Extraditions of Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan: Our Failure
After years of detainment without trial, petitions that have been ignored by Parliament and countless campaigns to raise awareness, crowds gathered one more time outside the Royal Courts of Justice, in support of Babar Ahmad, Talha Ahsan, Abdul Bary and Khaled al-Fawwaz. I was present today and with the people I talked to, there was acknowledgment that after this build up, it was unlikely that the decision to extradite these men would be overturned in one day, but it was a mark of human nature that there still remained hope.
This hope kept the crowd going after we heard that the verdict's announcement would be delayed from midday to later in the afternoon. This gave time me time to engage with some of the public there, as well as with the various groups that had united in this cause for justice.
Discussions were lively and insightful, exposing even more facts that the authorities would prefer to remain hidden, such as the statement of a UN special rapporteur,which explained that the U.S.'s use of Supermax solitary confinement cells constituted psychological torture. Speakers also took turns with the megaphone to address the crowd, pointing out that whatever the verdict, this fight for justice must not end here.
And it was this attitude, to continue the fight, that continued to build in the crowd, until the verdict was finally released. When word came out that the extradition was to go ahead, tears were shed and chants were yelled with passion, but nobody in the crowd was disheartened; yet another mark of human nature.
Because it does not matter if Sir Thomas and Mr Ousley said there was no appealing their decision; an injustice has been done, and all people of conscience, particularly Muslims, must make a stand against injustice:
"O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is acquainted with what you do." - Surah Ma'eda, ayah 8.
It is clear that the gauntlet has been thrown, not just with today's ruling, but with the clear intent to continue in such a manner: the BBC's legal correspondent, Clive Coleman has said that judges are calling for judicial reviews into speeding up this process in future, all but spelling out that this was not the end and there is more to come.
It is also clear that we Muslims of Britain have failed these men and ourselves. Whatever it is we were doing for these men, it obviously was not enough to overturn this political decision. Justice was not done.
Our duty to uphold justice, your duty and mine, must take a new turn now.