Tag Archive: Christianity

‘Forced out of my home’: Christian convert escorted by police after death threats

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A Bradford man, who was attacked by bat-wielding thugs in November of last year due to his faith, says he has been ‘driven out of his home’ by the same gang.

Nissar Hussain converted to Christianity from Islam 20 years ago and has lived in Bradford all his life.

However, despite raising a family in the city, he says he has suffered 16 years of harassment by ‘certain members of the Pakistani Muslim community’ who disagreed with his beliefs.

Last week, he says he was ‘swarmed by armed police’ at his family home, who told him and his family to leave as it was not safe to be there.

“The police said there was a credible threat to mine and my family’s lives,” he told the Asian Express. “As a result of that, police have made an arrest. The police can’t tell me exactly who it is.

“Further to that, there was a swoop on my property because there had been a credible threat last Thursday afternoon.

“I had eight armed officers in armed police units descend upon our home. Eventually, they escorted us out of Bradford.”

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Despite returning to Bradford the following day to collect some belongings, Mr Hussain says he has no plans to return.

“I cannot put my family through this again. I’m no good to my wife and children dead,” he added.

“It transpires that last month there was police presence at my home for a long time.

“I’m numb. It’s come to a point where - because numerous years of police failure - it has nearly cost me my life. I was almost battered to death outside my house last year.”

Mr Saddique was referring to an incident outside his family home, in St Paul’s Road, Manningham, which saw him attacked by two men – one armed with a pick-axe handle.

The incident was caught on CCTV and showed the attackers eventually running away when support came for Mr Saddique.

He suffered a smashed kneecap and a broken hand in the assault and is still unable to return to work due to his injuries and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

He added: “It has taken me several months to get over my injuries and the psychological trauma for myself and my family has become unbearable.

“Although I am extremely grateful to the services and armed response unit, I really feel for my Pakistani Christian brother and sisters who are generally treated with contempt and discrimination.

“We would have all been wiped out. It’s too dangerous.”

Following Mr Saddique’s departure from Bradford, a West Yorkshire Police spokesperson confirmed that the force was continuing to work with the family.

“Our priority has always been to work effectively with our partners to minimise the risk to Mr Hussain and ensure that we maximise opportunities to put control measures in place to safeguard him, his family and consider any wider impact upon the communities across West Yorkshire,” he added.

“We are disappointed that Mr Hussain and his family have decided to leave Bradford, particularly as police and partners have been working together for some time to try and resolve the situation to the benefit of all parties concerned.

“All the incidents reported by Mr Hussain have been recorded in line with National guidance and we continue to proactively pursue lines of enquiry to identify the perpetrators and are committed to ensuring that a thorough and effective investigation is undertaken to mitigate the threat posed in the first instance and where possible bring the perpetrators to justice.

“West Yorkshire Police are also progressing an investigation into further allegations and counter allegations which have arisen from local disturbances to establish what offences have occurred and to identify who is responsible.

“Police and partners would like to stress that there are a number of other people living in the Bradford district who have not experienced any issues based on their faith, conversion to another faith or choosing not to have a faith.

“West Yorkshire Police treat incidents of hate crime extremely seriously and will always put the needs of the victim at the heart of the investigation and strive to provide the desired outcome for the victim. Under no circumstances will hate crime be tolerated.”

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Demonstration to be had after attack on Bradford Christian

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RECUPERATING: Nissar Hussain, 49, hospitalised with smashed knee-cap and broken arm

RECUPERATING: Nissar Hussain, 49, hospitalised with smashed knee-cap and broken arm

Friends of a victim of 10-year long hate crimes are to stage a demonstration in Bradford to pressure police to take action against the perpetrators and to ask the community to respect the human rights of all neighbours.

Nissar Hussain, 49, was hospitalised on 17 November with a smashed kneecap and broken arm after a violent attack which was captured on CCTV.

He said he was attacked because he converted from Islam to Christianity and that his troubles started after he appeared on a Channel 4 documentary on how Islam converts are treated.

This latest attack came at the same time that Muslims across West Yorkshire were raising complaints about intolerance towards them (See related story) and calling for action against Islamophobia.

His friend, Mohammad Fyaz, is organising a demonstration outside of Bradford Town Hall on 5 December to call for Article 18 of the Declaration on Human Rights to be respected and upheld by the community and authorities in Bradford.

That article states that “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

Mr Fyaz, himself a convert, said that when a Muslim practices apostasy (the renunciation of one’s religious belief for another) he or she is brought under severe pressure.

“This is wrong and we want a strong declaration by the Bradford community that they would not condone the violence, harassment and pressure that Mr Hussain had been facing.

“They can do this by coming out and joining our demonstration to send a united message to the perpetrators,” he said.

UNACCEPTABLE: Mohammed Fyaz is organising a demonstration in Bradford

UNACCEPTABLE: Mohammed Fyaz is organising a demonstration in Bradford

“We want Christians, Atheists, Humanist, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and all Nissar’s neighbours to come out, join us in condemning this senseless act. We need to send a message to the perpetrators that this is unacceptable in our British society.”

Calling the attack "one of the most vicious" she'd seen in her constituency, Bradford West MP Naz Shah called for witnesses to come forward. The attack came hours before she chaired the launch of a report around the reporting of religious hate crime.

Ms Shah said what happened to Mr Hussain on his own door step was unacceptable and had no place in Bradford and the world.

“The acts of a few, led by mindless hatred and intolerance, is not the Bradford I know, and most importantly is not something we will allow Bradford to become. Bradford is and will always be a city which is proud of its diversity and it's culture of welcoming those fleeing persecution as a City of Sanctuary and which I am proud to call home,” she said.

“Let us be clear, we as the communities of Bradford have much more to bring us together than we  have to divide us and with that thought I would urge anyone who has any information which could help the bring these attackers to justice to contact the police and help in the investigation,” she added.

Mr Hussain said that this, and previous attacks, were hate crimes, but was concerned that the authorities were not treating his complaints as such.

“From the bottom of my heart, my family and I forgive those who have been persecuting us but we would like to see religious tolerance in society,” he said.

The British Pakistan Christian Association (BPCA) said they want to see laws to clamp down on apostasy in Britain which they said was inspired by Pakistan’s Blasphemy Act and has started a petition to Prime Minister David Cameron over the matter, calling for “proper protection” for citizens who change their religion.

They also want policies and procedures to be officially reviewed.

Bradford Police said they treat reports of hate crime seriously.

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