not only was it used in ‘domestic’ rows but labour disputes as well. Increased regulation and legislation limited access, so the number of cases in these countries dropped. But it became prevalent in South Asia, Africa and Latin America in the second half of the 21st century.

While many cases go unreported, we know that since 1999 there have been 3,512 reported cases of acid attacks around the world.

G.B.: What have the Leaders of the nations which Acid-Violence takes place done to help prevent the proliferation of Acid-Violence?

I.H.: Slowly but surely acid violence is becoming seen as more of a crime and laws are being passed to make it more difficult for attackers to avoid punishment. Laws are being passed to try to control the sale of acid so it’s not so easily accessible, but this needs to be backed with enforcement. However if you were to ask an acid attack survivor how they felt the government has dealt with their case, they would tell you something along the lines of, “The police didn’t believe me, I was provided with little to no legal aid, I can’t afford my medical bills and the government is giving me no assistance with them”. There’s a lot more that the governments of these countries need to do, to prevent attacks from occurring in the first place and to provide support to the survivors of acid attacks.

G.B.: What has the International-Community, generally, done to help prevent the proliferation of Acid-Violence?

I.H.: Well, since 2012, the International-Community has heard more about Acid-Violence, a lot of which is due to the documentary “Saving Face” which won an Oscar and two Emmy Awards. Directed by Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, it features the work that we do with acid attack survivors. It documented the lives of acid attack survivors and the assistance they receive from Dr. Muhammad Ali Jawad, an internationally renowned plastic surgeon from the UK who works with Islamic Help to support acid attack survivors, by providing surgery and training future surgeons. However we feel that more needs to be done, that’s why we’ve launched our #EndAcidViolence campaign as part of Smiles Better week, (Smiles Better is the name given to our acid violence treatment and prevention programme) which has received a lot of attention worldwide but we need a lot more.

G.B: Do you honestly think/believe that enough is being done to help fight against Acid-Violence?

I.H.: No. A lot more needs to be done, more people need to speak up about it, and more people need to be made aware about it! That’s one thing our awareness programme does, it works with local community leaders such as imams and village leaders, we train them on how to advise their local community and congregation about the ill effects of acid violence, why it shouldn’t be carried out, why it’s such a harmful crime and what the punishment is, both from a legal perspective and religious perspective.

G.B.: Are Women/Girls the only victims of Acid-Violence, and if so, then why?

I.H.: Women and girls are not the only victims of acid violence, however based on the cases that are recorded they are a majority of the victims. A lot of the attacks are so-called domestic disputes involving a husband-and-wife or relationships between male and females.

One motivation of using acid is not only to cause immense pain but to leave the victim permanently scarred, so they are seen as unattractive.

G.B.: What could/would be your ideal-message to those who: know of this issue & yet do nothing help combat Acid-Violence, know of the issue & yet only do minimal efforts against Acid-Violence, know of this issue & yet are too afraid of consequences for standing up against Acid-Violence, know of this issue & yet really don’t have access to the tools to help prevent Acid-Violence?

I.H.: Work with us, contact us, support us and we will support you. If the subject was about rape, millions of men and women would speak out about it, because we know how horrific a crime rape is. It leaves a victim mentally scarred, it takes away from them something which is personal, something which is their own, it makes them feel defiled and abused, it leaves them living in a life of fear and in many cases feeling judged. In many cases, survivors of acid attacks feel exactly the same way, and they have to walk around with the physical scars as well. If you believe in Human-Rights, Women’s-Rights, justice, peace, equality, humanity, and all things good in this world, then you need to speak out against a crime which doesn’t receive as much attention as it should, you need to help us #EndAcidViolence.

To find out more about the work Islamic Help does and how you can support our #EndAcidViolence campaign please visit:

http://www.islamichelp.org.uk/SmilesBetter