Rustam was kept under a watchful eye because of the nature of his job. He experienced first-hand the hostility towards Muslims in his home town. Arrested and beaten so badly that he could barely move, he was forced to leave and start again.


A watchful eye  

I witnessed first-hand the hostility towards the Muslims in the region I lived in. They were harassed and discriminated against by the local police. I worked for a human rights organisation that worked with Muslims, and I often had meetings with different journalists from major news outlets.

It was difficult for the Muslims there as they couldn’t go anywhere or do anything without being monitored. They were taken to the police station and beaten, simply for practicing their religion.

There was a lot of surveillance, and because of the nature of my job, I was on the authorities’ radar. Police would follow me and come to my home nearly every other week.

I was living in one apartment with my family, including my wife, brother, and my parents. They would come to my house at any given time, at night or early morning. They didn’t have permission from the court to come but they still did.

It was very worrying as my parents were elderly and my children were young, roughly two to three years old. They were crying and intimidated by over 10 police officers in their full uniform in their home, armed with weapons.

Unable to move, walk and talk  

It wasn’t a fair process and they didn’t follow a procedure. Sometimes they would take you to the police station, and other times they would take you to places where they would torture you.

I didn’t know the location, but I knew it was a big room and there were other Muslims there also as you could hear them. They were beating me with plastic bottles with water, and electricity. They also put a plastic bag over my face, making it difficult for me to breathe. It didn’t stop there.

They broke my bones and hit me on my back, damaging my shoulder. When I was in the cell, I didn’t know when it was going to end. They would pour water on me to wake me up and continue the ordeal all over again.

At that time, I thought what have I done wrong? All I’ve done is try to help people. They were torturing me because I was reporting what was happening.

It only stopped when my manager came and he took me back home. I couldn’t move, couldn’t work and I was in pain everywhere. I was in a lot of pain and was sat at home, unable to do anything else. I could not go to the doctors, because the doctors were not allowed to help.

We could not live like this, after two years of this situation. I couldn’t take it anymore, or put my family through it. It was too much to handle. That’s when I decided to leave the country.

Leaving it all behind 

When I was trying to leave, I was stopped at passport control. I was with my wife who was screaming and shouting, wondering where they were taking me. They took me to a room and began questioning me, asking me where I was going, and if I was taking any documents with me.

After the questioning, Alhamdulillah, they let me go. They told me not to come back, and that’s when I headed to the Gulf.

Once I settled in the Gulf, I began to work. I didn’t have the same amount of problems there but I did have the police questioning me about who I was and what I was doing there. After a while, my lawyer said it might be better for me to head to the UK. I had a visa and once I arrived here, I sought asylum.

For three years, living here in the UK, it was difficult as I couldn’t work and was very restricted. After those 3 years, I was able to work and open a bank account. This made things a little easier.



Read more of Rustam’s story…

Rustam’s Story Part Two

Even when he thought things had settled. Rustam’s past came to haunt him. When he was on his way to meet his mother, he was re-arrested... Quick Donate Single Donation Monthly regular Donation £ Zakat Interest Sadaqa Donate PART TWO His past caught up with him  My family and I decided to travel to a [...]