Testimony of an ex-
I was raised in a wealthy traditional Flemish catholic family, growing up in a "golden cage", but had very little personal freedom, also psychological, well mainly psychological.
As a result of this, I left home as soon as I had the chance to do so. I looked for a job, found one and started living on my own.
After a few short, not very meaningful relationships, I met my future husband. A Tunisian Muslim, however not very religious. He even ate pork. He had never read the Quran and never participated in Ramadan.
My family, not pleased with my "living alone" freaked out completely when they heard about my relationship. Because love is blind and even deaf too it seems, I paid no attention to them (racists, narrow minded, I used to think...) and I continued my relationship. In fact this was my first step to isolation. It was just the two of us against the rest of the world. 30 years ago a mixed marriage was not obvious. Even my friends kept away, what I did was so “not done”.
Everything went well, love flourished until our first child was born. Like many women after delivery, I only had attention for our baby, which led to jealousy from the side of my husband. One day, after a trivial quarrel he said to me: "One day, I will take your child away from you, you’ll see". This was the first step to my submission...
By that time I was already very isolated (only Muslim friends, other mixed couples, no relatives, only "approved" colleagues in our house...). I started to become very dependent on my husband, also financially. I was still so immature and naive… Moreover my strict education had led me to find “strictness” a very normal situation. I recognized the pattern and it felt so usual that I accepted it ...
When we went to Tunisia, I thought I had arrived in heaven. By nature I am a very social person and over there I had it all! Always surrounded by relatives, friends and neighbors, everyone always very happy to see me, in short I was over the moon. Because I learn languages very easily, soon I started to speak Arabic, which made it very easy to get integrated in my new environment. Gradually I also became brainwashed religiously. I was told the beautiful things of Islam only, to me it was something like my previous religion, same god in a slightly different soft version, being obedient and subservient were part of my education, so I became the ideal "case" to fall into the Islam trap. After one year I said the shahada and so I became a Muslim woman, without really thinking too deeply.
In the mean time we had two more children. If I reflect on it now, I had these children (I wanted them myself) because I felt very lonely and unloved. Yes, I had a husband who always stood by me (guarded me is actually closer to the truth), I had a loving Muslim family, which replaced my real family but was slowly suffocating me. None of my acts or words were left uncriticised, everything was always briefed over to my husband, more and more I came at the last place. Everything became more and more difficult when my children started to grow up and the oldest one got into puberty. Muslims do not know anything about psychology, and certainly nothing about children in puberty. I felt it to be my duty as a mother to stand up for them to guarantee them some freedom. This led to unbearable tensions and verbal abuse. I was "a bad mother" as I did not incite my children to blind obedience.
In the mean time my father in law had passed away and this "triggered" my husband to become a true Muslim from one day to another. Strict observance of fasting in Ramadan, no more respect for other religions, (he even ridiculed them), strict Islamic rules for the children and myself, ...
In the Muslim community surrounding me, I had also discovered the degradation of the kindness and politeness that I experienced in the beginning. I was now "one of them", and they didn’t have to keep up appearances anymore, the raw reality became clear to me.
Back in Belgium, it became harder and harder to follow the strict Islamic rules of my husband. Because I finally had matured and also thanks to thorough psychotherapy, which saved my life, I started to rebel against, what I thought to be the difficult nature of my husband... sometimes I even thought he had a mental sickness! Jealousy, controlling, commanding, threatening, ... in short, a Muslim (I realized that later)!
Often life was real hell for myself as well as for the children, but for the outside world our image remained intact, thanks to immense efforts from my side. Fortunately their father insisted on a good education and schooling for them. That finally became his "downfall” as a dictator.
The real release came when I read the Quran and ahadith. What a shock ! I immediately understood what inspired my husband, I understood that he was not mentally disturbed, he just applied the Quran! Also the Muslim world where I had seen and experienced so much fraud, dishonesty and betrayal became clear to me: all pieces of the puzzle fell in place! All this was just Islamic! And I had stepped into that trap ! I had been healed of Islam and also of all belief in a god. This process took me about three months and I can say it wasn’t easy. I was lost, cried rivers of tears, had nightmares...
Then I made a solemn oath that I would commit myself to avoid that my children or other children would ever have to suffer from Islam ! That is why I founded the Dutch branch of Faith Freedom International.
To my Muslim family I told I was no longer a Muslim. They were shocked and I became an outcast. I had to tune down by force of circumstances, now they think I had a temporary bewilderment. But still they watch out ...
My husband almost fainted when I told him, he ordered me to shut up and not to tell the children about it. Shutting up is not my biggest virtue and certainly not when I am ordered to ....
Moreover I explained him he could, no he had to divorce me, since I was no longer "ahl oulkitaab" but became an atheist. Then he became quiet and decided to keep this covered.
I came a long way, suffered a lot, but also loved a lot. My children are growing up to fine mature human beings who feel good about themselves and they don’t let anyone step on them. They don’t want to know anything about Islam; they have suffered enough from it. My husband is starting to feel on his own with his Ramadan, prayers and inshallahs. Also his jealousy, threats etc. don’t harm me anymore. I took the edge off myself by putting me above it and tell him that. Because a victim of a Muslim gives the power to that Muslim to make him or her a victim. The fact that my children are getting older and can take care of themselves of course plays an important role; they cannot be taken away from me anymore. Sometimes I feel sorry for my husband, but yet, it is his own choice to be a slave of Allah, he is caught in fear for death, hell, Allah, the jinns,....
After years of searching, I finally found myself. Better late than never. I threw away the skeletons I had in my closet and look with courage into the future. My children will make it. They will be free from brainwashing called Islam.
The highest good on earth: FREEDOM in all meanings of the word !