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NYTimes: "Woman opens up after escaping Salafist sect"

AuthenticM

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Mar 2, 2010
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From NYTimes: Woman opens up about her resurrection after years spent as ‘one of the living dead’



The daughter of a Tunisian mother and an Algerian father, Ayari was raised in Normandy as a non-practicing Muslim. When she was 21, in a search for identity, Ayari was lured into a French Salafist sect tied to Saudi Arabia. Her new masters obliged her to don the head and neck to toe body-covering veil and tunic known as the jilbab, and sometimes she wore the niqab, which only leaves slits for eyes. She rapidly followed orders to quit university, enter an arranged marriage and immediately procreate with a hand-picked “brother.”

“I was one of the living dead. Salafism anaesthetized me until I freed myself from its mental chains,” Ayari told Women in the World in an interview in Paris.

“I was taught that society was sheytan — the devil — and that music and dancing were evil. We Muslims were the victims of a Zionist-American conspiracy, and I had to bring up good little Salafists if I wanted to go to paradise. I was cut off from my old friends and family and programmed to stay at home, and bring up children who were to be indoctrinated with hate of the other — against France and the French, the West, against Jews, against Christians, and all Muslims who didn’t follow our rules.”

During her period of radicalization and as she later searched for alternatives to Salafism, Ayari also frequented France’s Muslim Brotherhood movement. Today she is a prominent campaigner raising public awareness about various strands of Islamist fundamentalism and helping women who, like her, have escaped from violent relationships in separatist Muslim communities.

In the end Ayari said it was her years of education inside the secular French school system that supplied her with the critical faculties to rise up against her brainwashers. Inspired by the powerful reactions to her unveiling on Facebook after the Paris November 2015 terror attacks, showing her “before” photographs in her jilbab (leaving only the eyes to the chin visible) and “after” shots in carefree in light clothing minus any head-covering, she wrote an autobiography titled I Chose to be Free.

Her widely praised confessional autobiography, released last year, charts Ayari’s difficult journey as an escapee from the draconian 7th century Sunni Salafi version of Islam, which demands women cover themselves to the point of being almost invisible, stoning for adultery, death penalty for homosexuals, and incitements to violence against “miscreants,” “infidels” and “apostates.”

Ayari set up an association to aid single mothers who like her find themselves “repudiated” — forcibly divorced and in jeopardy without resources by their husbands when they finally leave what Ayari describes as “parallel societies.” Her activism and media campaigning have earned her multiple death threats and online abuse including from some fellow Muslims who call her — a Muslim woman of North African heritage — Islamophobic, racist and a traitor. Since the release of her book, her family has refused to even speak with her, she said.

“Because my journey to the center of hell is the same as far too many women, imprisoned in their veils, victims of the perversity of religious sectarian organizations that are destroying them, I decided to create ‘Liberatrices’ (Liberators) to fight against discrimination and radicalization and help women in difficulty,” she said.

Now 40, Ayari says she was actively recruited into the most extreme form of Islamic religious practice in her late teens when she became friendly with a group of zealous Muslim “sisters” at university.

She quickly fell under their spell, started wearing the veil, then met their Salafi religious advisers. It was at their urging that she stopped going to university so she could marry an ultra-orthodox Muslim they set her up with from Tunisia when she was only 21.

Her spouse quickly demonstrated violent tendencies and she soon found herself confined mostly to her home, except when she did the supermarket shopping or attended Salafist gatherings, wearing a dark covered jilbab, to hear preachers and imams. She was forbidden to work and had to bear three young children in an atmosphere of constant verbal and physical abuse. “The day after we married he changed. He even said I was a prisoner. He often became violent because I wasn’t ‘submissive enough’ … I had to wear the jilbab and sometimes I wore the niqab.”

During her decade of marriage, Ayari was based in Roanne, one of France’s most notorious hotbeds for Salafist proselytism and a leading exporter of ISIS jihadist terrorists including Rachid Kassim. The operative since killed in Western strikes in Syria and Iraq is believed to have remotely directed a series of last summer’s terrorist attacks in France, including the stabbing murder of a police officer couple outside Paris and the beheading of a Catholic priest in Normandy, as well as the failed explosion of gas canisters outside Notre Dame cathedral.



Over the 10 years she lived among some of France’s most radical Muslims, Ayari endured being punched in the stomach while pregnant, and savagely beaten for having prepared a defrosted dish of fish for an ifthar dinner after the fast during Ramadan. She repeatedly pleaded with her in-laws and local imams and Muslim groups to help her, but most told her to be patient despite the constant violence.

Discrimination also came from French law enforcement who shrugged off her attempts to make complaints against her brutal husband. After he took steps to move her family to Saudi Arabia, vowed to put her daughter in a full veil at 7 and threatened to strangle her for having bought a red-colored jilbab, she ran away with their three kids and went into hiding in northern France.

Repudiated by her former partner, Ayari found herself without money or legal status — she had only a religious marriage and thus no civil marriage certificate, and her ex refused to provide child support. Judges awarded custody of her children to her jihadist-sympathizing husband for two years after she was hospitalized with depression, but Ayari eventually won the battle to be reunited with her children.

Much more at the link
 

Wimps

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Dec 2, 2009
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That's insane.

The world needs more people like her.

EDIT: Found this quote at the link: "Ayari believes the only solution is to go back to what she believes are the ideological and sectarian roots of terrorism and especially to mothers who educate children."
 

Jonnax

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Jun 23, 2013
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Today, Ayari blames him for influencing their older son, who has also threatened his mother for not wearing the veil and being a “prostitute.”

Wow. What a piece of shit.
 

Irminsul

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Aug 14, 2012
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It's the worst when family chooses religion over their own. Glad to hear of her freedom.

Glad she got out, it is fucked up when family choose religion over you.
Doesn't the article say she was raised as a non-practicing Muslim?

As to the article, I think Saudi-financed religious institutions really need to be looked into. Or there need to be alternative institutions for Muslims, as the Saudi ones tend to be the only ones available in certain regions.
 

Mimosa97

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Dec 19, 2013
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Waiting for the people to tell me that " non-violent " salafism is perfectly fine and absolutely not at the root of the problem.

I'm glad she got out but that article is depressing as hell.
 

Valhelm

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Important to note that Salafi-Wahhabism did not arise in a vacuum. Thanks to their privileged position under British imperialism, unimaginable mineral wealth, and their special relationship with the USA, the Saudi Arabian ruling class has been able to spread this ideology throughout all corners of the world, preying upon vulnerable populations like Chechen Muslims whose neigborhoods were reduced to rubble or destitute Syrian refugees living in Germany and Sweden.

This fascistic sect of Sunni Islam, which is uniquely oppressive and reactionary, can't be fought by other Muslims alone. Western governments are culpable in its rise and proliferation and now have an obligation to identify and punish the governments and individuals which allow Wahhabism to flourish. Instead of casually bombing every country in which Wahhabists take up arms, France and Britain and the USA need to address this problem at its source.
 

CampbellzSoup

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I want that photo of her taking bail off as a symbol of freedom : non oppression to be fully endorsed. She's a hero.
 

ClosingADoor

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Brave woman for speaking out. And some still think this stuff is a choice. It's pretty much a violent cult you can hardly escape from.

Instead of casually bombing every country in which Wahhabists take up arms, France and Britain and the USA need to address this problem at its source.
Pretty much sanction the shit out of Saudi Arabia, stop selling them weapons and stop buying their oil. Everyone knows where the money is coming from, but nobody is willing to do something about it.
 

G.ZZZ

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Sep 12, 2013
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She repeatedly pleaded with her in-laws and local imams and Muslim groups to help her, but most told her to be patient despite the constant violence.

Oh yes, the typical "you have to be patient and forgive", too bad it's always the men in a position of power that say this shit. Go fuck yourself.

Countering the propagation of political Islam in the public sphere could also take the path of banning the commercialization and sale of the full niqab or burqa in France, just as has been done in Morocco and Tunisia, Ayari argues. The government could additionally sanction mosques, cultural centers and Muslim associations that act as apologists for Salafism or Muslim Brotherhood ideology.

It has to be a survivor of extremism to be telling us this? How the hell are we failing this so much europe.

Also, alongside this, promote and finance those mosques who argue for actual equality and progressivism. Put the money where your mouth is, don't just spend money on police and counterterrorism and blindly condemn "extremism". Promoting progressive religious scholars can and will stop more radicalization than any intel operation. Who give a shit about optics. People are stupid, we need solutions.
 

zeemumu

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Jul 27, 2013
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Doesn't the article say she was raised as a non-practicing Muslim?

As to the article, I think Saudi-financed religious institutions really need to be looked into. Or there need to be alternative institutions for Muslims, as the Saudi ones tend to be the only ones available in certain regions.

I think they're referring to her son choosing religion over her.
 

BrassDragon

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Nov 28, 2013
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Law enforcement not stepping up because the abuse has culture/religion aspects is inexcusable... A disgraceful combination of cultural relativism and quiet racism in the police organizations.

We've made a lot of headway in the Netherlands to educate community officers and municipal authorities about this but cases still slip through the cracks.

Aside from helping the victims, this is a reliable early sign of radicalization and God knows, we need all the intelligence we can get on that.
 

Mimosa97

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Dec 19, 2013
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Oh yes, the typical "you have to be patient and forgive", too bad it's always the men in a position of power that say this shit. Go fuck yourself.



It has to be a survivor of extremism to be telling us this? How the hell are we failing this so much europe.

Also, alongside this, promote and finance those mosques who argue for actual equality and progressivism. Put the money where your mouth is, don't just spend money on police and counterterrorism and blindly condemn "extremism". Promoting progressive religious scholars can and will stop more radicalization than any intel operation. Who give a shit about optics. People are stupid, we need solutions.

Please remind me how people reacted on GAF when France banned the Burqa? Morocco and Tunisia know the kind of damage wahabi ideology is doing to their country. I'm glad they banned the sale of the most oppressive and hideous woman garb in the history of mankind.
 

G.ZZZ

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Sep 12, 2013
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Important to note that Salafi-Wahhabism did not arise in a vacuum. Thanks to their privileged position under British imperialism, unimaginable mineral wealth, and their special relationship with the USA, the Saudi Arabian ruling class has been able to spread this ideology throughout all corners of the world, preying upon vulnerable populations like Chechen Muslims whose neigborhoods were reduced to rubble or destitute Syrian refugees living in Germany and Sweden.

This fascistic sect of Sunni Islam, which is uniquely oppressive and reactionary, can't be fought by other Muslims alone. Western governments are culpable in its rise and proliferation and now have an obligation to identify and punish the governments and individuals which allow Wahhabism to flourish. Instead of casually bombing every country in which Wahhabists take up arms, France and Britain and the USA need to address this problem at its source.

The Saudi embrace of Wahabbism comes, however, ironically, from the US deciding to not contrast the rise of a Sciite teocracy in Iran.
The Saudi were a mostly liberal arab country before 1979, and them radicalizing greatly afterward was just a political move to gain credibility as the true defenders of the islam after the siege of the Holy Mecca and the rise of the Iranian theocracy.

That said, i absolutely agree that the US is largely responsible of creating the breeding ground for so many extremists with its disgusting policy of constant wars in the region on false pretexts.
 

Chmpocalypse

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May 16, 2014
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What a remarkably courageous woman. So much respect for her breaking free. It really underlines how religions are just cults with better PR.
 

Audioboxer

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May 11, 2010
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How do they brainwash people so easily?

That's a sad story.

Target the men first, brainwash them, then due to most religions being patriarchal a lot of women think they are lesser than a man as default. Then said men inflict control and discipline over the women, escalating further and further into violence and even death if the women don't stay in line. It's an utterly harrowing and tragic process many women are caught up in. Born without being free and dying not being free. That's an incredibly condensed and basic telling of the cycle that goes on.

Glad her story is getting mainstream attention. More people need to read about some of the horror of what women have to go through globally under oppressors. Ranging from government oppression down to family and spouse oppression. The sexes are equal and anyone/any place arguing otherwise needs to take a hike and be challenged every single day.

Hitchens has always been pretty savage but truthful around religion and women, delivering things in his trademark style. The tldr basically being a religion is designed by men to keep women in their place. Often that is the case and the practice, no matter how many examples there may be of truly free women practising within their chosen religion. Even the structures of the Catholic church are still to this day hostile to women. Some would question how any women anywhere can choose to be religious, but for many religion is truly just a private matter between them and their willingness to believe in a God/afterlife, and they do their best to ignore all the hostile, aggressive or violent passages in their given text aimed at them (women). The biggest problem will forever be not a woman choosing to be religious, but the men who come on the scene to hound her, abuse her, take away her rights and indoctrinate her into believing she is worth less than them and deserves all the treatment coming her way. Some Hitch videos below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7coAXAkbLk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmJDAzgvp6o

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUHGCIW0Oes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9qoUXu-JsE
 
Jan 28, 2007
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(...) Instead of casually bombing every country in which Wahhabists take up arms, France and Britain and the USA need to address this problem at its source.

You may want to look at a map of the Earth, and look for the Suez canal (it's in Egypt).
Treating SA differently is not an option for world trade (which is one country to deal with versus the half a dozen bordering the same sea street), without having to resort to once again sailing around the entire continent of Africa or Eurasia (if ice free).
Most resource shipping, and thereby everything we all tend to take for granted, still happens by ship because nothing else can move those quantities at reasonable speed and cost. Moving the same units by land is geographically difficult to nearly impossible and requires dealing with far too many (uncontrollable) nations.

SA's ideological endeavors are not about religion (neither was it for any other state religion in the past), it's about access to money.

Btw, just to quickly note this one as well: the actual average Muslim on this planet is Asian, yet the image presented in Western media and something that SA clings to, is that of a Middle-Eastern person. That's not a coincidence either, since it ensures SA's claim to religious dominance over a religion in which it is a minority.
Welcome to politics.



/offtopic af though. Sorry. :(

I am glad she was able to get out of it, for what it's worth.
 

SkeptiMism

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Oct 28, 2013
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What a strong person. I really wish her success and hope she'll be safe.

Fuck everyone who let her down, and that is including the French law enforcement.

Please remind me how people reacted on GAF when France banned the Burqa? Morocco and Tunisia know the kind of damage wahabi ideology is doing to their country. I'm glad they banned the sale of the most oppressive and hideous woman garb in the history of mankind.
If you read the story, you'll see that even despite her terrible experiences, she realizes that outright banning it just isn't a smart thing to do:
She also proposes French authorities take a different approach than outlawing women from wearing the niqab outlawed in public spaces. Ayari recommends offering them meetings with social workers and psychologists and assistance to get into the workforce rather than to pay fines.
“We have to fight discrimination and radicalization,” she said.
 

Chittagong

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Jun 8, 2004
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Important story for everyone to read.

Sadly I believe this horrible sect of Islam won't be defeated until the world moves beyond its fossil fuel addiction. Saudis are too powerful, and the west must look the other way.

Now things are finally moving to that direction with renewables catchung up quickly on the cost equation, and electric cars finally taking hold. Of course it won't be all rosy post oil either, as it will lead to the demise of the entire Middle East, an equally grim scenario I have been involved in providing thoughts for via the IMF.
 

MisterFalcon

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Mar 12, 2013
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Pretty much sanction the shit out of Saudi Arabia, stop selling them weapons and stop buying their oil. Everyone knows where the money is coming from, but nobody is willing to do something about it.

The sanctions on Iraq which caused great suffering to the people but none to the elite was one of Al Qaeda's most effective propaganda tools. You would also have to convice Asia, where most of the Saudi oil goes to, to shut down half their factories and tens of millions to lose their jobs because in the West we're unable to shut down a few mosques.
 

Zaru

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Oct 2, 2012
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since it ensures SA's claim to religious dominance over a religion in which it is a minority.

What are you gonna do, move the cube from Mecca to Jakarta? Take their oil money which allows them to control funding over countless foreign mosques and organizations?
 

G.ZZZ

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Sep 12, 2013
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wait what???

Compared to what it is now, not to other arab countries of the same period i guess, since before the 1979 most middle eastern countries were considerably more westernized.
Religious integralism became mainstream only as a response of the events of 1979-1980. Ironically, the wahabbi terrorists were condemned to death, but they reached their objective, SA became a "beacon" of "islamic values".

Citing wiki cause i can't find other sorces rn:

By the 1970s, as a result of oil wealth and the modernization of the country initiated by King Faisal, important changes to Saudi society were under way and the power of the ulema was in decline.[44] However, this changed following the seizure of the Grand Mosque in Mecca in 1979 by Islamist radicals.[45] The government's response to the crisis included strengthening the ulema's powers and increasing their financial support:[46] in particular, they were given greater control over the education system[45] and allowed to enforce stricter observance of Wahhabi rules of moral and social behaviour.[46]
 

nacimento

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Dec 22, 2012
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Compared to what it is now, not to other arab countries of the same period i guess, since before the 1979 most middle eastern countries were considerably more westernized.
Religious integralism became mainstream only as a response of the events of 1979-1980. Ironically, the wahabbi terrorists were condemned to death, but they reached their objective, SA became a "beacon" of "islamic values".

Citing wiki cause i can't find other sorces rn:

The true case of "letting the terrorists win".