On 11th Anniversary, Inter-Faith Groups Call for Closing of Guantanamo

Community News
On11thAnniversaryInterfaith On Jan 11, 2013, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) joined the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) and other human rights and faith organizations for an Interfaith Prayer Service to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay. This day marked the 11th anniversary of the arrival of the first prisoners at Guantánamo Bay.

It has been four years since President Barack Obama pledged to close the detention facility.  ISNA states that after reports of the atrocities that took place there, it serves as a powerful symbol of U.S.-sponsored torture as long as it remains open.

Witness Against Torture held a week of nonviolent direct actions including Fasting for Justice, a week long fast to raise awareness and vigils in front of the Department of Justice and The CIA buildings. Witness Against Torture was formed in 2005 when 25 Americans went to Guantánamo Bay and attempted to visit the detention facility. They work with various human rights and interfaith organizations to shut down the detention center.

The interfaith prayer service took place in downtown Washington, where religious leaders shared their analysis of the current challenges and opportunities for closing Guantánamo.  Many in attendance also participated in a rally at the U.S. Supreme Court earlier in the day.  At the Supreme Court, Witness Against Torture was joined with Amnesty International (AIUSA), the Center for Constitutional Rights(CCR), the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT), and others

ISNA National Director Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed joined the prayer service to share an Islamic perspective on the issue of torture.  "Our Prophet Muhammad tells us that a woman who, despite whatever piety she may have had, entered the hellfire because she kept a cat confined for so long without food or water that it died.  If we as Muslims must give this much priority to a cat, imagine the extent to which we must prioritize providing basic rights to human beings.  Torture is something which could never be permissible in Islam."

"Guantánamo Bay is a symbol of our nation’s use of torture," stated the National Religious Campaign Against Torture.  "Closing the detention facility at Guantánamo is one of the steps needed to end U.S.-sponsored torture forever.”