My college classes started for me again today, after four months of vacation. I was excited to see my friends after such a long time. I thought we’d get together and talk about what we did during those four months; that we will share things like normal friends. I happily met with them all again, shook hands and then we headed for the food court, our normal hangout.
We sat there and started talking. Everyone started eagerly talking about what they did on vacation, how they felt about their grades, how they planned this party, how they had fun at that party, all the exciting places they went to, or the girls they met along the way. They were talking about things anyone would expect someone in their early 20s to talk about—it was plainly obvious that they were living “normal” lives.
When it was my turn to tell them about my life during vacation, I looked at them and said nothing. I was thinking ‘what should I tell them?’ While they were back in their homeland (most of them are from India) having the best time of their lives, I was in my family home in Dubai, just a few kilometers away, worrying about how Muslims might further oppress, injure or slaughter non-Muslims. Should I tell them that? Or should I tell them that my mom said it’s important that people like me, i.e. apostates from Islam, be killed? Or should I tell them about the many sleepless nights I had thinking about my situation, the times I felt alone—because I was feeling like a stranger among my own family, in my own home. Should I tell them that I, not once, went out to party or on a long drive just for the heck of it? Should I?
A friend of mine interrupted me while I was thinking through all this and asked, “Why are you so serious today? Is everything alright?” I wanted to scream out loud, ‘No! Everything is upside down! I have been a Christian for about three years now, long before I met any of you guys—to hell with Islam and to hell with my former life’.
But I merely ended up saying, “I have a headache, I don’t want to talk.” Leaving them all, I abruptly got up and went off by myself, not to party or enjoy anything, but to a secluded place so I could think about my plight all over again!
Being a secret apostate in the land of Islamia is such a crushing burden, one I would not wish on anyone. It affects absolutely everything in my life, even supposedly happy things like reunions with school chums. And a life lived in constant terror of being discovered, or having to conceal my every thought from everyone around me, isn’t much of a life at all, is it?