A new organization has been founded by the Canadian former or ex-Muslim Yasmine Mohammed. Mohammed is an ex-Muslim activist, author, instructor, and podcaster. She wrote From Al Qaeda to Atheism.
In early life, Mohammed was beaten because of a failure to memorize the Quran at times. Then she was coerced into marriage with a fundamentalist Muslim man, who turned out to be a member of Al Qaeda.
The Al Qaeda member husband was bailed from prison by none other than Osama bin Laden. Mohammed has lived a life experienced by some Muslim women. Eventually, she was contacted CSIS, which she describes as the “Canadian CIA.”
Mohammed knew nothing of them before their contact with her.
In interviews with her, and a personal opinion here, Yasmine does not get sufficient recognition for the pain, heartache, trauma, and loss of life quality and time because of the circumstances of life experience for her.
When an adult, she did wear the niqab and “lived in a home/prison with paper covering all [over] the windows.” She only earned a high school diploma at that time. She had a baby as well. However, she fled. These reflect the stories of others.
I have talked to many leaders and others in the former Muslim community. Not all or even most Muslims experience these traumas, and ordinary Muslims live normal healthy lives full of giving and receiving love with family, friends, and community; however, these other stories exist, and community and organizations, and councils, do not by necessity solve their problems – internal and external, but they do provide some solace, safety, and sanctuary in working through their problems.
The new organization has a GoFundMe campaign. When I asked Mohammed about the foundation of the campaign for the new organization Free Hearts, Free Minds (FHFM), she said, “I was getting inundated with messages from people from the Muslim world asking for help. I tried as hard as I could, but I didn’t have the resources to help them all. I was frustrated and sad and it was starting to affect my life and my mental health.”
When she was hearing and reading those stories, she felt a personal connection to them based on the life experience for her. She lives in British Columbia, Canada now. However, she knew the experience of living in a non-free and non-secular society.
Mohammed noted the possibility of wallowing. However, she chose to not wallow “in feelings [of] helplessness, frustration and sadness, I decided to start FreeHearts, Free Minds.” She feels as if reaching back a decade or more to help her young, suicidal self.
FHFM provides the basis for people to be able to know about leaving Islam as an option. They can stay if they wish, of course, as comes from freedom of religion and freedom of belief. However, the ability to know about the other option is important.
“Today, with the help of technology, and FHFM, I want to do all I can to ensure that no one ever feels that alone,” Mohammed said. As the organization is young, and with only a current team of ten people, the organization is small.
However, as things move forward, Mohammed explained, “…we are prepared to launch a dating site that will support Ex-Muslims in the Muslim world trying to avoid forced marriages and/or circumvent guardianship laws.”
The other service is a life coach who supports apostates in Muslim majority countries.
Mohammed continued, “If we’re able to maintain and grow our two services I’ll be happy. I think both services provide essential support to apostates in Islamic countries in very dangerous situations who have no other resources, no other options, and no other hope.”
Image Credit: Free Hearts, Free Minds.