After the release of the film ‘The Kerala Story’, many stories have unfolded, and people are coming up and confronting their experiences and stories. It is actually a story that narrates the ordeal of three women who are trafficked to ISIS camps after being converted to Islam after marriage. It focuses on religious indoctrination in Kerala and how Hindu and Christian women were allegedly targeted by radical Islamic clerics. The movie also claims that the women were converted to Islam and later sent to countries like Afghanistan, Yemen, and Syria to fight for the cause of Islam.
This is the story of Athira who became Ayisha.
According to reports, in 2017, 23-year-old Athira went missing. After a couple of months, she returned wearing a full-body veil (burqa) and a head scarf (hijab), which is Islamic clothing, and her then name was Ayisha. She had many Muslim friends in college, and many of the other friends were about to convert to Islam. Influenced by her friends, she started reading books about Islam, converted women, and also watched speeches made by Zakir Naik. Athira said,” One of them was about hell. The description of hell in that book was so scary that I lost my sleep for several nights. I began thinking that if I don’t follow Islam, then I will have to go through that hell. I was convinced that Islam was a better religion, and I blindly believed that my religion was bad.”
At one point, she also tried to convince her parents to convert. Her parents were totally against her decision and then she decided to leave her home. After a lot of emotional and legal disputes, Athira once again met the media, claiming to return to Hinduism. Her return is believed to be under the counselling of Arsha Vidya Samajan. They asked her to read Quran with logic rather than blind religious belief. As she started reading with logic, she realized that many things mentioned in the Quran were wrong or illogical. “It was the unawareness about my own religion that forced me to believe in another”, she concluded.