Tag Archives: People

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




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


The Rwanda-Syndrome:



Allah says in The Qur’ān, “And, don’t allow your Hatred, against any People, prevent you from behaving justly.”.(Noble-Qur’ān: Chpt.8, V.5)

Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said that Allah said, “Oh, My Servants!!! Verily, I’ve made Oppressed Forbidden even upon Myself, as well as between you. So, do not oppress one another.”.(an-Nawawī)

In light of so many Events around our Planet, detailing the constant & consistent Oppression of People, whom are Desperate to be heard, to be listened to, to be helped-Sadly, much like the Carnage which took place during the infamous Rwanda-Conflict, in 1994, C.E., there’s seems to be absolutely zero Change, in terms of how the International-Community chooses to respond to Conflicts which yield levels of Destruction which can’t be defined in any ways other than: Inhumane, Genocidal, etc. And, you’d think that the World would’ve learned from the Errors of Rwanda, as the Nations of our World just stood by and made us watch in agony while they did nothing, as nearly a Million Human-Beings, along with countless other Thousands were: tortured, maimed, raped, murdered, starved-out all in the name of Power & Domination over the Other.(For more Information concerning International-Genocide: http://www.genocidewatch.com)

Ever since the 1990’s, C.E.: there’ve several Nations which have become war-torn, in which untold Millions of Human-Beings have become the subject of Theft, Rape, Murder, etc. With these blatant acts of Genocide being witness before our very eyes, we’ve stayed glued to our Social-Media tools of Communication & Observance, (TV, the News, the Internet, YouTube, etc.) to remain “Aware” of what’s happening. However, unfortunately, that’s largely all we’ve done as a Society is just sit-back and watch, as Multitudes of People just like us: Humans perpetually suffer unjustly. It’s almost as though we’ve become so used to Carnage, that it’s now just another form of Entertainment.

Also, it seems as though the “International-Community” conveniently waits for Conflicts to get at their worsts, before anything substantial is actually done, in order to significantly dispel Oppression around the World. For example: for those of us old enough to remember, the Conflict in Rwanda from beginning to ending was nothing short of the many things which were imposed upon Human-Beings during the Reign of the 3rd-Reich during the WWII-Era (1939-1945, C.E.). The World said “Never Again”, pertaining to the World’s-Nations sitting on the Sidelines as the International “Bullies of da Block” push People around. But, the World hasn’t kept its Word, to maintain Justice for Oppressed-Peoples around the Globe.

Just like what occurred within Rwanda, there’ve been a string of International-Conflicts, either caused by Religious, Ethnic strife between Peoples of the same Nation or imposed upon them by Bullies whom profess to be the Defenders of Freedom…Justice…Equality.

Let’s take a look at some examples of the Rwanda-Syndrome:


  1. Somalia


  1. Afghanistan


  1. Iraq


  1. Syria


  1. Libya


  1. Mali


  1. Sudan


  1. Nigeria


  1. Central African Republic


  1. Burma/Myanmar


  1. Palestine/Israel


  1. Yemen


For Decades, Nations such as these have been torn apart by Conflict, both internally amongst themselves, as well as the Conflicts being catalyzed, arguably even promoted via Western-Colonization, Western-Influence, etc. Whatever the Reason doesn’t really matter. What matters is the fact that these listed Nations have been struck with Conflicts which have completely either broken-down their entire Societies or has left Millions Dead, Maimed, Raped, Displaced/Homeless, Starving, Diseased, and yet there’s been little to nothing done to concretely put an end to the Oppression the Innocents of these Countries are forced to face. Which comes back to my Point, regarding us being self-victimized by the Rwanda-Syndrome: as a Globally-Connected Society, one would think/assume that there’d greater Efforts by the International-Community to resolve such Conflicts. But, this is clearly yet to be seen.

My Question is this though: how many more People have to actually succumb to these types of Atrocities, before we actually get it, that these are Human-Beings who don’t deserve to be treated like this?!!!

Gareth Bryant/2017

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



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

Let’s sincerely reflect, care, and change how the Other-Half lives:



Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him), said: “None of you believe, unless he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.”.(an-Nawawi) This particular Prophetic-Statement is often unfairly translated as to only apply to people whom are Muslims. However, when taken into greater context, this actually applies to anyone/everyone whom is a Human being, because by virtue of the fact that we are all the Children of Adam (Peace be upon him), that makes us all Humans, and it makes us all equal, valuable, valid, important, within the sight of Allah.

Have any of us really taken a step back, from our very own comfortable bubbles of our lives, to reflect upon how others actually exist, around the World? Of course we haven’t, because, if we had, the realities of what they go through would shake us to our very cores to such an extent, that as People of Conscious, we would compel ourselves to actually make real changes in these peoples’ lives, to help enhance their Humanity & by default of helping them, enhance our own Humanity as well. Because, when we help enhance others, we’re really help enhance ourselves; likewise, when we degrade others, we’re really degrading ourselves.

I’m going to give some examples of exactly what I mean:

1. Most of us, who just stop by & drink from any Water-Fountain that we choose, or just stop at any store/supermarket & buy some bottled-water with ease, really have no idea what it’s like to live in a place where the water is so contaminated that it can literally kill you on the spot, within days, if not hours, if you were to drink it.

2. Most of us go into our refrigerators, at will, to get whatever we want to eat, while in places around our cities, our nations, our planet, their are Human beings, just like us, who literally die from starvation, and this occurs by the day, by the hour, by the minute, by the second.

3. Most of us just go where ever we want, without even thinking that we could potentially be sold into Human-Trafficking style Slavery, or that our female loved-ones could quite possibly/probably be systematically gang-raped, just for stepping outside of their homes.

4. Most of us shop wherever we want, however we want, buying whatever our money can afford, while either not knowing or not caring that most of the clothes, computers, phones, etc., which we purchase, are produced in places where those who assemble, make, these products which we spend untold hundreds, thousands, millions, upon will probably never be able to afford one single thing that they’ve ever produced with their own hardworking hands.

5. Most of us just turn on the heat in the Winter & the A/C in the Summer, in such a very carefree manner, without knowing/caring that there are millions of people around the World, who suffer from heat-exhaustion when it’s hot, because they can’t afford A/C’s & freeze to death, because they can’t afford Heat, and/or whom don’t even have homes to even live in, to protect them from the Elements.

6. Most of us have no idea how easy it is to look into the sky & watch an Airplane go by, and just think nothing of it, while there are people whom are so afraid of anything flying over their heads, because they don’t know whether it’s just another  (Military) Airstrike/Drone-Strike, terrorizing their neighborhood, their city, their country.

7. Most of us complain about everything, from not having the “right-job”, to not having the “ideal-house”, while we, as an industrialized-society, especially those of us who live within the United States and/or other G-20 or G-8 nations are wealthier than about 80% of the rest of our Human family, in regards to just owning stuff.

8. Most of us watch the News & tolerate the Media to influence what we think & how we feel about, “Extremism”, “Totalitarianism” “Terrorism”, etc. & have no problem rallying behind Islamophobic/Xenophobic concepts, yet we tolerate the Western-World supporting governments that would, according to unbiased standards, be in fact classified as “Rogue-States” or “Totalitarian-Regimes”, “Extremists”, or “Terrorists”, who condemn their Citizenry to the exact same atrocities which were imposed upon millions of Human beings, in both Europe & North-Africa, during the reign of the 3rd-Reich, during the 1930’s & 1940’s.

Now, one may very well ask, “What’s really the exact point in all this?”…Good-Question…here’s the answer: we, as Humans, have often forgotten what it truly means to be a true Human being. Being a Human being is not only what’s in our DNA, it’s within our demeanor, our decorum, our character, all of the positive things which we can/should exert towards all the Creation of Allah, the Creator/Lord of the Universe are what make us truly Humans; however, when not in line, in sync with positivity, we’re really just as savage, and brutal as any wild beast in any natural environment.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.7, V.179)

We must all, as Humans, actually care for one another, because, we’re all cut from the same exact Human-Cloth, patterned by Allah, sewn together by Adam & Eve, the Parents of Humanity (Peace be upon them both).(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.49, V.13) Then, we’re really no better, superior than anyone else: it’s only because of our possessions of power, wealth, privilege, etc., that clouds our better-judgement, and with the deception of ash-Shaytan/the Devil, inspires our egos, converting pure humility & confidence into malicious arrogance & narcissism.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.114, V.4-6) But, if/when stripped of all of that, then, we’re really exactly the same with the same wants/needs, desires, good-nature, pride, hopes & dreams, as any other Human being out there in our World. So, in closing, let’s truly change, improve the way we view members of our Human family, because we are them & they are us.

Gareth Bryant/2013




Let’s have a conversation, about flaggin’ & taggin’.

Let’s talk about reppin’ sects, religious G-Mackin’.

We all wanna belong & be strong, wit a whole team behind us.

We choose between being Muslims, Jews and even Buddhists.

We also pick to conform as Christians, Mormons, Zoroastrians, Hindhus, and the like.

We all want someone to have our backs, to hold us down, to make sure we’re alright.

We use the minds & hearts of people, to write our ideas on.

We do it just make our marks on the World, right or wrong.

But, for every Theological-Tag is a consequence.

We may be guilty, in front of Allah, for nonsense.

We can’t always foresee the damage our taggin’ can actually cause.

If what we tag can’t be removed, it may well cause many to be lost.

So, the next time that you see a wall that you wanna tag, don’t rush to ruin.

There may not be any kind of paint that will erase what you’ve been doin’.

Gareth Bryant/2013

My thoughts on Respect & Love:


What is the best way to ensure that you will be respected & loved?
Never give anyone the option to disrespect you or hate you.

Ensuring respect is based upon a Prophetic-Statement from Muhammad (Peace be upon him), when he mentioned about the proper conduct that a Muslim must/should have, “The Muslim is one who protects others from his speech & actions.”(an-Nawawi) The reason why this is important is because to cause harm to someone, because of what you say and/or do, is something that Allah has forbidden, when He mentions, based upon another statement of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) that, “Oh, My property (meaning the Creation)!!! Verily, I (meaning Allah) have made oppression unlawful upon Myself, as well as between you. So, do not oppress one another!!!” (an-Nawawi). When we respect the rights that Allah possesses over the Creation, He will in turn, respect us. And, when we respect the rights of the Creation, then Allah will place respect in the hearts of the Creation for us.

Ensuring love is based upon a Prophetic-Statement from Muhammad (Peace be upon him), when he was asked about being loved by both Allah & the people. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) responded by saying, referring to attaining the love of Allah, “…to worship Allah, without associating any false-qualities with Him.”. And, he also responded by saying, referring to attaining the love of the people, “…to not violate the property of others.” (an-Nawawi). The reason why this is important is because when we worship our Creator properly, we will in turn, attain His love. And, when we honor the property of the people, subsequently, He will place love within the hearts of the Creation for us.

#I’m just sharin’!!!