Leaving Islam



My Pakistani Relatives 

By Arif Ahmed 

Long ago and of course far away, I had an elder cousin come to visit before he left for London . He was a young lad, and full of dreams, he was immigrating to England . We heard from him from time to time and saw how he progressed; he worked hard, came back to Pakistan , got married, took his bride to England and started a family. Soon he had five boys and two girls, as they grew older he tried to get them back to Pakistan for an education, he could not get them into the schools that he wanted them to attend.  

Schooling and bringing up his children in accordance with Islam was always a struggle for this young man and his young family. Whenever he came back on visits to see us and my parents this was the only topic him and his wife would discuss – Islam and his children growing up in an "evil" society. Yet they always boasted of their new wealth and elevated status in life.    

My father had brothers who had immigrated to England too and had big families, we would know of each other through letters and some occasional visits. Their concerns were all the same, “their sons and daughters growing up in an evil society”. They all left their homelands for a better future for their children.  

I have an uncle who is married to a Christian, his wife's family too being Christians left Pakistan for obvious reasons, and they immigrated to England . The cousin I talked about died recently at a relatively young age, stress and overwork may have brought upon a heart attack. I went to England on a vacation recently and decided to call upon the grieving family and offer my condolences. His five sons are now teenagers and some in their mid twenties. His two daughters were still in their late teens. After brief exchanges of the usual we got into deeper aspects of their lives. It turns out that none of them achieved any education of substance. They were doing odd jobs and petty insurance frauds involving theft, auto accidents and small run-ins with the law seemed to be the conversation. I did not get a feeling of healthy growing young men ready to contribute to society. I also found out that one of their sisters was suffering from some form of mental disorder; the other sister was on anti-depressants. There I also had a chance to visit with my never before seen Uncle, his sons were also the same, one boasted of having many children from different women. Islam, prayer, and spread of Islam were their main concern. One was heading back to Pakistan to the big Riewind (near Lahore , Pakistan ) Muslim annual get-together. Again, not much going on in the heads of these now young men. One thing I noticed was that they too had sisters who had grave mental issues. They were either depressed or had some kind of mental disorder. My feelings after I left... phew!!! What a nut house. I was glad to leave little Pakistan .  

While in England I traced my Christian aunts family, I phoned one of them and explained whom I was and where I fit in the family tree, that I was living in the US and on vacation, I wanted to meet with them for an hour. I visited one of their homes. The husband and wife had three children, the third was about to enter Oxford University as a Medical student following the first two, they were proud of the fact that he had all A's...whatever that meant. I enquired about the other members of their family. They promised to meet me at a pub later that evening. There I met with few more of  them, we drank pints (I’m on vacation remember), they talked about football (soccer), and the clubs they were fans of. The movies they liked, the cars they drove, the jobs they held, and the politics they talked about had absolutely no mention of religion. They lived in another world, they lived in England , it was like I was visiting England and talking to the British.  

In conclusion, though I visited only a few families, the Muslim half lived in a Muslim dominated neighborhood; they lived in a world of conflict wrought upon themselves by their deep faith in Islam. I firmly believe that Muslims cannot integrate in the West as long as they hold on to their religion. Their men suffer, their women choose to suffer and their children grow up suffering, the irony is that they don’t know why.  







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