The verdict imposed on Omar Khadr demonstrates to the world how corrupt the liberal-democratic system is. After 8 years of torture, do they really expect anyone to believe that Khadr pleaded guilty of his own accord? Omar Khadr is just another victim of the Capitalist system that victimizes not just Muslims, but also its own citizens. Only the Khilafah can offer a just system for all of humanity as it is based on the revelation from the Creator.
As reported in the Toronto Star, by pleading “guilty to throwing a grenade when he was 15 that fatally wounded Sgt. First Class Christopher Speer, [Omar] Khadr is convicted of attempted murder, spying, conspiracy and providing material support to terrorism”. Soon after his plea, the military jury handed out a sentence of 40 years – 15 years more than the sentence recommended by the prosecution. However, due to a plea deal between Omar Khadr and the prosecution he will serve 8 years; one year in the US and the remaining years in Canada.
How can you charge a soldier with murder?
The first issue is to question the murder charge itself. From a common sense perspective, to hand out a murder charge on the battlefield is like handing out a speeding ticket at a car race. The murder charge opens up the issue of not just Omar Khadr but all the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay: Why are they not afforded “prisoner of war” (POW) status? POWs are not subject to torture, murder charges; etc as it is recognized the actions they took were in the context of war.
In the global scene, the US has attracted the harsh criticism for its treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo, Bagram (in Afghanistan), and Abu Ghraib (in Iraq). Also, President Barack Obama has received heavy criticism for backing away from his original promise to close the prison within 1 year of office. US officials have defended the violation of rights of the detainees by arguing that they are “illegal combatants” and, therefore, not entitled to the protections afforded by the Geneva Convention.
Case of ‘double standards’ or a deeper problem?
One may criticize the treatment of Khadr and the other inmates at Guantanamo as an issue of “double standards”: one standard for Muslims and another standard for everyone else. However, double standards are not the key problem. The root of the problem is the fundamental idea that liberal-democracy is based upon: that man is free to do what he wants and the Creator is not allowed to interfere in his affairs. As a result, when a democratic country tackles the issue of the Geneva Convention, or any other law, it can always argue that the people who wrote the law were unaware of the current circumstances and therefore the law does not apply to their particular situation. The result is that the law lacks any sense of permanence and is always subject to change. From the liberal-democratic perspective, if men are all equal, then the law can be changed by anyone.
Irregularities in the evidence against Khadr
Despite the obvious absurdity of the murder charge itself, the US government accidentally released a secret five page document, which casts doubt as to whether Khadr actually threw the grenade that killed Speers. As reported in the Toronto Star, the document revealed the following:
• No one saw Omar Khadr actually throw the grenade; the American operative claimed it was Khadr based on his own assessment of the situation
• For years, it was maintained as absolute fact that Khadr threw the grenade because he was the only one alive on the battlefield. However, the secret report revealed that another fighter was found alive during the firefight – thus opening up the possibility that this fighter could have thrown the grenade instead of Khadr.
• Khadr’s back was facing Speers when he was shot. How could he throw the grenade if he was facing the wrong way?
Guilty Verdict: A true piece of theatre
The guilty verdict held by the prosecution as proof of his guilt was truly a piece of theatre. Guantanamo’s Chief Prosecutor John Murphy stated, “He’s convicted on his own words.” Do they really expect any individual to believe that, after years of torture, Omar Khadr pleaded guilty out of his own freewill?
For years Khadr maintained he would never plead guilty. Furthermore, Dennis Edney (Khadr’s Canadian lawyer), “believes Khadr is innocent and had no choice in the case”. To this point, Khadr had a decision to make: either take the plea deal and serve another 8 years, seven of them potentially in Canada or die in a US prison as an old man! May Allah (swt) have mercy on him and any Muslim who has to face such tremendous fitnah!
The guilty plea was coerced out of Khadr to cover up the years of inhumane treatment meted by the American government to a teenager. The full ordeal faced by Omar is only known to Allah (swt), but we know the following:
• After capture, he was subject to interrogation – while on his stretcher. As per Khadr’s own affidavit, he was in so much pain from his wounds that he could not stand and yet he was interrogated. The interrogations were rough to the point that on one occasion the interrogators grabbed and pulled him off the stretcher, thereby injuring his knee.
• Khadr complained to Canadian officials about his medical treatment: the wounds he sustained in the firefight, in his eye and shoulder, were infected. Blood seeped out of his wounds simply by dabbing his shirt.
• He was subject to sleep deprivation torture and constant moving from one cell block to another. Every three hours he would be moved to have a set of new cell mates and be deprived of consistent sleep.
• An article in Commondreams.org noted the following was done to Khadr: “Khadr stated that he was short-shackled in painful positions and left for up to ten hours in a freezing cold cell, threatened with rape and with being transferred to another country where he could be raped, and, on one particular occasion, when he had been left short-shackled in a painful position until he urinated on himself: “Military police poured pine oil on the floor and on me, and then, with me lying on my stomach and my hands and feet cuffed together behind me, the military police dragged me back and forth through the mixture of urine and pine oil on the floor. Later, I was put back in my cell, without being allowed a shower or a change of clothes. I was not given a change of clothes for two days. They did this to me again a few weeks later.””
Based on this treatment, is it a shock to anyone that he would plead guilty to get out of this nightmare? To this point, Omar Khadr stated in his 2008 affidavit that “During this interrogation, the more questions and the more I gave him the answers he wanted, the less [WORDS CENSORED] on me. I figured out right away that I would simply tell them whatever I thought they wanted to hear in order to keep them from causing me [WORDS CENSORED].”
Do not expect justice or compassion from democracy
The abuse, torture, and oppression of Omar Khadr illustrate how the liberal-democratic system is beyond redemption. A state that can boldly claim that a person subject to continuous inhumane treatment for 8 years is guilty by his own words is a state that has lost any credibility. What happened to Omar Khadr illustrates the sheer hatred and malice that the system holds for human beings, especially Muslims. No one, especially Muslims, should expect justice, compassion or mercy to come from this system.
This is only one example of the systematic terror that liberal-democracy metes out to Muslims. As if the bombardment and slaughter of Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine was not cruel enough, the CIA actually bombed and killed flood victims in Pakistan! MSNBC reported on Aug 23/10: “After a little-noticed, weeks-long disruption caused by the monsoons that devastated Pakistan, the CIA in recent days has picked up the pace of its missile strikes against Islamic militants, with back-to-back attacks against terror targets that have reportedly killed 26 people, including 7 civilians, in the country’s northwest region.”
Beyond the obvious brutality towards Muslims, we must also be certain that the liberal-democratic system has no compassion for its own citizens either. In 2009 alone, 2.8 million people in the US received foreclosure notices. To put this number in better perspective, on an average day in 2009, 7,500+ families became homeless! As this was taking place, billions of dollars were poured into the banks to bail them out, while almost nothing was done to help the average American family. If the system can be so ruthless to its own citizens, what better can Muslims possibly expect from it?
Islam: A beacon of light for Muslims and non-Muslims
The only solution for Muslims is to work to re-establish the Khilafah Rashida in the Muslim lands according to the method of RasulAllah (saw). Although some see the Khilafah as a distant and unachievable solution, the reality is that without the Khilafah we have no security, no home, and no authority to turn to in this world in the face of tyranny and oppression – a fact that Omar Khadr is well aware of.
As it is narrated, the Prophet (saw) said:
“Indeed, the Imam is a shield, behind whom the Muslims fight and protect themselves.” [Muslim]
Also, the Khilafah is a shelter for anyone who seeks the protection of the Khilafah State. For the millions of people who are made homeless by the Capitalist system; who, other than the Islamic authority, can they turn to? Their own system has abandoned them. The Shariah goes so far as to even offer rights to prisoners of war (POWs) who are captured and held by the State. The Khilafah State does not have the right to indefinitely detain the POWs or torture them. More importantly, no one can change the law – because it is from Allah (swt). The prisoners are given the ability to free themselves by providing some type of benefit to the state. Alternatively, arrangements can be made with the state that sent them (e.g. exchange of prisoners, etc). For example, after the battle of Badr, the POWs were free to go if they taught 10 individuals how to write. Also, if the POWs were to choose Islam out of their own free will, then they would be freed. This is based on the following ayat:
فَإِذا لَقِيتُمُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فَضَرْبَ الرِّقَابِ حَتَّى إِذَا أَثْخَنْتُمُوهُمْ فَشُدُّوا الْوَثَاقَ فَإِمَّا مَنًّا بَعْدُ وَإِمَّا فِدَاءً حَتَّى تَضَعَ الْحَرْبُ أَوْزَارَهَا
“When you have overcome them, then make (them) prisoners, and afterwards either set them free as a favour or let them ransom (themselves) until the war terminates.” [TMQ 47:4]
Allah (swt) has obligated the army of the Islamic State to treat captured prisoners with care. Allah (swt) revealed:
وَيُطْعِمُونَ الطَّعَامَ عَلَى حُبِّهِ مِسْكِينًا وَيَتِيمًا وَأَسِيرًا (8) إِنَّمَا نُطْعِمُكُمْ لِوَجْهِ اللَّهِ لَا نُرِيدُ مِنْكُمْ جَزَاءً وَلَا شُكُورًا (9) إِنَّا نَخَافُ مِنْ رَبِّنَا يَوْمًا عَبُوسًا قَمْطَرِيرًا
“And they give food out of love for Him to the poor and the orphan and the captive: We only feed you for Allah's sake; we desire from you neither reward nor thanks: Surely we fear from our Lord a stern, distressful day.” [TMQ 76:8-10]
As a result, when the army gives food to the captives they are not supposed to even expect gratitude from the POWs. An example of this can be seen after the great battle of Badr, when the prisoners of war from Quraysh were brought to the Messenger of Allah (saw) who assigned them to the custody of individual Muslims. The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “Treat them well.” Amongst the prisoners was Abu ‘Aziz ibn ‘Umayr, the brother of Mus’ab ibn ‘Umayr (ra). Abu ‘Aziz narrates what happened: “I was among a group of Ansaar…Whenever they had lunch or dinner they would give me bread and dates to eat in obedience to the Messenger of Allah’s (saw) instruction to them to treat us well.”
May Allah (swt) bring back the shield of this Ummah and the beacon of hope for humanity.
أَلَيْسَ اللَّهُ بِأَحْكَمِ الْحَاكِمِينَ
"Is not Allah the Best of judges?" [TMQ 95:8]