Caliphate Ghettos in the West

Written By Deborah Hizb ut Tahrir, Posted on April 6, 2021

It has been three years since I escaped the clutches of religious extremism after being radicalized in Canada. Although I was born a Mennonite in Canada and I have never lived in an Islamic country, I converted to Islam at the age of 28 and married an extremist, who to this day, is part of a global terrorist network. 

People often ask me how I went from being a tolerant, open-minded Canadian girl from London, Ontario, to a radical Islamist fundamentalist that married a man obsessed with the establishment of a caliphate and believing that Sharia law supersedes Western laws. My answer is frighteningly simple and naive – I fell in love with a man who made me feel special, admired, and convinced me that following the Islamic teachings was sacred. 

I also believe I was the perfect candidate to convert to Islam. When I met my future husband, my identity mirrored that of a ‘hippy Liberal’. I wanted everyone to be loved equally and I was so proud of Canada’s multiculturalism. I also harboured feelings of distrust towards the government and I never bothered voting because I felt that no matter who was in power, nothing would ever change.

The “War on Terror” only exacerbated my feelings towards governments in general, thinking this was merely a tactic of powerful ruling nations to maintain control over resource-rich countries. I felt immense empathy towards Muslims that suffered at the hands of these corrupt nations, believing they were intentionally sowing discord to maintain power and control. In turn, these thoughts and feelings helped me to rationalize why I truly believed that any terrorist attack carried out by Muslims was justified since they have been attacked and tortured into submission by “the West”.  

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During this period in my life, there were several people that tried to warn me, including the man who was “my voice”” in the marriage ceremony.  [Women are not permitted to speak in an extremist wedding ceremony since we are viewed more as property.]  He warned me that my ex-husband could end up in jail because of the organization he is linked to. Unfortunately, that warning came too late and fell on deaf ears. I was incapable of accepting facts, even when they were right in front of me. I was essentially brainwashed.

From my experience, and from watching others being converted and radicalized, we all seem to share the same qualities and characteristics. We are lost Liberal souls that are obsessed with the idea of tolerance and primed to accept the literal and extremist interpretation of Islamic texts. We are taught the most extreme elements within the Q’ran, Hadiths, and the Surrah while lacking the cultural background to scrutinize contradictions in Islam. This lack of framing makes it difficult to question or challenge the literalist interpretations of a 1400-year-old book in a foreign language that has no comparisons with the culture in which I was raised. I was out of my depth and would soon pay dearly for this.


It is important to note that my ex-husband was also born in Canada with cultural and family ties to the Middle East, specifically Iraq. When he was young, he joined a group that espouses the values of political Islam. By the time we met, he was fully radicalized and giving lectures at the local university and hosting debates about the Gulf War. His ultimate goal was to recruit new followers and support from politicians to advance his group’s extremist cause.

My ex-husband was perfect for the role of recruiting. He was charming and manipulative, and I found myself believing everything he said. We quickly married and I converted, since dating in Islam is forbidden. I remember feeling overwhelmed, as everything was happening so quickly, but it was exciting. Not once did it occur to me that I was being manipulated. 

I have learned that extremist groups love western converts and shower them with overwhelming support and constant positive reinforcement. I received nothing but praise and admiration for converting, telling me over and over again how blessed I was that I had been chosen by Allah to convert. For a short period of time, my dreams came true. I married the love of my life and I was happy.

Shortly after we began our life together as husband and wife, my dreams shattered. I  was forced to be a subservient wife, do whatever my husband tells me to do, and abide by the rules laid out by the Islamic teachings. My reward for my obedience would be gaining extra favour from Allah and a higher status in Heaven.

As time passed, I was increasingly isolated from my family and I missed them terribly. I was only permitted to have female friends whom my husband approved of and I was surrounded by Islamists all the time. We had children and raised a family while my ex-husband worked to grow his “political” group to fulfill what he told me was our duty as Muslims. According to my husband’s political group, Hizb ut Tahrir, a Muslim’s duty is to re-establish the Khilafah (Islamic state) the same way the prophet Mohammed did approximately 1500 years ago. The reason is, without an Islamic state, Muslims can only implement a third of their obligations since the rest can only be implemented under a state using Sharia as a ruling legal system.  


I was forced to help my husband work towards this goal. We never actively tried to convert Westerners to Islam, as it was not the primary goal despite it happening from time-to-time. Our mission was to recruit and radicalize Western Muslims and help guide them to reject a secular Western society that was deemed sinful and work to re-establish the Islamic state along with the Umah. The “Umah” refers to the collective consciousness of all Muslims

We used the ‘house slave’ versus ‘field slave’ analogy coined by Malcolm X as a propaganda tool to convince our targets of the difference between the decadent Western Muslim being tricked into subservience of their “master” (white westerners), and the disorganized, chaotic Eastern countries enslaved by the West to ensure Western property. The narrative we continually pushed was that all Muslims are perpetual victims of the colonial white, dominated white supremacists that enslave us. This is the same type of rhetoric that far-left activists use and it is completely intentional.  

These fallacious and inflammatory arguments may seem ridiculous to many but are extremely appealing to vulnerable, frustrated Muslim youth and converts. It is a perfect primer for tolerant Liberal minded individuals who blame the worlds’ problems on colonialism and imperialism, to side with the Islamists and celebrate oppressive tools like the hijab. These individuals are groomed to reject any negative views or facts about extremists and Islamists as mere propaganda by the government, Jews, white supremacists, colonialists, or any other group that could be labelled as Islamophobic.  Identity Politics is a powerful tool used to brainwash Muslim individuals to be skeptical of everyone who is not Islamic.


One of the most heart-wrenching and traumatic experiences I lived for twelve years married to an extremist was witnessing what they do to children. They carefully brainwash children from as young as three years old into adopting the Islamist narrative. Although I am thankful that my ex-husband was never physically abusive towards our children, I knew of many Islamists that beat their young children if they reject the extremist ideology they were being taught. 

These children are taught to never trust the Kufaar (white people) or befriend them. They are also taught to hate Jewish people and that God will kill them and polytheists (Hindus) because they commit shirk. Eternal hellfire is their punishment.

In some cases when children would reject this extremist ideology, their father would tie them up and whip them relentlessly or cane the bottom of their feet until they could not walk. The emotional and physical torturing of these children is what has traumatized me the most and caused me to question my life living under this extremist ideology. 

What was also traumatizing was witnessing my ex-husband actively trying to brainwash our children to hate other cultures, psychologically torturing them and there was nothing I could do. I had no rights or say as a Muslim wife married to an extremist. I had no job and had been isolated from my family and friends. Seven years into our marriage, my ex-husband had also taken a second wife. She lived in a separate house down the street and we were forced to raise our children together.  I was trapped in what seemed like a caliphate that has been established in London, Ontario.  

(Photo from The Guardian)

(Photo from The Guardian)

How I eventually made my escape is another story. Right now, my concern is for my children and the increasing number of children in Western countries being radicalized, tortured, and segregated into what I call the “Caliphate Ghettos” in the West.  

I am currently engaged in an ongoing custody battle with my ex-husband, doing what I can to prevent him from radicalizing our children. Despite sharing these concerns with Child Family Services, they have done little to protect my children and appear more concerned with offending Islam.

This past weekend, my seven-year-old son was sitting with me at the kitchen table after spending a few days with his Islamist father. He suddenly turned to me and said, “Mom, I’m sad that you are going to eternal hellfire after you die.” 

I sat there stunned for a minute, unable to speak. It was as if I could feel my heart breaking into pieces and I knew I would never forget this day. It’s the day a part of my soul died.

Hizb ut Tahrir is a listed terrorist organization in the following countries:

  • China

  • Egypt

  • Iran

  • Kazakhstan 

  • Pakistan 

  • Russia 

  • Saudi Arabia

  • Tunisia

  • Tajikistan 

  • Turkey

Deborah Hizb ut Tahrir

5 responses to “Caliphate Ghettos in the West”

  1. Gordon S Watson says:

    well, the Mennonites believe in eternal hellfire for those who don’t make the cut on Judgment Day, too. So how is that so different? I most strongly urge you to read the Bible and ALL of it.
    Also : go back to using your maiden name. In Canada, a woman it’s perfectly legal for a woman to use her maiden name when she wants, as long as she does not set out to deceive

    • Todd Bishop says:

      If you think Biblical teaching is anywhere in the same universe as Islamic you are smoking some powerful stuff. The Bible makes it clear everyone is saved by grace and that God values moral behaviour, not violent conquests of people who simply are not born-again Christians.

      You should re-read that article before nit-picking the fact she didn’t use her maiden name….there are more important things going on here than you have a cry about her not disliking the Bible, a book you likely have barely read.

    • Deborah says:

      That’s not my real last name. I’ve always used my fathers last name. I’ve been to bible college and read the bible cover to cover several times and studied it in depth.

  2. Robyn says:

    Thank you, Deborah for sharing your story.

  3. Madan Bhargava says:

    Unless world leaders stop these he’ll holes developing in their countries the world will soon become a hell.