Finding the Courage: Heart-breaking Tale of an American Woman's Encounter with Islam
03 Apr, 2009
- Hey, guys! It has taken me a while to write, but I’m finally sending in my story. I found FFI over a year ago and was astonished at all the facts and stories I have read about Islam. I’ve been debating as to whether or not I should send in my story. It takes time to find the courage, but thanks to all the articles I’ve read, the stories of other X-Muslims, the support of my family and friends and now you guys: the courage has been found….a big thanks to all of you.
Well, my story begins probably like that of many Westerners. I came from a Christian background. I went to church and considered myself to be an “OK” Christian. I believed in God and his sacrifice to save us….although I was by no means perfect.
When I began attending university, I began to discover that there were/are some truths indeed to other religions, beliefs and ways of life. I learned more through classes I took and friends I made. So, I began to explore. I was particularly fond of a mix between Wiccan and Buddhism. I bought Buddhas, attempted to meditate, saw more beauty in nature, etc. I even had (and I miss it) a Tibetan singing bowl, which—believe it or not—helped calm my nerves at times.
I even began exploring Islam, but I never wanted to convert, even though I had a high respect for it at the time. I grew tired of Palestinians getting treated the way they did when all they wanted was their land back. I talked to a few Muslims and I sympathized with them. However, I was a young college student, who was growing tired of narrow-minded Westerners (Americans especially); so I didn’t even bother to look into how complex the situation between Israel and Palestine really was. I was tired of the racial discrimination within Christianity and all the hypocrites within the religion. I believed in God and was certain of the sacrifice Jesus made, but I didn’t believe that there was harm in other religions. I thought Muslims were fighting for their rights like everyone else….yeah, they were fighting alright!
Shortly after graduating college, I met a charming, sweet good-looking guy. He was a Muslim (an Arab). We got to know each other fairly quickly (well, I thought I knew him). I had seen the movie “Not Without My Daughter”; so of course I had a lot of questions for him, including the one about hitting women. He replied by saying, “Only cowards hit women.” I was impressed by how intelligent he was and how open he seemed to be. We were engaged pretty fast and about a month after the engagement, we were married. My parents were not too happy. They knew Muslim men had a tendency to be dangerous and they were worried for me. Looking back, I know I would have done the same thing.
He ended up losing his job and we talked about the possibility of moving to his home country. He had been applying for a while. Finally, we decided to move. He moved about 4 months before me, because he wanted time enough to find a job and an apartment. During that time, I began to practice Islam. It was hard because he left and I didn’t really have any Muslim friends, but I did what I could.
Before we got married, he was pretty open. After we got married…well, that became a different story.
I didn’t notice it much at first, because the change was a gradual process. During the time he was gone and I was still here, he started telling me not to go out with certain friends/family. He wanted me to email him anytime I left the house and when I returned… he said he just wanted to make sure I got home safe without having to call internationally all the time. I really didn’t think much of that, but when he started telling me not to go out… I did begin to wonder… I thought… well, it is just with female friends, but maybe being so far away he is just a little insecure… OK, I can relate, I thought.
Well, I finally moved. When I got there, everything was new and exciting and I was ready to take on my new life in a new country and practice the religion I knew was “THE one!” My family tried to convince me to take things slow. I lived in an Islamic country where by law, I didn’t have to where hijab, but my husband wanted me to and I felt I was ready.
Two weeks had not passed by, I started to see his true colors come out. He began to get upset and talk about my friends back home. He ridiculed me all the time for things I used to do. I asked him how he could do that when after converting to Islam, you’re forgiven of all that immoral conduct. He didn’t care. He started calling me a whore, useless slut, bitch… you name it. I was so shocked. When I reminded him that he wasn’t always the perfect Muslim… of course there was always reasoning and justification for him. One night, he was arguing with me about my friends and I was about to go to sleep when he said… I’m going to treat you like my little whore from now on cuz that is all you’ll ever be. I never thought there could be rape within a marriage, but he proved me wrong that night.
After that, the physical abuse began….slapping, kicking, pulling hair…dragging me from one room to the next.
I became pregnant and believe me, I was terrified… I didn’t want his baby, because he talked about never going back to the U.S. and that scared me more than anything. I know I could have gone to the embassy, but I was too frightened! I tried to leave, but the only way they were going to allow me to leave was if I agreed to have an abortion. As selfish as it may sound, I gave the matter some thought cuz I couldn’t stand him anymore. He was never happy and when he was, I was always wondering when his mood would change. I prayed God would just take the baby before it was brought into such a cruel world. Of course, I ended up staying for the baby’s sake… something would not allow me to go through with an abortion… even if it was his.
I began to detest Islam... I would give the finger to the mosque whenever I heard the Adhan. I spat at it as well. Of course, I didn’t do this in public or in front of my husband, but my faith in Christ increased. I prayed constantly that God would get me and my baby out of there. One day when my husband began talking about moving back home, I knew God was listening.
But it took a long time for my prayers to be answered. We were there for almost three years. During that time, I tried to keep the peace by once again becoming more open to Islam. I began to listen to lectures, readings and such in English. We finally moved back to the States. I began to take some Islamic classes at one of the mosques, but the abuse continued. The only good thing that seemed to take place was that shortly after our return, he found a job. But he really didn’t want me to work, even though I had a college degree and was perfectly capable of doing so. He just didn’t want me out of the house among other Westerners. He was afraid I would take off with the baby (well, not really a baby by this time). But he was wrong. I stayed at home, grew tired of his bullshit and left. The last straw was when he hit me repeatedly in front of our child. When he left for work the next day, I headed home back to my family and have been here since.
I began to have some health problems before I left. I was not eating much, because anytime he saw me eat he would always call me a pig. I was less than 110 lb. yeah, I was really a pig. I was tired all the time, because our child could sense how dangerous he was and she never slept well, therefore, neither did I. I didn’t have the energy for much and he continuously called me lazy and useless.
After I came home, it took me a while to gain my normal energy level back. It has taken even longer to get myself back on track emotionally. I had left him and Islam, but they had not left me. I remember the first Rhamadan I was home, I tried to fast out of respect, but I read another story similar to mine and decided that bottle of Coke looked good and began to drink it as if there was no tomorrow. I started researching more on Islam and was trying to see if there was any recent information on Betty Mahmoudi and that is when I found you guys. I stumbled upon a letter someone had written to Dr. Sina and my quest to seek the truth began there.
I consider myself a Christian, because I believe in Christ and his sacrifice, but my spirit, I feel, is dead. I use the name, Free Spirit, not because that is what, I feel, I am at this point, but it is what I long to be, which is another reason I’m here. I am still searching for spirituality because there was a time, I really felt I lived up to my name. I have had great support from family and friends and now you guys…..thank you!
Dr. Sina, I really appreciate the time you take to help others. You are indeed brave and I pray God will always keep you protected. Keep up the awesome job.
Well, that is pretty much my story. My daughter and I are doing well. She is lively. Her teachers say she is an excellent student. I am now a teacher and am loving it!
I hope other women reading this will take my story into consideration, if they are thinking about converting to Islam and/or marrying a Muslim. This is a warning for you. Read the Koran, read the articles and stories on FFI. Don’t be foolish and don’t make the same mistake I and so many other women (both western and eastern) have made. Don’t allow a child to be brought into this world by a husband who won’t even be a father other than simply to say he is. He will never love it as he should because Muslim fathers only (most I should say, not all) see their children as a duty by Allah and nothing more. Most Muslim men (strictly my opinion from my own personal experience… I didn’t conduct a study) are incapable of love and feelings other than negativity. You’ll never be seen as their wife, only their property and if you are a Westerner, rest assured you are only their whore and that is how you’ll be treated, maybe not at first, but give it some time; he’ll come around to his true self.
Thanks guys… sorry this was so long… God bless each and every one of you.