Letters to the Editor [Archives:2001/18/Letters to the Editor]

April 30 2001

Dear Editor,
There are two issues that have been upsetting me for three years. I was a British Citizen living and working in Yemen from 1995 to 1998 with my children. During our stay in Yemen, my son used to attend Masjidul Khi in Sana’a on a regular basis. One Friday after the prayer in the summer of 1998 a bomb was planted and set off by (Allah knows who). My son was seriously injured in that bomb blast. He was hit by a piece of metal from the blast, which went into the back of his foot and had to be removed without anesthesia. As they said “we do not know if this metal was poisoned”.
The majority of people hurt in the blast were British and American Muslim children. What is the message Yemen is sending to the Muslim world?
There was no real media coverage, no international coverage, no visits from officials, but just plain old nothing as though we are nothing because we are Muslims. I returned to London, horrified at what had happened to my son. No apology on the National Television, nothing!
Yet when Muslims bomb a Church, Yemeni representatives are all over our television screens in London apologizing for this. Within hours the people responsible for the act are caught. This is wrong.
How in the history of Islam did the ‘kuffar’ (disbelievers in Islam) get a higher ranking over Muslims? I am in no way suggesting or implying that the bombing act in Aden was right or good. No, not for one minute, but where is the justice? Both crimes are equal as in that they were bombings.
You don’t have to denounce the act in words, but you could have shown it in action.
Where was the Yemen Times? I never saw them, or heard them inquiring about the children who were seriously hurt. I wonder if they were children of ‘kuffar’, would the newspaper be interested?
We immigrated to Yemen, (many families) because we want to follow the Sunnah of the Prophet Mohammed (peace and blessings be on him). We don’t want to live in the countries of ‘kuffar’ where we were born, but where we are not able to practice Islam properly nor to learn Quran and Arabic in its entirety. This is our right as Muslims who enter into the religion of Islam. Now most of us have gone back to our countries of origin. For example I have returned to London, and my son has now recovered from his trauma of the bomb attack and his foot has healed leaving a scar to remind him of his experience.
The second issue is that many of us, including myself, put so much into the country while we were there. I was an English teacher, and I worked hard with the school system, very hard. This is the thanks we get. Unless Yemen realizes what they are doing, I feel sorry for the next generation. They actually need people like us in the country. They are hurting themselves when they treat us the way they do, because we are forced to leave a place that so badly needs us.
Women who are educated, Muslim and British/American, young and old who be positive role models for the future Yemeni generation of girls. Who will not be influenced by images of successful women? The British Muslim women will learn through observation that you can be anything they want to be without compromising your Islamic values, morals and culture. For example, the older girls would always come up to me and talk with me at school, about there ambitions and stuff. They would always want to be around me. I was more than their teacher.
Many of them asked me to even pierce their noses, because they liked mine. This is just an example of the simple things. I would talk to them about Sahabiah, and how they were among some of the cleverest people, but their Islam was perfect. Instead, Yemen drove out British Muslim teachers away from Yemen, while countries like Saudia and UAE are just waiting to grab them. They spend one year at the most in Yemen and these other Arab countries love to have us, employ us and treat us nicely. They show us a lot of respect. May Yemen learn from their neighboring Arab brothers.
It’s a shame because Yemen is a beautiful country. I, like many others left our families behind to live there. But from the time we touched the airport in Sana’a, we are treated very badly until we leave.
The non-Muslim teachers from the same country as us are treated in a discriminatory manner. One teacher was allowed to bring back four computers from Dubai when he went there on summer holiday, but I and many others coming from London were given so much trouble to bring in even one. The only obvious sign we could see for this was that he was a white American ‘kuffar’ and we were Black British Muslims.
Your fellow Arab countries are flourishing because they have this wealth of British Muslim teachers. Dubai even allows British teachers to buy property there. They know that if a teacher is happy and buys a house then he/she will stay in that country. Therefore the government is assured for many years that they have good staff in their country run the educational system.

Kym Nugent (Khadija)
The United Kingdom