“It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact moment when I knew my uncle and his wife had seriously damaged their four young children (they have even more now).
The couple had recently (and quite quickly) underwent a dramatic transformation from regular practicing Muslims who knew how to enjoy life, to ultra conservative, humorless people.
All of the normal, day-to-day activities their children once enjoyed, like watching TV and playing board games, suddenly became haram (forbidden), and were staunchly forbidden.
His parents entered the room, snatched the book away, and berated him harshly. Apparently literature was ‘haram,’ and so even the small world he sought refuge in was closed to him forever.
One of their sons, a smart, shy, and intensely introverted boy has suffered the most damage. I remember sitting on the couch at the my uncle’s house one day, watching TV, while the young boy sat on the floor across from me, reading a book. His parents entered the room, snatched the book away, and berated him harshly. Apparently literature was ‘haram,’ and so even the small world he sought refuge in was closed to him forever.
A year later, my uncle moved his whole family ‘back home.’ They isolated themselves from society.
The oldest son is now an angry, hostile teenager, who grumbles constantly about the ills of western society, a view pounded into his head by his parents. It saddens me to think what the once colorfully witty and imaginative young boy could have become, had his talents and brilliance been nurtured. Instead, they were slowly chipped away by the sharp and continuous rebuke of his parents.
My uncle and his wife have dragged their children through the muck of their own misunderstanding of the religion and the world, scarring them irreparably in the process.”