Brutal by Nabila Sharma

He was my religious teacher. I should have been able to trust him. But he made me do unspeakable things…

At seven years old, Nabila Sharma began her lessons at the mosque as every good Muslim girl does. But from the minute she looked up at her Imam, the man who held her spiritual future in his hands, she knew something was wrong.
Over the next five years Nabila’s life became unbearable. While she was behind the doors of the mosque, the most sacred of places, the Imam brutally molested her on the slightest whim. Each day he would make her perform unspeakable acts, physically and mentally torturing her into compliance, to fulfil his perverse desires.
Nothing would stop him; no plea would make him relent. But he was a respected member of the community, trusted by everyone; if Nabila cried for help she would risk the honour of her family, an unthinkable act. There was nowhere she could turn, no one she could talk to. As a young Muslim girl, Nabila was powerless.
Brutal is the shocking, revelatory and heart-rending account of one girl’s plight in a society where honour and shame are a matter of life and death. It is a tale of innocence lost and a life shattered, but above all it is a tale of survival, of a young girl who found love and hope in the darkest of places.

About the Author

Nabila Sharma was born and raised in the Midlands, the youngest of five siblings and the only daughter in a strict Muslim home. At the age of six she was sent to the Mosque to begin lessons and was subjected to brutal abuse at the hands of the Imam. The incidents that occurred over these years changed her life forever.
Now an independent woman, Nabila works to bring light to the crimes kept in the dark and justice to those who deserve it.
I have known Nabila for some time through the work we do as supporting artistes and you can imagine how I felt when I read about her ordeal. Nabila never once reached out to me and said ‘Safirah!!!’  I was far too busy harping on about my experience that I did not notice or realise that Nabila may want to confide, but she heard me and supported me whilst I gathered my thoughts.  When I heard about Brutal I made it my priority to get up close and personal and hear Nabila’s story. So, embrace yourselves and read on.
1.Would you like to tell us a bit about the book Brutal.
Brutal is about the sexual abuse I suffered at my local mosque ,the Imam . my abuser. It started when I was 7 years old and stopped when I left the mosque at 11 years old. 
2. Why or what made you decide to write this book now?
For many years I have read books on other victims of abuse, I would find comfort , knowing that I was not alone . There were people out there who had also gone through some horrific abuse like I had suffered . I search for books that were similar in what I went through but could not find any. I’d always joked with my partner that one day I would write a book to help others, and the rest they say is history.
3. Did you manage to put everything you wanted into your book and how difficult was it to bring back those bad memories.?
It was extremely hard to do the book and I relived everything again, I had a wonderful ghost writer who really deserves all the credit she but my words onto paper and created Brutal. The love and support I received from my partner was what kept me going and without him I would not be here, telling my story – and the story is not over yet ! Part 2 and the final chapter is yet to come when justice is done and he (the abuser)is caught and put behind bars.
4. What obstacles did you fear when you started writing this book?
My biggest fear and still is the backlash I will receive from the Muslim community for now my identity is hidden and my name has been changed as I still live near where it all took place. My family and friends are also my priority and this is my battle I am fighting so do not want them to be dragged into anything until a time comes for me to reveal my identity.
5.How big a problem do you think  Child Abuse within the Asian community and in the general society?
A huge massive problem and the sad thing is the asian community are aware of it but still refuse to do anything about it and keep it quite for the sake of honer and shame which is a avery very sad.
6.Is brushing underneath the carper still very much the case when it comes to issues of Child Abuse in the South Asian community.
Yes very much so its exactly what my parents did they do not know how to cope with the issue or how to address it so ignoring the problem makes it go away. Speaking out and talking about it, is a start and taking action going to the police and prosecuting these evil people will be a huge step one which I will continue to fight for.
7. What more can be done to tackle the issue of Child Abuse in the Asian communities?
Educating the older generation making them aware that theses things go on, getting parents to be more involved with what there children are doing at the mosque. Making sure all Imam,teachers are CRB checked and all mosques are OFSTED registered . Just like any nursery,school,church.
8. What advice would you give to anybody who may suspect that  there is child abuse taking place?
Inform the local authorities immediately this can be done anonymously.
9.  Now that your first book is out do you have any future plans to publish any more?
Yes i’m looking into doing some children’s books, and also a second and concluding part to Brutal.
10. Finally, Nabila what’s your future plans in life.
I’m planning my wedding at the moment for next year and then hopefully we shall start our own family. That will be my happy ending.
Brutal is available via Amazon
Ms Safirah Irani
August 2012

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