Moazzam Begg

  • 1 August 2006

This article is from 2006.

President Bush’s recent announcement that all US military detainees are to be treated in accordance with the Geneva Convention, except for those in CIA custody, came too late for Moazzam Begg. One of nine Britons held without trial or charge at Guantanamo Bay, he received more than 300 interrogations during his incarceration, alleging in his memoir Enemy Combatant, that he was subjected to death threats, torture and witnessed the killing of two detainees. A disquieting read for anyone wondering about the War on Terror waged in our name, it’s also a thoughtful, patient attempt to counter the misconceptions of Islam he perceives in Western society.

Perhaps the most remarkable passages in this account are the conversations he recalls with his guards, some with strong religious or nationalist convictions of their own, others less so, his status as an English-speaker casting him by turns as a valued conduit to other prisoners and a troublemaking threat. In his Charlotte Square engagements, he’ll be discussing what it means to be a politically engaged Muslim and being imprisoned for your beliefs, while he also appears at the Festival of Spirituality and Peace (see page ???), talking about the need to move from inner captivity and hatred to spiritual freedom and respect for others. (Giacomo Ribisi)

15 Aug, noon, £7 (£5); 15 Aug (Amnesty International Imprisoned Writers Series), 5.30pm, free tickets.

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