Rescuing ex-Muslims: Leaving Islam

This latest Vice news clip which briefly documents the lives of ex-Muslims from Northern England (Dad) to Izmir, Turkey is hopefully and finally getting the vital message across that those who choose to leave Islam are almost always in danger of potentially losing their lives. The mini documentary is self-explanatory, nor does it highlight anything particularly new but at time where the clash of civilisations continues to be a contentious, controversial and highly-debated matter, we all perhaps need to be reminded that humanity should reign supreme. Crucially, what is over-looked consistently is the proximity of the issue: that apostates are living -or running away rather-on our very streets, having been disowned from family, friends and communities and all for the sake of abandoning an inherited religion that no longer holds true to them.

See for yourselves

Iranian regime releases Pastor Saaed Abedini

After a painful, long-suffering and tortuous 3 year-imprisonment, Pastor Saeed Abedini has been released by Iranian officials which has been confirmed by his wife today. Readers of the blog will already be aware of the ordeal of Abedini and his family as I blogged about it back in March 2015 :

Iran’s Saeed Abedini: A Crime of Christianity


This is indeed wonderful, joyous news and whilst God has answered prayer for the Abedini family, the wider issue of Christian apostasy and persecution remains paramount yet renewed hope has been restored for the likes of Pakistan’s Asia Bibi , currently held on death row since 2009.! i


The Eve of Christmas 2015

Since Christmas essentially celebrates God’s gift to mankind, every day is Christmas to the believer, as they carry this precious gift every Monday-Sunday every week of the year. December 25th is not the technical date of the birth of Jesus Christ as many already know, we continue to be unaware of this exact date. Yet I see nothing wrong with the festivities that come with the Christmas period, however commercialised they are, so long as we remember that Jesus is the reason for the Season.

Christmas Day for me is a time of humble reflection and gratitude and this year has been a real wake-up call for me to truly count my blessings. I typically don’t invest in presents – I see nothing wrong with it – I just don’t need flashing lights, a bauble-draped fir tree and stories of Santa Claus to fill me with joy and excitement.

Last Christmas was a sombre period for me, away from my family for the first time in an alien, Muslim country, which gave me plenty of time to think about the suffering of the minority Christian sects throughout the Islamic world. I failed to recognise last year how privileged I was, to know the saving grace of Jesus and appreciate his birth (whatever the date) in a nation largely unaware of the hope Christ has given us.

My position this year couldn’t be further away from last Christmas. This year has truly been a test for my family, as indeed has the past 15 years. Yet we stand bold, unashamed survivors of the gospel, living proof of God’s grace and mercy on our lives. This year I’m the happiest I’ve been in a long while. My blessings outnumber any words I could possibly pen to paper. Fundamentally, as our fellow persecuted brethren bleed for Christ- particularly during this Christmas period where oppressed Christians are subjected to heightened attacks let us be grateful for the simple, yet powerfully beautiful of things. Whilst the world gets carried away in their eating and drinking, in their partying and materialism, remember to focus on Christ as the centre of our celebrations.

As our fellow believers are languishing in jail for lack of freedom of their beliefs, let us be thankful for the ability to openly proclaim God’s gift to us this season. As we sit in our Church services, let us remember those Churches in particularly Islamic nations, subjected to bombings and targeted assassinations. As we reach for our Bibles let us remember all those Christians who have had theirs confiscated from North Korea to Saudi Arabia, or those who have longed to touch the pages of Scripture yet the law of their lands forbid the very presence of a King James.

In essence, we remain so very blessed, so very privileged and so very free and during this joyous period where we get together with our families and friends, let’s remember not to forget this.

May God continue to bless you as He continues to bless and safe-guard the Hussain family and I’ll leave you with the following verse of Scripture that I find to be very encouraging and up-lifting:

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world  1 John 4:4

The birth of Christmas represents the coming of the Son of God as man, in order for man to become sons of God.

Happy Christmas!

Bradford Attack: 17/11/2015

I thought I had become too battle hardened, too desensitised to our situation. I thought I had mastered the art of pain. A lifetime of battling with the opposition governed by their hatred of us had generally rendered me unable to express my emotions, whenever asked to by my assigned child social worker back in the early 2000s. My sister’s phone call that Tuesday evening broke into that psyche, penetrating into my usual rigid state to absolutely devastate me; to evoke a rushing pain I had last experienced in the wake of my grandmother’s murder back in 2011.

The 17th November marked the fulfilment of every earlier threat by the same Muslim family, who had repeatedly asserted in the year and months up to the attack that they would get us girls, my mother and father ‘fucked by the Pakis’. Indeed one of those threats materialised. Casting my mind back at the sobbing girl huddled in the corner of her university library I would’ve told her that this attack had long been in the pipeline, by way of comfort I suppose – to counter the shock of the news. In that moment though, nothing would’ve provided me with a sense of security. How do you possibly articulate the despair and anguish that courses through you when the safety of the protector of your family can’t be guaranteed?

My 17 year old sister made the call. Before she alerted me she had spent the last hour watching re-runs of the attack on our cctv system before handing it over to the police. I heard the severity of the ordeal in spite of her downplaying of Dad’s condition for the sake of my sanity. I’m the worst person to convey tragedy on the phone. I become inconsolable and irrational. My mother was on the phone to her own mother back in Pakistan one fatal day in Feburary 2011 and heard the gunshots that eventually took her life. I’d prefer to see heartbreak than hear it through the phone. My sister’s phone call was well rehearsed but even she had failed to prepare for a messy conversation in which my screaming of ‘is he alive?’ became the constant; culminating in her giving up her brave front. Weary and subdued she assured me Dad had been in a fit enough state for his 7 year old son to stand by his side, stroking his hair for a full 20 minutes before the ambulance arrived. The trauma in her voice was evident and I couldn’t believe that it had finally come to this despite the previous threats forewarning an attack.

Not content with my sister’s assurances I continually bombarded my father’s phone until he finally picked up. We both knew he was in no state to receive a manic phone call from a panic-stricken daughter but we also know I have a very persistent nature. Sensing my urgent need to hear his voice he picked up his phone and after listening to my sobs for a few seconds, proceeded to lecture me on my inability to control myself – before conveying to me in a very matter-of-fact tone the extent of his injuries. His left knee-cap had been split into two in addition to a fractured left hand and severe concussion. He was to be pumped with anaesthesia before his surgery so the phone abruptly clicked off. My head was reeling with amazement at this father of mine – too tough for his own good sometimes – and who had felt the need to dismiss the pain he was clearly in, in order to lull me into a sense of security. Typical Dad. The man could be bleeding to death on the floor yet still find the time to assure his children of his well-being -even crack a joke -the very characteristic that brought a smile to my face in an otherwise overwhelming time of uncertainty. As you can imagine it’s impossible to express the extent to which my father is loved, admired and respected by us. Which leads me to something: I don’t like to be called brave. I have always maintained that my parents’ example of resilience and deep faith, their refusal to back down despite the cost, has created no place for fear in our household. I’m not the brave one. You lead by example and the example of Nissar and Kubra is all I’ve ever known. They never, ever flap.

It was my mother who advised me not to return home the same night, as she sensed my shock subside into anger. The orchestrators of the attack live two doors away from us and she demanded I calm down and return after doing so. Realising I wouldn’t be able to see Dad for another 36 hours anyway I relented. Anger eventually subsided into scorn upon every news update regarding the attack. How very convenient for the police to not only register our case as a ‘hate crime’ but now a ‘religious hate crime’. Interesting that prior to the Daily Mail article which pressurised the police to regard the situation seriously, the 8 year struggle had been dismissed as ‘neighbourly issues’. Naz Shah’s appearance on ITV Calendar News was particularly interesting. Our apparent MP came onto the scene to condemn the abhorrent act of heinous violence. I haven’t actually bothered to recall her exact words, am merely paraphrasing the usual politically correct drivel that is uttered from the mouths of so-called authority. Authority that has otherwise and consistently dismissed and denied the facts of our plight. We have been subjected to terrorism and had that been accepted and acted upon, it would have unequivocally prevented the hospitalisation of a 50 year old man.


However, as has been demonstrated in the case of Rotherham whereby the police, over a ten year period, had been aware of the rape/sexual grooming of predominantly white English young girls by predominantly by Pakistani Muslim men; the vile nature of the crime was finally recognised at the expense of substantial, irrevocable trauma and pain. Avoidable and unnecessary pain. Let the police handle our case with the severity and concern it deserves. It makes no difference to me what the outcome will be as the outcome will always be too little too late. My father holds the West Police force personally responsible for his attack. I too have no faith in the police. The refusal to arrest or bring to book key members of this family who have on a daily basis made life utterly miserable has directly resulted in a smashed knee-cap, fractured hand, concussion and the blatant deprivation of life. The most recent altercation occurred last Saturday where the family in question took offence at the Bradford vigil held in light of Dad’s attack. After the event, the participants came back to the house and as my brother parked up, one of the family members thought it appropriate to challenge him, trying to provoke him by mockingly inquiring the state of Dad’s health. Moments later he was joined by other male members of the family, dancing provocatively in front of my brother , goading him into a fight by cursing, jeering and using the state of our father against us. We continue to deal with a demonic family, a mentality sick and shameless to the core. The very sister who witnessed the attack and subsequently phoned me was followed to school 2 weeks ago by a car full of the same men related to this family of perpetrators, as they shouted out ‘how’s your dad?’ in jest before driving off. Every single incident to date has been reported to the police, who still have yet to arrest those responsible and for the life of me I can’t understand the lack of police patrolling in our neighbourhood.


This notion of ‘burden of proof’ is something I despise, the police have enough reel of cctv footage to construct a film, yet it is precisely this lack of action that has emboldened the perpetrators of the very animalistic and cowardly event of November 17. This parasitic fear of being labelled as ‘Islamophobic’ has prevented the upholding of the rule of law on the streets of Bradford, giving birth to the notion of impunity and this is being enacted and exploited on a daily basis. I’d be interested to hear from those newspapers who labelled the attack as ‘racist’ by nature when all those involved are Pakistani. The existing framework of Bradford’s corrupt political system is a real cause for concern. Speaking of corruption, I don’t understand how local MP Naz Shah gets away with scot-free. My stomach churned as I watched her spew lies on regional television, as I watched her feign concern for the welfare of Dad and the family. I took note at her aptness to claim she was fully aware of the situation and was particularly fascinated by the imaginary support system she’d conjured up for the purpose of TV dramatics. Apparently she had been notified by support given to the Hussain family and she herself had played a role during this ‘neighbourly dispute’. Naz Shah needs to do my Dad a favour and admit she never returned his e-mails, in which he asked for her assistance in this matter of religious hatred dating back to 2008. She needs to own up to the fact that despite agreeing to set up meetings, would fabricate excuse after excuse and never attend such scheduled meetings organised by Dad. All these e-mails and meetings can be accounted for and there is nothing more than Dad could’ve done to try to rectify this ongoing suffering. But it takes two to tango. It’s a shame the spotlight of the camera she so boldly lied under cannot expose her for the inept, indifferent politician she is. Is she refusing to show solidarity and take a stance with a family who happen to live in the very Muslim electorate that voted her into office? Corruption knows no bounds and neither does my disgust at this stage but I use this platform to unashamedly scribe my real and raw experience, however brutal it comes across.

A neighbourly dispute. Who brings a pick-axe handle to a neighbourly dispute? Disputes subside in the Pakistani culture as elders rally around the relevant parties to mediate and move on from the conundrum. Nissar Hussain is a living example of an ex-Muslim and it is this factor that doesn’t swallow well with Muslim families such as those who attempted to orchestrate his demise. His stance, his desire to fight his Muslim oppressors in a non-Muslim country has gained him enough hatred which culminated in an attempt on his life. If you watch the cctv footage you can see the pick-axe aimed for Dad’s head. I can’t think about what may have become of him had he been unsuccessful in blocking those blows to the head, nor if those two Polish men hadn’t been there to chase off the attackers.


Will the Churches wake up?

This Bradford attack once again highlights the failure of the Church. For too long now fear has grappled the Christian community, explaining the overwhelming silence in the face of Christian persecution, not just in Bradford but throughout the globe and particularly the Middle East. I’ve been baffled to read of supposedly Christian support given to us in Bradford. With the exception of the Barnabas Fund (an organisation that works with the persecuted Church/Christian converts) and a few key individuals who have remained steadfast during our ordeal, such reports of Christian support is largely untrue. The vicarage ten minutes up the road from our residence have conveniently turned a blind eye over the course of these 8 years. Let’s not also forget that the former Bishop of Bradford personally told my father he wouldn’t welcome converts to his Church due to infrastructural constraints. And yet it’s exactly this attitude that has created the underground Christian scene in the West, where many apostates from Islam fellowship amongst other believers in the discretion of their own homes. Precisely the problem with institutionalised religion: strip away dignified titles, high salaries and decadence and perhaps the basic needs of ex-Muslims fleeing for their lives and setting up covert worship sessions will suddenly become more real. I don’t see much difference between the Christian convert situation in Great Britain and Iran for example.

For reasons I cannot fathom, those who choose to be outspoken are seen as risk-takers, as inciters of trouble. The issue of apostasy is not considered a salient one, nor one that politicians dare to debate in the houses of Parliament. Therefore the petition to enshrine an apostasy law in the UK is an excellent and vital movement.



Moving on from Bradford

It has come at a great cost but I think even Dad has finally accepted that one man is incapable of changing a system geared against apostates such as our family. So as we undergo a time of review and reflection as to where to move away from Bradford please continue to bear our family in prayer during the uncertain and uneasy transition. After almost two decades of sustained persecution, every single one of us has simply had enough. We want peace and stability, we want the ability to walk outside our property to a car that hasn’t been smashed, a father that doesn’t get brutally beaten. We need to be able to breathe and move freely. Years of being caged and living in such tension has caused severe psychological issues which we all need to work through. Essentially we want our sanity back.


In this era of terrorism, totalitarianism and territorialism the issue of apostasy is more relevant than ever and the fight to combat it on our part will remain stronger than ever. I encourage as many people as possible to sign the petition below, in order to set a precedent for the passing of an eventual apostasy bill in which the protection of ex-Muslims can be guaranteed.


In 21st Century Europe, I’ve recently been reminded that it really is a matter of life and death.

Apostasy by choice


Obviously, apostasy is an issue close to my heart, my top priority as you know very well by now. It was estimated a few years ago that over 3,000 apostates from Islam currently reside in the UK, yet it still is largely ignored, dismissed and unknown to the vast majority of the population. Current government policy does not address or recognise apostasy as imperative to national security, despite the ever growing figure of apostates. My family are just one example. a recent public case study and I wish to use our recent spotlight to highlight the urgency of this issue, as ex-Muslims stand to lose everything once they abandon Islam, Since there are no measures to accommodate or protect us, the petition below aims to kick-start some form of action.

We claim to be a nation who afford its citizens the freedom of conscious, the freedom of religion. Well now this rather bold claim is being put to the test.

Please take the time to read this petition, sign and get sharing!


Asylum figures soar as Pakistan’s Christians escape persecution

In recent years 30, 000 Pakistani Christians are said to have applied for asylum or refugee status in Thailand, Malaysia and Sri Lanka – according to the country’s religious and political leaders. The notion of asylum was recently brought to my attention when I came across heinous and downright ignorant comments about my own family regarding our October 3 Dailymail article. In accordance with the uneducated and illogical mindset, the Hussain family had apparently converted to Christianity for the sake of a British passport; solely for the purpose of UK asylum. Personally, I don’t see how this corresponds to family of second generation Pakistani immigrants born in England. In actual fact there are moments where I think I’d prefer to move to Pakistan, where certain areas and communities live in respectful tolerance of each other- in the recognition that despite Hindu, Sikh, Muslim and Christian beliefs, all are fundamentally Pakistani and diversity of religion cannot alter this fact. My Christian experience in the UK’s ‘Bradistan’ can’t boast of such tolerance. Having spent a year in the Muslim nation of Malaysia where I never felt so safe, so free, I can honestly proclaim that Pakistan’s Christians would be better off there.

I abhor the lack of compassion towards persecuted minorities, or rather the selective welcome by our government. Figures such as Malala Yousafzai are more likely to be granted UK asylum/citizenship than Asia Bibi’s children for example – equally deserving of the long-standing British history of offering sanctuary to those fleeing brutal persecution. The mind boggles at the hypocrisy.

The world needs to wake up. 30,000 Pakistani Christians don’t wake up one morning and decide their homeland is no longer for them. 30, 000 don’t opt for a life of displacement and separation from their loved ones, nor willingly arrive on foreign shores – unsure of their mode of survival. Fate forces their hand. Anti-Christian persecution forces terrified coerces petrified believers into abandoning their homes and everything they’ve ever known and been accustomed to, in order to guarantee the safety of their families.

Christianity and poverty are commonly interlinked in Pakistan and the denial of economic prospects are also an incentive to claim asylum elsewhere. However, the plight of such a persecuted people by no means stops there. In Karachi, Pastor Rafaqat Sadiq of the United Presbyterian Church of Pakistan stated that the majority of Christians in the Dastagir, Essa Nagri, Azam Basti and Mahmoodabad districts have claimed asylum in Thailand. Yet, since work permits are denied to many of them they are in a state of limbo, in between a rock and hard place:

’Owing to poverty and lack of resources, some young girls are forced into prostitution to make a living. But they’re still clinging to the hope they’ll be granted refugee status by the UN High Commission for Refugees’’.

Kashif Javed, diocesan coordinator for the National Commission for Justice & Peace noted that the Church doesn’t support what he termed a ‘hasty and risky’ migration of Christians.

We extend every possible legal and financial assistance to victims of persecution instead of sending them abroad’.

Javed’s views stem from the fact that official red tape await many Christian asylum seekers resulting in hundreds of applicants returning to Pakistan or apprehended upon their arrival, detained and deported. To give an insight into the process, upon reaching Thailand for example, Christians file an asylum application with the UN High Commission for Refugees. However, several years can easily pass by before an interview with the Commission is granted in order to ascertain or reject asylum.

One case study is the plight of Karachi-born Nadeem John, who fled to Thailand in March 2014 with his wife and 2 children; leaving behind his business where he earned a decent livelihood. I was disheartened to learn that his interview with the UNHCR was scheduled for 2019. With no work permit and an interim period of 5 full years.

‘’For almost a year I remained jobless and spent all the money I brought from Pakistan by selling my shop and other belongings. Eventually we decided to return to Karachi and re-establish my business’.

It’s that ‘No Place to Call Home’ rhetoric I’ve ricocheted back and forth numerous times on this blog platform all over again. Which begs the question, where and when will it be safe enough to be Christian across the Muslim world?

Tainted with Blasphemy

I have written numerous posts concerning the utilisation of the Blasphemy law across many Islamic countries. Section 295 of Pakistan’s Penal Code has enshrined blasphemy, whereby defiling or defaming the Quran and/or Muhammad is deeply illegal. In extreme cases it carries a death sentence. Aside from the legal ramifications which render many of the accused languishing in prison – some of which await the death penalty – the social consequences are less publicised and therefore widely unknown to the wider world.

For those accused of blasphemy yet never imprisoned, for those released from detention – the mark of blasphemy continues to taint and follow them within their local communities. All too often we hear of instances where those accused of blasphemy are set upon by local, incensed mobs, beaten and in extreme cases murdered. Regular readers of this blog are already very aware of a few case examples. Families of the accused are hardly guaranteed their safety. I immediately think of Asia Bibi’s family who were forced to flee their home in the Punjab province of Pakistan upon her arrest in 2009. In 2010 the BBC reported on the plight of the Bibi family, referring to Asia’s husband – Ashiq Masih – as ‘having the look of a hunted man, gaunt, anxious and exhausted’.

Hunted. Imagery of petrified prey scurrying away from predators on the prowl spring to mind. The Bibis are one example of a family tainted by blasphemy and constant flight is the consequence. I have often wondered which would be the lesser torment – to be caged inside a Pakistani cell at the disposal of prison guards and other detainees or to be ‘free’ at the mercy of local communities who take it upon themselves to avenge so-called blasphemy charges and accusations. Either way neither option constitutes freedom. This rising issue of blasphemy ensnares and entraps those accused.

Christians are targeted above any other religious minority group in Pakistan. Although 2% of the population are Christian, they account for 33% of those charged with blasphemy according to a detailed research report conducted by International Christian Concern. This clearly shows a disproportionate discrimination toward the Christian minority. Reading into the ICC’s special report on blasphemy cases in Pakistan, I discovered that 171 Christians have been accused of blasphemy since the law was enacted in 1986, 157 from the Punjab Province, 12 from Sindh and 2 from Kyber Paktunkhawa. As attacks on Christians have increased steadily over the decade, I can’t help but notice the totalitarian element to blasphemy. Given that the blasphemy law is increasingly being utilised to settle personal scores and vendettas it is obvious that in these instances, Christians are being discriminated against simply because of who they are as opposed to what they supposedly do.

One case study is the example of Adnan Masih, originally from Lahore and who was accused of insulting Islam’s prophet Muhammad in 2013. He continues to be imprisoned. On 7 October 2013 Adnan replaced his brother at the Diamond Glass store and had spotted a book written by the leader of fanatical group Jamat-ul-Dawa entitled ‘I asked the Bible why Qurans were burnt’. Having noting biased religious points of view against Christianity in the book he penned corrections. His colleague subsequently filed a report against Masih at a local police station and he was eventually arrested after the targeting of his family members forced him out of hiding.

Blasphemy is indeed contentious. The Federal Sharia Court issued an order in 2013 to ‘reform’ the blasphemy law, leaving many of the country’s Christians in increasing fear for their lives. December 2013 saw the FSC order Pakistan’s government to remove life imprisonment from the list of court punishments in dealing with blasphemy; thereby bolstering the death penalty for those charged under the penal code. It should be stated that the role of the FSC is to examine and ascertain whether the laws of the country are in accordance with Sharia. They do not have the Parliamentary prerogative of enforcing legislation.

Yet whilst the government has yet to implement the ruling of the FSC – if they ever intend to – it unmistakably places Christians in a sustained climate of heightened fear and uncertainty for the future of their faith in the country. There are no consequences for those levelling accusations of blasphemy and this impunity only furthers the manipulative use of this controversial law.

The legacy of blasphemy should never be undermined. International Christian Concern cites the example of ‘Asif’ who underwent a decade of separation from his family after he served 4 years of his blasphemy sentence in 2002. Upon his release, his fear of being recognised with his family and his desire to blur any connections with them forced him to live as a fugitive in order to ensure their safety. The families of those accused also carry the mark, a ‘legacy’ of blasphemy.

’Because people know I have been imprisoned for blasphemy, it is unsafe for me and my family to live together’’

(‘’Asif’’ – blasphemy victim)

To be tainted with blasphemy could well be the fate of any Christian in Pakistan. A fate initially leashed upon religious minorities in 1986 and one that shows no sign of slowing down, much less stopping.