I am 21 years old and was bought up in a moderately religious Muslim family. My mother wears the burkha and is extremely religious. She is very spiritually connected to God and encourages the whole family to be more religious but she is not violent or forceful. My father is quite strict but he is more culturally inclined (Pakistani) than religiously.

I am the eldest child and have had to fight for pretty much every ounce of independence in my life that most Westerners would not have to worry about e.g. going to college, going to university. Once I started university, I was not allowed to live there. I had to endure a two hour commute (four hours altogether to travel there and then return on a GOOD traffic day) four days a week for three years.

No one at my university knows I am a Muslim. I remove my headscarf and change my clothes. I kept this up for three years and graduated with a first class honours degree in Medicine. At home, my parents have no idea that whilst at university; I have changed a lot. I've become more confident, better-read (obviously) and I have come to the conclusion that there is no God. When the holidays roll around, I do not see friends or go out. I'm not allowed to leave the house or even work outside of my small town (a 'suburb' of [BLANKBLANKBLANK] I guess you would call it in American terms!)

None of my friends (all are from university and live all over the country or outside the country) know my home address, home number or home situation. I've never once partied with them or done any of the normal student things because I have always made excuses. They have no idea. In their minds, I'm very well-read, very studious and hardworking and the last person on earth who would have a religious faith (mainly because I have become more and more hardline atheist over the last three years).

I'm planning on doing a PhD in [BLANKBLANKBLANK] but my family have no idea. They do not support me in my career ambitions and I am pretty sure their long-term view is that I will settle in my small town, allow myself to be coaxed into some marriage and work at the local Walmart. I plan to leave without telling them. I just had to share this somewhere.


Oh, and before any Muslims rebuke me or call me a disgrace - understand one thing. I made a consenting, informed choice to leave my religion. The fact of the matter is, my parents are Muslims and they use the name of Allah to keep me chained to them and to make me submit to their plans for my life. This is not what the religion preaches but this is how some people who mix up culture and religion go about these things and my parents are an example. They would never support me not wearing a hijab (head covering) or saying I don't believe in God. It's all or nothing for them. They also have never understood me or my educational aspirations or my career aspirations. I've grown up feeling incredibly isolated and alone and I do not blame Islam or Muslims for any of it. Religion is a card many people play in order to justify crap.

UPDATE 4: As people have been asking me to tell more stories, I made a blog - http://uncovered2011.wordpress.com I will probably update that daily. I find it a more organised and coherent way of talking about my story and issues. Reddit is a bit confusing and often very repetitive!

Comments: 3232 • Responses: 50  • Date: 

ArfBox1377 karma

I'm a Muslim and I hope you escape.

undercover2011928 karma

Thank you so much.

supersoulrocket765 karma

I'm an ex-Muslim girl who's in a similar situation to you, and who's also planning to leave without telling the 'rents - though I think they might let me live at uni if I try hard enough - and I don't have any questions, but I just wanted to tell you you're fuckin' awesome, and good luck. :)

undercover2011438 karma

Wow, thank you so much :) You made my day.

wsder170 karma

You should read the book "Welcome to Americastan." From Penguin Publishing Website: "Welcome to Americastan is a hilarious, delightfully irreverent yet thoughtful look at the Pakistani community in America—the double lives led by the young who debate the significance of animal sacrifice while sipping cocktails; atheists who agree to having a maulvi perform their wedding just to please their parents; and parties with an open bar, but only for the goras! With effervescent humour and wit, Jabeen Akhtar turns every stereotype of Muslim–Americans on its head in this quirky, refreshingly candid debut novel."

undercover2011150 karma

Definitely checking it out. These books make it seem so easy. I hope in twenty years time, I'll be with my parents and there will be peace...

opossumfink92 karma

And you can write a book about it! Seriously.

undercover201165 karma

I plan to.

GINGster455 karma

undercover2011169 karma

Oh wow! I will! :)

bordss331 karma

What would your family's reaction be if they found out your true past and your future intentions?

undercover2011674 karma

Some violence would definitely enter the equation on both mum and dad's part... but I don't think they would kill me. I wouldn't stick around long enough to find out. The minute I get a whiff of them knowing something; I'm evacuating. That's been my plan from day one: don't stick around to see the mess you've caused. It's cowardly. I don't know what to say other than that.

Enrage706 karma

That's certainly not cowardly. It would not be a coward's way to make your own way in life, without your family's support. It takes a brave person to stand against an unknown future.

jevans102161 karma

Much more than a brave person, to most of us. Honestly it seems pretty bad ass in comparison to anything I've had to do and one of the most logical things I've ever heard of for the situation. I have a lot of islamic friends and I'm wondering if any beliefs of the faith are still stuck with you? Ie would you ever drink or eat pig products?

undercover2011260 karma

I haven't had alcohol (never been out at night!) but yeah, I eat what I like. I'll watch what I like, I'll drink what I like and so forth. None of the values that are specific to Islam are with me afterwards. The other values that are in Islam but in general society concerning morality in general e.g. charity, don't kill lol etc are obviously things I stand for and stand by.

undercover201158 karma

Thank you!

Skilleto309 karma

On the logistical side of your escape, do you have a bag packed with everything you need? If not, do it now. Passport/NI Card/Bank statements/Uni documentation/Certificates/Cash/Clothes/Toiletries/Mobile.. Get everything you need, put it into one place and keep it somewhere you can access easily.

brownwog188 karma

Another piece of good advice.

Also, scan all your important documents: passport, degree certificates. NI certificatse, driving licencse etc. Upload to various email accounts with different providers: google, yahoo, hotmail etc.

Open a secret bank account. Do all transactions on this account online. Keep socking money into it from time to time.

undercover2011150 karma

Already done the scanning :) Thank you! Got four email addresses in regular use.

My bank account is online but I do get post at home sometimes annoyingly enough... I was looking onto opening another but this seems difficult and expensive?

strolls98 karma

My bank account is online but I do get post at home sometimes annoyingly enough... I was looking onto opening another but this seems difficult and expensive?

You might be able to speak to them and tell them you're "at risk" and have them send all mail to a branch near your university.

I wouldn't give them the explanation that you've given to us - it's kinda complicated and you just want to give them something simple they can understand. Just tell them your parents are abusive and you plan shortly to flee because you fear an arranged marriage. That's not really a slander upon your parents, because the bank don't know your parents. Just make it a nice simple story which will facilitate what you need the bank to do for you.

undercover201128 karma

Yes, this is exactly what I will do. Thank you!

Angry_Table_Flipper28 karma

Don't Banks in the UK have a "Go Paperless" option?

undercover201154 karma

Yes, but they still send you post at home sometimes - very important letters that they want an immediate response to! So it's not really paperless :/

longroadplease31 karma

It is not difficult and it is not expensive, it will take about 10 minutes. Set some money aside in that account... as much as you can. You can get a PO box at a post office near your university and have all your mail forwarded there, when you open your second bank account make it absolutely clear to the bank representative that no mail whatsoever is to go to your home address. If possible, get your hands on your passport and birth certificate and put them in a small safe deposit box. Your parents cant get you out of the country without a passport. If you fear for your life it is not expensive or difficult to leave a letter with a solicitor to be forwarded to the police in the event you fail to check in at a given date or are killed. You might think of getting a prepaid mobile phone and stashing it somewhere accessible in your home.

More than anything, carefully select a close friend and bring them up to speed.

undercover201140 karma

The letter to a solicitor is something I will definitely do. No one knows my story. Reddit is the first place I've spoken about it and the reason for that is because I had a sudden realisation that if I were to just be gone one day (die or disappear) - no one would ever know what really happened or who I really was.

undercover201169 karma

Got it all. Thank you though :) I've thought about all this a lot.

econleech40 karma

I hope some day you will write a book and a movie to be made about it. It has the making of a really good story.

undercover201178 karma

I plan to write a book, I've always planned to write a book about my life but never because I deemed my life to be interesting. I consider what I deal with to be embarassing and shameful to be honest. I want to write about my life because I want to leave an imprint in the world. Anything, something to say 'I was here.' I don't care if it's an atrocious piece of boring crap that's longer than the last Harry Potter book lol... so long as it documents my life and it's out there to be touched, seen, read and understood, I will die feeling like I'm still alive.

Zak98 karma

I consider what I deal with to be embarassing and shameful to be honest.

It is shameful, but the shame is not yours. The shame belongs to the culture that would treat you this way and those who perpetuate it. Escaping it is difficult, dangerous and something to be proud of. Exposing it will help to destroy it, and is honorable.

Write your book.

undercover20119 karma


ImJustBeingNice51 karma

Wow, I know it's sad and all, but this is kind of cool. Real Jason Bourne shit. I'm slightly hoping that your family tries to off you, so that you can use this. Sorry, again.

undercover2011153 karma

"Real Jason Bourne shit."

If I told you some of the insane stuff I've done to avoid being seen or being found out, you would laugh and be amazed simultaneously at how absurd and unlike real-life it is. Literally. The stories I could tell.

riemannman117 karma

This is an AMA - so give us a Jason Bourne story! (or point me to one that you've already given)

undercover2011285 karma

Well, one interesting one is nearly being caught by an uncle - but walking straight past him without him recognising me.

My commute is about two hours and involves changing the train twice and taking one bus. I had just taken the two trains and was walking to the bus stop to get the bus back into my home town. It was just before entering my home town that I normally changed my clothes. It was November, it was very dark - about 7pm in the evening - and there were taxi drivers standing around outside a kebab van; ordering takeaways and talking as they waited for fares. Most of their fares were people coming out of the train station which is why they wait there. Normally, if I got back into this town before 5pm, I would be able to slip into the shopping mall and change my clothes in a cubicle in the toilets.

However, these malls close at 5pm and it was 7pm so I would have to go down this underground bit which allows people to get from one side of the busy road to the other. I got into the underground bit where it was conveniently dark and was pulling my headscarf over my head - whilst still wearing a skirt with black leggings and a coat over all this - when a man runs past me down to the underground bit. He's running towards an approaching man, a taxi driver, who is coming out of the underground. The man hands him a tenner and I realise that man is my uncle. An uncle in that he's a family friend. He's Muslim and very close to my dad; he often stops by for tea. He's a taxi driver and he usually works in our town. For some reason, he was out of town this evening and working this station for fares. He was passing money back to another taxi driver. And there I was standing, in a fucking skirt with HALF a scarf over my head. Half of my hair is lying open down my shoulder.

Instinctively, I just whipped the scarf all together off. The uncle turned around, laughing with the guy next to him as they walked back up the underground bit and as he walked up - he looked me DEAD in the eye, still smirking, and walked straight passed. I nearly pissed my pants. The minute he disappeared behind my back, I ran like the fucking wind down the underground bit, heart pounding like a jackhammer, my throat closing up, every bit of me was freezing cold too so I was shaking - and I just kept running until I got to the NEXT bus stop at 7:30pm and changed along the way - even sitting down on a random street to pull up my jeans at one point. I was so shocked and numb from the experience and how close of a call it had been that I could've cared less. Went home feeling miserable and terrified - half expecting to see that uncle's taxi parked outside my house and sitting inside with my mum and dad; waiting for me to return. Never happened though.

That weekend, that uncle came over, my dad asked me to make them tea which I courteously went and served to them. I had a headscarf on and avoided eye contact with the uncle. Nothing ever materialised from it.

ANOTHER time - my dad showed up at my university - outside it, to pick me up without telling me. My lecture finished at 4pm and my dad came and sat in the carpark at the other end of campus at 3pm and texted me: 'outside. come i will take u home wen u are done.' I nearly died. I left class early and RAN like the fucking wind around the back of the campus, the long way around, to the train station, got into the main station and changed my clothes at that station, then took the train back to uni and rang my dad, it was 4:15pm at this point. I told my dad: "Just got your text. I already headed down to the train station! Come down here and pick me up." He did. That way, I avoided any classmates leaving class from seeing me on campus in a headscarf and I avoided my dad seeing me without one.

The stories go on. They involve me having close-calls that make me experience aneurysm or heart-attack-like physiological symptoms lol.

GreenCardMe25 karma

holy crap. you must be incredibly stressed! =0

undercover2011103 karma

Funny thing is... you ask anyone who knows me, family included: they will say I'm incredibly calm, collected and in control of things. LOL.

defdav149 karma

I'm scared that when you said "I don't think they would kill me" that there is this lingering question as to whether or not they would. When I was growing up, if I said that my parents "would kill me" I was exaggerating. Please tell me that you you used that phrase as an exaggeration too.

undercover201181 karma

I've heard of honour killings but I don't know my parents stance on it. It's never come up in the extended family or anything. They're not violent but I've never rocked the boat to the extent where they've needed to be... so there is uncertainty there.

Zak73 karma

I've never rocked the boat to the extent where they've needed to be

The way you phrased that suggests you believe they might need to be violent if you "rock the boat". This is a serious warning sign even though that probably isn't exactly what you meant to communicate. It suggests that it's normal to feel justified in doing violence to relatives who don't conform.

Security consultant Gavin de Becker promotes the following framework for evaluating the threat posed by potentially violent people:

  • Justification - does the person feel that they've been somehow wronged to the extent that violence is justified to remedy the situation?
  • Alternatives - are there still options available to the person that will placate him without violence?
  • Consequences - does the person understand what's likely to happen to him if he uses violence? Does he care about those things as much as he cares about doing the violence?
  • Ability - this one is fairly self-explanatory.

Your phrasing[1] indicates that the justification will be present when your family becomes aware of your decision. When that happens, there will probably be few alternatives available to them as they see it. It's hard for me to guess to what degree they'll care about the consequences, so the safest thing for you is to remove their ability to harm you. Depending on how savvy and determined they are, it may be a challenge to simply avoid them. I imagine there are resources available to help you in that regard, but you probably have a much better idea what those are than I do.

[1] Even if unintentional, it reveals the sort of thinking going on. Don't put it past your family to do these things, and don't try to talk yourself out of it if you feel there is danger. Those instincts evolved to keep you alive. Listen to them.

undercover201142 karma

Some very sound advice there, Zak - thank you. I will trust my instincts. That is why I plan to disappear - not just move away and keep in contact. They need to go. Full stop.

mohawkskier7856 karma

In muslim culture it is not completely uncommon for that to actually happen, but then again I would be shocked if it happened in the UK rather than in a more religiously fundamental country (such as if they still lived in Pakistan)

hackel176 karma

No, it DOES happen in the UK! It's horrific, but it's a huge problem right now... And people are too damned afraid of offending these religious assholes and being accused of discrimination to do anything serious to stop it.

undercover2011115 karma

Yeah, I actually have a Google alerts set up for honour killings because it is something I'm morbidly curious about and there is a lot of it happening in the UK.

jamsw42 karma

My first thought when reading your original post was "I'll see you on the news being pulled out of the Thames in multiple bags in a couple of weeks, then". It's sad that enough of this has happened that the stereotype has formed that muslim parents will at the very least disown their children, and at the worst brutally kill and dismember them, for merely having thoughts and opinions that do not agree with their own.

I'm hoping you can get out of this in one piece, you've done so much and have a great future ahead of you. Don't let them shackle it with their oppressive cultural interpretation of religion.

undercover201127 karma


CandleJill112 karma

Do you have a back up plan to call for help? Like an emergency cell phone? Also, don't be afraid to call the police if they beat you or threaten you with physical violence. Yes, they are your parents. But you are also their daughter, and for them to physically harm you or threaten your health is even more unacceptable.

Consider perhaps having a regular check in with someone, or let them know that if you ever disappear from sight that you want the police to do a "wellness" check on you, to ensure you are OK and safe.

undercover201199 karma

I don't trust anyone enough to confide in them... The thing is, I kind of put this on reddit because I want to leave some evidence behind of my life just in case. Believe me when I say there is not a soul on earth beyond me who knows my situation fully. I realised this recently and decided about making a blog or something... then came across IAmA through livejournal and thought 'why not?'

[deleted]43 karma

Why have you chosen to not confide in anyone that you know? You said you have friends at school, is there no one you could open up to and tell your story to? I know Reddit is an excellent place to get things off of your chest anonymously but having a friend IRL could be your best resource when you decide to or have to take action.

If a friend of mine came to me with a story like this, I would do anything the needed for help. I for sure would be able to keep the most important secret of their life. I would HOPE if I had a friend in your situation they would confide in me so they aren't alone, friends aren't supposed to be alone.

undercover201156 karma

I feel if I tell one person... it puts me at more risk... it's one more person who could leak it out, no matter how well-intentioned or good that person is.

wee0x1b84 karma

It's cowardly.

You say that "some violence" would ensue and you "don't think" they'd kill you if your parents found out you were doing something as innocuous as not wearing a scarf, and claim that you're being cowardly for wanting to bug out?!

Your parents are the ones being cowardly, using religion as a wedge and as an excuse. If those were my parents, I would want no part of throw-backs like them. This is the 21st fucking century...

Get out, tell them how you are living your life, and invite them to be a part of that life -- on your terms. If they still want to live in the Stone Age, let them. Their loss.

undercover201152 karma

Agreed completely. Thank you.

hackel26 karma

Will you try to get a restraining order of some kind as soon as you decide to leave? Are your parents in a community where they might et the help of others to do you harm?

undercover201134 karma

If they find me then I will pursue a restraining order but I'm hoping they will never find me. I should research restraining orders though - thank you for the tip.

Former___Lurker24 karma

No, it's not cowardly. Forcing your child to believe or face physical punishment is cowardly. As a believer in some form of spiritual 'creator' I could never, ever force my beliefs on anyone, and if anything, my belief that we are all somehow connected is an even more powerful force in preaching tolerance, but I guess I'm getting off track. This isn't about me!

TL;DR - There are a lot of people (myself included) who are rooting for you :)

undercover201115 karma

Thank you so, so, so much. Everyone's support means lots. I didn't think so many people would care.

Ax2277 karma

My boyfriend's in a similar situation complicated even more by the fact that I'm, how to say this, not a girl. Kind of like living in a constant fear of discovery.

Anyway, go for it! You sound absolutely brilliant and it would be a shame to throw that away. And here's my question: My boyfriend often talks about the conflicting ideals that swarm around in his head and they confuse him quite a bit. In his own words "I grew up in an Arabic, secular, relatively liberal nation amongst a conservative, religious population in an traditional, democratic household insisting upon the significance of Western education". I can't imagine how those things all muddle him up. Do you feel the same? Which values do you find conflict the most?

undercover2011341 karma

Oh honey :( Are you from a Middle Eastern background too? I hope the best for you and your boyfriend. I really do. My stance on sexuality is rather strange to many but I don't like the rigid 'homo'/'hetero'/'bi' or any other classifications. I think an attraction between any two people can be love. I know most consider that bisexuality but gender does not enter into the love equation for me.

Also, your boyfriend's description.... interesting because his environment and the people he grew up with and their ideals are exactly similar to my parents except the education part isn't as important to them. The thing is, values for me do not conflict because I have always seen morality and religion to be very seperate things. As a young child, I was a prolific reader and at age 10; I was reading about ideologies and philosophies that transcend the religion spectrum. I think a lot of Muslim people who try to leave the faith or find themselves at odds with the fate find conflict in the values because there's some 'religious' or 'cultural' values that they appreciate a lot or think are great. However, the way I see it is - a religion may emphasize the importance of charity: this is great. Charity is good. Humans should be charitable. Great. Yet, religion wasn't the inventor of charity. Humans were. Humans were the inventors of religion too - and that includes all the good and bad things that come in religion. I can appreciate the good values of a culture or a religion without feeling conflicted.

...OK so the above makes little sense it seems... sorry... maybe I am muddled but I don't feel it :P

moshisimo194 karma

I applaud your view on sexuality. Fuck gender, love is love.

undercover2011218 karma

Damn straight.

Ryt-__-155 karma

No pun intended.

[deleted]11 karma

The best puns on Reddit are always the accidental ones...

undercover201130 karma

...but was it an accident?


GrimmDeathberry66 karma

The word you are looking for is more "pansexual" than "bisexual". Where gender doesn't play a role in attraction, you're attracted to their personality more than anything. This goes for trans people as well as male and female.

Edit: Really should have said trans, male, female and anything inbetween or outside the realm of those definitions.

SaintCrouton50 karma

Pansexuality-- screw all the biology!

undercover201172 karma


[deleted]74 karma


undercover2011173 karma

Didn't realise there were so many gay Muslim men struggling like this. Tell him to get his finances in order, sort out his life and then run. Seriously. Life is too short to compromise anything that gives you happiness.

[deleted]34 karma


undercover201121 karma

I had no idea of this underbelly culture amongst Muslim men either. Very sad.

teanotcoffee241 karma

Hey, Muslim girl here :) I showed your AMA to my parents (both of whom are pretty religious, i.e., pray 5 times a day, keep to all the islamic rules, etc.) and they said that no child should ever feel threatened by their parents. If you do, your parents haven't done their jobs properly.

They wanted me to tell you that you have the right to live the way you want to. They say that the Qu'ran says that there is no compulsion in religion, so no person has the right to bind you to any faith you don't want to be a part of. Ultimately, judgement of a person is not up to us, but to God. We have no right to interfere, but we have a responsibility to be good and kind to fellow human beings, no matter what their beliefs (or lack thereof), cultures or anything.

My parents want me to tell you that if they were in the UK (we live in Canada) you would be more than welcome to share our home, and live the way you like, if you feel uncomfortable with your family. They say that they will pray for your happiness. I hope you understand and respect their wish to pray. If they could do more to help, they would.

I myself am a non-practicing Muslim. My parents will encourage me to pray, etc. from time to time, but if I don't, they don't mind. I know for a fact that my parents would never do a THING to hurt me, and would stand against the world for me if the need arose. THAT is what a parent should be like, IMO.

I don't mean anything bad but when I hear stories like yours, I get so mad at people like your parents. They make the entire religion look bad, when there are people like my parents who are part of this faith as well.

If you ask me, you are an incredible person. You will go places, and be an incredibly happy person. And for the unhappiness that your parents have given to you in your life, they have no right to be a part of your future. A parent would never turn their back on their child, and just the fact that you feel so threatened is a testament to how much you NEED to get away from them.

Fill your life with good people, ones who will respect you for the person YOU are, and not what you believe in.

My parents wish they could do more to help you. I wish I could do more to help you.

I want to wish you all the best with your future.

Edit: I thought I might add that me and my parents are from Pakistan. I was born there and moved here when I was 7/8. I think the Pakistani culture is also heavily stereotyped. My parents aren't absolutely nuts, like most of the Pakistani families we encounter in the news.

undercover201197 karma

Your parents are beautiful.

MistahBadboy211 karma

I went to a highschool where a girl was brutally murdered for this exact behavior. She use to take off the head scarf at the start of school and use to take it off before she went home. The girl was murdered by her own father and her elder brother played a role in bringing her to their house at the day of incident ( she was no longer staying at her house but rather at her friends). Everyone at the school was shocked and disgusted by this.

Heres a link for more information.


undercover2011169 karma

I know the story. I've read comments online by her friends too. Very sorry for your loss... it's horrific and appalling.

I don't liken my situation to hers because no one in my family is even suspicious of me and my behaviour whereas with her, there was pent-up tension prior right? I wear a headscarf in our local town and keep my head down. I have no friends in our local town, any high school friends I had prior to uni have been cut-off on Facebook and on my phone and it's been that way for three years. Also... I have a career plan and an almost secured position for PhD research (which pays well enough for me to live on) and it's far away enough from my home town (about 5 hours by car). I think she was young and never fully got to plan anything for herself, she was just trying to be herself and hadn't realised where she would go later in life yet. I'm older and I've thought about those things and I don't know if I'm being naive or not but I feel I will get away successfully. No one even suspects me except for one person who has left the country (she was an international student at uni and took the same bus as me one day randomly and saw me... we never discussed it in depth. Anyways, after graduation, she went back to her home country).

tmujir955199 karma

I'm a guy who was also born Muslim, and I've come to believe there is no God. I plan to major in something biology related. I hope you can one day achieve your dreams.

undercover2011145 karma

Incredible! I hope you achieve your dreams too. I really, really do.

rabootcha153 karma

I am a guy in a very similar situation. It's practically easier for me to just run away, but the thing is, my family is wonderful. I hate being dragged into the culture and religion they belong to, and I am expected to marry someone in the same culture.

I am 26 and I've been intentionally sabotaging my work so I can tell them that I'm not ready for marriage. But I love them, and they also need the finances I send in to support them. I wish I could run away too.

I know how hard it is for girls to make such a move, kudos to you for doing this. But don't forget the people who love you, especially your younger siblings. Even if you cut all direct contact with them, try to find a way to keep informed about them. They might need an elder sister someday.

undercover2011312 karma

You're so right in everything you said. These are my exact thoughts.

I know that to any stranger reading my account; my parents must seem like demons but they are not. There are people a lot more worse off than me whose parents get physically violent. Mine are psychologically/emotionally controlling but it hasn't reached physical levels... ever.

I worry about my siblings every day and I do plan to find a way to keep tabs on them from afar somehow... I worry about how shit life is going to be for them because of me. At one point, this worry was enough to deter me from pursuing my plans but then I realised - how many other Muslim girls before me have had potential and ideals and sacrificed them for the sake of keeping the peace and not rocking the boat for everyone else? Too many. My motto is: I have to be the change I want to see.

woodysortofword108 karma

you can marry the OP ಠ_ಠ

napalmintheam16 karma

Arranged marriage we can believe in.

undercover201114 karma

Yes, I will fight my way out of a life where I have no right to pursue my own choices in life ONLY to end up having my marriage arranged by an Internet community on reddit... :P

townidiot41 karma

I'm 29 and I was in the same boat as you. I am very americanized and I come from a very religious muslim family. I did as you said, sabatoged my work, portrayed the illusion that I was no where near ready for marriage (even though my salary was at 95k per year, I still was able to make them think I was struggling). I didn't want to leave my family either because they are also wonderful in my eyes too and we've been through more then most have together, I just happened to grow in a different direction then everyone else. Well, long story short I ended up meeting a muslim girl that I was crazy about and it ended up working itself out. They're happy with me being with her (though we did have to speed up the marriage process which I wasn't happy about) and things are on the up and up. But, I will never be close with my family because they see me as an outsider and always have even if i am married to a muslima. I'm okay with that though, you grow up and you realize you can't please everyone and you shouldn't try. Good luck to you!

undercover201130 karma

I'm okay with that though, you grow up and you realize you can't please everyone and you shouldn't try.

Excellent advice <3

DukeBerith88 karma

I'm also ex (but I'm a guy).

I advise you start fresh in another country rather than trying to do it in your current one. If you're the first in your relatives to go this route, then it's that much more pressure on your parents to punish you and I'm sure you've heard those stories of honour killings by brothers and fathers in the middle of the night.


undercover201183 karma

Going to another country isn't smart for me financially or employment-wise - or even in terms of what I want to do with my life. I will be far away enough from my hometown and I plan to leave no trace of where I'm heading. No one knows. No one.

rabootcha37 karma

Are your parents crazy enough to hire a detective to locate you?

undercover201142 karma

Not sure as no one in my extended family has ever had this type situation (girl running away). I think they would definitely want to find me but I don't know the lengths they would go to. My parents aren't violent though. They're just emotionally and psychologically good at controlling me.... emotional blackmail sort of thing.

nychacker35 karma

lol, the government should fund ex-muslim relocation programs like witness relocation.

undercover201165 karma

Yes, let's give the bigots in the UK something MORE to complain about when it comes to foreigners: "My TAX money is used to fund these fucking towelheads who can't form functional families and can't stop killing each other over dumb stupid shit? MY TAX MONEY?"

fistogram65 karma

Weren't you ever worried about bumping into one of your parents' friends or other relatives while not wearing your traditional garb?

undercover2011111 karma

Yes. I have had run-ins and close-calls. Too many to name. I'm not exaggerating when I say that every evening when I got home, I was on tenterhooks... picturing an old Muslim man with a beard sitting on the sofa with my parents and glaring at me knowingly. However, this has not happened and I'm grateful. I've had pictures taken at university. During London Fashion Week, I did a guest modelling spot for a friend I know for an alternative fashion week show for which there is a video on YouTube and countless pictures on Facebook. There's been other times when I've done things like make videos at university for campus elections or something. There's so many ways I could be exposed. Yet I never have but trust me, I live with the fear but also with a readiness for the day that it is exposed. I have a plan in mind for when it happens. There's so much fear and so much panic and so much pressure when you do this on a daily basis. That's why I liken the way I've lived to living a double-life.

cookiemonster8725 karma

what's the plan?

undercover201189 karma

I wouldn't post it online but it basically involves running away... I feel very pathetic having made this post now. I've opened myself up to a lot of judgement. I guess I am cowardly seeming but what I undergo is psychological and I have psychological demons to conquer... so please excuse anything I say which comes across fickle and feeble.

jdrama8356 karma

If you're Pakistani, commute hours to school, never go on vacation, and your friends don't have any of your basic contact information I'm pretty sure they've figured it out. Unless of course you live in Metropolis.

[deleted]96 karma


HighKungFuGamerProgr63 karma

Just a suggestion but if your friends are very close to you and you listen to their problems then maybe you should share this with them. It would probably help you more than telling strangers on the web as they would support you through this. Also what happens when they find out they have been sharing personal things with you and you are hiding a large part of your life from them? I think they could maybe think they don't know you as well as they thought and that might make them uncomfortable. I understand its a hard thing to open up to people when it involves something so personal but it really would be for the best.

undercover201158 karma

Also what happens when they find out they have been sharing personal things with you and you are hiding a large part of your life from them?

You're right. I tell so many lies everyday in order to cover up my double-life that I do worry about this. I just can't tell them. It's humiliating.

Mowgli389 karma

It seems like everyone in this thread understands...I am sure your friends would understand. In fact, I bet they'd all be willing to help you if you need it. People are more understanding than you may think, but I completely understand why you'd be afraid, given your family situation.

undercover20115 karma

You have no idea how many lies I've told...

jdrama8333 karma

They're not curious about why you've never spent an evening with them or had them over to your apartment? How do you keep that up?

undercover201152 karma

About four or five of them have said stuff like 'Oh we've never been clubbing together! We need to right that wrong!' but for the most part, everyone is always busy with work, essay deadlines or going back to visit their families for the weekend so it's not like everyone's always been at every Facebook-invite-party, you know? Beyond that, I've made last minute excuses sometimes after confirming I'll come and I have told people my mum is sick and I have to go back on weekends to look after her etc. As well as that, our degree is intense and I have a reputation for being on the ball with essays/lab reports/study notes to the extent I assist in teaching first year undergrad classes and having lunch with lecturers. I think in general, people respect me as being studious and hardworking and always willing to help them with their work and that's why they're friends with me. Beyond that, they might invite me places but I've never lived in halls of residence with them and bonded in first year like they all did so I'm not a key group member. I just kind of drift along between groups. At uni, there's lots of mature students as well who are good friends with everyone but not to the extent that they party together. The reason I call them good, close friends is because I've helped them all a lot... not just with work-work but emotional problems (bereavement for example). I'm very quiet and I guess that makes me a good listener. A lot of them bonded with me in that way. They do ask me to open up as well but I always say I have nothing substantial to share....

illmasta7749 karma

I am a 23 yr old muslim and I have come to a different outlook on islam. I do not believe that everything stated in the quaran was meant to be taken literally but our parents (i am pakistani as well) were raised with that mentality because of exactly what you said..the confusion of old school culture and religion..if you look at the concept of the hijab metaphorically all it means is to stay modest the head scarf was a cultural thing in the middle eastern area because of heat and is implied to islam now.. i have a sister who faught for 4 years to be given the ability to follow her passion for art 3000 miles away from new york city...she never got an ok so one day she just up and left as a brother i was hurt but i understood her strive for perfection n how she could only accomplish her artistic goals in california.. now after her success my parents are so proud of her....a leader has to do things sometimes that will better themselves but hurt others and thats perfectly fine because in the end those who felt hurt will come back around...follow your dreams live without regret your parents will one day understand why you made the decisions that you are goin to make and if they dont atleast you know how wonderful you are.. i feel like ive been thinkin the same thing as you with religion it is only there for people who are afraid of not having explanations to the mysteries of life..i say lifes to short to give a damn good luck

undercover201137 karma

i have a sister who faught for 4 years to be given the ability to follow her passion for art 3000 miles away from new york city...she never got an ok so one day she just up and left as a brother i was hurt but i understood her strive for perfection n how she could only accomplish her artistic goals in california.. now after her success my parents are so proud of her....

This is exactly what this situation is for me. I will get 'no no no no' and more 'no's' if I even discuss the possibility of going away to study or to even continue to a PhD level. They see no worth in it for me. So I will just up and leave. I will cut contact to make my life easier (not have to worry about them showing up at my door all angry or whatever). But I hope one day I can return, show them I did something for myself and they can be proud or at least be at peace with my actions.

Thank you brother. Thank you.

moones26 karma


undercover201172 karma

Sort of. Almost. Too painful to talk about in-depth at the moment....

Caddy66623 karma

nothing to add, but if you're ever up t'other end o' country, we can go for a pint.

undercover201140 karma

I'm going to hold you to that mate because if it's the same end we're both thinking of... that's where I'll be!