The story behind the picture, as told by Khadija Khouis Published: Sun, 19-November-2017

On my first day in Ramleh prison, they took off the pins that held my hijab together. After I returned from my first court session, they told me that wrist sleeves were forbidden in prison on the grounds that they were redundant. The jailer took them from me and threw them in the nearby trash can. Thankfully enough, the sleeves of my Jilbab were tight enough, so it was okay.

One night, while I was returning to my prison cell after a long day in transit, and I was barely closing my eyes, I was called for investigation. I prepared myself and put on my wet socks, which I just washed. When the jailer chained my feet, she said to me “when you return back, you’ll take off these socks.”

I came back from the interrogation after one o'clock at night and the jailer was waiting for me. She took my socks and threw them into the trash...

Ten days have passed since I was arrested. I was in my cell isolated from everyone, spending my time between my prayers, my Quran and my tears that may the Almighty God lift this ordeal...

I was an example of calmness and balance in prison, while solitary confinement section was rife with shouting, insults and insanity...

I went to my fifth court session, and when I returned to prison, the prison officer called me and said that from now on, I’m not allowed to wear my hijab or Jilbab inside the solitary section!! I did not know in which language must I speak to him to make him understand that this is absolutely unreasonable.

No words helped in that situation. I always strong, I would never cry in front of my jailer so that he doesn’t scold me and take pride in his strength!! Yet, I couldn’t keep my tears that day, I cried in front of him with a huge burn as I said “I would never do that not do that, and you can never do that to me!!”

He escorted me to the door of the solitary section and ordered the wardress to remove my hijab and so did she. Then she asked me to remove my jilbab or else they would take it off by force!! So I had to take it off in front of her.

They threw me back into my cell and I burst into tears of defeat. I didn’t want to cry, I tried to control my tears, and God knows, they were pouring down against my wish!

I am forty years old and I have never removed my Hijab since I was seven years old. No stranger have ever seen me without my Jilbab since I was 15 years old !!

Yet, today I was forcefully humiliated and stripped of my hijab and Jilbab by those defiled dissolute oppressors!

I cried like never before, I screamed and shouted “Allahu Akbar,” I called on the Al-Mu'tasim and Salah al-Din. I cried, “Wa Rabaah… Wa Ghaothaah… Wa Islamaah… Wa Mu’tasimaah!!” and I was only answered by the walls of my cell that echoed my screams back…

I cried for two hours, I prayed without my Hijab or Jilbab that day and called on Allah to cast sleep on me so that my heart wouldn’t break from crying. So I slept until dawn, when jailers came to count the prisoners, and I couldn’t hold my tears back as I was hiding my head between my arms.

On the afternoon, male jailers entered my cell for inspection; so I burst into tears again. I tried to convince them that my hijab and Jilbab were part of me and that taking them off was like if my skin was extracted and removed, and that my prayers wouldn’t be valid without being covered, and that I mustn’t appear before men without my hijab…

That day I was taken from my cell to another, and I didn’t know why. I thought it was better, but when I got there, it was appalling. The new cell was 2x2m, sewage water flowed on the floor. I said to myself, perhaps the mattress would be better off, but when I pulled it up, its bottom was covered with rust and sewage water and dead cockroaches. I went to check the toilet and it was blocked with dirt and paper napkins, so I tried to flush it, and it worked, but the water kept running all night with an irritating sound that kept me from sleeping… It wasn’t a bathroom in a cell; it was a cell in a bathroom...

Then, there were two cameras monitoring the place of sleep and the toilet that had a low transparent glass door that exposed everything behind.

The cell was opposite the jailer room, and everyone walking by was checking who the new prisoner in that filthy cell is.

I hardly performed ablution for the Ishaa prayer, then I prayed without my hijab or Jilabab and even without sujuud (prostration) because the land was unclean...

In the next day, at five in the morning, they gave me back my hijab and Jilbab to go with them to the court…

I arrived there exhausted from the travel and constant crying. I was restless and sleepless because of toilet noise that kept me up all night. So I looked pale, sad and unusually depressed.

In the photo, I was telling my lawyer how they took off my hijab and forced me to take off my clothes, and about the harsh conditions of my new cell and its filth, and about how for the first time in my life, stranger men saw me without my modest clothes and I had to pray without prostration…

That day, all feelings of defeat in this world were present in the features and expressions of my face. When the lawyer pleaded my case and described to them what was done to me in prison, and how they grabbed my hijab and Jilbab, the attendees were shocked and outraged.

The lawyer succeeded in obtaining a court order that prevents the jailers from taking my cover off again and to return me to my first cell. But when I came back from the court, they continued the humiliation and degradation and skinned me off again and put me back in the filthy slaughterhouse. Only this time, I decided to take back my right even if by shouting. So, I continued shouting “Allahu Akbar” for four hours until they brought the prison governor and I handed him the court decision, so he had to comply with it.

#al_Ramleh_Slaughterhouse

Source: Al-Quds Foundation Malaysia