Militant Islam Monitor > Satire > Jihad for Dummies:Is Farris Hassan's Iraq trip a copycat of 3 young NL Muslims who spun failed martyrdom bid as 'shopping trip' in Baku?
Jihad for Dummies:Is Farris Hassan's Iraq trip a copycat of 3 young NL Muslims who spun failed martyrdom bid as 'shopping trip' in Baku?
Internet forum posters discuss 'terrorist' trip and advise US law enforcement to watch Hassan
So a foreign teemager travels to anonther foreign country (the home of
"Going to Iraq will broaden my mind. We kids at Pine Crest live such
"If I know what is needed and what is right, but do not act on my moral
Now what was that about a dip shit again ?
>>Florida teen skips school, sneaks to Iraq
> Sheesh, this Farris Hassan is either one mud-dumb naive 16 year old, or
> Anybody else see/read this story on CNN/CNN.com ?
> This guy even looks like a terrorist. Give him a fully automatic weapon
> What a dip shit.
> I hope the CIA and FBI and other intelligence agencies keep a close eye on
Ramazan Keskin went "shopping in Baku"
Three Muslim youths from the Hague are back since Friday from Azerbajdzjan. Was it a failed Jihad trip to Chechnya?
'No we were on vacation'. 'The shops in Baku are just like those in The Hague'.
By our editor Wubby Luyendijk
Translated by Beila Rabinowitz director of Militant Islam Monitor
The prodigal son opens the door himself. Ramazan Keskin is his name, he is living once again at his parents in the Schilderswijk in The Hague. He came back Friday from Baku in Azerbajdzjan. His father feared that he was recruited together with two other Muslim youths to fight for Islam. But Ramazan Keskin, curious eyes under dark curly hair, says that it wasn't like that. He was "just on vacation with friends in Azerbajdzjan". On vacation in Azerbajdzjan? Yes, says Ramazan Keskin, as he sits next to his father on the sofa in the living room. And he lowers his eyes. "A friend of mine comes from there. He told us about beautiful mountains, rivers, the Caucausus and the Caspian Sea. And we went there when we were tired of Turkey and Trabzon which lies in Northeast Turkey on the Black Sea but it was "cold and boring". Why didn't he tell his parents that he was going on vacation? Ramazan Keskin glances up at his father. "He would never have given me permission". And if you go on vacation why would you leave your cellphone at home? "Because we didn't want to be found".
The trio wasn't found for four weeks and left for Turkey on November 17th with passports and cash, without a cellphone. They knew each other from the market in the Schilderswijk. Ramazan Keskin (21) worked by the fish stall. Said el Massoudi (18) stood by the textile stall further up. And the 18 year old Driss who had been with Ramazan together in elementary school, sold potatoes. Through a man in the neighborhood who was known as 'Ibrahim the Turk" they had become practicing Muslims three months before. During Ramadan the man had invited them to eat at his house. There he told them that all three of them could be good Muslims. But then they shouldn't steal, gamble, or use drugs.And then they had to pray five times a day at the neighborhood mosque or at Ibrahim's home. The parents of Ramadan and Said did not trust the 17th of November. Why did one not show up at work and the other not appear in school? The father of Said el Massoudi, asked himself why his son had reacted so strangely to the televison news a day prior to his departure?And why had Ramazan Keskin started talking about Chechyna with his mother a month before his he left? They visited travel agencies.There they discovered that the three youths had booked tickets to Istanbul, Turkey.With the help of the Al Soennah mosque on the Fruitweg in The Hague they found out that Ibrahim the Turk had been jailed in 2003 and 2004 for nine months. He was suspected of terrorist activities but had been aquitted due to lack of evidence.
On November 23, three weeks after the dissapearence, the parents filed a missing persons report with the police. At the same time Ibrahim the Turk was denied entrance into the Al Sunnah mosque on the Fruitweg in The Hague. Ramazan's brother told all the visitors that they had to look out for Ibrahim. He recruited youth for the armed struggle in Iraq and Chechyna against Westerners and Russians.
Back in Holland Ramazan Keskin wont listen to a bad word about Ibrahim the Turk. He is a Koran teacher, says the youth, he has "nothing at all" to do with the trip to Azerbajzan. Ibrahim has kept him on the straight path. "Violence is bad," he said. And no, they didn't go to Caucaus republic of Azerbajzan to travel to neighboring Chechnya. "We were just naive holiday makers". But does a good Muslim go on vacation without informing his relatives? "That was wrong" he admits. But the first days "were very nice" he admits. They travelled around for about two and a half weeks. The shops in Baku "were just like those in The Hague".And Ramazan Keskin could make himself understood in Turkish. But when he and his friends wanted to buy a return ticket to Istanbul because their ticket to Amsterdam from Istanbul was going to expire, they were arrested. Ramazan's visa was still valid, but the visas of Driss and Said had expired. " And then they put us all in separate cells for questioning ". That was hard, relates Ramazan. They beat him on his knees and on his ribs. He was also thrown against a wall.
In any case he was very happy when he came to stand face to face in Baku with Dutch police from The Hague district. They also had to tell their story to them. And the agents finally brought the youth home on Friday. Safely at home, because Holland is not corrupt. "Tommorrow I begin a new life." Five days a week to vocational school, in business and commerce. Ramazan Keskin stands up. It is 10 over four. If he hurries he can still be on time for the fourth prayer in the Al Sunnah mosque. His father remains seated, his mother pours tea. "Without children you are nothing", says Mr. Keskin and he takes his baseball cap from his head which bears the words "Fifty percent off". "Fortunately my four children are still alive". "Our tree is still standing, steady and strong". His wife glows. "First it was "crying, crying, crying, she says in Turkish. "Now it is just laughing, laughing, laughing." And that they do, even if they ask out loud if their son had made a failed Jihad trip."I'll never know that", says Mr. Keskin. The most important thing is that now Ramazan is safe at home." Then he rolls up his sleeves, takes off his slippers and socks and begins to wash. Time to pray. At the Al Sunnah mosque the trustees think about it in the same way. Spokesman Abdul Hamid is "very happy" that the boys are back. One of them, Ramazan has already visited the mosque again. But Hamid does not discount the possibility that the three boys were the victims of recruiting practices. Recruiters are walking around here. They are on the lookout for young, angry brothers who are looking for their identity and their beliefs. They are unstable believers, like a walking time bomb. Our fear is who will be next?
'Ramazan Keskin ging winkelen in Baku'
Gevonden werd het trio niet, vier weken lang. De jongens vertrokken naar Istanbul op donderdag 17 november, met paspoort en contant geld, zonder mobiele telefoon. Ze kenden elkaar van de markt in de Haagse Schilderswijk. Ramazan Keskin (21) werkte bij de viskraam. SaÔd el Massaoudi (18) stond bij de stoffen, een kraam verderop. En de achttienjarige Driss die op dezelfde basisschool had gezeten als Ramazan Keskin, verkocht er aardappelen. Via een man die in de buurt bekend staat onder de naam 'Ibrahim de Turk' waren ze sinds drie maanden belijdend moslim geworden. Ibrahim had het trio tijdens de ramadan uitgenodigd te komen eten bij hem thuis. Daar had hij verteld dat zij drieŽn ook goede moslims konden zijn. Maar dan mochten ze niet stelen, niet gokken en geen drugs gebruiken. En dan moesten ze vijf keer per dag bidden in een moskee in de buurt of bij Ibrahim thuis.
De ouders van Ramazan en SaÔd vertrouwden het die zeventiende november niet. Waarom was de ťťn niet op zijn werk verschenen en de ander niet op school geweest? Waarom hadden de jongens geen boodschap achtergelaten? Waarom, vroeg de vader van SaÔd el Massaoudi zich af, deed hun zoon de laatste dag voor zijn vertrek opeens zo raar tijdens het televisienieuws? En waarom was Ramazan Keskin een maand voor zijn vertrek tegen zijn moeder begonnen over TsjetsjeniŽ? Ze gingen Haagse reisbureaus af. Daar kwamen ze erachter dat de jongens met z'n drieŽn vliegtickets hadden geboekt naar Istanbul in Turkije. En een paar dagen later ontdekten ze met hulp van de As-Soennahmoskee aan de Haagse Fruitweg dat dat 'Ibrahim de Turk' onder de naam Murat ÷ in 2002 en 2003 negen maanden had vastgezeten. Hij werd verdacht van terroristische activiteiten maar was vanwege gebrek aan bewijs vrijgesproken. Een week na de verdwijning, op 23 november, deden de ouders van vermissing aangifte bij de politie. En tegelijkertijd werd Ibrahim de Turk de toegang ontzegd tot de As-Soennah moskee aan de Haagse Fruitweg. Ramazans broer vertelde alle bezoekers dat ze uit moesten kijken voor Ibrahim. Hij ronselde jongeren voor de gewapende strijd in Irak en TsjetjeniŽ om te strijden tegen westerlingen en de Russen.
Terug in Nederland wil Ramazan Keskin geen kwaad woord horen over Ibrahim de Turk. Dat is een koranleraar, vertelt de jongen, hij heeft "helemaal niks" met de vakantie naar Azerbajdzjan te maken. Ibrahim heeft hem op het goede pad gehouden. "Geweld is slecht, zei hij." En nee, ze zijn naar de Kaukasus-republiek Azerbajdzjan gegaan om daarna door te reizen naar buurland TsjetsjeniŽ. ,,We waren gewoon naÔeve vakantievierders. " Maar gaat een goede moslim op vakantie zonder dat zijn naasten te vertellen? Dat is fout geweest, erkent hij. Maar het was de eerste dagen "erg leuk" in Azerbajdzjan. Ze hebben er tweeŽnhalve week rondgetrokken. "De winkels in Baku waren net zo als in Den Haag." En Ramazan Keskin kon zich er in het Turks goed verstaanbaar maken.
Maar toen hij en zijn vrienden op vijftien december een ticket terug naar Istanbul wilden kopen omdat een dag later hun retourticket van Amsterdam naar Istanbul verliep, werden ze gearresteerd. Ramazans visum was nog geldig, maar de visa van SaÔd en Driss waren verlopen. Ramazan: "En toen heeft de politie van Azerbajdzjan ons ieder in een eigen cel gezet en verhoord." Dat was zwaar, vertelt Ramazan. Hij werd geslagen, tegen zijn knieŽn en in zijn ribben. Ook werd hij tegen een muur gegooid.
Blij was hij in elk geval toen hij "na een dag of twee" in Baku oog in oog stond met agenten van de politie Haaglanden. Ook aan hen hebben ze hun verhaal moeten vertellen. En uiteindelijk hebben die agenten het trio vrijdag thuis gebracht. Veilig thuis, want Nederland is niet corrupt. "Morgen begin ik een nieuw leven. Ik wil weer vijf dagen in de week naar school , mbo handel en commercie." Ramazan Keskin staat op. Het is tien over vier. Als hij opschiet is hij nog op tijd voor het vierde gebed in de As-Soennahmoskee.
Zijn vader blijft zitten, zijn moeder schenkt thee. Zonder kinderen ben je niks, zegt meneer Keskin, en hij neemt zijn baseball-petje van zijn hoofd: '50% off' staat erop. "Mijn vier kinderen leven gelukkig nog, ook de jongste. Onze boom staat nog, stevig en sterk." Zijn vrouw straalt. "Eerst was het huilen, huilen, huilen", zegt ze in het Turks. "Nu is het alleen maar lachen, lachen, lachen." En dat doen ze maar, ook al vragen ze zich hardop af of hun zoon niet is teruggekeerd van "een mislukte jihadreis". "Dat zal ik nooit weten", zegt meneer Keskin. "Maar wat telt is dat Ramazan nu weer veilig thuis is." Dan stroopt hij zijn mouwen op, doet hij zijn slippers en sokken uit en gaat hij zich wassen. Tijd om te bidden. Bij de As-Soennahmoskee aan de Haagse Fruitweg denkt het bestuur er hetzelfde over. Woordvoerder Abdul Hamid is "erg blij"dat de jongens terug zijn. Een van hen, Ramazan, heeft de moskee alweer bezocht. Maar Hamid sluit niet uit dat de drie jongens "slachtoffer zijn van ronselpraktijken". Er lopen hier ronselaars rond, weet Hamid, de imam waarschuwt er ook elke keer weer voor. "Ze hebben het voorzien op jonge, boze broeders die nog op zoek zijn naar hun identiteit en hun geloof. Dat zijn instabiele gelovigen, een soort tijdbommen. Onze angst is: "Wie is de volgende?"
Three young Dutchmen in Azerbaijan -were they Jihadi tourists?
Why did three young Dutchmen of Turkish and Moroccan origin choose Azerbaijan and Chechnya as their winter holiday destination? Or were they more than just tourists: would-be fighters perhaps? These are just two of the many questions surrounding the disappearance of three young men from The Hague in mid-November and their subsequent re-emergence in Azerbaijan last week.
'Ibrahim the Turk'
In the meantime, two things happened. The Dutch secret service, the AIVD, launched an investigation, the outcome of which is still unknown - the service has declined to comment. Moreover, a retired Dutch military attachť travelled to Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.
In newspaper interviews over the past few days, two of the three repeated that they had just been on holiday. After travelling around in Azerbaijan, they planned to visit Chechnya - again, simply as tourists. They said they didn't know exactly where and for how long they had been detained. When asked by the local press in Azerbaijan, all ministries involved declined to comment.
The Azzouz connection
Samir Azzouz himself, is probably the best-known Dutch 'jihad tourist'- he first became known to the general public in 2003 when he was on his way to fight in Chechnya but was stopped and returned by the authorities in Ukraine.
Is the beard a sign of growing Islamic piety?
FARRIS HASSAN NOT WHAT HE SEEMS?
Wednesday, January 04, 2006 - FreeMarketNews.com
Again the media may have got it wrong. We here at FMNN have received a feedback - anonymous to be sure - calling Mr. Gibeson's story, on Farris Hassan, Seeker of Truth, "probably the most inane thing I've ever heard." To be fair to Mr. Gibeson, we wish to point out that he was commenting on generally available information about Hassan; the commentary was therefore based on the facts being as they were reported. As usual when it comes to Western media, there seems to be more to the story than has been limned.
The feedback begins, "I'm a student [who] attended a class with [Hassan] last year. Amid all this press chaos, no one seems to want to state the negatives about Farris. It's unknown to most people that read the news that Farris is ..." Here the anonymous feedback writer lists a series of accusations about Hassan's socio-political beliefs that we have no way of checking. (Suffice it to say, they would put Hassan into a category in which he looked down on some not like him.) The anonymous writer ends with this interesting factoid: "All anyone seems to want to talk about is the alleged good he was trying to do for his immersion paper ... [But] the immersion paper was due in September, so using going to Iraq for research as an excuse is complete poppycock."
We will conclude with the usual disclaimer necessary in such cases: That the feedback, above, may well be a hoax, perhaps a joke - or a misguided attack on Hassan by a student enemy. In fact, Hassan may be a terrific young man as he seems; the US media, with so many billions to spend on foreign coverage may indeed have gotten it right as it occasionally does. Still, we are intrigued. Anyone with more information is welcome to contact us. Hassan, if you read this, please be aware we do not publish this lightly. However, your tale is top news around the world; and certainly there is no malice involved in our intention to get to the bottom of a fascinating, international story, if there is a bottom. Congratulations on your seeming journalistic instincts. You will probably need to go abroad to get a job.
staff reports - Free-Market News Network
US Teen runs off to Iraq by himself
By JASON STRAZIUSO
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Maybe it was the time the taxi dumped him at the Iraq-Kuwait border, leaving him alone in the middle of the desert. Or when he drew a crowd at a Baghdad food stand after using an Arabic phrase book to order. Or the moment a Kuwaiti cab driver almost punched him in the face when he balked at the $100 fare.
But at some point, Farris Hassan, a 16-year-old from Florida, realized that traveling to Iraq by himself was not the safest thing he could have done with his Christmas vacation.
And he didn't even tell his parents.
Hassan's dangerous adventure winds down with the 101st Airborne delivering the Fort Lauderdale teen to the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, which had been on the lookout for him and promises to see him back to the United States this weekend.
It begins with a high school class on "immersion journalism" and one overly eager _ or naively idealistic _ student who's lucky to be alive after going way beyond what any teacher would ask.
As a junior this year at a Pine Crest School, a prep academy of about 700 students in Fort Lauderdale, Hassan studied writers like John McPhee in the book "The New Journalism," an introduction to immersion journalism _ a writer who lives the life of his subject in order to better understand it.
Diving headfirst into an assignment, Hassan, whose parents were born in Iraq but have lived in the United States for about 35 years, hung out at a local mosque. The teen, who says he has no religious affiliation, added that he even spent an entire night until 6 a.m. talking politics with a group of Muslim men, a level of "immersion" his teacher characterized as dangerous and irresponsible.
The next trimester his class was assigned to choose an international topic and write editorials about it, Hassan said. He chose the Iraq war and decided to practice immersion journalism there, too, though he knows his school in no way endorses his travels.
"I thought I'd go the extra mile for that, or rather, a few thousand miles," he told The Associated Press.
Using money his parents had given him at one point, he bought a $900 plane ticket and took off from school a week before Christmas vacation started, skipping classes and leaving the country on Dec. 11.
His goal: Baghdad. Those privy to his plans: two high school buddies.
Given his heritage, Hassan could almost pass as Iraqi. His father's background helped him secure an entry visa, and native Arabs would see in his face Iraqi features and a familiar skin tone. His wispy beard was meant to help him blend in.
But underneath that Mideast veneer was full-blooded American teen, a born-and-bred Floridian sporting white Nike tennis shoes and trendy jeans. And as soon as the lanky, 6-foot teenager opened his mouth _ he speaks no Arabic _ his true nationality would have betrayed him.
Traveling on his own in a land where insurgents and jihadists have kidnapped more than 400 foreigners, killing at least 39 of them, Hassan walked straight into a death zone. On Monday, his first full day in Iraq, six vehicle bombs exploded in Baghdad, killing five people and wounding more than 40.
The State Department strongly advises U.S. citizens against traveling to Iraq, saying it "remains very dangerous." Forty American citizens have been kidnapped since the war started in March 2003, of which 10 have been killed, a U.S. official said. About 15 remain missing.
"Travel warnings are issued for countries that are considered especially dangerous for Americans, and one of the strongest warnings covers travel to Iraq," said Elizabeth Colton, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
Colton said the embassy's consular section can provide only limited help to Americans in Iraq, though once officials learn of a potentially dangerous situation every effort is made to assist.
Inside the safety of Baghdad's Green Zone, an Embassy official from the Hostage Working Group talked to Hassan about how risky travel is in Iraq.
"This place is incredibly dangerous to individual private American citizens, especially minors, and all of us, especially the military, went to extraordinary lengths to ensure this youth's safety, even if he doesn't acknowledge it or even understand it," a U.S. official who wasn't authorized to speak to the media said on condition of anonymity.
Hassan's extra-mile attitude took him east through eight time zones, from Fort Lauderdale to Kuwait City. His plan was to take a taxi across the border and ultimately to Baghdad _ an unconventional, expensive and utterly dangerous route.
It was in Kuwait City that he first called his parents to tell them of his plans _ and that he was now in the Middle East.
His mother, Shatha Atiya, a psychologist, said she was "shocked and terrified." She had told him she would take him to Iraq, but only after the country stabilizes.
"He thinks he can be an ambassador for democracy around the world. It's admirable but also agony for a parent," Atiya said.
Attempting to get into Iraq, Hassan took a taxi from Kuwait City to the border 55 miles away. He spoke English at the border and was soon surrounded by about 15 men, a scene he wanted no part of. On the drive back to Kuwait City, a taxi driver almost punched him when he balked at the fee.
"In one day I probably spent like $250 on taxis," he said. "And they're so evil too, because they ripped me off, and when I wouldn't pay the ripped-off price they started threatening me. It was bad."
It could have been worse _ the border could have been open.
As luck would have it, the teenager found himself at the Iraq-Kuwait line sometime on Dec. 13, and the border security was extra tight because of Iraq's Dec. 15 parliamentary elections. The timing saved him from a dangerous trip.
"If they'd let me in from Kuwait, I probably would have died," he acknowledged. "That would have been a bad idea."
He again called his father, who told him to come home. But the teen insisted on going to Baghdad. His father advised him to stay with family friends in Beirut, Lebanon, so he flew there, spending 10 days before flying to Baghdad on Christmas.
His ride at Baghdad International Airport, arranged by the family friends in Lebanon, dropped him off at an international hotel where Americans were staying.
He says he only strayed far from that hotel once, in search of food. He walked into a nearby shop and asked for a menu. When no menu appeared, he pulled out his Arabic phrase book, and after fumbling around found the word "menu." The stand didn't have one. Then a worker tried to read some of the English phrases.
"And I'm like, 'Well, I should probably be going.' It was not a safe place. The way they were looking at me kind of freaked me out," he said.
It was mid-afternoon Tuesday, after his second night in Baghdad, that he sought out editors at The Associated Press and announced he was in Iraq to do research and humanitarian work. AP staffers had never seen an unaccompanied teenage American walk into their war zone office. ("I would have been less surprised if little green men had walked in," said editor Patrick Quinn.)
Wearing a blue long-sleeve shirt in addition to his jeans and sneakers, Hassan appeared eager and outgoing but slightly sheepish about his situation.
The AP quickly called the U.S. embassy.
Embassy officials had been on the lookout for Hassan, at the request of his parents, who still weren't sure exactly where he was. One U.S. military officer said he was shocked the teen was still alive. The 101st Airborne lieutenant who picked him up from the hotel said it was the wildest story he'd ever heard.
Hassan accepted being turned over to authorities as the safest thing to do, but seemed to accept the idea more readily over time.
Most of Hassan's wild tale could not be corroborated, but his larger story arc was in line with details provided by friends and family members back home.
Dangerous and dramatic, Hassan's trip has also been educational. He had tea with Kuwaitis under a tent in the middle of a desert. He says he interviewed Christians in south Lebanon. And he said he spoke with U.S. soldiers guarding his Baghdad hotel who told him they are treated better by Sunni Arabs _ the minority population that enjoyed a high standing under Saddam Hussein and are now thought to fuel the insurgency _ than by the majority Shiites.
His father, Redha Hassan, a doctor, said his son is an idealist, principled and moral. Aside from the research he wanted to accomplish, he also wrote in an essay saying he wanted to volunteer in Iraq.
He said he wrote half the essay while in the United States, half in Kuwait, and e-mailed it to his teachers Dec. 15 while in the Kuwait City airport.
"There is a struggle in Iraq between good and evil, between those striving for freedom and liberty and those striving for death and destruction," he wrote.
"Those terrorists are not human but pure evil. For their goals to be thwarted, decent individuals must answer justice's call for help. Unfortunately altruism is always in short supply. Not enough are willing to set aside the material ambitions of this transient world, put morality first, and risk their lives for the cause of humanity. So I will."
"I want to experience during my Christmas the same hardships ordinary Iraqis experience everyday, so that I may better empathize with their distress," he wrote.
Farris Hassan says he thinks a trip to the Middle East is a healthy vacation compared with a trip to Colorado for holiday skiing.
"You go to, like, the worst place in the world and things are terrible," he said. "When you go back home you have such a new appreciation for all the blessing you have there, and I'm just going to be, like, ecstatic for life."
His mother, however, sees things differently.
"I don't think I will ever leave him in the house alone again," she said. "He showed a lack of judgment."
Hassan may not mind, at least for a while. He now understands how dangerous his trip was, that he was only a whisker away from death.
His plans on his return to Florida: "Kiss the ground and hug everyone."
Essay by U.S. Teen Who Went to Iraq
By The Associated Press
Excepts from an essay written recently by Farris Hassan, 16, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who traveled to Iraq without telling his parents:
There is a struggle in Iraq between good and evil, between those striving for freedom and liberty and those striving for death and destruction. You are aware of the heinous acts of the terrorists: Women and children massacred, innocent aid workers decapitated, indiscriminate murder. You are also aware of the heroic aspirations of the Iraqi people: liberty, democracy, security, normality. Those terrorists are not human but pure evil. For their goals to be thwarted, decent individuals must answer justice's call for help ... So I will.
Life is not about money, fame, or power. Life is about combating the forces of evil in the world, promoting justice, helping the misfortunate, and improving the welfare of our fellow man. Progress requires that we commit ourselves to such goals. We are not here on Earth to hedonistically pleasure ourselves, but to serve each other and the creator. What deed is greater than sacrificing one's luxuries for the benefit of those less blessed? ...
I know I can't do much. I know I can't stop all the carnage and save the innocent. But I also know I can't just sit here ...
I feel guilty living in a big house, driving a nice car, and going to a great school. I feel guilty hanging out with friends in a cafe without the fear of a suicide bomber present. I feel guilty enjoying the multitude of blessings, which I did nothing to deserve, while people in Iraq, many of them much better then me, are in terrible anguish. This inexorable guilt I feel transforms into a boundless empathy for the distress of the misfortunate and into a compassionate love for my fellow man ...
Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless the one who gives them.
Going to Iraq will broaden my mind. We kids at Pine Crest (School) live such sheltered lives. I want to experience during my Christmas the same hardships ordinary Iraqis experience everyday, so that I may better empathize with their distress. I also want to immerse myself in their environment in order to better comprehend the social and political elements ...
I plan on doing humanitarian work with the Red Cross. I will give my mind, body, and spirit to helping Iraqis rebuild their lives. Hopefully I will get the chance to build houses, distribute food supplies, and bring a smile or two to some poor children.
I know going to Iraq will be incredibly risky. There are thousands of people there that desperately want my head. There are millions of people there that mildly prefer my demise merely because I am American. Nevertheless, I will go there to love and help my neighbor in distress, if that endangers my life, so be it ...
If I know what is needed and what is right, but do not act on my moral conscience, I would be a hypocrite. I must do what I say decent individuals should do. I want to live my days so that my nights are not full of regrets. Therefore, I must go.
Sheesh, this Farris Hassan is either one mud-dumb naive 16 year old, or
Anybody else see/read this story on CNN/CNN.com ?
This guy even looks like a terrorist. Give him a fully automatic weapon
What a dip shit.
I hope the CIA and FBI and other intelligence agencies keep a close eye on