Channel: Boonaa Mohammed
Series: Boonaa Mohammed - What the Fiqh
Ft. Yusuf Faqiri
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Bismillah Alhamdulillah wa salatu salam ala rasulillah. Assalamu alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu. Welcome back to another episode of what the fic I am your host Boehner Mohammed and I'm joined today with a very special guest, a brother who has become close to me in the last few years. And someone who I think is a major asset to the Muslim community. Although, unfortunately, his circumstances weren't the pleasant weren't the pleasantest. That's not I don't know if that's a word pleasantest it is. But okay, it is okay. But you know, you becoming more entrenched in the community, I think, you know, has major positive repercussions. So, brother use of fuckery is
joining me here today. And I don't know if you want to tell, maybe we should talk a little bit about you and your family, particularly your brother Sulaiman, hammer Mills had mercy on him on me.
And I think your stories is, obviously is very tragic. It's very sad. And you know, this, but I'll just share for the viewers that I actually reached out to you, initially, I had seen the campaign you had done and I had seen a lot of the buzz you were getting, I'd seen you do a few events, I think in some universities, and you were getting certain speakers out. And when I kind of read up on the the case, and I saw your enthusiasm for getting justice for your brother, I said, you know what's panel, I'd love to speak with his brother, I'd love to, you know, see whatever way I can help.
Because I think it is one of those things that kind of gets swept under the rug, especially within the Muslim community. So maybe you can talk a little bit about your brother's circumstances will lead to his untimely unfortunate death at the hands of prison officials in this country. So maybe you can talk a little bit about his life and his journey, unfortunately, how it ended? Absolutely, Bona, it's an honor to have you with us. You know, on our side.
I always tell people,
I'm an extremely ordinary person who's been given an extraordinary responsibility. To honor the extraordinary person was to the man a lawyer humble. And so I'm humbled.
You know, to, to honor him, but not obviously, in the circumstances that I want to pursue, the man was truly a special man. And
he was gifted, both academically, athletically. And although his life took a very difficult turn with this illness known as schizophrenia. Solomon's legacy has remained quite,
quite profound on every single one of us in my family. And before I talk about his circumstances, if I have his death, if I may want to share his personal lives, please, okay, we're sure.
Every single member of my family has been touched by Solomon, on a personal level in terms of like what he left with them, I'll give you an example.
when he was studying engineering at Waterloo, he got diagnosed, he got into a car accident, and it was after this illness that he got diagnosed with this illness isn't known as schizophrenia. But what never stopped after his illness or throughout his life was a he was known as an intellectual his entire life. He was always he said, I'm a student of knowledge. He was always,
always stolen his life attached to me. He would always say to me, I'm, I'm, you know, I'm attached to any use of and the reason I bring this up is when he was dying after he was diagnosed with his illness. He, although he didn't finish this studies at Waterloo, he ended up deciding to pick up Arabic. So he went in, he learned and became fluent in Arabic and your family's originally from Afghanistan is 10. Right? So it wouldn't have been your first line. No, Farsi was Farsi and then English second. But what happened was, my mom was not does not know how to read Arabic. And so when she was trying to learn the Quran, he actually taught her
the Quran and Arabic
on his own, he was my mom's teacher. And I think for the audience for them to listen is that, you know, if there's anything that for people to listen about, surely man his life is that
if there is someone that you know, that suffer from mental illness, and I mean this respectfully to our wonderful Muslim community, we have to do a better job as a community to, to really, you know, understand and appreciate our loved ones that are suffering from mental illness. It's our duty and responsibility. And so Sulaiman never allowed his illness to define him. And I want for our audience that if they have a loved one suffering from these illnesses, don't let your loved one be defined. They have so many gifts, right? The last thing you want to do is ostracize them, make them feel devalued. And you can do it sometimes in subconscious ways. without really knowing like, you should
always remember that all they're looking for a lot of
Time is just for you to listen. And so, Solomon showed that to my family, like I said, he taught my mom, you know how to read operate personally for me as I was becoming closer to my faith,
he actually taught me how to pray. So
and that's, that's his legacy. And, you know, every time I pray, you know, and I when I make to offer him, you know, the words that emanate from my heart, you know, that, that I, you know, when I talk to my Rob, you know, Solomon gives me that knowledge, you know, and
that's something that
we're a better family for, and we're better people and
I hold on to those parts of Solomon that, you know, has given me some light considering that the last few years have been anything but like Bill Nye, it's been a very nightmarish difficult three years from my family.
I see obviously, this is something that you know, it's interesting to me because I know you, you speak about him a lot and you travel the country you go to different communities, but it still touches you each time you remember and reminisce about your brother. So you know, even the the southern courgetti that he left behind through this knowledge, you know, we can see inshallah inshallah inshallah is a good sign from a last panel Tasha love you know, that there are people still thinking about him there are people still making the offer him there are people that are still benefiting from his legacy. So you know, this is, you know, of course, how he passed away was not
beautiful, but this is a sign of a hopefully a beautiful end, Uppsala inshallah. But I want to talk, we'll talk about his his death. And I do think it's important for the community to hear about what happened to your brother, absolutely. It's not one of those things that I want people to just kind of brush over sometimes, you know, in newspapers, we'll see a headline, you know, such and such person dies in custody, but we never really understand or hear the context by which they met this particular end. Absolutely. It was a very violent death. It was a very violent, as you'll see in our conversation. Yeah. So talk me through what happened. Towards the end of his life, he was diagnosed
with schizophrenia, he left the University of Waterloo, Rice University, for those who are not in Canada and don't know. And he was studying engineering at the University, the most competitive university in the country when it comes to engineering, the most honor. But he began his kind of journey of seeking knowledge as well. So he was a tolerably a man, he was, you know, learning code and learning Arabic, and he had this journey of trying to come closer to Las panatela. Talk me through what, what what happened, absolutely, in the last few months. So Bona, like, you know, schizophrenia, for the audience, if you don't have experience, with knowing someone within it with
this illness, it's a very debilitating, and a very challenging illness. And oftentimes, the difference between someone
being able to live a decent life and or, versus a difficult life, his family support. And,
you know, although this illness took a lot from him, and we as a family through our own limitations, but through my mom's leadership,
accepted him for who he was. So
sometimes, for example,
this is across the board with schizophrenia, not everybody, you know, the extremes. The extreme part of the illness, it depends on a case by case but some things are consistent with everyone who suffer from schizophrenia. One thing, for example, is that people that suffer the other sillens they suffer from insomnia. So they always will have difficulty with sleeping. And so a man was no different in that area. So what we often do is when, when he was sleeping, we will take shifts, so my mom would sleep in his room, I would my other brothers, you know, and, you know, I saw his pain, often, when he often said to me, said, use of, I never chose this illness, but it took a lot from me.
He would often say that, like, you know, I can't do certain things because of what this illness did to me. But what was inspiring, though, is that, like, his resolve his resilience, you know, he had to take, you know, an extreme level of medications, you know, whether it was, you know, certain cycles, like whatever types of medications, he had to take all these medications. And it took, it took a lot from him, Boehner, but it was his strength that actually showed us like how special he was.
And so, he's taking a lot of these different medications. He's,
his life has been altered drastically, he can't do normal things. And I know we spoke in the past and you told me that, you know, even feared the future like what would happen how would he get married? How you know? Yes, we don't
Think about that. How, how does he? How did he envision his future playing out? Absolutely. It's a very important point Boehner because like he
often times, you know, because of the stigma, and that's why I believe as a community, we have to do a better job to stigma, you know, we, we, we use sometimes derogatory words like to use crazy, psychotic, insane, you know, words that we just use in our daily language that can be, it's quite offensive. And when Superman often heard this among our community members, sometimes it broke his heart, you know, even myself one time I made a mistake, and I said, Don't be crazy, bro. And, and this was at the beginning of his illness, I share this part because, you know, just the show, like he went upstairs in his room. And he took, he put all the medications that he took, the ones that he
took daily took the glass, he says, You think I chose this user?
has some decency, have some compassion. And he started crying. And after that, I hugged him, I told him, I love you, bro.
So like, things that we would take for granted as us that don't suffer from mental illness?
A lot of those things were very, what's the word? not stable in the sense, like, they were not guaranteed, right? It was always a rollercoaster ride, not showing, you know, not only do you know, if your community accepts you, greater society accepts you. But
this is where my mom's like leadership really went a long way in that, like, that's what kept him alive Boehner was, you know, it kept him alive 11 years longer, because my mom took us together as a family, I said, you can accept my son for who he is. But it wasn't easy, it was very difficult, not because of the demand, but because the system, you know, in Generally, the system makes it very hard for you, you know, to create certain support, support basis, if you don't have a family, you are out, you know, you're out in a very difficult situation. And, you know, whether it's getting them housing, whether it's, you know, taking them to the doctors, whether it's telling them that you
know, you need to do this or this. Now imagine, city man didn't have my mom and dad, imagine you're a single mother, imagine you're a newcomer imagine your first nations be much harder. And, and not only is the stillness are difficult to begin with, but the system, the everyday system does not make it easy at all. But we as a family that will we could with our limitations, Bono, and I always say is that was my mom's unflinching love. It was her faith that actually gave him what he what made him survive, and in many ways sometimes thrive. Everybody knew Sulaiman, you know, through in our, in our small community within the African culture, they always knew him as a very intelligent man,
foreigner, rarely would his illness come out, that speaks volumes to the man that he was, but also to the work ethic. And my mom's ability to doing that, you know, I always wonder how many people in prison, for example, do suffer from mental health issues. A lot of times the prison population as we see it, you know, we everyone in prison is a criminal, and you know, but there are many people who have illnesses, and especially when they're in that system, they're not treated with that compassion with that support, to help them in their journey, right. And it could be something that is keeping them from integrating or keeping them from getting back into society. So I want to talk about this
part. And then I want to talk more about your brother's story, because I think, you know, people might be curious as to what exactly happened. So your brother got in a bit of an issue with some neighbors, just a minor kind of misunderstanding, something that occurred, and he was arrested, he was arrested, born and normally And normally, basically,
the police was they were aware that he had a mental illness, and they would have taken them to hospital. Instead, they took him to a jail. And that when this incident happened, my family was not there. And so what's very important about this jail as well, we're not in Canada, in Ontario, we have this organ of government called the Ontario ombudsman that oversees jail complaints. That jail was actually the most complained jail, that Lindsey jail, which was also known as the central us Correctional Center,
was the most complete jail in the entire province of Ontario. I also want to touch on your point about other people suffering from mental illness, if I may, is that the numbers are almost around 60% 60% of poverty, yeah, that have mental illness. And I've spoken to other families, you know, that have had their loved ones that have had mental illness, and they're still in pain. There's, you know, there's a fella by the name of just bouncing the move who, who had schizophrenia that died eight days before Solomon's death in the Ottawa jail. Two months later, there was another fella by the name of casquette is also suffering from schizophrenia died in the Ottawa jail. There's another
fella in Thunder Bay, a First Nations man and artists had bipolar disorder, died in the Thunder Bay jail a year before Solomons that. There was a Somali brother who had bipolar disorder that died in the Lindsay jail that was sitting in the Lindsay jail. And what's what do you notice with all these cases, including
Same as it lacks a couple of things, accountability, no transparency. And these individuals were all put in segregation. It's like people with mental illness should be treated differently, not in the sense of looked down upon, but in the sense that they should be treated with compassion, respect, and decency. But they're not usually, the people always react. They're not proactive, they're rather reactive. And that's a problem. It is 100%. And, of course, in that circumstance, when and especially because your brother's circumstance was already known by police, yes. So the fact that they, against better judgment, against his own safety decided to bring him to a prison. How did you
guys find out? He was in the prison? Like, was it? Was it that he got a chance to call you from there? Or did they call you, you know, Bona, when the day, the day that he was taken from us on that December 4, it was literally the last time we physically were able to see him. The next time was given to us is within a body bag. You know, I was informed by my sister on the disk on December 4, later on that evening, that he was taken into, temporarily into custody. What I did what every family would do, I mean, as a family, we're very close and family. We did everything to get them help. And but at the same time, we try to give them support too. And what happened was, everything
we did, we were literally, you know, pushed against the wall in the sense that like my family tried to visit. So for the audience to know Lindsay is about 45 minutes from our hometown of Ajax Ontario. My parents drove physically three times to Lindsay to see Solomon, I myself with my brother syrup physically drove to Lindsay the fourth time to see him. Every single time we went, we weren't able to see him and to this day, almost three years after is that we have not been told why. And the one time that I went and saw him, I went and I met with staff, and I articulated with staff that Soloman had schizophrenia, in addition to the fact that he was diagnosed with this illness. 11 years was
well documented. And and then the bigger even the much more worst tragedy is that three days before city manager that I actually made arrangements, and I'll tell you, a judge actually ordered Selena to be transferred to a hospital. And the only reason he wasn't transferred Boehner was because he was waiting for a bed. Now picture this, the family does everything they can, but the system
against them working against us. And you know, it took I always say to people, it took my mom 11 years to keep Sonny man alive. It took the justice system 11 days for him to kill it for them to kill him. It's very 11 years versus 11 days.
So when when you guys found out he was in prison, you immediately made arrangements to go and visit him to communicate with the staff in the prison. What was their response? I mean, they didn't allow you to see him, but what was their excuse? Like what is actually very cold? You can't see him? That was pretty, it was very terse, you know, that said, you can't see him. There's nothing else, you know, we weren't able to communicate with him. He didn't get any calls or anything like that. No, no, Boehner really, we didn't. We weren't like we tried to make all arrangements to see him. And none were made. And to this day, you know, you know, we have not been told why weren't able to see
him. And remember, what's important to this was a man that was there for 11 days, this was not someone that you know, was there for an extended period of time was not someone that did not have a family support. So the man had everything for him and from a family perspective, what the system didn't allow that and people should be alarmed, you know, whether audiences are listening within the scope within Canada or also outside of Canada is like, we usually pride ourselves within the system. And you know, and and, you know, Canadians generally Canadians at large needs to be alarmed because
this happened to cinnamon it also happened to others as well. But what makes a man story, you know, also unique is that, in some ways is that he was temporarily in custody. He was never supposed to be there to begin with Bona right? This is pretty much accidental that he Yeah, yeah, he was supposed to be at a hospital. Yeah. So now I want to relive this moment with you. I know it's not a pleasant one. But so he's there for 11 days. You guys are in constant trying to get in contact with him. It's not going your way. What is the
you know, how do you hear from the prison or what what are you told to let you know that something happened? So the night
it's it's scary how I remember this night in detail because it was it was the most difficult night of my life. I remember. It was Thursday night, December 15.
I was in my room upstairs. My mom and that were downstairs. My two brothers were out.
And my nephews and nieces were on the house. I was around eight or nine o'clock.
And two police officers to Durham police officers
knocked on my family's door. And they informed my my father that's really mad had passed away.
I was not there at that moment because I was in my room my sister runs upstairs
barges in my door and sister Lehman's that and I come down stairs.
And I saw the scariest thing in my life is that my mom is a very, very strong woman she's she's, she's the rock of my family. And I saw her pacing, I saw her pacing and talking to herself saying my beautiful son is gone. My beautiful son is gone. My beautiful silly man is gone and saying this and in Farsi
I often try not to think about this because it's, it was a very young
It was a very scary thing to see. Because
I've never seen my aunt for obvious reasons. I've never seen my family in such level of
distraught, you know, difficulty and especially my mother and like literally walking back and forth in the kitchen.
And that was COVID. Uh, you know, Boehner, literally,
the most information we had for about eight months. Wait, so
they told you he passed away but they didn't tell you how or not we were told his son a man passed away after guards entered his cell. That was it was very vague. And that was it. So for eight months, literally no information. Thankfully, we, we as a family made a proactive decision, an important decision we hired you know, a lawyer, you know, in Toronto, Ontario named another Hassan. And you know, someone who's, you know, who's an incredibly incredible human being and he in an even better like, lawyer, he's he's an amazing person. And, you know, he was there like advocating with us, him and another lawyer by the name of Edward Morocco. But my lawyers, you know, had to fight
tooth and nail for information. So they told you that there was an incident where the guards had come into the cell, yes, then they didn't disclose anything after that there was in terms of the details, the real details came out, I believe, in June 2017. When the coroner's report the corner that are very important in a fulsome investigation, and in this investigation, the corner highlighted.
Some of the facts that you and I have previously spoke is that in the coroner's report, at the time of Solomon's Solomon's death, both his legs and his hands were tied, he was pepper sprayed twice.
He had a split hood, multiple guards were involved.
And there was 50 bruises on his body. A significant number of these bruises and the corner termed and medically as blunt impact trauma.
Those were the last few minutes of a man's life.
I don't think about those things often.
Because if I do, a part of me is eaten away, a part of me is already gone. But
the violence that he endured,
no human being deserves tender that especially a man who needed help,
who was we say in Arabic miskeen more soon, you know.
But I have hope. I always have hope. And in
my Creator, in our knees hamdulillah we've had amazing people helping us, you know, across this country across Canada, you know, both Muslims and non Muslims that have come to support us because of seeing this injustice.
But the personal pain that my family has gone through,
it's it's difficult, but our pain pales in comparison to the pain of Salamat. And my pain person pales in comparison to the pain of my mother. You know?
And you have to ask yourself a question is
what possesses any individual to apply force to a mentally ill man? When they're literally defenses they often call this Boehner this situation as an altercation with the guards. I don't know if anybody will call this an altercation with your legs when you're tied up. These are facts when I just started taking it. This is not an opinion, bone of the 50 bruises the legs being had the hands being tight, and he's being in segregated and pepper spray toys. This is all from the coroner's report. Did you immediately suspect foul play like did you do you guys get a chance to watch his body sobota
you know when we watched when I so that's another story that I'd like to share is that like when we join the janazah
There was bruises throughout his entire body. There's a huge gash in his forehead, in his torso, everything. And when I was try to wash his body, I ended up
end up fainting twice. So they took me out of the room.
We saw his bodyboarder. And
there was so much bruises everywhere, throughout it. That, you know, we had more questions than answers to this. They were more questions than answers and about the 50 bruises. I'd like to highlight two.
Not one of these 50 bruises was inflicted by Solomon. All were inflicted by the guards.
Just out of curiosity, how can you be sure of that? Like, just maybe people might be questioning? That's what the coroner said. So the coroner's coroner's report. This is not coming from us.
It's not coming from us. Yeah. So once you see his body,
is there an official? I'm asking because I'm also not really, I'm not really sure of the process. But is there an autopsy? That's done immediately? Like, is it instantly that you're able to kind of quantify how he died. So basically,
that report, as I alluded to, that took eight months. That's what gave us all these facts. We were not able to be told how he died. And until that the coroner's report in that coroner's report highlighted gave us cause of death as unascertained. which effectively means my understanding is that
they don't know what led led to the physical blow, like the ways in which blues that fatal blow and so which brings us to our other point, Boehner, I don't know if you're gonna ask but the police that also their investigation, right. And
they argue that we can't press like, you know, we're not, you know, there's no grounds for charges, we don't know the cause of death. So in a way, that kind of vague, coroner's report or that vague conclusion they came to, is a loophole for the police to then not really do much, because if they don't have a real cause of death, and they don't suspect foul play, there's no need for them to investigate. You know, what's important about that is like,
cinnamon just didn't roll over and die. The 50 bruises are compelling there enough for that bear, you know, a bare minimum as my lawyer articulate that's for assault, bare minimum assault. And, you know, the police making that, you know, the idea that like, Oh, we can press charges, because it's, it's the cause of death is unascertained, frankly, is inexcusable. It's inexcusable. The corner, you know, did their important work. They highlighted the compelling evidence. You know, I don't know what anyone else would say born if you do this, someone on the street, what would happen? If I go do this to you on the street? And I have 50, bruises, 50 bruises? What do you think will happen? will
know, but I think it's also very troubling that your brother is obviously a person of color. He has a Muslim name, he's also visibly Muslim. Right? Maybe people haven't seen pictures of him. But you know, he had a big beard. He was a person who looked like a Muslim.
I almost feel like and and that town, by the way, for people that aren't, aren't aware of this. The geography we're talking about is a very small white town. Lindsay, Ontario is like, it's not Toronto. It's not the diverse cultures. We're used to here. It's a very segregated kind of white community community that may not have been necessarily sympathetic to someone of his, you know, situation, am I am I correct in saying that my perspective on that is that Sulayman deserve better, Bona.
My perspective on that is that Solomon
needed help. And instead, they gave him fists and coughs You know, he needed a better than the doctor did not treat him with a way like, you know, someone who has a mental illness should be treated with respect and decency, Bona, but the whole way how my family's been treated. You know, here's a Canadian man who gets killed under government care. And the families still waiting for answers. that's problematic. that's problematic. And was there immediately because your family did the right thing, hiring a lawyer, you know, on your end, working the system. And I think it's important to note that you're a savvy person, like you are not the average Joe on the streets who,
you know, some immigrant family this might happen to you know, they don't know the language, they are not able to articulate what's happening to their family. You're a very savvy person. So the fact that you're able to navigate the system you understand and know the system
makes this much more interesting because you were immediately able to put a lot of pressure onto the system.
My background in being that I have a BA in political science, Bona I am, you know, for me I am. Because I, you know, I've studied this field, you know, I,
I felt like, you know, I needed to get a lawyer. I mean, that's that that was important. You know, and hamdulillah we have a very competent and very talented team of lawyers. But I always see myself Bona as just just another brother, because
the only thing I'm confident myself is I'm a fighter, you know, I,
the person that was special was silly, man, I just, but what I want to be clear for everybody as well to know is that like, I'm not doing this just for silly man, I'm doing this doing this for the voiceless. There's people across this country, and across the world, actually, that are that deserve better, that are suffering from mental illness. And oftentimes, they're just given to their families and bodybags. And I want to honor Suleyman in these other individuals that have suffered, you know,
by fighting, I want to honor them, their stories to be heard. So we don't have another story like this. Right? You know, what's interesting to me is that your story very much reminds me of Emmett Till I familiar with the story of the tragedy of Emmett Till tragedy, Emmett Till he was a young African American boy in the US in the south, in the US, and he was killed, essentially lynched or he was like a, you know, kind of attack gang attack by this, you know, group of white men who, you know, assumed that he had made some kind of pass at a white woman, many years later, by the way, before she died, the woman recanted her story and said, Actually, he didn't pass it me at all. Yes.
But one thing that Emmett Till's mother did, which was very interesting, is that, because he was very, very badly beaten, and, you know, was almost unrecognizable, she had an open casket funeral for him. And when people asked her, you know, why, why would you do that? Why would you, you know, show people that she said, I want people to see this, so that they understand what we're living with. And so his picture was put on the front page of major newspapers across America. And many people say, that was kind of the spark of, you know, what he called the civil rights movement, or it was, it was something that really got the resonated resonated with people. Because when people
actually had an idea of what happened to this young boy, you know, it brought that issue so much closer to them. Why say this about you and your family is that, you know,
your ability to navigate the system and speak about your brother's case was so much passion. It almost feels like, you know, it's not to say you were chosen for this, but alas, pantallas is wise, right and Lost Planet, Allah knows why things happen. But, you know, I feel like perhaps, you know, you being in the situation, it will be a catalyst for other families, for other people, to not have to go through something similar, that people will have an advocate like yourself, who's not just looking out for your brother's case, as you mentioned, but really trying to advocate for people who are in that circumstance. But going back to your brother's case, once the eight months passed, and
you were given this coroner's report, what were the steps then after that, how did that work? So you'd found out that, you know, 50, bruises, they didn't have a definite cause of death. But what were the steps after that, that your family took so we were told by the police that they would make a decision with respect to the case with respect to the investigation, whether they'll press criminal charges or not. And a couple months later, their investigation took almost a year and a year, a year, and that's the police in that local town, Dakota lakes Police Service investigating the Lindsay jail. So the local police investigating the local jail, and
they ended up
taking almost 11 months, almost a year. And they sent an email to our lawyers not even a meeting but an email to our lawyer saying there's no grounds for charges. There are no grounds for charges. And did they tell you what their investigation looked like? Did they know? So? So that's and that's that's the other important point here. Is that like the, my lawyer asked him what we need to see the police report. And what ended up happening was they said, Well, go apply to a Freedom of Information request, really for the police report. So my lawyers did that. And
we did they applied for this report and the report that encompasses what they did for that for that 11 months. And the couple weeks later, after they apply for the report, they were denied access to the police report. So the ply told them to apply and then they were denied one yeah, by the police report, and it was only
after getting the there's an organ of government called the Information Privacy Commissioner that my lawyers got involved in. Did we get partial access to the police force?
We got partial access to the police report where we saw some of the work that they did. Okay, right. But this now just imagine this, like you have a loved one that's been dead more than a year, in this violence circumstance, you know, that certain compelling facts, and you stole, you know, family still has to fight to get this information, like this lack of transparency is quite astounding, actually. And we only after we got the Information Privacy Commissioner involved, did we get partial access to the police report? And what did that partial access look like? You know,
when we saw in that report, so the man suffered a lot.
they mocked Him, they humiliated him.
There's certain things Boerner that I saw in that report that
I try not to talk about to honor him
in a horrible time in those 11 days.
The brother that I knew,
for most of my life is the brother that I want to keep in my imagination, those 11 days.
Those 11 days
was a horrible into his life.
And I try not to think about those details of those 11 days, because,
you know, Solomon had his dignity has had his humble pride, you know, if if you know what I mean, had his intelligence had his beauty.
And all that was taken away from him.
His health wasn't good. From my understanding that report it just it was horrible. So they actually interviewed guards, then did they interview any prisoners? Any for like people that were locked up there? And my understanding, they interviewed guards, prisoners, other like, support staff. Okay. Yeah. But the problem in itself, bone is why does the family keep having to fight to get this information. But what's also important is
for the audience to know, just recently, about eight months ago, an eyewitness came forward, okay. And eyewitness that came forward that was across to the man saw the saw everything.
The police never really spoke with this fella. So how do you this is very important, because he's across the cell. I asked, the question is, how do you close the case without speaking to the eyewitness, so he came forward on his own, he came forward on zero on his own the fifth state did an investigation, investigation, CBC with a status show, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that does Canada's equivalent of 60 minutes. Yeah, you know, that that investigation piece, and this fellow came out and recanted of what he saw.
You know, he recanted of what he saw. And he saw, you know, what happened to Superman, and was as a result of this, this eyewitness, this fellow, Mr. JOHN table, that there's now a new police investigation. So he initially said he hadn't seen anything or we mean, that's been my understanding. That's what my understanding is from the 50. State piece. But the thing is Boehner,
if someone is across the cell and sees everything, would you not think it's in your best? It's in the best interest of the case to talk to this fella to get information to understand what happened? Well, maybe also he maybe he knew better than to say something. Yeah. That seems more plausible that he said that as well. He said that as well. Would you not want to follow up with him? You know, I agree with what you're saying. Yeah. I mean, in the sense that in that moment, he might have felt like his life was also in danger. If he had just seen, you know, what had happened to another prisoner. It's probably why he waited because he got released, I'm assuming, and eventually, then
was able to kind of speak more free. Yeah. But then my question to you now? Well, and I think it's a very fair point. Question is, would it not be in the best interest to go and follow up with this fellow? Well, it's sad that CBC had to do the groundwork that we rely on, instead of the government institutions doing their own dirty work, news, and journalists are the ones kind of cracking cases on their behalf. It's important, the CBC did great work and even the coroner's office, you know, in their fulsome report, they that, you know, they that's the organ of government at the very decent, you know, that's, you know, decent to my family, you know, in terms of the the work that they they
want to give a very comprehensive report. But the other thing that we should also, you know, keep in mind and understand is that the guards that were involved in Solomon's death from a ministry's internal investigation, they were fired. Oh, they were fired. two guards were fired. Yes. And there were still no charges pressed against them. So that investigation, I believe, was after when there was no charges pressed. Okay, so now the case the Ontario Provincial Police, which is the organ of government
Do the or the police, the provincial level of police that has carried over the case now?
That is now, you know, doing a second. So it's gone up the ranks as opposed to the municipal police. The local police can also that is kind of strange that the local police are investigating basically another local police body, the Yeah, the well, a local institution and the police, right, but now you have the Provincial Police investigating the Lindsay jail, you know, the guards. So that's where the case is at now. But it took took more than two years to get where we are now we're approaching the three year anniversary. And what did this inmate the one who's across the site, what did he say? What did he come forward with? in that? My understanding is one of it when I saw the the the piece
and the CBC is that,
one of his quotes was the viciously beat him to death.
You know, one thing he said, is that Solomonic one time try to get up a couple times, and the only area he could run to is to the wall.
did not have any cameras or anything. My understanding is that there's a camera. I've seen a man being walked across the hill into across the hall into a cell.
I have not seen that family. My family has not seen that. That camera, but there's there's no footage of the cell itself. But why haven't you have acid? Why haven't you had access to that footage? To be honest with you Boehner? Like, you know,
I, that photo, you know, for me to see Solomon in that area? It's very difficult. No, no, I I'm saying I'm not that you'd want to see I'm saying that your family lawyers, for example, if they had access to that footage, my family lawyers with respect to that footage they know of that video.
But right now, what we're hoping to do is what we're hoping to see is for the, for the guards to be held accountable for them to be charged. They have to be charged not just for Suleyman not just for people in this province. But for Canadians at large, this case is important in that this could have literally happened to anyone Bona
and the violent end of his life is unacceptable. He was not the custodian of the state.
But also the fact that
there seems like there is really no accountability by the you know, the the people who are the jail staff, but what about the police and their negligence of actually taking care of the case? The police that have come up with inconclusive results based on very overwhelming evidence. I mean, this man had 50 bruises, you know, gash on his head, clearly, like you said, you know, he didn't just fall onto the wall. What about the police? Are they or could they be held liable for their, you know, their own kind of
lack of of taking a serious my question to the court, the lakes police services? Why weren't charges pressed? Yeah, I challenged them to answer me that question. You know, but for me, I'm focusing on the future ahead, Bona, I'm happy that the case is with the Ontario Provincial Police. I'm happy that we have a second investigation. And, you know, I'm, I believe it's important for the word that you just articulated accountability for us to have that.
Because if we don't have accountability,
that effectively means that this is okay. That this is all right to do. Two things that have been absent in this case has been accountability and transparency, which more often than not,
is quite happens quite often. In other cases as well, with no accountability, no transparency. I'm assuming, especially in cases like this, when people are killed in prison.
I asked you a question. well know, when's the last time you know, of a guard being charged? Yeah. You could count with your fingers. Right, you know, of guards being charged. And these are we also have to remember, these are taxpayer funded individual. They work for us, right. We we, you know, citizens of this province in this country. We are, you know, we are taxpayers that fund these guards, right. This is very important. They work for us. What was the response to what has been the response from the Muslim community? I know, obviously, there have been advocates outside the Muslim community, we've kind of come to the aid of your family, internally within the Muslim community
within the Afghan community within you know, your local kind of world here. What has that support look like? You know, I'll be honest.
I'm very grateful to my community, to the to the, to the to the Muslim community and to my to my fellow Canadians, you know,
Canadians at large, there's been a lot of support with respect to the micro part.
The Muslim community, you know,
there's some incredible leaders in our community that have come to support my family.
But when it comes to this, what mental illness,
you know, there's, there's a great organization called the CEA that's done some work on mental illness, that are literally being the pioneers, but I think as a community where we're behind other communities within Canada, and you know, we have to fight long and hard to get the attention, you know, of the Muslim community, but hamdulillah the community is behind us, the community is rooting for us and Canadians at large, you know, outside of the Muslim community have, have really, you know, come in droves in terms of their support, because when they hear about Solomon's story, they can picture this happening to their loved one. And, you know, when I've traveled across the nation,
you know, I've had families telling me, what can we do to help, or families telling me about their own personal story, and that inspires me to continue.
So tell me about that work, because you have been traveling and you become a public speaker, you know, based off the back of this, you know, people are inviting you not to come to their cities and and talk about your brother's legacy. What has that journey been? Like? How did that take place? You know,
I always say to people that I've become the accidental, activist, or advocate, I, I never envisioned this kind of a life, I
always say to people, I'm a very simple man, I, I have my, you know, to be honest, to bring us back to Earth, you know, my simple pleasures, I'm a big European football fan, you know, I, you know, I want to just have a family and do what I needed to do.
But this is something I see as, like fighting for justice. You know, in a country that I, you know, I believe in the people in the country, you know, and I, and as, as you know, as I've traveled across the country, what I've noticed is I've made incredible allies and friends from different walks of life, different perspectives.
But every talk I give Bona is painful. Every talk I give reminds me of Solomon, a lawyer how most painful death. But every talk I give, leads me closer of getting more therapy, like gives me closer to hearing a bit more in the sense that, you know, talking about him, about this tragedy is that like, he's right beside me, he's whispering to me use of keep going.
you know, as
I, you know, when I think of the beginning,
I sometimes question of hope, you know, I did not know where this,
this was going to where this was going to go, I had no idea. And then there was some incredible people in the community that, you know, if they're listening, God bless their soul, they've, they've,
they came and they guided me, they became my mentors, you know, that have taught me both Muslims and non Muslims that told me how to go about this. And if it wasn't for these, you know, handful of individuals, we wouldn't be here today, you know, I owe to them, you know, and I am here today, because, you know,
these individuals believed in me, they believed in sharing Solomon's story, and ultimately, their hope, you know, for something better for a better society, that one day can be envisioned, you know, you know, as a public speaker, I don't know, if I would call myself a public speaker, I give these talks, I just, you know, say to myself, you have a duty and obligation use of you don't choose this, you have to do it. Because
Don't forget, that not everybody has a tongue. Don't forget that nobody, not everybody's hard, you know, is allowed to be free, you know, in the sense that they have so much other tragedies, here I am, you know, I'm a male, you know, man in my 30s, that, you know, I have an opportunity to speak, you know, and there's other people that don't have this privilege. So I, I also accept that. Yeah, right. You know,
and at the same time,
I truly believe in my heart and also in my conviction that what we're doing what we've embarked in with the justice for solely movement, it has, it's going to leave a legacy to honestly man and also, more importantly, that his legacy will find a way to reform the system in a way that the system will take people with mental illness seriously, will treat people with mental illness seriously, because at the end of the day, that's what the end goal is born as a man a lawyer has gone, you know,
but we're here, and we have to ask yourself a question is, what are you going to do about the situation you have two options.
You accept it, and go on with your life, or you rise to the occasion. And in your humble way
you speak to it. And in your humble way, you try to, in a small way inspire people. And if you can inspire people know that these people are inspired, not by you, but by the circumstances of this horrible injustice. You know, it's always important, as we say, in Arabic clause to remain sincere.
This movement has taken a lot from me as well, personally, you know, my own, I like to share the certain my own marriage collapsed, you know, because I think it's important to share this with the audience, because, you know,
there's been a lot of learning for myself as well, right. You know, sometimes these difficulties come because you're tested. And, you know, it didn't come without a price foreigner. You know?
How's your rest of your family? Taking it? I mean, I know, you have, like you mentioned, you know, younger nephews and nieces and your sisters and brothers and your parents, how have they adjusted to life? You know, in this campaign? Are they involved? What What is? How does that look, you know, my family is involved in this campaign to a certain extent, in the sense that, you know, when we have vigils, and sometimes some of the talks my siblings come, but by and large, you know, as a family, I've,
I've let my family grief
in the best way they can.
Because, you know, they deserve that.
Especially my mom and dad, things have been difficult if in terms of like, their reaction to how they felt like, I'll give you an example. My,
my father often, you know, cries himself to sleep. My mom always, you know, more often than not asked me use of what happened to my son, are these guards going to be charged? I mean, and I, I'm often, you know,
I often give my mom the same response, Mom, we've got to wait. But then I turn the question is like, like, is that really a good enough answer you give to the mother, to the mother of, you know, of the person who buried their child. You know, like, you know, she buried her child, you know, and that's all I can give my mom sometimes it's shameful for me, I feel ashamed telling her that my sister barely goes to see my brother's grave because she's traumatized. You know, my two nephews, and tonight nieces, you know,
one of the nephews Musa, my son, a man, a lawyer Hamill named him. And, you know, I always whenever I say mooses name, I'm always reminded of Solomon because,
you know, he was his favorite. And, but my niece fought them always an Abraham, the two oldest one,
Abraham and forth will always ask about Solomon.
And when I take them to the grave, you know, they make to offer him too, but,
you know, I, you know, I get paid from them in the sense that, like, you know, there's not going to be any milestones for us to celebrate with them. They love them a lot. And he would spend a lot of time with his nephews and nieces. He actually spent more time with my nephews and nieces than any of my other siblings. So you left a legacy for them. And so they still remember him. They remember quite vividly actually
told her that if you don't mind me, ask Fatima. Yeah, Ibrahim is nine fatmus. Six Musa
Musa. It just turned five, and hydrolyzed three. So this only happened three years ago. So yes, barely three years ago. Yeah. Yeah. They know quite well, especially Moosa, especially for two men. Hi, Annie Brahim. You know, and how do you even explain that to them? I mean, that's such a Yeah, you know, it's, it's, you know, I know, one day, they'll see the details, but sometimes,
you know, I, I send some of the interviews that I give to my family. And they watch it. No, they say Mama Mama, which means uncle in my, in Farsi, it's like, oh, you went to Winnipeg, you went to Montreal, we saw you here. And,
you know, so they see some of these snippets and oftentimes in these interviews, you know, they see me in tears and, you know, I feel like you know, them seeing these things like it, it, it has traumatize them as well.
So, how do you take care of yourself? I mean, obviously, this is a very emotionally draining journey you've been on and I can only assume, just hearing you and I've obviously spoken to you about this in the past, but hearing your zeal for this case, and the fact that you're always pushing forward and you're you know, making contacts constantly networking, trying to, you know, work whatever angle you can, like, How do you stay afloat, you know, Bona his brothers like yourself, that, you know, I need to learn more from in terms of like that balance. I
I, I'll be honest with you, I will give myself
a failing grade in terms of like, doing that balance, I haven't really done a good job about, I'm getting better at it, you know, I go to the gym, I go to the gym, you know, a few days a week, you know, I, you know, I, you know, worship, you know, my spiritual I pray I do my prayers.
But sometimes Boehner we, we subconsciously make the mistake of situations like this consuming us of not really not being able to really differentiate between personal versus private life. Right. And so
I often find myself sometimes where I just turn off the social media, and just not deal with it for like, you know, a day like, you know, for like, a few hours because, like, it's just too much. No, but I mean, a few hours even, that's not really a break. No, it's not a break, you know, and to be honest with you, I actually haven't taken much of a break, the only break I took in the last three years actually was when I went overseas, just this past summer, I haven't really taken much of a break and all my friends, you know, my confidence and close people to me that said, use of you need to, you need to take a break, you know, but sometimes my response is, you know, do I have a time to
take a break? Right, I know, it sucks, because obviously, you know, you're leading the campaign. So there's a lot kind of that's resting on your shoulders, you need to constantly be making decisions on the campaign's behalf. But like, as a brother, as well, and I think I've told this to you, and I'm just saying it, because I'm sure there are many people who can relate. Sometimes we are so whether it's down, whether it's you know, we're so caught up in things. But you know, you are, you are a human being, you know, you're you're, you're only made of flesh and bones, you know, eventually, that type of wear and tear takes its toll on people. So, you know, I wish there was more
support for you. So that you didn't feel like you had to do so much. I wish there were more people in our community or more resources that we could pour into your campaign into your work, so that you didn't feel like there was so much pressure on you, because I know, you feel like, you know, a lot is resting on you, obviously, because you're you know that you've kind of taken the face of this campaign. You know, it's it's a good point, Bona there is
there's certain individuals in this community that are doing the work of 1000s of people, you know, and if it wasn't even for these few that have been there for me, oh, we have some amazing people in our community. I just wish more people, you know, can can do some of this work. If it wasn't for them, I actually wouldn't even be here today, you know, but at the same time, I asked myself a question his use of if you don't, who else will? Right is that and use Have you been given an opportunity.
Rise to it, take it,
you're doing something, you're attempting to do something decent, and ensure lots accepted and you do it in a sincere way. You know, and there is some amazing people in our community that I've that have, you know, come to help me but you know what I'm grateful for them. And you know, it's a community that I think we're still in flux, and I think many years down the road, I think another 10 years, we will get better at mental illness. But I also believe the reason I'm putting this much effort and time, and Mike and I have a team as well, Bona behind me is that
we are at a crossroads as a community to be able to deal with our mental illness situation. You know, and this is very important as a community, we have no choice but to get better, we have no choice but to, you know, to improve and be able to, you know, support loved ones that have had mental illness because more often than not, by stigmatizing them, we create even an extra layer to these, to these individuals that ultimately are left lurching on the street, and they need the support. It's our job as a community, it's not a question of we should, or could we, it's we have to.
In the process, Adam said that our last path, our only test the people that he loves,
you know, I mean, if you can take comfort in anything, you know, hopefully insha Allah, this is a sign from Allah subhanaw taala you know, your brother's unfortunate circumstances, you know, where we asked him to make him a Shahid You know, he was killed in just with without justice without due process and cause and he was killed at the hands of people who have not been held accountable. So you know, hopefully, las panatela will accept them as a Shahid and you yourself tirelessly going out and advocating on his behalf. You know, I hope this is a sign that a las panatela You know, he loves you because he's testing you in this way. I mean, because the only test the people that he loves, I
mean, and I said this in the beginning that I don't think most people would be able to carry this burden. I don't think most people would rise to the occasion. And you know, in many ways your story and of course, it hasn't finished yet. I'm not ending a chapter for you. It's almost like a hero's journey. If you're familiar with I'm a storyteller. I'm a filmmaker. So this is a typical arc you see in stories, where the hero character is never the one who chooses their destiny is never the one who someone says I want to become a hero, right? It's one of those things that it's the circumstance that leads him to that, that understanding and you've come to that understanding and full circle
This is not one of those things that you necessarily had a choice in, it was like, you're equipped, you have the ability, you know, you're and I think and I've said this to you before that you are, it was a blessing and a curse for your family to go through this. But I think that you being as savvy as you are understanding the system, being it being able to become that advocate, was like, the worst thing that ever happened to those people to those, you know, the the, the prison officials or the you know, the people who didn't press charges the police officers, because they've made a really bad enemy. You know, it's not like those people in our communities who just bow down to pressure and
we don't ask questions, you know, you've really put a lot of pressure on them. And I hope and I pray and shot law that Allah allows us to be you know, a major asset for you on the Day of Judgment are made that you know, you're able to see the the benefit of all the vulnerability able to prevent all the oppression, all the harm coming to people innocently that you've been able to kind of circumvent and navigate around in Sharla, for a few people come in the future. But I don't want to end on a on a sad note, I want to end on a positive note, because this is really, although we were talking about your brother's death, we still you know, we should celebrate his life. Because he lived a beautiful
life, even though it was struck with tragedy. He himself was a person who obviously left a very important, you know, he left very important legacy in your life and in your family's life. What would you want people to know about your brother, if they could meet this person who, you know, was maybe deemed as dangerous or However, those police officers or people viewed him? What would you want people to know about your brother. And also a man can be remembered for a lot of things. But there's a few that always stand out and remain have remained a trademark of him. And that was his devotion to his family.
His humility and appreciating the simple things in life,
his constant thirst and zealousness for knowledge.
And ultimately, his appreciation of life.
So the man was, did not have much Boehner, but
he was very generous with what he could give. And, you know, when I look, when I look at him, and I look at his life, that smile, he would always make jokes with me said use of because sometimes, I would be the grumpy brother. And we'd all be smiling. So you know, it's so not the sponsor out here, Solomon, no, and he would
he, he said, Just smile use of, you know, I saw that and I said, I don't want I don't want to hear this right off Solomon, like, you know, it's something as you're coming off to work, and I am I look at that now.
You know, and
I see like, Hamdulillah, you know, things like that, that I remember, you know, and that, that I always want people to remember him, like, his knowledge,
his ability to be able to, you know, devote his life to his family, and his faith, and his generosity, you know, and I want to take these aspects of cinnamon and apply it to anyone else who is suffering from mental illness because anyone who is suffering from mental illness, they have these, they have these gifts and much more. Right, and we have to celebrate these gifts. You know, we have to celebrate these parts of people with mental illness that have so many these gifts, we've got to stop, you know, you know, giving them a black mark, we have to stop letting the illness define them. You know, and unfortunately, we as a society are behind as a community, you know, we
have to take leadership from other communities when it comes to mental illness. You know, and a very important fact is mental illness is higher among country among people that come from war torn countries. Yeah. So the numbers are higher amongst Somalis Afghanis, serious Iraqis, right. And so it's even more reason for us to work hard with mental illness and the CEA, for example is a great organization does that, but we need to do more. And, inshallah loss of a man's life. You know, we'll remember what I just told you, but also, you know,
we can make a reform in the system, you know, and, you know, Bona, this movement, there's 15 of us, we have lots of work that we've done, we give the speaking tours, we have a petition.
we have a petition, we have speaking tours, we have research papers that we've done already. We have a social media following. There's a lot of work and what's incredible, and this is also sitting as legacy. The members of the team come from all diverse perspectives, you know, and there's about 15 hours, and we have different occupational backgrounds and demographic backgrounds. And, and that speaks volumes for Sunni man was, you know, well, I mean, the fact that I came out of the blue, and I reached out to you, and you know, that tells you that you know, even though I was on the outside
I didn't really have any connection with you. But you know, there are a lot of people like me who feel connected to you, even though we're not, you know, we may not be from your specific community, but you know, you are brother and so the man was our brother. So if this happens to a person within our family, we should have the same zeal we should be as just as enthusiastic about you know, about helping that situation. But you mentioned all these different things. You mentioned, you have the petition, you mentioned the campaign, how can people actually support you now? Now's the the nitty gritty, if people want to actually support your brother's cause in case what can they do to help?
You know, if people are, you know, we're still raising about $50,000 to cover a legal, immense amount of legal work? That's obviously not a work, you know, and, you know, we have a large group that you could put on the plan. Yeah, what's the difference? Is it just a launch good slash something? Yeah, I'll send it to you illogical slash justice for Sally, just to make sure we put on the screen donate to our campaign, because we're still trying to raise funds for that they can sign our petition, if anybody's watching this listening, want to feel free to share my contact with them? You know, we're still looking for volunteers, you know, we were looking for two hours of, you know,
commitment. I have a campaign had. And so we've done interviews with all media in Canada, we're also been we've done interviews with Al Jazeera as well, so. So that's another way people can help us. And ultimately, the other way someone can help us is, you know, besides following our social media is keeping us in there it was keeping me my family's funnyman was this, this, this is a very, you know, hamdulillah for this test, but it's, you know, pray that Allah keeps us close, sincere, and you know, and they were able to continue this fight. May Allah subhanaw taala you know, bless your brother with the highest levels of genital for those who accept Him as Shahid may have lost power to
allow this work that you're doing to be heavy on your scale of good deeds that all the the hate and time and effort and blood sweat and tears that you've been putting in that it's a means of sincere change, that the people around us are able to benefit because of this legacy that you and your family have left behind. So we have a lot of fans that accepted from you. And I really do ask and requests you know, brothers or sisters that are watching this or listening to this to contribute something
whether it be you know, sharing the link whether it be getting involved people can invite you to their local communities you're stalking yeah yeah you've spoken in MSA universities massage it as well yeah massage at some massages we started last school tour You know, we've we've spoken at you know community centers across the nation Vancouver Montreal, Ottawa Kingston so people should look out the facts Yeah, people should if you're in community that you know and I've seen this presentation as well I've actually attended and i've you know heard this case you know, repeatedly and his passion for it and I think as as as Muslims specifically you know, we have a duty to to
really you know, get behind this campaign and this should be justice for our brother and his son the least that we can do you know, everyone can do their part not everyone has to you know, become a lawyer on and go to the courts or whatever but everyone can do something right everyone has a role to play. So May Allah subhanaw taala you know, accept it from from you and from all the people that have been working behind the scenes and MLS wanted to make things easy for you and your family. And and I definitely I keep you guys in mind too, I mean, and I said Allah, Allah you know, keep your family steadfast upon Deen and good health and strength inshallah to at this time, and I appreciate
you giving me your time. I know we we scheduled this we scheduled this a few times. And and I know that I kept backing or we kept having scheduling issues. It's my fault. Yeah, no, no, not mine. It wasn't your fault. It was it was mutually we just you know, scheduling didn't work out but I'm happy we're able to do it today. So let's take a look at it for coming today. And for sharing your story with us and I know it's difficult to recount over and over again. But I want people to hear about this Absolutely. And I it's important that we don't like I said the beginning we don't push this under the rug and turn this into something that you know, people just forget about over time. Yeah,
and if for the audience listening if if if anyone if there's anything I can do to support any family member that you have, know that I'm with you just call me or reach out to Brother Boehner I'm happy to support you know,
if there's anything I can advise or assist you know, any audience has a loved one suffering please let know that I'm here with you. inshallah. I'll put all the information all the details in the description of the video as well. You can find out more information just do my social media and we'll make sure you check out there's a website as well yes, Justice for solid.com justice, Facebook as well justice for solid justice and Instagram so make sure inshallah you connect with them as I can look at for your time. Thank you very much for watching and listening for this, you know, it was a bit longer than usual, but I think it was important for us to get this all out. But thank you very
much for tuning in. inshallah, we'll see you again next time. Aloha, Santa Monica, Li e or Barakatuh