NameAsh Zaman

I was raised as a muslim in the United Kingdom. I had islam forced upon me when I was growing up, and would face abuse from my parents because of it, and was essentially taught that I was forbidden from human rights other people were granted and had to obey all these rules and carry out practices or face abuse and threats from my family and “eternal hellfire”, all because of a religion I never wanted to be a part of in the first place. Due to the level of threat and control that was ingrained into me, I thought I always had to follow all these rules and regulations I didn’t agree with otherwise I would go to hell. It wasn’t until years later that I overcame this indoctrination. Islam has caused the relationship between me and my family to be very strained. They did not even care about whether or not I even wanted to be a muslim, everything was forced upon me without my consent and was forced to live by it. I was barely in a position to stand up for myself as there was no one to help me at home, and no one who could even begin to understand outside of home. There was 0 access to anyone who could even understand my situation let alone help me. There were no resources for muslim/ex-muslims who were suffering because of islam to have access to, so many of us had no choice but to sit in silence and suffer until we grew up and becomes financially stable enough to move out, or until we just couldn’t take it anymore. I want to be there for the kid who is suffering because of islam, and to let them know that they are not alone, and that what they are feeling is valid and that there is someone who is actually on their side. I want to be the person I desperately needed to see, needed to know existed, when I was growing up, and to help those who have nowhere else to turn to. I want there to be resources for people to use, instead of just having to silently endure until they don’t have to anymore. No one should have this religion forced upon them.

Growing up, I truly had no family other than myself. My family often justify their poor behaviour and abuse because of their religion, and/or other rules and values caused as a result of their religion. I was often taught many things that I would consider “problematic” to say the least, including the hatred of anyone who was non muslim and how they are all damned to hell, homophobia, that Ex-muslims should be killed, etc.

When I was 16, I left islam but was still forced to live with my parents for the foreseeable future, so I had to tolerate islam as I had no other option. That being said, leaving islam best decision I ever made. The moment I realised that I didn’t have to tolerate this ideology anymore was a very liberating one, even though it was still a long while until I could obtain true freedom, at least I knew I would be happy and be free in the future, even if I wasn’t now, I could look forward to a future where I did not have to be held back by islam anymore, and I hope many others will eventually feel the same way too.