Imagine, if you can, this scene. It is two in the afternoon. You are on the sofa in your living room. You have just finished your Dhur prayer, imploring your Lord (SWT) for some word, some news about your son. He has blossomed into a man, an educated man, who has just been accepted into graduate school into a prestigious university. He has made you proud, and he has been missing for the last ninety days. You continue with the jihad of finding solace in your ra’kas, your du’a, and resolve to remain patient, to persevere, for you are a servant of The One True and Living God. An army of relatives, friends, neighbors; all have arrived when you were emotionally weary and left you emotionally exhausted. You have consoled your wife, as she has consoled you. There have been sleepless nights. All you seem to repeat in the fields of the mind, in the corner of the soul, and often unknowingly aloud muttering it to yourself is Ya Allah. Perhaps, depending on where you live, you find the Jets, the Yankees, Chelsea playing Arsenal on television as just the distraction and levity needed to ease the ruminating mind and the troubled heart. The phone rings. It is your Government. They inform you where you can retrieve your son’s body and then silence. The Government has hung up. There is a dial tone. When you arrive at the location your son’s lifeless body is provided, though no information is provided, there is a very stern and direct order: you cannot provide your son a funeral. The Government tells you: ‘There will be no mourning service whatsoever or there will be trouble for you and your family!’ The family of Hammam Waleed Ruqiyah had to endure this scene in their nation of Syria.
The Syrian Human Rights Committee report cited on the Muslim Brotherhood English website states:
Informed sources in the Syrian capital, Damascus, have reported that Hammam Waleed Ruqiyah, a student, was arrested from his town, Jayrud, in a rural province in Damascus three months ago. His family did not know his fate or the reason for his detention. However, they were contacted by the security authorities last week (Thursday October 28, 2010) and were asked to come and receive their son's corpse on October 30, 2020. No reason was given for his death, and security officers gave firm and severe warnings that no kind of mourning was to be held for him.
While we admit his reasoning, tactics, and overall worldview is antithetical to our worldview and politics, we must give the Forty-third American President credit for his truth in rhetoric, when he stated in his Second Inaugural Address:
America’s vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one. From the day of our Founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the Maker of Heaven and earth. Across the generations, we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave.
It is inconceivable how the Muslim is willing to die and to kill innocents-a direct violation of the Islamic Rules of Engagement and Warfare-but have no courage when it is incumbent upon them to defy and confront their own Government. Yet, this cannot be said of the People of Syria, for they live under one of the most evil regimes in the Arab World.
The Syrian Human Rights Committee report on the Hama massacre states:
The genocide destroyed whole areas, entire families were exterminated; elderly people, women, girls, children, blind people, and scholars were killed. Places of worship for Muslims and Christians were destroyed, and the death squads were stationed in the hospitals finish of wounded and the injured.
It is estimated the some 40,000 people-Muslims and Christians both-were literally exterminated by their own Government for the crime of protesting on a large-scale in February of 1982. The Syrians have been taught a very bloody lesson on the price of defying the regime. Yet, unless something is done, there will be more fathers and mothers receiving phone calls from their Government on where to retrieve the bodies of their children. As Muslims, we must come to the realization that the People of Syria live under the yoke of true tyranny and truly have been made slaves to their own Government. Nothing will make my mind ruminate or more troubled than what shall be done for my brothers and sisters in Syria.
I have come to the simple realization that whether I like it or not, there is a bond between myself and the members of the Tea Party in my own nation. While their understanding of tyranny is quite sophomoric, even simply idiotic, and their reaction to the current President of the United States of America much more often than not is based purely on a nationwide racial, cultural, existential crisis: we are all Americans and we all hate Tyranny. Nothing causes me to summon the courage that is in my national identity as an African/Scotch-Irish Virginia transplant from New Jersey more than tyranny, coupled with the Immutable, Objective Truth that The Lord of All the Worlds, The One True and Living God Hates Tyranny. I can think nothing more oppressive- no greater example of tyranny-than the phone call the mother and father of Hammam Waleed Ruqiyah received on October 28, 2010. They are my aunt and uncle, as their son was my brother, and like any good Southerner: you mess with my family, you mess with me.