NEVER DOUBT ME

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Chapter 8


"As salaamu alaikum," Khan greeted Sheik Muhammad al Shami Barawi as he sat meditating in a secluded garden on Tamana Island in the Pacific.

"Wa laikum as salaam, my dear brother," replied the kneeling figure, in an all-white one-piece garment. His skin was as black as a starless night. He was so black you couldn't tell where the hairline of his short woolly afro began. The whites of his eyes shone bright, like pearls, behind two black irises that could pierce your very soul. They were comforting and peaceful. Pure reflections of his nature.

"I'm sorry to disturb you, but I knew you wanted to be informed right away."

Allah has answered our prayers. Mr. Greene's progress is improving. The swelling is subsiding and his temperature has dropped to normal levels. Dr. Osaka believes it is a miracle," Khan replied, kneeling in front of Barawi respectfully.

"All praise is due to Allah. I must commend you, Khan. You never lost faith. It seems that it is the will of Allah that we are able to proceed as planned."

"Allah is surely the best of planners, Sheik," he replied, slightly bowing his head.

"When do you project moving on to the next stage?"

"If Allah wills, he has several more surgeries in the next couple of days. Then a week later, I shall attempt to speak with him."

"Allah willing," Barawi replied.

"I have more news, Sheik," Khan continued.

"Yes, I sensed something heavy in your voice. What happened?"

"Several bombs were detonated in a crowded subway station in Washington, D.C. Early estimates are twenty-two hundred dead or missing and hundreds injured."

"Masha Allah. May Allah have mercy on any of our brothers and sisters killed in the attack. GSF?" he asked.

"Yes, we believe so. An unknown individual addressed the American people, claiming the attack."

"What was the American response?"

"Matched aggression," Khan replied.

"There will be blood," Barawi replied, solemnly. "Do we have any further information on him or this group?" he calmly asked, moving dhikr beads slowly through his fingers.

"No," Khan responded with regret. "To make matters worse, we believe that our one lead, Alejandro Hernandez, has been murdered. They stay one step ahead of us at every turn."

"Yes, it seems so. But I believe that they will now kill Okunun. They only allowed him to live this long to expose and place the United States in a politically vulnerable position. Unfortunately for him, his usefulness has more than likely come to an end. God willing, keep a full surveillance team on him, around the clock. When they kill him, track the assassin."

"Allah willing," said Khan, nodding in approval.

"How are the children?" asked Barawi.

Khan's facial features and demeanor brightened. "They are incredible. True gifts from Allah. They learn so quickly. I believe they are ready for phase four of their training."

"All praise due to Allah. May He reward you with good."

"And you, my dear Sheik."

"Please keep me informed of any new developments. As salaamu alaika."

"Wa alaika as salaam," Khan returned.

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