General

God, did she do this for you?

At 27 she had never seen a smart phone. Never opened a bank account, ridden a bus, applied for a job, been to a library or talked to a stranger. She had never been more than 457 metres away from her home.

At 27, she was unaware of the existence of television, radio and the Internet. She had learned nothing of science or math, or of history. Her educational diet was made up of only religious knowledge.
To wrap things up nicely for Miss Borovski, her parents coerced her into an arranged marriage. Did she do this for God?

Ruth Borovski, 29, a former member of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect, says she had never been to a library before. Now it’s hard to get her out of one. (David Vaaknin/For The Washington Post)

Meet Miss Ruth Borovski
That 27 years’ old is Miss Ruth Borovski, an Israeli and member of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish religious group- Satmar Hasidic, known for its strict religious adherence.

Borovski visits a home-design store at an open-air mall in Jerusalem. (David Vaaknin/For The Washington Post)

Then she bolted.
Rammed to the walls of extreme deprivation, the young lady took her chance, fled her closed religious community and took refuge in an Israeli NGO. Since then, the Washington Post reports, Borovski has been spending almost all her time in a library catching up on what she has missed in the last 27 years.

Borovski talks with classmates before the beginning of a biology class. (David Vaaknin/For The Washington Post)

In this year alone, about 1700 people have called the hot line for those who want to be free from the prison that Borovski found herself for 27 years.

What is the name of the game?

Various religions have different kinds of restrictions. Restrictions are a fact of life. Even nature is governed by restrictions. Without restrictions life would be chaotic. Nature would be chaotic.

God, I can’t breathe!

However, some restrictions are so crippling that they leave no room for any meaningful life. If such restrictions are the handiwork of ‘God’, one may be forced to asked what in the world is ‘He’ thinking? Does it make God happy when people suffer incredible or debilitating self imposed handicaps in the name of religion?

Indeed, that was the question that Ayaan Hirsi Ali asked when she fled extreme repression in Somalia to become an activist, author, academic and politician in Holland.

What if God is not involved?

If God, the Almighty, is not the originator of these prison-like life, who then is?
For anyone who cares to flip through the pages of history, there is enough evidence to show how men and women have manipulated others to do their biddings. There is a David Koresh in every society and generation. Some are born into the bondage. Others walk into it with their eyes wide open and may refuse help when offered. Some may conspire to harm or kill those who offer to free them even though they may have requested for such help. That is how complex the situation can be. It is a puzzling mind game in which many lose except the perpetrators.

Miss Ayaan mentioned earlier had an agonizing experience as she tried to help many of her previous fellow refugees in Holland when she became an activist for women’s rights. In almost all cases, women are at the bottom of the bondage barrel.

A game of death?

Unfortunately, helping those who have found themselves in religious bondage can be a game of death. According to one commentator, there is a certain spirit that dwells in those who are victims. It is a spirit that has many sides. You never can tell which side is prevailing at any moment. Therefore, in your efforts to assist if you so choose, you must thread cautiously. Otherwise, a good Samaritan may become a dead Samaritan. Sometimes, it is safer to let sleeping dogs lie, as unfortunate as that may be

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