Friday 7 December 2007

"Following Islam to the word"

The daughter of a British imam is living under police protection after receiving death threats from her father for converting to Christianity.

The 31-year-old, whose father is the leader of a mosque in Lancashire, has moved house an astonishing 45 times after relatives pledged to hunt her down and kill her.

The British-born university graduate, who uses the pseudonym Hannah for her own safety, said she renounced the Muslim faith to escape being forced into an arranged marriage when she was 16.

She has been in hiding for more than a decade but called in police only a few months ago after receiving a text message from her brother.

In it, he said he would not be held responsible for his actions if she failed to return to Islam.

Officers have agreed to offer her protection in case of an attempt on her life.


"I know the Koran says anyone who goes away from Islam should be killed as an apostate, so in some ways my family are following the Koran. They are following Islam to the word."


Hannah was born in Lancashire to Pakistani parents who raised her and her siblings as strict Sunni Muslims.

She prayed and read the Koran, wore traditional Muslim clothes and was sent to a madrassa, a religious Muslim school.

She ran away from home at 16 after overhearing her father organising her arranged marriage.

Hannah was taken in by a religious education teacher and decided to convert to the Christian faith.

Although unhappy, her parents tolerated their daughter's dismissal-of Islam as a "teenage phase".

But when she opted to get baptised, while studying at Manchester University, her family were incensed and the death threats began.

Her father arrived at her home with 40 men and threatened to kill her for betraying Islam.

"I saw my uncle and around 40 men storming up the street clutching axes, hammers, knives and bits of wood," she said.

"My dad was shouting through the letter box, "I'm going to kill you", while the others smashed on the window and beat the door.

"They were shouting, 'We're going to kill you' and 'Traitor'.

"It was terrifying. I was convinced I was going to either die, but suddenly after about ten minutes the noise stopped and the men suddenly went away."

The immediate response of liberals, when confronted with appalling cases like this, is half-hearted condemnation, combined with the commonly-heard refrain that this is the work of a "tiny minority of extremists". Which is a very reassuring explanation, marred only by the fact that it is patently untrue. Earlier this year a survey carried out on behalf of the think-tank Policy Exchange revealed that 36% of Muslims in Britain between the ages of sixteen and twenty-four supported the death penalty for apostasy. Not a majority, but a very significant minority, akin to the percentage of the general population who voted Labour at the last general election. Among older Muslims, support for the execution of apostates was lower (which is hardly encouraging, since it means that Muslims are becoming more, not less, extreme with each passing generation), but still 19% of Muslims over fifty-five advocated it. To keep up the general election analogy, that's on a par with the Lib Dems.

As regards the specific facts of this case, I would add that the father here is not a marginalised, extreme figure. Rather, he is an imam - a leader of his community. Neither was he lacking for supporters within his community: when he went to his daughter's house and threatened to kill her, he brought forty men with him - a far from negligible number, especially when drawn from only one local community. And those men didn't just support the death penalty for apostates - they were prepared to assist in carrying it out.

Nor is this the first case of its kind in Britain. Back in 2005, The Times published an article by Anthony Browne, which documented several other cases of attacks and threats made against ex-Muslims, by members of their own communities and, in some cases, their own families. It is probable that we will, sooner rather than later, see a resident of this country killed for converting away from Islam. And clearly, the fact that this has not happened already, cannot be attributed to any lack of effort or willingness to do the deed on the part of the far-from-tiny minority of extremists.


Anonymous said...

As a card carrying liberal, I'd like to speak up in my defense here, this acceptance of murder of apostates is one of the key-points that makes, as you say, a more than small proportion of Islam in Britain incompatible with liberal thought.

If we're not for freedom of thought for everyone and venomously against all those who would restrain it, we're not liberals folks.

Anonymous said...

"akin to the percentage of the general population who voted Labour at the last general election"

That would be nearer 22% than 36%. 41% of the electorate did nt cast a vote.

Homophobic Horse said...

Well someone's been reading Lawrence Auster

Anonymous said...

Homophobic Horse said...
Well someone's been reading Lawrence Auster

Hello Horse:

You're right: I confess to reading Auster's blog - but not assiduously. I agree with his hard line views on the Muslim threat to our way of life and his trenchant criticism of invertebrate lefty/liberals who suffer from oikophobia.............

On certain other issues, I think he's too radically reactionary or eccentric - even for my vulgar taste !

bernard said...

This question about how many muslims support death for apostasy keeps cropping up, but I wonder what the format is, for asking the question in the first place.
What is Policy Exchange, how are the results collected? Does anyone know?
If someone (a Muslim) is asked quite anonymously (online, say) about a subject that is socially/politically red hot and in a country where they are a minority, surely the answer will be subconsciously evasive at best and untruthful at worst?
This would mean that less than 36% believing in apostasy is pretty unlikely (for obvious reasons).
This would leave a figure of those who DO believe in it but won't admit it, so to speak, higher than 36%.
I would suggest much very higher.