Thursday, March 26, 2009

GTMO Guard Turns to Islam

Trying to take my mind off the fact that I'm sick and brain-drained alone at home, I was looking through some articles over the internet, checked my email, the usual. Finally on seeing I had no new messages I logged off of it. I was so frustrated because my computer keeps changing the defaults I set it to. At this point it had set the msn homepage to my default web-browser. What does this have to do with anything, besides me complaining about unimportant minor details of my life? Well actually, because the default was sent to that particular setting I came across this article called "The Guard who Found Islam". Naturally this Caucasian Muslim brother with the large inserted hoop earing caught my attention. Apparently the guard Terry Holdbrooks, who was an Army Specialist, now served in the Guantanamo Bay prison and during his stay he spoke to some of the prisoners. Looking back on his life, Terry had two drug-addict parents and was riddled with tattoos all over his body, and at one point he became an alcoholic before he entered into the army around the beginning of the war in Iraq. Later on as a guardsman when there was nothing or little to do in his shifts he sat down across from the prisoners on the floor, seperated by the bars of the cells, and began to talk. Their conversations entertained his curiosity long enough that not only did he develope a sort of relationship with the prisoners, but he began to question the necessity of his job, and even the necessity or at least the complete credibility of the prison and holding these men as prisoners (of which other guardsmen have seemingly shared the same questions as far back as 2002), but he also began to feel some of his own inner questions arising. He began asking them questions about their religion, and even started ordering in books on arabic and about Islam. One fine day, a conversation led to the shahada, the Testimony of Faith. He slid over a pen and a piece of paper to one of the prisoners he had become accustomed to talking with, Ahmed Errachidi (*who was released in 2007*), and who shared a mutual respect, and asked him to write down what it meant in english as well as the arabic transliteration. He spoke the words and he converted to Islam. May Allah guide him away from his troubled past and give his heart and mind peace in his findings.

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