As many of us with a labeled religion, I was born into it and my education, values and even political ideas are intimately linked with my inherited faith. Today, although I am aware of the imposed aspect of it, I sincerely feel that I am spiritually aligned.

I come from a Sufi family. Sufism is the mystical branch of Islam.

It emphasizes personal experience with the divine rather than focusing on the teaching of human religious rules.

Sufism is commonly called ‘Mystical Islam’ as it is the spiritual path that allows purification of the soul, experience of love, humility and fraternity to be able to access a state of divine grace.

The practice of this spiritual path is conducted through contemplation of nature, meditation, experience of music, dance, beauty and of course Love.

From an early age I have been taught to be true to my feelings, to who I felt I was and that I would always be loved no matter what because God is only mercy.

No punishment, no obligation or constraint in my religion.

I remember a grandfather who loved nude paintings (that he proudly hang in his dining room) and a grandmother who gave me a red lipstick for my 14th birthday which, you would admit, is far from the obscurantism we can sometimes attribute to Islam.