An Interview with Qadar Issa, Survivor of Kidnapping and Honor Violence

Honor violence most often hurts women and girls, but it can also affect men and boys. One of these boys is Qadar. Born in Netherlands to Somali parents, at age 16 Qadar was taken by his father to Somalia to be punished and tortured because of his Western-like behavior and refusal to follow Sharia law. Qadar reached out to the AHA Foundation to share his story and why he now wants to help children who might find themselves in a similar situation to his own. This is his story.

Qadar’s parents met in the United Arab Emirates where his mother worked as a cleaner at a boy’s school in Sharjah, and his father was part of the Emirate National Defence Forces. In their time living there, Kuwait was invaded by the dictator Saddam Hussein. As a result, the Gulf Union countries were sent to war against Iraq. Qadar’s father refused to fight in the war arguing that it was against his religion and beliefs to attack an Islamic country. He believed allowing Westerners to enjoy Dubai with their women not covering their hair was a shame to Islam, and sympathized with Saddam Hussein and his actions intending to protect Islamic ideologies.

By refusing to fight in the war, Qadar’s father faced the threat of imprisonment and a very large fine. He came in contact with a Somali man on vacation in Dubai who offered to forge him a new passport that enabled him to fly to Europe and declare refugee status. He eventually arrived at a refugee camp in Holland, later bringing his wife-to-be from the United Arab Emirates to join him. After years of physical abuse and fighting over seemingly minor things like his mother preferring to wear a colorful head scarf as opposed to black ones, Qadar’s parents separated and his father moved to the UK.

When I was five years old I started primary school and attended until the last class, which was 6th grade. It was good finishing primary school, but I was not happy with the things my mum always said after school, such as, “Don’t listen to the teacher!’’ to which I would respond, ‘’But how, mum? I’m a student and I want to learn, so how can I not listen to to the teacher?’’

I could not do anything, because everything I did my mum would say is against Islam.

My restrictions eventually got worse. I was not allowed to listen to music. If I watched a nice film and the man and woman kissed, my mum would switch the TV off. But when I was studying in high school and I was the age of 16, I had had enough. I could not stand this anymore. I could not go to the cinema if there is a girl with my friends. I could not do anything, because everything I did my mum would say is against Islam.

It was getting serious for me, and I told her I had enough. I left the house and she called the police and said that I’m staying outside in the middle of the night. The police called me and took me home. My mum asked me why I did this, and I told her that I had enough of coming home to a headache. She said she had also had enough and we will have to leave each other. She called my dad and said that she would not keep me in her house, so my dad came from the UK to take me with him.QI

But I didn’t want to leave for the UK. I wanted to stay in the Netherlands. I went with my father to the city of Southampton where he had another wife named Ashia. She looked like a woman who got beaten and raped everyday. He showed me my new room, and in the morning he took me out to register me in a new school. Then we went to the shopping centre, but he would judge what I would choose to wear, so we just left.

He took me to a Pakistani mosque to register me and start Islamic lessons. He told the Imam to start teaching me from the beginning of Islam because the way I act was far from Islam. His words made me angry.

He took me to a Pakistani mosque to register me and start Islamic lessons. He told the Imam to start teaching me from the beginning of Islam because the way I act was far from Islam. His words made me angry. I said I would do nothing at all and that I am free, and walked away. I came home that night and he told me to relax, “You are free and I have a present for you to start in the UK – a holiday through many countries, you will like it my son and you deserve it.”

But actually there was the most evil plan behind his beautiful offer. He would kidnap me and take me back to his country of origin

But actually there was the most evil plan behind his beautiful offer. He would kidnap me and take me back to his country of origin, Somalia, where he will find big groups of people who follow Sharia law who would help him terrorize me. But I never knew what was going on in my dad’s head, so I said yes to his evil plan. The next morning this was his super plan to kidnap me secretly to Somalia.

 Secret plan of kidnap.

  • Southampton/United Kingdom
  • London/United Kingdom
  • Paris/France
  • Madrid/Spain
  • Algeciras/Spain
  • Tangier/Morocco
  • Rabat/Morocco
  • Cario/Egypt
  • Adis Ababa/Ethiopia
  • Djibouti/Djibouti
  • Hargeisa/Somalia

When I arrived to north Somalia, everything was different. I was shocked with the conditions of the land, but I thought I was still on my welcome holiday from my father so I hoped we wouldn’t stay for too long. It was all actually a nasty trap, and my father’s ugly plan was for me never to go back to the Netherlands or Europe. He said that I see myself as a Westerner, but not as a Muslim man, so he wanted to show me the way of Islam. He said I will have to marry four ladies and beat them or abuse them however I can so they don’t see themselves as humans who can make her own decisions, but only follows my laws or I would beat her to death and that was the way of Islam. He also said I have to get my after-styled hair off and wear a white Islamic dress. I told him, “You trapped me and I know you want me to live here and cause others and myself pain and live in the way of Islam. Well if this is the way of Islam, I’m not in it and take me back home now.”

I was taken to a little cell. After 13 days, I was taken to the national court of Hargeisa and I was ordered to eight months to prison for not following the way of Islam

He called a man and they paid some police officers to arrest me, and I was taken to a little cell. After 13 days, I was taken to the national court of Hargeisa and I was ordered to eight months to prison for not following the way of Islam. I was shocked, but I had no power. I was chained up by my feet and hands together and I was getting whipped to move like a slave. I was new and too weak to take this high level of abuse on at that time. One moment I would cry and the other beg for mercy, but all that would happen was more whips. I was taken to a prison called Al Badryia where the walls were electric and two meters tall so I felt there was no chance to escape.

I was taken there and handed over to a man named the Tharbiah and they said I need a warning. They put me on my stomach on the floor and tied me up with my feet and arms lying over each other. They only left me in my pants and started stomping on me, beating me, and whipping me with deadly whips, and it went on. I was screaming, begging for help, and they would stand on my mouth and say “The kufars (non-Muslim) can’t hear or help you now boy. You are now the slave of Allah, not of the West.” I was beaten five times a day by seven men. The only time I loved was bedtime, and the time I hated the most was waking up to a nightmare.

The food was infected with disease, and we were treated like slaves and every other Westerner would be treated the same. I never understood why they would treat Westerners like this, because Westerners help them by giving refuge to millions of their families, but later I understood that the problem was the religion of Islam who orders these horrendous actions. I was forced to study the Quran and if I would not have a page memorised by the morning, I would be beaten so hard that I couldn’t walk for nine days. There were other boys also locked up from America, Canada, Europe and Australia who were treated the same.

One night I made a dangerous plan to escape this nightmare.

How did it end with us? Well some died from the daily abuse and bad health conditions, some were changed and became woman beaters and jihadists taught to attack the countries they were born in, and very few are strong and clever enough to escape – I was one of these. One night I made a dangerous plan to escape this nightmare. I got the lid of a tuna can in my pocket ready, and when it was in the middle of the night I told the night watch that I need the toilet. They let me out, but I never went to the toilet. I went to the electricity controller and I cut the electrical wires of the compound but they never realised because it was in the middle of the night. It was my golden chance to escape while the walls are electricity free, so I climbed the wall and ran as fast as I could and when I reached the sea I took a little rest.

I saw a man and told him I needed help. I was careful because I did not know if I could  trust him. He told me he is also in hiding because he is a human smuggler who sends people to the country of Yemen illegally. I said I want to go with him, and he said I had to pay $150. I didn’t have any money but agreed to clean the boat in exchange. We also agreed I would sit on the toilet because I didn’t pay.

And so I left the horror of Somalia and headed for Yemen for refuge and safety. Yemen was also a Sharia law country so I had to be careful when we reached the port city of Mukala in south Yemen. Everybody got off and the UN was there helping people and asking everybody’s nationality but everybody said Somalian, Ethoipian, and Eritrean – but I said a country that surprised the UN staff. There they asked if I was Dutch, what was I doing there? Here I explained what had happened and they took me with them and gave me a room to live in and a budget to buy food.

I was thinking of the next step forward now that I was safe. I went on the website of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and found their number, so I contacted them but they told me there was no Netherlands or European embassy to help me in Yemen. I was shocked, but we made a plan together and I contacted the nearest Netherlands embassy in Muscat, Oman and explained the story why I was stuck in Yemen. I was told they would call me back, and I waited in hope. Two weeks later they called me and said the ministry in the Hague has agreed to save me but we needed a plan. Because they couldn’t go to Yemen because I would get beaten definitely, they got permission from the Oman government to let me in so they could get me in Oman and then send me to the Netherlands.

From that time I knew I was safe.

I was happy they said after three days to be ready at the border and the man from the embassy will be ready at the Omani border. When the day came I was ready at the border. The Yemenis asked me where my passport was, and I said it is on the Oman side and gave them some money to pass. Once I reached Oman they took me to the Director’s office. He welcomed me and told me to sit down, and that my people are on the way. From that time I knew I was safe. A Dutch diplomat came 15 minutes later and we met each other there where there were three cars of which I was told to get in the middle one and we drove with Omani security and we were taken to a hotel. The next day I was taken to the airport to fly back to the Netherlands. I’m now back in the Netherlands and have my own house and want to start my life again. My father ran away from the Netherlands to avoid justice.

If there is a boy or a girl going through the nightmare I have been through, my best advice is:

1: Stay calm and take your situation seriously.

2: Don’t let your captors brainwash you or turn you into a radical.

3: Start a plan to fight back and free yourself.

4: Contact your Foreign Affairs Ministry and connect with the nearest Embassy (since most radical countries don’t have an Embassy, it may be in another country.)

5: After you are connected with the nearest Embassy, tell them as much useful information as you can so they can help you more easily.

6: You must be sure to keep it a secret. Make your phone calls outside the city or keep it as secret as possible to better protect yourself.

7: Take photos, document names, and write a diary to collect as much information about your captors as you can so you can warn others back home.

8: If the Embassy takes long to respond, push them with frequent calls everyday and say that you have no time and are in an emergency so they will act.

9: Keep strong and be careful, then you will win against your enemy.

10: If you make it to safety, you know more about the group that you and many others are trying to resist.

Violence I survived happens to other children every day.

Violence I survived happens to other children every day. It has to end and I want to be the first man to find a way to stop this and I hope people will follow and will stand against this abuse. That is why I want to start the foundation Western Youth Right (WYR). Many boys and girls are in the same situation as me, but nobody pays serious attention. A boy from America was taken to Somalia two years ago and he died in one of these prisons. It has to stop.


Disclaimer: This story has not been officially verified nor does it necessarily represent the opinion of the AHA Foundation