// Visiting Detention Center
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Nature
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« on: Feb 25, 2013 07:21 PM »


 salam

Soon, for school, I will be spending a week with a group of other students visiting a youth detention facility. The girls I'll be working with are extremely excited to meet us - our school's yearly trip to them is one of their only sources of fun or change. Their offenses range from taking drugs, to really minor stuff like borrowing their stepdad's car and getting reported. Speaking with students who've gone before, the girls are reeeaaaallly interested in hearing about our lives, out religions, our cultures etc. They're very clever, to the point that visiting them, one older student told me that you just want to take hold of them and say, you're brilliant, don't ruin your own life. Apparently one thing which seems to be a recurring theme, is girls getting into trouble with or due to their boyfriends.

So, any ideas on topics that I can speak about or things I can do? Islam, women in Islam? How should I do it?
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« Reply #1 on: Feb 26, 2013 06:18 AM »

girls in detention center because they borrowed their stepdad's car and got reported!! I have not understood this  Huh?. Do they go to live in detention cause the stepdad didn't like them taking away the cars??? I hope the moms  concerned throw these men out of their lives.

About your speaking maybe you can take up something like a woman's self worth/ self respect/ self esteem and give it a Islamic touch. or how Islam values and respect women with a special emphasis on the punishments prescribed to men for crimes committed against women.
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« Reply #2 on: Feb 26, 2013 09:18 AM »

Reading between the lines, I would think the girls do not like or get along with their step fathers and have taken the cars for a joyride without permission, car has subsequently been reported stolen and the girls have been caught, not sure how the american system works, in the UK the owner of the car would have pressed charges, or the police would be able to throw the book at them because the girls have no license or insurance and are driving a stolen car!


And when My servants question thee concerning Me, then surely I am nigh. I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he crieth unto Me. So let them hear My call and let them trust in Me, in order that they may be led aright. Surah 2  Verse 186
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« Reply #3 on: Feb 26, 2013 10:14 AM »

There's a reason why America has the world's largest incarcerated population. I think islamicsocks would be better equipped to explain the role of the capitalists in this. Grin

I wonder, if a 5-yr old would "steal" his father's pen, would that be grave enough for incarceration as well? Or is there still time till we get there?

In India, such situations would be resolved with a tight slap and a chappal to the kid's bum Tongue
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« Reply #4 on: Feb 26, 2013 10:31 AM »

they will be over the age of criminal repsonsibility.


And when My servants question thee concerning Me, then surely I am nigh. I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he crieth unto Me. So let them hear My call and let them trust in Me, in order that they may be led aright. Surah 2  Verse 186
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« Reply #5 on: Feb 26, 2013 10:36 AM »

they will be over the age of criminal repsonsibility.
The chappal works just as fine Grin

Ok I'm sorry, I'm only being funny coz it sounds stupid to me. I don't have the right to comment on anything.

islamicsocks, please take over Wink
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« Reply #6 on: Feb 26, 2013 10:48 AM »

If thats how those legal systems work I am absolutely glad I am not born there. If I were born there then prisons would have been my dadihaal, nanihaal and sasural  Tongue
Chappals sound perfectly reasonable reaction to my Indian mind for this kind of 'shararat' (yes thats what we call it, not crime! )
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« Reply #7 on: Feb 26, 2013 10:53 AM »

If thats how those legal systems work I am absolutely glad I am not born there. If I were born there then prisons would have been my dadihaal, nanihaal and sasural  Tongue
Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy
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« Reply #8 on: Feb 26, 2013 11:09 AM »

Do I hear my name mentioned?

There are capitalists issues when explaining why America has such a high incarceration rate. But there are also many other factors.

When it comes to kids using their parents cars before they get a licence. Well that happens everywhere. Be honest we all did it didn't we?

I would not be surprised if that car belonged to the girl. And it was registered under her dads name for insurance/Licence purposes. And when caught she claimed to take it without permission to protect her stepfather who would have been prosecuted a lot more harshly.
To say you took it without permission is the default setting. Everyone who I know who got caught driving a car which they were not allowed to drive legally has said that. And I am sure if any of you were lent a car that you were not legally entitled to drive you would say you took it without permission too.
Because whether you had permission or not you would be in trouble. If you said the owner knew it would just mean the person who was doing you a favour would be in trouble too.
Everyone knows this that is why in every other country it isn't treated seriously.
In everyother country the Police, Judiciary and prison systems have more important things to worry about.
America is different that is why their prison systems are so full.
For a country that loves to brag about how free they are, doesn't it seem contradictory?

There are many other reasons for this to be the case other than capitalism such as:

Racism:
American prisons are full of blacks and Latinos.
I would be intrested to find out what was the colour of the girl?
She may well be white, but I bet the correction facility is full of blacks even if it is in a white area.
In America the colour of skin is the most important factor on whether someone is stopped by the police, charged by the police, prosecuted by the court and sentenced by the judge.

Corruption:
There have been many cases in America where judges have been caught taking payments from companies that build prisons and detention centers. Even when they are not caught and prosecuted it can be seen the additional prisons and detention centres are not built due to additional demand for them. But it is the other way. When a company proposes to build one, judges in the area start prosecuting much more people on a lower freshold of evidence and for longer durations.

Democracy:
In the democratic system in America justice is a major factor in determining how people vote. So if a politician is seen as being soft on crime he will tell judges to prosecute loads more people. Guilt. innocence and justice is of no importance, what is of importance is numbers , statistics and how they will affect the next election.


Anyway, you asked about capitalism. And it is a major factor here. American prisons are often owned by private companies that make a lot of money out of them. If fewer people were sentenced they would not make as much money or they would be in danger of not making any because state owned prisons might meet the demand.
There is no way these companies will allowed sentencing to reduce. They will donate to which ever politician supports privately owned prisons, so no one will go against the.

Another issue is free prison labour.
Not having to pay people to work for you is a major cost saving for many companies and gives them an advantage over companies that pay staff.
This is an example of American hypocrisy because America criticizes China for doing this and bans products that they assume are made by china using prison Labour, but they do the same thing themselves.
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« Reply #9 on: Feb 26, 2013 11:15 AM »

Dude, you took it seriously! But, I agree entirely Cheesy rofl

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« Reply #10 on: Feb 26, 2013 02:56 PM »

Salam,

A really interesting thread and some very good points there.

Apart from this discussion,Sis Nature,I think you have a brilliant opportunity to visit these girls.

Many girls there must be in their most sensitive phase of life.Being in detention center,at this age, must be a great deal stressful to many,especially if you say they have committed petty crimes.Studies show that apart from other reasons (mentioned in above posts) for being ordered a detention,youth these days commit crimes because of many psychological/behaviour and ofcourse social  problems.(they come from broken families,abuse,poor financial status,lack of education etc)

So I think it is a wonderful chance to get to know their state of mind and background (try to know what made them commit those crimes..),enlighten them towards a purpose of life,introduce them to spirituality and essence of Islam.
( I do look forward to know the details from you)

Surely,as you mentioned,your visit will be like a fresh lease of life to many,as they may be missing out on all that fun which probably you girls are having out there in the open.

Therefore ,apart from being an inspiration to them,do have fun.

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« Reply #11 on: Feb 26, 2013 03:18 PM »

I think it's better for you to just act out Islam while you're there instead of talking to them about it. Act in a way that would make them ask the questions instead of you doing the talking directly. Being isolated is horrible and all those girls might be looking at is somebody to just talk to, somebody to give them a hug, somebody to understand that they're not bad people(and I think most of them aren't - getting sent to prison for taking a ride in your stepdad's car isn't a crime in my opinion). Do that for them and with your hijab on, you'll automatically raise questions in their mind and then you can do the talking. Isolation makes people depressed, so when people are exposed to something outside their world, they get so excited they act like kids and these are kids anyway. You only need to tickle their curiosity.
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« Reply #12 on: Feb 26, 2013 03:58 PM »

Youth detention centers will have teenagers. (unless they stick to the WHO definition of youth   Cheesy)

Many teenagers in the west are more independent in many ways than in other regions.
They do drugs,live alone,do odd jobs to earn,are into physical relationships and are even parents.I mean many are on the look out for a sense of purpose in life and are ready to experience life on their terms.They are not exactly kids.
But they are immature. (But, of course all teenagers are not like that) So mostly the ones who are in a mess usually end up committing crimes.

I think they do have psychologists/psychiatrists to counsel them.

So you are not there to counsel them.As a Muslim,you can use this opportunity to introduce your way of viewing life(which is mashaAllah within islamic terms).

You don't have to be preachy and all,but no one likes being a prisoner and this is a time when prisoners can reflect upon their life and it's meaning.Of course you can lead them to question you on Islam by themselves,but make sure you do give them hints and behave in a manner that makes it easy to awaken their reasoning skills.
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« Reply #13 on: Feb 26, 2013 04:24 PM »

Look its a detention centre not a real prison and it is America not a civilised country.
You will find most of the kids there have been sent there for things that would not even be considered crimes in the civilised world.
When kids are caught with a spliff here in the UK the worse that would happen to them is the spliff would be taken away and the policeman would step on it and kick the bits in to the wind to stop the child smoking it again. In much of Europe not even that. Alcohol from under aged drinkers is emptied in to drains in front of them.
This would be considered a child protection issue, not a criminal issue.
The only prosecutions would be the parents if they allowed them to or the dealers.

Under aged criminals who commit real crimes are sent to real adult prisons in America, especially if they are black.

This parody explains the workings of the American legal system better than I can:
Judge Rules White Girl Will Be Tried As Black Adult
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« Reply #14 on: Feb 26, 2013 04:40 PM »

I am glad that these kids have not committed 'real' crimes.My heart goes out for kids who have been sent there for silly reasons.But they have to put up with the embarrassment of being a part of detention center sometime in their life.Hope it does not effect them in a negative way.

But
I am most concerned about kids that take drugs.It is a serious problem.And they may turn into drug consuming adults if they get addicted.And many crimes have been committed under the influence of drugs.Girls are more susceptible to fall victims of more serious crimes.They will have ppl around them and they will have influence on the society.

Why do kids feel the need to take drugs?Are they so unhappy with their lives that they seek bliss in abusing their bodies like this?It has a great physical,social and mental impact on their lives.

They really really need to be helped.

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« Reply #15 on: Feb 26, 2013 05:02 PM »

"Life's a bitch and then you die; that's why we get high"

These people need Islam. And more of them find it in prison than any place else.

I don't think prison stops drug use. There are more drugs in prison than anywhere else.
Most addicts become addicted in prison. Most criminals learn their trade in Prisons.
Most criminals are repeat offenders.

I got a friend. Who went to prison on remand when he was about the age of the girls there. Remand is when they keep you in prison while the court decides whether you are guility.
The court found him innocent but it took the court two and a half years to do it.
He didn't go in a criminal and the court decided what he did was not a crime. but he is a criminal now.
I met him a few years after he was realised and he told me prison messed up his brain and he is now a criminal.

People in prisons learn how to behave from other prisoners, not from the guards.
In prison showing you are the most evil is how to stay safe.
And when they leave prison, that behaviour stays with them. And some find it hard to stay outside so do crimes simply to get back in.

Many break the cycle and convert to Islam in prison. Lets hope that is the option a lot of these girls will chose.

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« Reply #16 on: Feb 27, 2013 01:06 AM »

I think that a LOT of social problems play into why these girls end up going the wrong way and doing stuff like getting addicted to heroin. The poor financial backgrounds, lack of ambition due to poverty, broken up backgrounds (drug dealers in the family, or missing parents)....

One thing which I've learnt since I came here is the absolute truth of the hadith that says "The dunya is a prison for the believer and a paradise for the disbeliever." Simply put, these people have no rules, no purpose, nothing to direct them in their lives - it's a do-what-you-want world, and so many people end up confused and stray into hurtful paths such as these.  Sad

Your feedback has been so helpful! I'm definitely going to be careful to not 'preach' to them about religion - because I was told that some of their only visitors are religious people (and I'm guessing that these are people who come and lecture them in the most boring manner) - I don't want to come off as being 'preachy', rather I like akhan's idea about acting out Islam myself. Inshallah all will go well, I will update you all when the trip starts.

Jazakumallahukhairan!
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« Reply #17 on: Feb 27, 2013 06:17 AM »

Quote
I'm definitely going to be careful to not 'preach' to them about religion - because I was told that some of their only visitors are religious people (and I'm guessing that these are people who come and lecture them in the most boring manner) - I don't want to come off as being 'preachy', rather I like akhan's idea about acting out Islam myself. Inshallah all will go well, I will update you all when the trip starts.

All the best to you.
Salam
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« Reply #18 on: Feb 27, 2013 02:14 PM »

Yes, act Islam, but don't hide the fact that you are acting that way because of Islam from them.
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« Reply #19 on: Mar 10, 2013 07:05 AM »

Assalamu alaikum,

Today was my first day being oriented towards the detention center. I should clarify that we are two groups - I'm in a group of girls working in a girls' facility, and there is a group of boys working in the boys' facility.

Okay firstly, what islamicsocks first posted is perfectly true. It's really, really sad.
Secondly, these girls are not in there for petty crimes as I first implied. Almost all the girls are in there for drug-related crimes, and some for some type of battery or assault. The young men in the other facility, are 99% affiliated with gangs.

I would say that their crimes are almost entirely the result of their backgrounds. These are all dirt-poor people, who didn't go to high school (some haven't been in school since they were 9, and have no one in their families who finished school), who were 'jumped' into gangs, were sexually and physically abused, unwanted, have single-parent families which have legacies of drug abuse, violence, gang membership and repeated incarceration...

I can see why prison is where so many young people (in particular men not women) convert to Islam. The sense of purpose, the sense of belonging (we were told that the psychology of gang membership is almost entirely based on loyalty and identity), the sobriety, being lifted out of drug, substance and alcohol abuse, respectful interaction between the genders (neither the boys nor girls have any idea how to respectfully deal with the other gender - they can only flirt, even with guards - they've never had good role models of either gender), and most of all I think the importance of family in Islam.

These are young people who basically missed out on having an upbringing - they skipped loads of developmental psychological levels - some of them have never had a toy in their life. They've never been treated with respect or loved - for many, the prison is the safest place they've ever been and they actually dread leaving, because they'll be back in their old environments where they're bound to get dragged into crime again and repeated incarceration. (Especially the young men struggling to leave gangs - because they need to be 'jumped' or beat up to get out - the saying apparently is "Blood in, blood out.") Of course the main targets of this are minorities like islamicsocks said - due to the poverty-related nature of many minorities, unfortunately.

Many of them are parents (we're talking kids aged between 15-21) - some of the girls give birth in prison, and have to leave their children after THREE DAYS. Usually family take them - but sometimes there is no family, then they have to fight to even have legal rights to their own children. Then you get kids who are going in and out of foster care, who end up also getting incarcerated....it's such a horrible, horrible cycle. We met two of the young men who are fighting to do well in prison, to behave and raise their 'rank', earn privileges, learn how to take care of their children, and all they want to do is get their education so that they can take care of their kids. Getting their tattoos removed....

The emptiness that I feel in many non-Muslims is so, so strange for me. The idea of having no role model other than the tv screen, of just 'going' through life with no purpose, I find it so sickening, and I find that the affect on people is devastating. As soon as something bad happens, you're just dragged down into it. You have no protection, no purpose, no decent moral code to live your life by...

Another thing that struck my group of girls, was we realized that these kids basically have no interaction with the opposite sex. The boys who we saw were very obviously staring at the girls. We later discussed this, talking about how they should have some kind of program where they learn how to interact and treat women with respect - we argued a bit as some of the girls didn't see why WE shouldn't be able to talk with them, and I said it's because they simply don't know how - they won't be able to respectfully interact with a bunch of pretty girls!

Interestingly, my group of girls agreed - then said that however, they boys should have a chance to interact with me because they've never met a girl like me. I was surprised - but the girls all said that I am not like the rest of the girls, I have much more self-respect and dignity and maturity. I didn't realize the difference that Islam makes on how people treat you respectfully! It was very interesting to think about - that perhaps the boys would have to think about me differently because I'm covered up. Hmmmm....

It made me think that I really value Islam for the dignity that it gives me as a human being, and particularly as a woman. Alhamdulillah. And then people dare to tell me that I'm oppressed, brainwashed. Just taking a single look at the people, men and women around me, I can't even begin to think, alhamdulillah, how lucky I am to be Muslim.

Anyways - I've learnt a lot and it's not even the first day in the facility yet! That's tomorrow so please make dua that it all goes well inshallah.
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« Reply #20 on: Mar 10, 2013 07:50 AM »

Interestingly, my group of girls agreed - then said that however, they boys should have a chance to interact with me because they've never met a girl like me. I was surprised - but the girls all said that I am not like the rest of the girls, I have much more self-respect and dignity and maturity. I didn't realize the difference that Islam makes on how people treat you respectfully! It was very interesting to think about - that perhaps the boys would have to think about me differently because I'm covered up. Hmmmm....

It made me think that I really value Islam for the dignity that it gives me as a human being, and particularly as a woman. Alhamdulillah. And then people dare to tell me that I'm oppressed, brainwashed. Just taking a single look at the people, men and women around me, I can't even begin to think, alhamdulillah, how lucky I am to be Muslim.


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« Reply #21 on: Mar 17, 2013 05:43 AM »

 salam

Where do I even begin. The trip is now over - and I can barely stomach some of what I've learnt. We spoke so much with the girls, we did planned activities etc, so we got to know them. However, the incarcerated girls interacted differently with different girls in the group - with me, for example, they were more interested in learning about my religion and way of life (we did a lot of presenting about our countries) - whereas they felt more able to open up about their lives with the other girls (saw me as being too different, that I simply wouldn't understand - and frankly that's true). I learned a lot more AFTER the trip ended and I spoke with my colleagues/classmates about what they learnt.

Sickened. Absolutely sickened. The entire drug industry, how it works, what these girls tell you, of all the unrepeatable information, how you can't speak because you will literally get these people killed....

I don't know how much I can put into words at the moment, nor how much I can safely say without breaching my confidentiality agreements.

I know one thing. There has never been anything, not a single experience in my entire life, that has left me so absolutely disgusted with society. NEVER has anything made me think "Thank God for Islam" in the way that this has. NEVER have I been able to sit back this far and take a look at what is going on around me and think "This sucks". It makes you literally want to leave society and do some kind of hijrah and build an Islamic community.

Let me give you a single example that I gained. Speaking with the girls, they come from families pretty much ripped up by drugs and alcohol, and super-involved with gangs. When we were being oriented to the facility, we were warned not to talk with these girls about our own drug/alcohol use, no matter what our views on the issue. That was the first thing that made me think - how could someone have the bare-faced audacity to stand there and speak contemptuously about drinking age laws to girls who basically had no childhood because of alcohol addiction and all the related abuse in their families?? It's because we come from points of privilege - we want to socially drink, so let's fulfill this desire of ours. If people get drunk and lives get ruined - that's not our fault, we're just drinking! Nothing to do with us!

I had a resulting argument with two of my group members - they said, okay being drunk is wrong, but what's wrong with drinking? It's good for you - our grandparents did it to keep warm, to keep away from bacteria'd water, it's a social thing. I was like you can't GET drunk without drinking?? It's like giving people fire then saying don't get burnt - and you can't even compare it to that, because you need fire, but you don't need alcohol in any shape or form. It's a decision that you make because of cultural norms - a selfish decision, in my opinion.

Then, after learning from these girls about literally how the drug industry works, I just sat back in my chair, so, so disgusted with it all. Because you know how it happens? It doesn't happen down a hallway with some huge guy with a gun and a briefcase of stuff. It happens in bars, in toilets, in cocktail parties, with pretty girls who don't look suspicious, with huge rings of operation....and the only way they deal with the fact that they are basically indirectly or directly killing people, is by ignoring it. By telling themselves, I have to do this or my family get killed, so I'll just ignore it, forget about it. Because if I do think about it, I'll start questioning the entire society that creates this system of lies and corruption (Policemen DO get paid, the justice system IS corrupt) and then I'm dead (shot). I pointed out this to the girl - that she's right, as a Muslim I'm a total system-questioner (we reject this entire corrupt world lifestyle), and this only makes me question it even more - I pointed out that if people don't drink, there ARE no bars and cocktail parties where this happens. She even admitted that that's true! She said yeah...I hate dealing with Muslims (!!!Because Muslims, even from SAUDI, do this) because they don't drink so when they pay for the drugs I can't trick them into giving me more money.

And that made me even angrier - do you realize that there are Muslims being all I-pray-five-times-a-day but then at night go off and drink and do drugs? And do you think that that doesn't have an effect on non-Muslims?? They SEE the hypocrisy - and then they laugh at Islam because they've seen Muslims who act all religious then basically do all this stuff at night!!

This girl basically admitted that I was right - but that she didn't think that she would be able to accept my facts, just because it's so different.

I walked away feeling so disappointed and sad for humanity - what are we dragging ourselves into? This, for me, is what creates the difference between the godless and Muslims - this, is what it comes down to. Not pie-in-the-sky preaching or anything like that - it comes down to the horrible, horrible unhappiness and societal problems that not following the infinitely wise commandments of God brings.
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« Reply #22 on: Mar 17, 2013 06:58 AM »

Honestly, don't even get me started on Muslims in prison now. It seems to be the perfect environment for realizing that the world around you is the most screwed up place ever - no wonder so many people convert in prison!

(And then people say it's because of BENEFITS???)
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Dont be sad...


« Reply #23 on: Mar 17, 2013 01:23 PM »

Thats great. Alhamduliillah you were able to present the beauty of your religion. It should not disturb you if some people fail or refuse to understand/accept. Our obligation is to do our best to show others the truth through wisdom and its Allah who guide those he wants.

It is indeed pathetic how our societies now turn to breeding places for immorality. People use any means to enrich themselves without bothering the consequences of their acts. This is what Islam always wants to abolish. Evil and corrupt society spoil people, Muslims inclusive. Islam knows that if the society will remain corrupt, even the saintly will find it difficult to abide by God's orders.

Hypocrisy of Islam: People often use this phrase when attacking Islam but I find it rather unfair and prejudiced. It will be hypocrisy of the religion only if it advocates against certain things and make them halal behind the curtains. Thats is not the case. The dos and don'ts of Islam are clear. They should say "hypocisy of some Muslims." Those Muslims committing forbidden acts know they are transgressing. Isn't that analogous to some Christians who are strict about monogamy but having multiple affairs out of wedlock?


"Whoever rejects false deities and believes in Allah has grasped a firm handhold which will never break." Q 2:256"
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« Reply #24 on: Mar 17, 2013 01:36 PM »

Welcome to the real world sis. That's how it works everywhere, it's only that this is the first time you've been exposed to it. I always think that people in America think too idealistically or perhaps you could say they've been brainwashed into thinking like that.

But knowing stuff like this helps keep you grounded, helps you say "alhamdulilah, I've been guided".

PS - btw, that part about Saudi wasn't necessary Tongue
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