Gjesteskribent

For å få frem realitetene må man kalle tingene ved deres rette navn: Religiøs forfølgelse er hva avhoppere fra islam opplever. De blir utstøtt, er sosialt døde, og lever med trusler, Verst er det for de som konverterer til en annen tro, eller står frem som eks-muslimer. Politiet gjør lite. De er overlatt til seg selv.

Ikke Lahore: Daily Telegraph har snakket med en pike, kalt Sophia for anledningen, som i all stillhet begynte å lese Bibelen. Etter fire år oppdaget moren boken.

:Sofia Allam simply could not believe it. Her kind, loving father was sitting in front of her threatening to kill her. He said she had brought shame and humiliation on him, that she was now «worse than the muck on their shoes» and she deserved to die.
Sofia Allam received death threats after leaving the Muslim faith for Christianity
Religious persecution of the kind Sofia suffers is increasingly common in Britain today

And what had brought on his transformation? He had discovered that she had left the Muslim faith in which he had raised her and become a Christian.

«He said he couldn’t have me in the house now that I was a Kaffir [an insulting term for a non-Muslim],» Sofia – not her real name – remembers.

«He said I was damned for ever. He insulted me horribly. I couldn’t recognise that man as the father who had been so kind to me as I was growing up.

«My mother’s transformation was even worse. She constantly beat me about the head. She screamed at me all the time. I remember saying to them, as they were shouting death threats, ‘Mum, Dad – you’re saying you should kill me… but I’m your daughter! Don’t you realise that?’?»

They did not: they insisted they wanted her out of their house.

After three weeks of bullying, and just before her parents physically threw her out, Sofia left. «They put their loyalty to Islam above any love for me,» she says, her voice faltering slightly.

«It was such a shock. I remember thinking when they brought all my uncles round to try to intimidate me – all these men were lined up telling me how terrible a person I was, how the devil had taken me – I remember thinking, how can this be happening? Because this isn’t Lahore in Pakistan. This is Dagenham in London! This is Britain!»

Det er Storbritannia, men et annet Storbritannia. På toppen vil man helst fortsette å late som ingenting. Man aksepterer at det hersker to standarder for menneskene.

Religious persecution of the kind Sofia suffers, however, is increasingly common in Britain today. It is hard to get an accurate notion of the scale of the problem, not least because very few of the people who leave Islam are willing to complain to the police about the way they are treated.

«Intimidation is very widespread and pretty effective,» says Maryam Namazie, a spokesperson for the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain. She believes that many of the deaths classified as «honour killings» are actually murders of people who have renounced Islam.

«I get threatened all the time: emails, letters, phone calls,» she says. «When I returned home this afternoon, for example, there was a death threat waiting for me on my answering machine…» She laughs nervously.

«A lot of them aren’t serious, but occasionally they are. I went to the police about one set of threats. They took a statement from me but that was it – they never contacted me again.»

That treatment is in sharp contrast to the seriousness with which the Dutch and German police responded when members of the Council of Ex-Muslims in those countries made complaints to the police about death threats.

«The heads of the Dutch and German organisations are today both living under police protection,» Ms Namazie explains.

Last week, it was reported that the daughter of a British imam was living under police protection, after receiving death threats from her family for having left Islam.

Men det er ikke bare ekstremt religiøse familier som reagerer med utstøtelse og endog vold. Sophias familie var overbærende. De fant seg i at hun ikke gikk med muslimske klær, og at hun avslo å gifte seg med en de fant. Men kanskje noe av problemene ligger i de tette båndene mellom barn og foreldre: Sophia fikk lov å gå på universitetet, men greide ikke adskillelsen fra hjemmet!

Muslim apostates threatened over Christianity

Last Updated: 2:40am GMT 12/12/2007
Page 2 of 3

«My father could not be described as an extremist,» insists Sofia, who is now 31. «We read the Koran and prayed regularly together, but he never insisted on my wearing Islamic dress and he was quite happy that I went to the local comprehensive, which was all girls, but not by any means dominated by Muslims.»

There were conflicts when Sofia’s parents tried to arrange a marriage for her at the age of 18, but they seemed to accept her decision to continue her education.

«They even let me go away to university,» she explains. «I appreciated how difficult it was for them to grant me that freedom, and I was very grateful for it. In the event, though, I only lasted three months – I just got so homesick that I had to come back to Mum and Dad.»

Sofia got a job in a hotel and quickly became a manager. Her interest in Christianity was entirely self-generated. She acquired a Bible, which she hid in her bedroom. But four years ago, her mother found it.

«She confronted me one morning with, ‘Are you still a Muslim?’ I had to tell the truth: I didn’t think I was. From that moment on, she basically disowned me. My father was shocked and saddened. But the reality was that my parents behaved to me as if they thought it would be much better if I was dead.»

Utad fordømmer muslimske ledere i Storbritannia dødsstraff for frafalne. Men de gjør lite for å motarbeide en sjåvinistisk strømning blant unge. 37 prosent sa i en gallup at de støttet dødsstraff.

There is considerable support, from the Koran and other sacred Islamic texts, for that position – which may explain why, out of the 57 Islamic states in the world today, seven have a legal code that punishes Muslims who leave the religion with death.

That number may soon increase: Pakistan is currently considering a Bill that would make apostasy a capital crime for men and one carrying a sentence of imprisonment for women.

As it is, ordinary Pakistanis take the law into their own hands and kill Muslim apostates. The same thing happens in Turkey where, earlier this year, two people were killed for «having turned away from Islam».

Patrick Sookhdeo was born a Muslim, but later converted to Christianity. He is now international director of the Barnabas Fund, an organisation that aims to research and to ameliorate the conditions of Christians living in countries hostile to their religion.

He notes that «all four schools of Sunni law, as well as the Shia variety, call for the death penalty for apostates. Most Muslim scholars say that Muslim religious law – sharia – requires the death penalty for apostasy.

«In 2004, Prince Charles called a meeting of leading Muslims to discuss the issue,» adds Dr Sookhdeo. «I was there. All the Muslim leaders at that meeting agreed that the penalty in sharia is death. The hope was that they would issue a public declaration repudiating that doctrine, but not one of them did.»

Tonen har hardnet til det siste tiåret, sier Sophia. Lojalitet og sjåvinisme er blitt sterke faktorer i de muslimske samfunnene. Den som bryter ut er en forræder. Hvordan dette bryter med rollen som borger og demokrati er man mindre opptatt av.

Muslim apostates threatened over Christianity