I was moved while handcuffed, hooded and I suspect that I was sedated as well. I had no idea where I was. All I knew was that I was alone in cold, concrete cell. The interrogations began after some time. They asked why I had traveled to Syria. This time I was placed in a darkroom and the voice came from the darkness. I was asked the same questions repeatedly in the hope that I would make a mistake. I answered that I had gone to Syria to help the widows and orphans of a pointless war because I believed that innocent civilians in a war zone should never be under attack or left to fend for themselves and that as a Muslim it was my duty to help the oppressed.
I tried to reason with them. I explained that when Hurricane Katrina hit America, everyone rushed to help those who had lost everything and it was the same with Gaza , Kashmir or Syria.
I tried remind how the jewish people from all over the world sent money to Israel to help their brothers. Millions of dollars in aid moved from country to country daily and no one gave it a second thought, so why was it only problem when a muslim sent aid money overseas. Why is any money being sent by a Muslim anywhere for any reason automatically classified as financing terrorism?
Was my only crime being Muslim and caring for the oppressed? That would be ridiculous… wouldn’t it?
When soldiers go into countries to rape, loot, massacre and destroy and they return home to be honoured as heroes. Yet those of us who volunteer in war zones trying to pick up the pieces they leave behind are detained for no reason and tortured
I was screamed at, slapped, humiliated, kicked and hit. I remained still and silent I refused to give them the satisfaction of watching me in pain. They tore off my hijab and laughed when I said that I had the right to freedom of religion.
I was dragged by my hair across the room and called every word that is used to shame a woman. I asked for justice repeatedly and was beaten.
One day during interrogation this massive officer entered the room and pushed me against the wall. He began choking me and as I felt his grip getting tighter, I thought this was the way my life would end and I closed my eyes and began to pray. There was no way I could fight back , he was at least 3 times stronger than me. The praying calmed me.
Eventually he let go and I fell onto the floor in a heap, he called in another officer who cut of my clothing with a scissors. I was taken to my cell and left in my underwear on the freezing concrete floor, they threatened that they would return at night to rape me.
The following morning my hands were tied behind my back and I was left with headphones which blasted heavy metal, I felt like my head would explode. I closed my eyes and thought of Rahim and the time we spent together in Paris. After a while your body goes numb.
The following morning I was given clothes and some food and moved into a solitary confinement cell.
Some days passed and then the interrogations began again. This time I was waterboarded, they push your head into a bath until it feels like you’re drowning and then they pull you out at the last second. Your lungs feel like they are about to explode.
I endured, there were many moments that I felt would be my last but the torture was specifically designed to make you suffer but not kill you. the pain and made it my friend. Through everything I prayed, Allah would not forsake me,this would have to end.
I was sexually harassed and molested, I was repeatedly threatened with rape. It was terrifying.
They interrogations happened weekly, sometimes even twice and thrice a week. They showed me pictures of men and women who they claimed attended my father’s mosque. I didn’t recognise any of them. I had never known anyone who belonged to a so-called “Radical group”. I was never contacted by an ISIS member, on social media, who asked me to run away to Syria and marry him. I didn’t even have social media accounts.
No one seemed to care what I answered.