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."
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.
But it is not only extreme Muslim families that believe it is their religious duty to threaten, and even kill, members who renounce the religion.**********
Most leading Muslims in Britain are unequivocal in their denunciation of British Muslim parents who threaten to kill their children for leaving Islam.
Ibrahim Mogra, of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), says that it is "absolutely disgraceful behaviour… In Britain, no Muslim has the right to harm one hair of someone who decides to leave Islam."
Inayat Bunglawala, also a spokesman for the MCB, insists that such behaviour in Britain is "awful and quite wrong. The police should crack down on it."
And yet a significant portion of British Muslims think that such behaviour is not merely right, but a religious obligation: a survey by the think-tank Policy Exchange, for instance, revealed that 36 per cent of young Muslims believe that those who leave Islam should be killed.
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."
The reluctance to condemn sharia law is widespread. I asked Mr Bunglawala, for instance, to condemn the Islamic states that imposed the death penalty for apostasy. He did not do so, merely commenting that "it was a matter for those states".
Given the acceptance by some that Muslim religious law does indeed require that apostates be killed, it is hardly surprising that many ordinary Muslims think that it is their religious duty to carry out that punishment - or at least to threaten it.
"There can't be freedom of religion in Britain while so many British Muslims take that attitude," Sofia says. "It frightens me, because attitudes have hardened over the past decade."
Still, won't her parents eventually just recognise that she has chosen to change her religion? Won't they, in 10 years' time, accept her back? "No," Sofia says, her eyes full of tears. "That will never happen. I know it. They will never accept me the way I am."
*****************************Like a scratched record, I have said over and over that Islamic fundamentalism is in a waxing phase and this time, unlike any other in history, the enemy is in the gate. Our world is being turned upside down right now, before our very eyes. Europe is being remade and what it will become is anyone's guess.
Fear not, Trish will be here to assure us it is all a figment of your abiding Paranoia, Mr. Whit!ReplyDelete
eurabia is lost...ReplyDelete
opps i mean europe
france is burning.
sweden, finland and norway? all have areas unsafe for westerners to walk, shria law zones....
england? lost cause... the question of when, not IF london will be completely islamic is making the news as a GOOD thing...
but let's not stop blaming the jooos....
because they dare to BUILD 300 homes on a barren stretch of rock this is the cause of all ill in the world...
walk up folks the problem is the black rock in arabia....
islam NEEDS to be humiliated in order for it to become humble...
KILL the black rock
am I extreme? to some...
but I'd rather destroy a ROCK than see mass murder...
Yes, Doug, I thought of her too.ReplyDelete
WiO: KILL the black rockReplyDelete
Okay, first you start down my street and start knocking on doors demanding that people turn in their shotguns. If you can make it all the way down to the end of the street, then you have the good luck necessary to go demolish the black rock in Mecca.
I said it once and I'll say it ageen:ReplyDelete
Y'all aint got nothin to fear if you just convert, already. We've been much to despondent that the American identity demands more of its people than shopping. Well, you're right: give yourself to Islam. Give yourself to Islam and become a global citizen. Look to the Bahrainians and the Saudis for guidance. Islamic glamour will sweep the nation, empowering America with cosmic righteousness.
Think of how the destructive the modern male gaze has been to American women, who can't decide whether to abort their baby or use it as a fashion accessory.
If you're smart, you'd start a correspondence course in Islamic Theology so you can become Dr. WiO or Dr. Doug or Dr. Whit.
Ibrahim Hooper and Obama 08!
Make that a fatwa, Alderman, and I'll have to obey. What choice would I have?ReplyDelete