Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Abdul Alim Hamid

 His name means Servant of the Omniscient, Praiseworthy.  Friends, of which he has not many here in the States, know him as Abdul Alim Hamid. A bead of sweat had formed at the end of one of Abdul Alim's jet black strands of hair.  Finally gravity did it's job.  The sweat dropped down onto the top of his cheek, ran down his face past the cold beige phone gripped by his burn scarred left hand, then got swallowed up by his greying beard. In his tightly clenched right hand he held a 9mm CZ-75 which was trained on the 10 people, including a newborn, that didn't manage to get out of the Bank of the Ozarks when Mr. Hamid came in an hour and 37 minutes ago.  He wasn't a terrorist and he wasn't in the bank for the money like the others were.  Revenge was on his mind.  One month prior, the Mosque he had gotten approval for and built in the normally peaceful Fort Smith, Arkansas was burnt to the ground. His dreams and all the difficulties in leaving Jordan burned down with it.  More importantly to Hamid, his brother who got trapped inside burned as well. "Probably a group of Southern Baptists", was the council that a partner had given.  And why wouldn't that be the case?  Hadn't they been responsible for burning down the Gentlemen's Club and throwing the homemade explosives into the murder mill known as Planned Parenthood?  Not that Abdul Alim was opposed to either of those actions but now it was his livelihood that has been attacked and someone, some infidels, must pay.  He didn't wait for a Sunday to walk into a nice Church service.  Unsuspecting families dressed up in their filthy rags labeled "Sunday best" could have been easy prey for Hamid.  Hamid, however, wanted to pay them back equally.  They attacked where he worshiped so he would too.  That's why the bank where they served their god all week long was the target and not, say, Grand Avenue Baptist Church. You cannot serve God and money.  Part of the New Testament that Abdul Alim wholeheartedly agreed with.

"Mr. Hamid!", The voice with the disastrous southern accent tainted with a hint of authority brought Abdul Alim back to the moment.  "Watch your tone officer Wigowski," Abdul Alim warned. "You have 45 minutes to give me what I want or these good people start dying" What he wanted the Ft. Smith PD really couldn't give him.  First and foremost he wanted his brother Samir back. He wanted payback for his Mosque and for Samir and it was going to come from one of these 10 people but who would it be? They, as infidels, all deserved to be the first one to die if he truly followed his faith. Hamid, however, was a Muslim of the apostate, "Peace Loving" sect and really did not want to kill any of them.  He had just been pushed to the edge with the death of his brother and was finally at the end of his proverbial rope.  So who would it be? How could Abdul Alim pick just one?Who would God pick if He were to judge?

15 minutes had passed since Ft. Smith native Paul Wigowski had gotten off the phone with the "perp", as they called Abdul Alim Hamid.  Sure they now knew his name but perp was so much easier to say and, seeing as how it was 5 less syllables than Hamid's full name, it would do until the paperwork started for this debacle. Only 30 minutes left to get the perp's unreasonable request that the Mosque be rebuilt by then accomplished.  Since that wasn't going to happen, Wigowski needed to find a way into the bank and quick like.  Officer Wiggy, as he was known throughout the force, didn't know that Hamid only had one gun in there with him.  He wasn't even entirely sure that he was alone, save the ten hostages.  Who knows what they would be up against when they stormed into the two-story, red roofed building on Rogers Ave.  All Wiggy knew was that peoples' lives were in danger and he was the only one who could help.  He had 23 minutes.

Abdul Alim Hamid checked his watch.  23 minutes to get the Mosque built.  He knew it was impossible and that the time limit imposed was all just posturing.  Today he was simply out for revenge.  One of these people would die in less than a half an hour. Just one, Hamid had finally decided, to pay them all back for his brother's death. Hamid would of course take himself out as well leaving the other 9 people to deal with the image. Tick Tock...17 minutes.  Hamid's indecision finally got the best of him.  He stormed over to the huddled group of victims.  Pointing the Czech Republic made weapon at the group he employed the group help him make the decision.  He was going to kill the worst of them and he would determine which that was by having them confess their sins to him one by one. "TELL ME!" was the demand to each person in the huddle.  It hit them with the full force of spittle and the scent of last night's hummus on his breath. One by one they confessed. The man in the suit had cheated on his taxes and lied to the IRS.  The teenage girl had on stolen earrings.  The lady, who's tear stained Woo Pig Sooie shirt was a sad reminder of her sin, had told a lie to her husband about going to a Razorbacks game with her girlfriend.  That would be true if the Razorback's game was the Hampton Inn on Rogers Avenue and her girlfriend was a man she had met online the week before.  The list went on and on.  The small boy was currently dishonoring his mother by not being quiet in spite of her many requests.  A man was wearing and kissing his Scapula, hoping in Mary to save him.  "Idolatry", Hamid snorted as the red haired infant who was in his mother's arms began to whimper.  Hamid looked that way then made his way to look out the front to check on things.  "Lies, cheating, stealing" he continued mumbling under his breath as he walked away disgusted.  It was no wonder he had never desired to be a Catholic priest.  He could hardly take hearing any more(hadn't he done all those things too?) This synapse hadn't made his choice any easier.  Maybe they all truly did deserve it.  Perhaps he deserved to die the most. He shook off the thought.  6 minutes to decide.

Time was now of the essence.  Hamid saw the commotion outside as he approached the window.  At last count there were 35 officers outside.  He now only saw 30.   Hamid's heart skipped a beat as he thought of the back door being breached.  He headed there now.  Halfway across the bank floor he was met by the mother of the crying infant, baby held out to Hamid.  "Take him", she said.  "He never should have been born.  I was outside the abortion clinic when someone told me that God gave His only son to save me from my sin.  It stopped me from butchering this child.  Now I give him up to you like Abraham went to give up Isaac in hopes that God will spare us all from this evil.  Hamid recalled the Old Testament account of that event. Muslims like Abdul Alim counted the first books of the Old Testament as true.  "God will provide the ram" Hamid remembered Genesis saying.  "Take your son, your only son", God told Abraham.  That part never sat well with Hamid considering Abraham had Ishmael as well. "Do not be so distressed about the boy(Ishmael) and your slave woman. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." This passage normally made Hamid's blood boil because he knew that Christ came through that family line and that prophecy was fulfilled in that sense.  "And just like how Abraham did not withhold his only son," the woman continued, "God did not withhold His only Son from us so that we can be saved.  Yes we all deserve you to kill us today.  We shouldn't get not one more breath on this earth. Some here have lied, some have committed adultery, some have stolen.  My sins are too many to count.  The point is all of us have sinned against God but He demonstrates His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us."

Officer Wigowski and his makeshift swat team comprised of the first 4 of the bravest cops on the scene lined up at the back door of the bank.  He had his Remington 870 ready.  It was the most firepower he could come up with while they were waiting but at least it would get the hinges off the door.  The other officers readied their pistols as they waited to enter the bank.  Time was running out.  He reviewed the plan with them once more before taking a step back, saying a half hearted prayer, aiming his shotgun at the hinges of the door and pulling the trigger.  Time was up.  Wiggy and his guys needed a miracle!

The words of the woman's Gospel presentation boomed inside Hamid's brain. That explained the first boom.  The second and third booms would be explained by the top two hinges being blown off the door by Officer Wigowski's black tactical shotgun.  Hamid dropped his weapon and fell to his knees sobbing.  Partly because of his brother's passing but mostly he wept over his sin that the lady had revealed to him today.  His religion had offered no hope but left him to try to bribe his way into heaven by doing self righteous religious acts.  This woman told Hamid that God had done all the work that needed to be done for him to be saved and he had to repent and turn from his sin.  He was truly sorry for his actions.  Not just for today and not just because he had gotten caught.  As the 5 officers stormed in and secured the building, their guns were aimed at a changed man.  He would still have to live with the consequences of his actions but his life and most importantly, his eternal life, would be different from this day forward because God had provided the way. "On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided", was the only sound as Hamid sobbed those treasured words.

As Officer Wiggy took the woman's account of what had happened inside, he was dumbfounded.  The lady did not really want her baby to die but she stepped out in faith and with love she shared the Good News that had changed her life.  She hoped it would change Hamid's as well and it did.  Paul Wigowski himself realized that he needed this love and forgiveness that the woman and Hamid had found too.  He had grown up in the Bible belt and spent most Sundays in church. Like so many Americans, even those outside the Bible belt, Wiggy identified himself with Christ though he had no true interest in repentance and faith.  He had not seen his sin as sinful but had treated Christ's death as a license to continue living in perpetual sin that the god he created in his own mind deemed "OK". Since this idol and Wiggy had the same ideals and were for all intents and purposes the same person, the officer never broke any of the rules that this fictional god had in place.  This would all change from now on.  "You never know what the one true God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, will use to change people's lives. He truly does work in mysterious ways", Wiggy chuckled as he ducked into his Dodge Charger police cruiser.  He called his wife to tell her to cancel the kids' baseball game on Sunday.  They had new plans.

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