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  • Rob Will

Adnan Syed and Saint Rabia

I was born when all I once feared- I could love. -  Rabia (717-801, Persia)

The great poet, saint and mystic, Rabia al Basri lived in Persia (modern day Iraq) and was born into poverty. After her parents died a band of brigands kidnapped Rabia and sold her into slavery. For years she endured harsh treatment and abuse but Rabia remained vigilant in her nightly prayers and meditation. It is said that one night her slave master approached Rabia while she prayed and was astonished to find her shrouded in divine light. This experience moved him so deeply that he set her free.

Rabia then went to the desert where she became an ascetic and mystic scribe. She is inspiring for many reasons including the fact that Rabia remained steadfast in her devotion during years of struggle. I recently read an article about another inspiring Rabia: Rabia Chaudry, the person who for 16 long years has spearheaded the campaign to free Adnan Syed. The podcast about his case has been downloaded 142 million times so I doubt much background is needed. Briefly, he was convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend in 1999 and given a life sentence plus 30 years. Many intelligent people believe he is innocent.

Interestingly, Ms Chaudry is an attorney but not a criminal attorney. She became involved with Adnan’s case because she had known his family for years when he was arrested. She made the mistake of trusting his well-known trial attorney at first, not really understanding the criminal justice system. That trust was soon dissolved and Adnan was found guilty and sentenced. Then, appeal after appeal was denied. Ms Chaudry became fed up because, as she has said “The courts failed us and the system failed us”.

Did she give up? No. Did she remain complacent and inactive? No. Ms Rabia Chaudry became more active and started engaging in inexhaustible strategic endeavors. Relentlessly. And this has resulted in Adnan Syed obtaining a ruling granting a new trial. Just another example of how deeds drive destiny. I hope an attorney like Rabia Chaudry gets involved with my case soon.

I do not want to die.

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