Eleven years ago today, Tuesday 17 May 2005, I was at Bow Street Magistrates Court in London, UK, to hear whether I should be extradited to the United States in the first stage of my extradition proceedings. My family and friends were in the courtoom and about 250 demonstrators had gathered outside the court in the hope that I might be freed and walk out into the crowd. As it turned out, the judge ruled against me and I spent the next ten years in prison.
Although I was disappointed with this verdict at the time, I now realise the wisdom behind Allah’s decision. I had to go to the US for one of the most senior judges in America to rule that whatever I did, I was not a terrorist. Had I been released eleven years ago today, I would have had that question mark hanging over me for the rest of my life.
After a period of operation of 266 years, Bow Street Magistrates Court shut down permanently in 2006. A few months after my release in 2015, I was walking around Covent Garden when I stumbled upon the court building, the first time I had been there as a free man. I spent a few minutes reflecting on the last time I was at this place. In doing so, I created a new memory that wiped out the old memory.
Sometimes we wish one thing, but Allah chooses something else for us. The thing that He chooses for us is always better for us.
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