Maryam was awake with her husband Abu Sufian and their two small children just after praying Fajr. In the silence of the early morning, she heard dozens of footsteps followed by a huge pounding on the front door. Before Maryam could cover herself, the police officers burst through and separated Abu Sufian from Maryam and their children:
“We were told to leave the house and he was left alone with around fifteen police officers. Later that day, we learned that he was placed on a control order and had three days left with us until he was moved miles away to live alone and away from us. He was fitted with a tag, given a curfew and his movements and interactions were restricted.”
The raid had particularly bad repercussions on her shaken children, who feared every knock on the door and felt anger and resentment towards the police.
“When the police came to collect Abu Sufian the children were hysterical. Our son refused to stay with me and wanted to stay with his dad. We decided to restrict visits to the weekends to lessen the pain of separation. The children would wet the bed thinking they would never see their Dad again”.
Maryam began to find herself increasingly alone. Most of her family members cut her off and her friends fled at the fear of being labelled an extremist. The police had taken everything; her electronic devices, diaries, games, money and bank cards. With her phone and laptop gone, she had to abandon everything. Maryam had helped to set up a charity but without any means of communication, she had to abandon her aspirations.
Maryam was left with a mountain of responsibility; she was the emotional backbone for her family and now she needed to carry the financial burden of providing for her children. But while searching desperately for work, every day her house was visited by police and vigorously searched. To add to her strain, every morning and afternoon, Maryam had to take two trains and a bus to get the children to school and back.
Abu Sufian remained miles away and powerless to help. Unable to work, alone and isolated from the world, it was impossible for him to make a new life for himself without his beloved wife and children.
Fortunately, shortly thereafter, a friend who knew she was struggling put Maryam in touch with HHUGS, who were able to help her straight away:
“I’m very grateful the sister did this as the help that HHUGS offered me made such a tremendous difference to my situation.HHUGS would take us regularly to visit my husband, they’d drive us there in a comfortable manner and they would also collect me and bring me homeâ€¦As the time went on the financial burden became more intense, as I didn’t have the breadwinner in the house anymore and had to get used to paying everything by myself. They also gave me a £100 monthly shopping voucher so that I could buy food for the children. This helped tremendously as I was able to shift some of the stresses and concentrate more on helping and guiding my family through this test and supporting them.”
The assistance provided by HHUGS also made positive differences to Maryam’s young children:
“They provided emotional support, calling me and asking how the kids were,asking how my emotional state was. The children began to feel special after receiving Eid gifts from HHUGS and they also arranged Eid parties we could attend. We finally started to feel more normal, like there were some people who weren’t afraid to associate with us. HHUGS saw us as human beings, not as criminals and terrorists. They treated us as part of the Ummah.”
Since her husband’s release the family live in fear as the threat of Abu Sufian’s passport being seized or his citizenship removed hangs over them. But Maryam as an optimistic and positive individual looks forward to a bright future with her family. Abu Sufian was able to get back into work and Maryam was able to focus on the one thing she enjoys the most – helping others. Both Maryam and her husband have become priceless HHUGS volunteers – fundraising, offering their services at events, helping other families jn need and following through with entire projects with HHUGS. They have become gems in our community, giving back at every opportunity.
Maryam also encourages as many people as possible to support HHUGS:
“I would urge people to please donate to HHUGS. Alhamdulillah, I am really grateful for HHUGS. Without the help, I really don’t think I would have been able to visit my husband as much as I could, or be strong for my husband as much as I could. I’m just one example but there are many sisters who are in this situation who are a lot worse off than I was. HHUGS needs all the support they can get, to ensure they are reaching out to all the sisters and children in need. It is such a unique charity that helps those near to us right here in the UK. HHUGS removes the hardships of those being oppressed. Be of those thirsty for the reward of helping those in need and be included in the du'aa’s (supplications) of the oppressed.We don’t know what state we might be in. One day we could be facing the same situation, may Allah forbid that, and protect all the Muslims.”