The Guantánamo Bay detention camp (GTMO), the infamous US military prison in Cuba, is now 20 years old, having opened on the 11th January 2002.
GTMO, put up in the aftermath of 9/11, has become a symbol of US-liberal hypocrisy.
For instance, it has been purposefully put outside the US borders, so that the American legal jurisdiction doesn’t apply to the prisoners. We have to ask, are Americans ashamed of their own laws?
Also, out of the hundreds who were locked up there, the vast majority were detained without charge.
This was the case for Mohamedou Ould Salahi, who was imprisoned for 14 years there (2002-2016), and who, as DW reports, “was tortured for 70 days and interrogated for 18 hours a day for three years.”
His memoirs have been adapted into a critically acclaimed movie in 2021, The Mauritanian.
In fact, as The Guardian reported:
Over the 20 years of its existence, only 12 detainees have been charged, and only two have been convicted by the military commissions.
Out of the 700+ prisoners, “only 12 have been charged.” Meanwhile, the “enlightened” promoters of US-style democracy and rule of law have no shame criticizing the Sharia, whereas just criminal procedures, including fair trial, are respected by even the most “extreme” and “hardcore” Sharia-promoters.
Have you seen “radical Muslims” put someone in jail, torture him on a daily basis for 14 years, and then… just let him go, without reason?
The worst thing is that they don’t close it. Trump signed an executive order to keep it “open indefinitely” (!) while Biden promised to close it, but then asked the Pentagon to open a “new secret courtroom.” Liberal hypocrisy, again.
But, as with every trial and persecution, there are also lessons for the Muslims.
The Leading Atheist Who Couldn’t Resist Like a Muslim
When someone thinks of GTMO, he instinctively thinks of torture, both physical and psychological.
It was so bad that Amnesty International famously called it “the gulag of our time.”
Indeed, some nine detainees have died from the torture.
At least one former detainee, Asim Thabit Abdullah al-Khalaqi, a Yemeni, died months after his release because of the tortures he sustained due to GTMO.
This gives you an idea of how horrific that prison really is.
Yet, hundreds of Muslims have been released from GTMO too, with stronger faith after the horrific experience.
So, it is interesting to contrast how a non-Muslim would have handled all of this.
Well, there’s Christopher Hitchens.
Hitchens was one of the leaders of the so-called “New Atheist” movement. He was a radical atheist who focused most of his godless animosity against Islam. His hate for Islam led him to be an outspoken supporter of the Iraq invasion in 2003.
He was also outspoken in claiming that the reported “advanced interrogation techniques” the invading coalition forces used against Muslims in GTMO and elsewhere — techniques like waterboarding — were not actually torture.
This is waterboarding:
Waterboarding, or “water torture,” is a brutal practice whereby an interrogator straps a prisoner to a board, places a wet rag in his mouth, and by pouring water through the rag induces controlled drowning. It is a paradigmatic torture technique that has long been considered a war crime.
Interestingly, before reviving it in 2003, the US first used waterboarding against the Moros, the Muslims of the Philippines, during the Moro rebellion (1899-1914). Apparently, the US loves experimenting on Muslims!
So, what happened when Hitchens himself “tried” this “non-tortuous” waterboarding in 2008?
Whereas Muslim prisoners went through it dozens of times, and very often many times in a day, Hitchens, the skeptic, didn’t last a few seconds.
He even penned a piece for Vanity Fair afterward, Believe Me, It’s Torture.
Basically, Hitchens, the proud and boastful skeptic, one of the most popular atheist ideologues in the world, changed his beliefs because of this torture of only a few seconds… but we’ve not heard of a single Muslim detainee change his own beliefs when being subjected to a hundred times worse.
Doesn’t that prove that the faith of the Muslim just can’t be compared to that of the postmodern, nihilistic, hedonistic Westerner?
And thus, hasn’t the latter already lost?
It’s because Muslims have roles models such as Yûsuf (‘alayhi as’salam) that they’ll never ever have (even if Hitchens tried!).
We read in Qur’an 12:33-34:
He said, “My Lord, prison is more to my liking than that to which they invite me. And if You do not avert from me their plan, I might incline toward them and [thus] be of the ignorant.”
So his Lord responded to him and averted from him their plan. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Knowing.
Likewise, the Prophet ﷺ said (Sahih Muslim 2956):
The world is a prison-house for a believer and Paradise for a non-believer.