Here is a good article on what Muslim girls go through in the West to escape Islam. The fact that "islam" is never mentioned in the article gives you a good idea of just how difficult this journey is. If western media, political elites, and government officials are afraid to speak of it, what shot do these girls have? Remember the beating Rifqa Bary took in the media? They tried to destroy her, and why? Because she left Islam.
The culture must change. Join us for the Jessica Mokdad Human Rights Conference on Honor Killing.
(Spiegel) Bahar ran away early on a winter morning, one-and-a-half years after her mother was murdered. She helped her younger siblings get ready for school, and then she gave them a goodbye kiss on the forehead. Her uncle and her brothers were still sleeping. Bahar tiptoed out of the apartment in her socks, walked down the stairs and out the door. And then she ran for her life.Today Bahar is 26 and likes to wear high-heeled shoes. She has chosen a popular café in a small city as a meeting point. She is wearing a modest amount of makeup, and her black hair is pulled back into a bun. She smiles tentatively and introduces herself, using the name in her new passport, which, for her protection, cannot be used in this article.
Bahar's family came to Germany from Iraq in 1996. They lived in the eastern city of Halle an der Saale for the first two years, in an apartment in a high-rise building with a dingy kitchen. Her father felt that most jobs were beneath him, beat his wife and "put out cigarettes on her skin," says Bahar. The father would sometimes disappear for months at a time. Bahar suspects that he was involved in criminal activities. "Everything was always peaceful without him. We even had a picnic in the park once," says Bahar. She took along some of the photos from that day when she ran away, but she can't bear to look at them, she says.
During those happy times, when she was alone with her six children, Bahar's mother came to the conclusion that she wanted to separate from her despotic husband. She went to the local town hall with Bahar to get information about German divorce law. When the father found out about it, he took a knife and locked himself in the bedroom with his wife on a summer night in 2003. Bahar holds up her hands to show us two scars: the evidence of her attempt to save her mother.
With the mother dead and the father sentenced to life in prison, an uncle took control of Bahar and her five siblings. He managed to make a caring and thoughtful impression on the youth welfare office, but it was deceptive. He used to turn up the music before he began beating the children. Bahar used makeup to hide the bruises. "I wasn't allowed to read books, and I couldn't even go out on the balcony anymore," she says. "Just cook, do the laundry and clean."
Bahar endured her life as a virtual slave for a year and a half. "Then I knew that I would either kill myself or leave."
Living in Fear
Germany in the 21st century, almost 60 years after the first guest workers arrived, is a country in which hundreds of female immigrants like Bahar live in hiding from their families. They have left everything behind: their home, their friends and their relatives. They refuse to abandon hope and allow themselves to be broken by the incompatibility of their own wishes with the expectations of their family and social environment. They don't want to conform to the traditional values of the regions where their families come from. Instead, they want to live like women in Western societies: free, independent and emancipated.
Every year Papatya, a Berlin aid organization, takes in 60 girls and young women who have run away from their families because of cultural conflict, and who had faced the prospect of abduction, forced marriage or even death. The Rose Shelter in Stuttgart receives 80 applications a year from women who have suffered in these ways. The youth help organization Yasemin documents about 400 consultation visits, while the website Sibel receives more than 300 calls for help each year. The organization Peri e.V. claims to have helped about 50 girls and women run away from their families since 2008.
The list of the female immigrants' countries of origin is long. It includes Turkey, Kosovo, Albania, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and India. A few months ago, a man from Sri Lanka poured boiling water over his daughter in a town in Germany. She had refused to accept a forced marriage.
Bahar fled to a women's shelter, but she was still afraid. "I saw my uncle on every street corner," she says. If someone on the bus seemed suspicious to her, she would get off at the next stop, holding a can of pepper spray in her hand. Bahar has moved to four different places since she ran away, and today she lives in a small city. She finished high school and entered a vocational training program, and she is currently in the process of getting her driver's license.
But despite her new freedoms, Bahar is still being held prisoner by her family. She has to lie to people, even those close to her, including friends, neighbors and coworkers. Anyone who learns about her past and her real name could pose a threat to her. Bahar doesn't allow anyone into her "fortress," as she calls her apartment -- not even her German boyfriend.
"He was surprised that my parents are so tolerant, but that I never visit them. He sensed that I was hiding something," says Bahar, lowering her head. When she still refused to confide in him, after being together for six months, he ended the relationship.
Family Was Not Very Religious
While Bahar is alone with her secret, Mariam, a 28-year-old woman of Lebanese descent, can share hers with her boyfriend Thomas, 34. Three-and-a-half years ago, they fled from Mariam's family together, but today they live in constant fear of discovery and the likely consequences. "One of my relatives was shot by her husband, because she had left him," says Mariam. "My family felt that it was the right thing to do."
There is much more. Go.