Freedom [Fictional Interview with Dadmehr, a man accused of having terrorist connections]
Q: What makes someone feel alive?
A: I think it’s feeling the weight of the world drift as you’re in the moment, like a bird among the different seasons, able to be free and far from judgment.
Q: Do you think you were abused or mistreated by the people who gave you shelter and instruction on your Faith?
A: I don’t know if they were aware of it, but the passion they held for teaching the Koran did muddle with the hurtful comments and ways they used to pick people up-students [pause] even the good ones, and throw them across the room at times. These were small children. I think they weren’t knowledgeable about the fact I heard them laughing and playing cards on breaks with each other. I even smelled alcohol on one of the nights, seeping into the air, it clung to one of the teacher’s robes as he walked past our sleeping area, and lurched like a ghost. I heard him being yelled at by one of the other instructors that night, but he didn’t receive any punishment for it that I could see. Now, if that was one of us that got drunk, we would have been caned, and we were half the man’s size at the time. I guarantee it, or beaten even worse.
Q: What do you think your instructors were trying to accomplish with their students?
A: I think by their methods, world domination. If we were taught peacefully and lovingly, it would most likely be strong faith in Allah.
Q: Do you want to take over the world or have plans to punish people who don’t believe exactly as you do?
A: I think if someone threatens my faith, I will be vigilant. I also believe that smoting is real. Archangels are the ones to carry this out. Not me. Also, the old testament is a good example of how events in the world were chaotic from the beginning, especially ever since humans arrived. If it wasn’t for the first sin, we may have not ever come to this point of interpreting what Allah meant by “misbeliever.” In my opinion, we need to be humble, meaning all people of all faiths. We need to embrace love, not hate. Either way you put it or think of it, killing is an expression of disgust for a living form, or squashing potential for disease. Humans don’t have the right to kill other humans, except maybe in self-defense, which I think is what Muhammad ultimately meant. We are too closely aligned to Allah’s image. It is disrespectful to think that we are so extremely divided that we need to carry out random acts of Allah’s wrath.
Misbelievers are present, but extremists need to take a long look in the mirror to see if they are misinterpreting Allah’s Law. I separated myself a little from my teachers because of a gut feeling. I just didn’t think it was right. People need to listen to that or because that could be Allah talking directly to the person.
The “suicide bombers” I’m connected to were abused like me. I’m sure of it. Yeah, a few were like brothers to me at one point, but now they’re dead. I just feel…empty when I reflect on my memories with them. I feel like grieving isn’t an option, at least that’s what I was taught. This must be wrong. But, being a man, I want to decide not to hurt, reason my way out of it at times.
I don’t think Allah wants this for me. They may not have said so, but they needed acceptance and love by other humans more of the time. Not being treated well makes one more likely to not be kind nor peaceful, like always looking over your shoulder. Thus, the defensiveness of faith much easier to come by, which the instructors knew. To believe in something greater than yourself is a gift, to exert that faith for the betterment of human kind is divine. There’s great power in love and forgiveness as Jesus taught, vigilance in faith as Muhammad professed, and Truth is Allah, a part of everyone no matter what. I’m being honest with these words, not blindly following the lightning. I love Allah. I’m not a Muslim extremist. I’m Muslim, but choose not to kill humans unless in self-defense. Does that make me a Misbeliever? I don’t think so. I know I’m not the only one who thinks this way. I feel it, to the depths of my soul, something Allah gave me.