My birth name is Chakia Ciara Harris. And I was born to Protestant parents. Throughout my life, I had to spend a lot of time in the church. I would sing, and go to Bible study, and participate in programs. From the outside looking in a person would think that my family was moral and righteous, but this was not the case. I had a lot of toys and nice clothing for church, but I was being abused.
My mother neglected me and was never there when I needed her. She would beat me often to the point where I would have bruises. Most of these bruises I couldn’t remember who gave them to me, but I was still convinced that she loved me. I wanted her approval more than anything so I got baptised when I was eight and memorized Bible verses. I thought she was proud of me, but seemed like no matter what I did it was never good enough. I would pray to Jesus often and ask Him to help, but he never showed.. It almost felt that I was by myself.
When I was six years old, my step father came into my room and when I woke up he was on top of me.. I was confused because I knew this wasn’t normal, but I couldn’t say anything. I told my mother, but all she told me to do was lock the door and we never spoke of it again, but I never forgot.. And this went on for some time and I remember just wishing that Jesus would save me,but it seemed like He wouldn’t.. When I became a teenager, I desired to get as far away from my troubled past as I could. I wanted to see the world and to just be happy. So one day I stumbled across a copy of The Autobiography of Malcolm X.
I didn’t know very much about him or what he believed, but this hate manifesto was just enough. In the novel, he had converted to Islam. I didn’t know very much about Islam or how it worked, but I was so intrigued by his life story. Three years later, I decided to convert to Islam. This was foolish on my part, because I wasn’t sure of what this faith was. So I took my laptop and started to do my research.
The only thing had actually done was read the Qur’an from the beginning until the end. I never formally took Shahadah, but I eventually memorized some Qur’an verses and learned how to pray. I hid all of this from my mother who had no clue of my conversion. I even fasted during Ramadan without her having a clue what I was doing. I felt happy because I figured that maybe I had found a God who loves me, but I was so wrong. I knew nothing of Islam or what it was truly like. I believed that my way of being Muslim was alright. I didn’t drink alcohol or eat pork and made sure to read the Qur’an and make all of my prayers.
A few months later my family had gotten evicted from our old home. This was my mother’s fault because she had failed to take care of me. She told me to only focus on my first semester of college, but how could I while this is all taking place? I wound up staying with my grandmother for quite some time. It was after a few weeks that I had discovered my mother’s wicked and malevolent plan… She was going to kill me because she could tell that I had officially rejected Christianity. I didn’t know or ever find out how she was planning to do this, but I knew it was time for me to go.
So one night she and I were going to my grandmother’s house when I told her that I can’t come home with her… She lost it and started yelling at me saying that I was selfish and that this was my grandmother’s fault. She was driving really fast and she told me that she was going to kill herself.. I was so scared because I thought she was going to drive the car into a ditch so both of us would die together on impact, but I didn’t jump out of the car.. At the moment, it didn’t matter to me if I died that night.
All that mattered to me was that I finally told her that this is my life and that I was doing to do and believe what I pleased! At this point, I was already bordering Islam kaffir status. I started missing my prayers and no longer reading the Qur’an. And I had finally mustered up the courage to leave my mother’s house.
She was angry with me and to this day she still is. On December 31, 2010 I left her and never went back.. On this day I lost all of my family who said they no longer wanted to see my face for what I done. I couldn’t understand because I did nothing wrong. Each year on this day I look back and just see how far I came and how I’m no longer the scared and depressed girl I used to be. For the longest time my mother continued to try and contact me.
She would send me abusive emails and call me constantly. I’ve had to call the police a couple of times because of how frightened I was. One night I was at my grandma’s house when my mom showed up and tried to force me to come outside. I got terrified and locked myself in the bathroom and called the police. Just being there made me remember all the horrible things she did to me.. And I never let it go.
And again I tried and tried to seek refuge in Allah, but He also ignored my cries. I cried myself to sleep for awhile realizing how alone I was. But I knew I had to be strong and continue with my life and goals. While in my second semester of school I began to read Hindu scripture. The Ramayana in particular. I fell in love with Ram and His nature while reading. I had also taken interest in Buddhism. I have read the Dhamapada and got inspired by its teachings.
Reading these books made me fall in love with Vedic religion and culture. I felt it was beautiful and accepted me for who I am, however I was still Muslim. It wasn’t until I moved away on my own that I saw Islam for what it truly was. I went to the mosque and at first I was happy, but eventually they showed their true colours. A man at the mosque implied that I was a whore because I was wearing a sweater that didn’t cover my forearms.
The women at the mosque gave me a hard time because I wanted higher education, actually read the Qur’an, and never wore the hijab. I was very firm with the fact that I did not believe in hijab and that it was degrading to women. They even tried to make me marry a Muslim because I was staying with my boyfriend and they felt that he wasn’t a good partner for a Muslim woman. After some time I made a friend at the mosque named Dalia. At first I thought she was nice and then she would belittle and insult me whenever she could. It made me feel terrible.
Almost as if I should be ashamed for my ideas and my love for India and it’s culture. This continued until one day I sent her an SMS message telling her to get out of my life. After this I never went to a mosque again. I just continued to work and go to school like a normal girl. I even started drinking and realised how much I enjoyed having beer and whisky. I continued on this path until one day, I stumbled across violence against Hindus articles from Bangladesh. I saw what the religion of Islam was doing to ethnic Bengalis and from that day forward I officially denounced Islam. I saw that this God has only abused me like my mother. He wanted me to be unhappy and I couldn’t take that anymore. Once I renounced Islam I started to worship Durga and read the Gita.
And from then on I became a Hindu. I had fallen in love with Ram before and He couldn’t leave me… Or at least I wouldn’t let him! I realised that being Hindu and living for the sake of Bharat was my destiny in life. I vowed that I would dedicate my life to Hinduism. I didn’t care if I had to die trying, but I was not going to lie to myself anymore. It was as if the color saffron was running through my veins!
To this day I support India and everything India stands for. I will not rest until I see Bharat return to her original state! Bharat is our country and we must stand up for Her now! I openly support Narendra Modi Ji and the BJP. It is through Hinduism that India will be saved.
It is time for Hindus to rise and look towards our future. I do bhakti meditation and seek to learn as much as I can to preserve this way of life. I even have plans to join an international branch of the RSS. I will say now and forever that I am proud to be Hindu. I will always fight and be loyal to Ma Bharat.. I have even adopted a new name for myself. I now go by the name Annika. It is another name for Durga. I chose this name because I want to be strong just like Her. And I pray that each and every single Hindu will rise up and realise that we are one. If we are to save Bharat then we must fight for her no matter how long it takes… Vande Mataram!
By Annika Harris