Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine
Safar\Rabi-Ul-Awwal 1424 H
May 2003
Volume 16-05 No : 197
Camps \ Workshops

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War and Peace


Brave Hearts in Baghdad
Free Bird After 13 Years


Brave Hearts in Baghdad

Three of the six human shields that set out for Iraq from Mumbai managed to reach Baghdad during the group's sojourn in the Middle East.

By Mohammed Hanif

A Group Member of Mumbai Team in Baghdad The six human shields that set out for Iraq from Mumbai recently have been deported back to India by the Jordanian government. Only three of them managed to reach Baghdad during the group’s sojourn in the Middle East.

The Mumbai team included religious heads and businessmen. Ages ranged from late 20s to early 40s. They insist that their concern has nothing to do with religion. “We would go to any country plagued by war, be it Christian or Hindu,” said Maulana Mansoor Ali Khan, one of the volunteer.

Members had bought return air tickets to Jordan for Rs 18,000 each. From there, they had gone by road to Baghdad. One volunteer, Maulana Khalil-ur-Rehman Noori, secretary of the All India Ulema Council, said, “To lend a helping hand in times of crisis is bigger than any financial gain we might had made in our employment here.” Mohammed Rafiz Razvi, another volunteer, said, “We would have loved to be martyrs.”

One member of the group said, “Saddam Hussein was not our concern, nor the Muslims in Iraq. We went there because there were humans in distress. According to the academy, 235 others had applied to join them. But only six could go.

One of the volunteers, Sohail Rokadia,and secretary of the Raza Academy a socio- religious organisation based in South Mumbai who organised the trip told Islamic Voice that the Jordanian government had refused to extend their visas. The group also did not get permission to cross the militarised Jordan-Iraq border. The group had reached Jordan on March 30, after failing to get an Iraqi visa and was hoping to enter Iraq from the neighbouring country.

Indians, apart from Indonesians, Greeks and Frenchmen, returned late night on April 5.One of the Indian volunteers from Raza Academy, Khaleel Zahid, said that they had travelled 530 km from the Jordanian border to reach Baghdad.

At Fauloji check post, 30 km from Baghdad, they found the roads to the city blocked by Iraqi troops. The group said villagers guided them to the city through fields and villages.

The group went to the shrine of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani, but were asked to leave by the head of the shrine. The group had taken medicines and toys, which were distributed in Iraqi refugee camps.

The group was the first from India to fly to the Jordanian capital, Amman. “We wanted to show the Iraqi people that they are not alone in this crisis and that we care for them,” said Suhail Rokadia. “ We wanted to support them in a practical way,” said the bearded toy dealer, unfazed by the fierce bombing of Baghdad.

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Free Bird After 13 Years

The fall of Saddam Hussein has opened the doors of freedom for Mohammad Anis Bashir Saboowallah who was sentenced to life imprisonment in an Iraqi jail nearly 13 years ago

By A Staff Writer

Family members of Mohd Anis Bashir The fall of Saddam Hussein has opened the doors of freedom for one Mumbaikar, .Mohammad Anis Bashir Saboowallah (42) who was sentenced to life imprisonment in an Iraqi jail nearly 13 years ago, for allegedly making statements against Saddam following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in August 1990.

The resident of Bawla building, in Dongri, had been living in Kuwait since the mid-80s with his family. He was recently freed from an Iraqi prison after American troops rolled into Baghdad. Anis, was running a perfumery and watch shop in Kuwait when the Iraqi army invaded the country in August 1990. He lost most of his possessions, but managed to send his family back to India.

He stayed behind to complete some business deals when he was arrested by the Iraqi army on charges of spying for Kuwaiti intelligence. It was while defending himself that he was alleged to have made deprecatory remarks about Saddam. Meanwhile, in Mumbai, his family had no idea what had become of him till 1993. Anis’s brother Shoaib said, “I was amazed to hear my brother after such a long time. I am happy that finally I will be able to answer my nephews’ frequent question about when their father will return.” “After the Iraqi invasion and the loss of Anis’s business, his arrest was another surprise for us. Actually, after sending his family back to India, we thought Anis had died in the war, when US forces chased the Iraqi army out of Kuwait. But after three years, in 1993, we received a letter from the Indian embassy in Iraq informing us that he had been arrested,” said Shoaib.

While in jail, Anis wrote letters to his wife Zaibuniza and his children The mail was forwarded by the Indian embassy in Iraq. In return letters from Mumbai, his family gave him their residence and, later, mobile phone numbers, which made it possible for him to call up his brothers after his release.

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News Community Roundup Editorial Readers Comments Men, Mission and Machines War & Peace Community Series Profile Investigation Event Diary Muslim Perspective Commentary Children's Corner Narrative Quran Speaks to You Hadith Our Dialogue Reflection Religion The Month Of Rabi-Ul-Awwal Islamic History Women in Islam Islam and Astronomy Living Islam Miscellany Journey To Islam Matrimonial Jobs Archives Feedback Subscription Links Calendar Contact Us

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