Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Jill Carrol's Story: Parts VI, VII, VIII

In Part VI of her story, Jill Carrol writes about her interactions with the wife of one of her captors, and the lack of sympathy she received from the woman. Carrol writes about being forced to study and recite verses from the Koran:

Part of Um Ali's growing hardness toward me came as I tried to let her know that, despite the many hours of reciting the Koran with her, I didn't plan to convert to Islam.

In the beginning I was an eager student, as I saw how much it pleased them whenever I showed an interest in learning. But I soon realized I had made a dangerous mistake.

The more I let my captors teach me, the more they expected me to convert. After a few weeks, the question was always, "Why haven't you come to Islam yet?"

I tried to put the brakes on delicately, afraid of what they might do if they thought I was rejecting Islam. How could I tell them that adopting a new religion and code for living wasn't possible when I was held captive, racked with despair, and in fear daily for my life?

One afternoon, when I was exhausted from listening to Um Ali repeat verses of the Koran over and over so I could memorize them, I said, "I don't understand the Arabic in the Koran, and so I can't understand what it really means."

"We'll bring you an English Koran," said Abu Ali, who had overheard me. "You want this?"

They were always insisting that they didn't want to pressure me into converting, while at the same time asking me why I hadn't converted yet.

"Oh, sure," I said.

Abu Ali whipped out his cellphone, and made a call. "You have a Koran in English?" he said. "Quickly, quickly, bring it."

He sounded almost frantic as he gave the person on the other end of the line directions about where to meet him.

After about 20 minutes he returned, bearing a small, green Koran. Emblazoned in gold on the cover was "Le Qur'an." It was a French translation - not an English one.

Later, I tried telling Um Ali, gently, that I probably wasn't going to convert after all.

She said she would be angry if I didn't convert, given the time she had spent teaching me.

"We are afraid for you and don't want you to go to hell," she said. "We are afraid that we'll see you [on Judgment Day] and you'll say, 'Why didn't you save me?' "

In Part VII, Carrol writes about passing time in small locations where she was periodically held, about her captors' reactions to various people calling for her release, and about discovering that the release of a handful of Iraqi women would make it more difficult for her captors to justify killing her.

In Part VIII, Carrol writes about the emergence of conflict between her captors and Shiites and how it impacted the importance of her captivity.

Part VI: Reciting Koranic Verses
Part VII: False Hopes
Part VIII: A New Enemy

Introduction: 82 Days in Captivity
Part I: The Kidnapping
Part II: Spy With A Homing Device
Part III: The First Video
Part IV: A Mother As A Suicide Bomber
Part V: Mujahideen Movies

Next: Part IX: The Muj Brothers


Anonymous I Leap for Kierkegaard said...

I read her story in our local paper; made for a gripping read.

9:29 PM  

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