ANONYMOUS YEMENI EX-MUSLIM WOMAN IN TURKEY
There are the lives of the young, rich, and famous idolized in the fantasies built in the Hollywood movies and Los Angeles culture. An ever-hopeful, youthful vision of the world with infinite amounts of pollyannaish trust in one’s fellow human being.
Then there is the opposite notion of a life on the run, in desperation, cut from the protective obligations of the state, fearing for their life while fleeing from family and culture for exercising one’s freedom of belief and freedom of religion.
Many Westerners live in the former world; many ex-Muslims live in the latter world. For many ex-Muslims, the trust in one’s fellow human being gets transmogrified into the horror of the ‘other.’
Because of this fearful life, living on a knife edge of potential death or imprisonment with a deep desire for the freedoms others take for granted and even at times abuse, many ex-Muslims only speak out i n anonymity.
An anonymous state expedited by the internet. The questions for the ex-Muslim population is how best to get the word out to garner support and build a movement while protecting the health, wellbeing, and livelihood of others going through the same process of disbelief and escape from fundamentalist religion.
Take, for example, an abridged version of a Yemeni women who fled to Turkey because of the fear of reprisal from family for her lack of belief in Islam, for being an ex-Muslim.
As I reported on the live story:
“This is all based on a real, recent story. One that is ongoing for a 24-year-old young woman from Yemen, who currently lives in Turkey. Amy is an ex-Muslim. Like many ex-Muslims, her story is not uncommon and can be claimed as one sector of the non-religious population subjected to horrendous abuse and disownment by family and community simply for exercising for their fundamental human rights to freedom of belief and freedom of religion. It is within their rights and part of their conscience that they do not share the beliefs of their family and community, by and large, and consider themselves ex-Muslims: apostates.”
The woman’s chosen anonymous name is Amy. She is black and part of a discriminated and persecuted against group called “Akhdam” or servants. They are referred to as this based on the color of their skin. It is an ethnic- and skin-color-based epithet.
Amy was fearing for her life based on the potential reprisals from family for not believing in Islam anymore. She was an apostate in the closet. Her fear of her father was very real.
She later lived with her mother and married, eventually have 6 children while a Muslim. The reason for the father’s potential violence against her for disbelieving in Islam comes in the form of the Islamic mentality of the dad.
“The dad, apparently, reported Amy’s disappearance to the Yemeni police and then told them that she has secular ideas and values. She was studying mass communication at the University of Sana’a. However, prior to finishing her degree — right before, she had to flee Yemen,” as stated in the reportage.
She travelled to Turkey illegally and was jailed for four months with the threat of deportation. However, a deportation would lead to the return to a family and culture that would want to see her dead. She was released with paper after four months and given official papers for a guaranteed, legal stay in Turkey.
Amy spoke about how Istanbul rejected her even though she was able to stay in Turkey. Then an employee in Turkey stated that she is not welcome there. With the papers from before, she had 15 days to stay; however, now, that time limit is up.
She is monetarily broken and unable to find work. So, the questions arise about truly being homeless if she cannot find some form of employment.
Amy stated, “I went to an NGO Called ASAM that is in partnership with UNCHR, but they told me to go to the UNCHR in Ankara. But I do not have the money to go theirs, and also I know that UNCHR only going to make it difficult for me,” Amy explained, “because after applying in UNCHR I will be forced to leave to a new city determined by the government of Turkey, but I do not have the money to go to any city and not gonna be able to rent an apartment again.”
There is no help financially from the UNCHR, or with accommodations.
Because she fled Yemen, Amy was unable to complete her postsecondary degree in full. However, eventually, she wants to complete it.
Will she? Will she be safe? Only the future and support networks can tell.
Jacobsen, S.D. (2018, July 19). Being An Anonymous Ex-Muslim Young Woman in Turkey and From Yemen. Retrieved from https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/anonymous-ex-muslim-sjbn/.