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Things That Shatter

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Author: Kaghla Um Dayo

Pick-up location: Tampines MRT

In 2009, Kaighla—a young, single mother from the Midwest, and a fresh convert to Islam—married an Egyptian immigrant, the sheikh of a mosque in Brooklyn. Unbeknownst to her, he hadn’t divorced his wife back home, and was about to be deported. Two years later, she moved with him, her son, and their baby girl to his hometown in rural Egypt, where she was abused and neglected—along with his first wife—for the next four years.

A much-beloved speaker and imam in Brooklyn and in Dearborn, Michigan, the sheikh lectured and taught at mosques and Islamic centers around the country in the early 2000’s. But across their seven-year marriage, Um Dayo’s identity and cultural heritage were systematically shattered by him, all in the name of making her the ideal “wife of the Sheikh”—and she wasn’t the first or last convert to be abused by him.

A story about what happens when Muslim women are broken by Muslim men, and find the courage to heal themselves through the real Islam, Things That Shatter aims to shed light on abuse and healing within the Muslim community, and to help female converts protect themselves from men like him. More than anything, this story is a convert’s re-declaration of faith that there is no God but God, and it serves as a reminder that women have intrinsic worth in God’s eyes, beyond and outside of their relationships to the men in their lives.

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