Shara (former Muslim)
Testimony of Leaving Islam
I’m not too sure where the best place is to start, but as with all things, starting at the beginning would be best, so that’s what I will do. My father, who is Moroccan, came over to England in the early 70’s, he applied on a student visa at the time, and immigration was a good thing rather than what it has become today. He wasn’t a strict Muslim at the time, he was quite a rebel. He met my mother, who was English not long after he came over. And after seeing her a few times, decided to marry her.
She was 16 when she married my father, still not aware of Muslims and the truth. After about a year of marriage, my sister was born, things were not good between my parents, he was violent and would lash out at my mother quite often, and most of the times over silly things like too much salt in the food, etc. He was obviously trying to push her into being a good Muslim woman, and her loving him meant that she stayed and gave birth to me 2 years after my sister, and then giving birth to my younger sister another 4 years later. For a Muslim man, the fact that my mother had only given birth to 3 girls made him really angry. He beat my mother very badly, she was hospitalised and the doctors were forced to remove her womb from where he had beaten her so badly. It was the only way to save her life. When she awoke, my father was kind enough to tell her that he would be divorcing her now that she could no longer have children, and being a man he needed a son.
She ran away from him, she ran away from us. When my younger sister was only 6 months old, my mother packed her stuff and left our life for good, we never saw her again until I was 20 years old (but that is a whole other story). I was only 4 years old at the time, and was not old enough to understand why she had left us, all I could see was that she couldn’t have loved us. My father couldn’t cope with 3 kids, so he gave us up, and placed us in a children’s home. It was a temporary thing, until he could get himself sorted out. It took him 3 years to get himself sorted out. He used to visit us whilst we were living there. Can you imagine how lost and alone we all felt, one second we had a mum, she left, the next day my dad gave us away. Needless to say I was a very screwed up young girl.
But the 3 years we had in that children home, I actually look back on them with a certain fondness, because that was the only time in my life when I experienced the fun of being a child. Because when I turned 7, my father came back for us and took us to his house to live. But first he needed to get married, so off we all went to Morocco for his arranged wedding. Our family over there were taking no chances on him marrying a kaffir woman again, and had hand picked out a lady from the village. We met her, and she seemed nice enough, we were desperate for a mother’s love. My father married this lady and we returned back to England to start our family life. Things went bad straight away, my father became religious and my step-mother was a monster. She had barely been in the country for a few months when we first experienced a physical beating.
Because we had lived in an English home before my father took us back, we couldn’t speak Moroccan, so the first thing my parents implemented was a new rule. No speaking in the house unless it was in Moroccan. Seeing how we didn’t know any of it, and we were talkative kids, we broke the rule. My sister said “dad” instead of the Moroccan equivalent. She was whipped across her back until she actually bled, we all were as they felt that all should be punished whenever any one of us broke a rule. Life changed quickly, and my childhood was spent in a haze of pain, beatings and tears. Amongst the various physical punishments were whippings, burnings (where a red hot knife would be placed on our skin), being tied up and left there, and being force fed excrement. I do not lie, these are the things they did to train us, but I wouldn’t even train a dog like that.
We were taught the Quran, and how to recite it, any mistakes we were beaten. We did all the chores, we covered ourselves when at school. We were not allowed to have friends, and we never went anywhere. The only times we ever had fun was when we were on holiday in Morocco. Then our parents were too busy to notice us most of the time.
Moving on a bit, to when I was 11. I only mention this because it highlights just how bad things were in my head, and how badly this had all affected me. So I was 11 and on holiday in Morocco, my father beat me so badly in the medina (a place in town where everybody goes), he was very cruel. That was the first time I tried to kill myself. I just wanted to die, to give up, and I took as many pills as I could find and I swallowed them. Sadly all I did was make myself very ill. I spent the whole night puking, and my uncle was really worried, he ran and fetched my dad, who took one look at me lying there in a pool of sick, and said “Good, let her die” Believe me, at that moment all I wanted to do was die. I didn’t die, I carried on. We came back to England, and life carried on the same, beatings and crying late at night.
One day when I was 13, my step-mother went too far whilst beating me. I had returned home late from school, not very late, but I had been studying in the library. I walked in to the house and she just jumped on me. She had a ladies high heel shoe, and used the heel part to beat me on the head. She just kept hitting and hitting, I remember feeling something warm running down my face, I remember putting my hands over my face and pulling them away to see that they were both covered with blood, so much blood. I passed out, when I woke up in the hospital, they told me that I had been in a coma for 3 months.
You see academically I was a top student, I passed all my exams on a regular basis and I was about to be awarded with the first sponsorship from my school to go to NASA when I was 16. These were all dreams because my father never would have let me go, an example of his attitude to learning, well I loved to read, I would sneak books up to my room and read them when ever I got a spare moment. My book collection became a bit too hard to hide and my father discovered my books. He beat me and made me watch while he burned them, he then placed the Quran in my hand and said that was the only book I should be reading. I tell you so that you know I had potential once.
But this attack to my skull by my step mother, and being in a coma for 3 months, set me back in a way I have never been able to recover. Where once numbers made sense and science was as easy as riding a bike, all I could see was confusion. I became stupid. I was placed into a state funded home, because my parents no longer had the right to care for me. I just kind of drifted about pointlessly, I quit school, ashamed at how low my grades had become in some classes. People knew what had happened to me, but I was too ashamed to face them. When I was 17, I went on holiday with my family, to Morocco. I know how bad my parents had been to me, and I no longer lived at home, but I still craved family love, so I gave them this chance and went away with them. Don't think I was totally stupid, I knew the risks, I packed away copies of my passport and birth certificate, some extra money and the contact details for the British embassy over there. I was worried that they would try to keep me over there by force.
That shouldn't have been my only worry. I didn't wear a hijab at this stage, and dressed how I wanted to. I was raped on that holiday by a cousin, when he had finished the deed he looked at me and said that I can't tell anyone because no one would believe me, and the way I had been dressed meant people wouldn't blame him. I knew he was right, I cried myself to sleep the whole time I was there, no one understood why I became a recluse, or why I made my uncle escort me everywhere, even my uncle didn't know, I just needed a chaperone. What’s worse is that a few years later I told my sister what had happened, I needed to tell someone, I needed someone to tell me it wasn't my fault. She went and told my parents, and he was right, they didn't believe me, my father shouted at me, my step mother told me to consider myself lucky as he was a fine young man.
Nothing hurt as much as that, well at least not yet.
I spent 7 years doing what I wanted, going where I wanted. Wearing what I wanted. But I was still a Muslim at heart, I just considered myself to be a non practicing Muslim. I had issues, and even though my father was so cruel to me, I still tried to gain his admiration and acceptance. I met my ex husband when I was 20. I was at a petrol station and we just started talking. He seemed so nice and polite, and had a nice smile. He was also a Moroccan, which was perfect because I still wanted my dad to love me. He asked me out on a date, and I accepted. We had a good time, and continued to see each other when I had time off work. He told me he was working (I later found this out to be lie), he used to lay my head in his lap, and stroke my hair, he was affectionate and considerate, I was swept up. For someone who felt as unloved as I had all my life, I finally thought that I had found it.
Those first 6 months between us were so special, I treasure those memories even though they hurt to do so. We got married, and I became pregnant when I was 21. That was when I found out who my husband really was. Where once he had greeted me with kindness, now insults would spew from his mouth at all hours of the day. Where once he used to be affectionate, he now mocked me, and told me that someone like me didn’t deserve love. Where we had used to enjoy nights out at the cinema, or a restaurant, now I was not allowed anywhere, and he wasn’t interested in, as he put it “Western baloney”. The first time he hit, it was just a slap, I say just a slap because I grew up with abuse so could kind of look past it.
I had my own home at the time, not owned by me, but provided for me by the council. It was small but it was home, and he used to live there with me. The abuse just got worse. He would call me names for not wearing a hijab, so I put one on to make him stop. Still he didn’t stop. He got worse, he started to kick me, strangle me, and punch me. When I was 8 months pregnant with our first child, he came home angry one day, I opened the door to greet him and he kicked me right through our double doors. It didn’t matter that I was pregnant to him, he kicked me in my stomach with no regard to his son that I was carrying. I sadly just felt that I deserved it all. My mother had left, you have read what my childhood was like, is it any wonder that I felt it was ok to be treated this way, that this was all I was worth.
Also Islamically I felt obliged to keep on trying, to bear with it. I gave birth, nothing got better. I still stayed with him though. I had no control over my own life, he would not allow me to listen to music, to watch TV, to read my books. (I love to read, books are my passion and my escape). I wasn’t allowed to see my friends anymore, I became housebound as he felt that because I was half English I was more likely to be unfaithful. Whenever he beat me, he would always say that he was allowed to, this is why I get so angry on FFI when Muslims try to say that that verse is there to be a deterrent. It is permission to beat your wife from god. I won’t bore you with a long in depth look into the whole 8 years that I spent with him, but I will pick out a few moments to highlight.
The day the twin towers went down, he was so happy. He was celebrating the death of all those people, his mother held a big party and many Muslims came to her house to celebrate. I had to sit there and watch them replay the attack over and over again, I was furious inside. He knew, he could see how much I hated him for liking death. When we got home he punished me suitably and called me a Jew lover. This man has done some awful things to me in the time I was married to him. He has tried to run me over with his car, he has thrown me out of a moving car. He has beaten me on front of my sons. He would tell me all the time how beneath him I was because I was not a pure Muslim, just half. I tried so hard to please him, I threw myself full on into the religion and tried to prove myself worthy. But nothing I did was ever good enough. I prayed to Allah to save me, but there is no Allah, so no one replied.
When I found out I was pregnant with a girl I knew it was time to leave, I didn’t want my daughter to grow up thinking she was worth less than a man, or thinking that it’s O.K for a man to hit a woman. I didn’t want her to be ashamed of me. As her mother I am her role model, what kind of role model would I have been if I had stayed with him? So I packed my stuff one day when he was out, and I ran away, I of course took my kids with me (unlike my real mother). This day I will always remember until the day I die. I stopped a taxi, and we all got into it. I left him and I was so pleased, I took off my hijab when we were a safe distance from the house, and I threw in out of the taxi window. You should have seen the look on the drivers face, he was shocked to say the least.
I let him have contact with the kids for a while, but I have now stopped that, as he is teaching them the usual Islamic lies, and they are becoming hard to handle (my kids that is). So that’s my story so far. I realise it is long, I did try to keep it as brief as possible. Believe me, if I was to tell it all, I would end up writing a book. Truly though, my freedom only began when I found FFI. FFI opened my eyes to a whole new way of looking at life. And now I am hopeful that things can only get better from here on out. It is not easy moving past all the brainwashing that we ex muslims have gone through as children. I still judge myself and I still find moments where I wonder if I am doing the right thing, but then I only have to pick up the quran to remember and I feel even better, one day I won’t even have those moments anymore.
I am starting a college course in September, I choose what I want to wear, I choose how I want to live. I am bringing my kids up away from the damaging effects of islam. The only way could honour me right now anymore than it has it to have more muslims than ever leave islam this year and the next and the next until none are left.