Moazzam Begg – Guantanamo Bay Survivor
Moazzam Begg is a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner who was featured in the BBC documentary “THE CONFESSION:LIVING THE WAR ON TERROR”
The US authorities held him as an enemy combatant and claimed he was an al-Qaeda member, yet he has never been convicted of any crime.
Today Moazzam is an advocate for the rights of those unjustly held at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere.
He serves as the Director of Outreach for CAGE, a London-based advocacy organisation which aims to empower communities impacted by the ‘War on Terror’.
02:45 Brian’s thoughts on the episode.
04:56 Brian’s introduction.
05:28 Impact of Ice-T on Moazzam’s journey in defining his identity.
07:38 How Moazzam could relate to the views of Malcolm X in his autobiography.
10:02 Meeting Mohammed Ali.
11:45 Internal conflict for American soldiers at detention centres.
14:35 Relationships built with his captors continue today.
19:02 The changes in living in multicultural Birmingham, England of today from when he was growing up there.
25:27 Moazzam’s reasoning for his interest and subsequent involvement in the Bosnian and Gulf wars.
27:56 America probably wouldn’t let Moazzam in “even if it wanted to”.
30:16 Anger at stories of atrocities to Muslim population in Bosnia propel him into action.
36:47 Learning of different forms of Islam and scriptural teaching across the Islamic world included Jihad.
40:09 Extremists and the rise of ISIS.
48:42 UK security services visit his house and bookshop.
50:53 Moazzam defines what Jihad means to him.
54:02 Why Moazzam moved with his wife and young family to Afghanistan where he observed the Taliban.
59:47 The history of abducting young boys for sex slaves.
1:02:49 What the day of 9/11 was like for Moazzam, its consequences and family escape to Pakistan.
1:09:42 He questions whether his decisions were naïve or he was culpable for what happened to him next.
1:11:09 What happened to him in Pakistan on the night of 31 January 2002.
1:14:24 The interrogation process caused him to question his British Citizenship.
1:18:31 The torture begins during transfer to Kandahar, Afghanistan.
1:26:53 He blames the British Government for his imprisonment.
1:31:10 Transfer to Camp Bagram where he witnessed prisoners beaten and kicked to death.
1:33:22 Why he finally decided to sign a confession and why he felt relief at being sent to Guantanamo Bay.
1:37:34 Arriving at Guantanamo Bay.
1:40:23 Experience of being in Guantanamo.
1:44:33 How this experience was testing Moazzam’s faith and the key to keeping his sanity.
1:47:28 Wondering if he would ever be released and where hope came from.
1:48:54 The day of his release and a surreal arrival at RAF Northolt.
1:55:09 Moazzam arrived home with a plan to fight.
1:56:29 The purpose of Cage for which he is Outreach Director.
1:57:45 How his treatment in Guantanamo has changed him.
2:00:20 Final settlement with the British Government but no admittance they were complicit in torture.
2:05:19 Going to Syria in 2012 results in arrest and imprisonment.
2:11:17 Why he was angry at his imprisonment and sad about Alan Henning’s killing.
2:15:54 Governments negotiate with terrorists.
2:17:17 Moazzam’s view of situation in Syria today and of attacks in Britain and France.
2:20:35 What he thinks might be the way forward.
2:22:23 The British media is out of control with the lies, hatred and misconceptions it spreads about Muslims.
2:26:05 What he says to those fellow Muslims he meets who are extremists.
2:26:55 The case against torture.
2:28:09 What he thinks of Donald Trump and his statement that he will bring back torture.
2:31:39 The future of Guantanamo Bay.
2:35:38 What he was terrified of during his time in Guantanamo Bay.
2:35:56 Moazzam’s thoughts on human rights, prisoner rights and the Geneva Convention.
2:37:39 What schedule 7 is, its affect and how Cage is fighting against it.
2:40:53 What will Britain look like in twenty years if Cage succeeds.
2:42:10 Is he afraid of being imprisoned again?
2:43:00 How he would want to be remembered.
2:43:37 What his friends would say is his super power.
2:44:19 The verse from the Koran which helps him remain stoic.
2:45:17 The best and worst days of his life.
2:45:45 How he feels about speaking of Guantanamo Bay having left it.
2:46:39 Why he thinks his story is not more in the public conscience and why they don’t fight injustice.
2:48:59 What we would be surprised to know about Moazzam.
2:49:58 What scares him.
2:50:40 What keeps him awake at night.
2:51:16 Advice to the twenty-year old Moazzam.
2:51:56 Best advice he ever received.
2:53:39 Advice to young people listening who could make a change to prevent a repetition of recent events.
2:54:35 Brian’s summing up.
Moazzam Begg links:
Moazzam Begg on Facebook
Moazzam Begg on Wikipedia
Moazzam Begg Books:
Debi Cornwall – Welcome to Camp America
Guantanamo Bay detention camp
The Confession (documentary film)
Nation of Islam
Native Americans in the United States
The Warriors (film)
Beat It by Michael Jackson
History of the British Raj
American Civil War
Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS (documentary film)
The Kite Runner (book)
Taxi to the Dark Side (film)
Job (Biblical figure)
CONTEST (prevent programme)
People mentioned in this episode:
James Foley (journalist)
Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi
Presidency of George W Bush
Presidency of Barack Obama
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed
Martin Luther King Jr