Several weeks ago, the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) received letters concerning the case of Nissar Hussain from Karen Bradley MP, the Home Office Minster for Preventing Abuse, Exploitation and Crime. The chairman of the BPCA, Wilson Chowdhry and Nissar Hussain met with Karen Bradley to discuss the situation of converts, and Nissar told her about his 16 years of persecution in Bradford for converting to Christianity from Islam. A case was put forward for apostasy hatred to be included within the Race and Religious Hatred Act 2006, Government Policy on Hate crime and referred to within Policing guidelines. BPCA believe that ambiguity led to West Bradfordshire police not recognizing attacks on Nissar Hussain as hate crime as other Christians were not targeted – failing to understand the animosity converts from Islam face.
Read Minister Bradley’s letters (click here) and (here)
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In both the meeting and the letters, the minister reaffirmed the government’s commitment to dealing with hate crimes and recording them properly.
She also wrote to Mark Bums-Williamson OBE, the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Bradford about Nissar’s case, questioning why most incidents against him were not recorded as hate crimes.
She said that the police force in question claimed they had been recorded as hate crimes, but she wanted to know more about how cases were handled, and the situation in Bradford.
Nissar Hussain said:
“Yes, they recorded the most brutal attack on me, which was actually attempted murder, as a religious hate crime, but only after the local media named it as such, but in all of the years beforehand, the police force have been downplaying our abuse as a ‘neighbourly dispute. Since the meeting with Karen Bradley and her intervention I am pleased to see a visible change in the pro-activeness of local Police and have met a local sergeant willing to cooperate with our family.”
Image of Nissar at hospital only days before he was accused of being involved in an assault – clearly in no fit state for such charges.
“Actually, a year or so ago, there was one officer who responded to our complaint and after talking with one of the perpetrators for several hours, stated that we were suffering from religious hatred, but in the charges that followed; the religious hate crime aspect got dropped on the day of the court case. The CPS had said something like, ‘they didn’t have a file on a religious hate crime’ and that was it.”
Referring to charges that had been laid against Nissar and his son Issar Hussain, Nissar said:
“Now, my son and I have been farcically charged with ‘Public Order’ offences, following a premeditated incident by our perpetrators whereby my son was assaulted and spat upon in the face.”
As best the BPCA can make out, this is an accurate account of what has led to them yet again facing false charges.
After the assault in November last year, Nissar was hospitalised for 11 days, and had barely recovered from his physical injuries, but not from the ongoing trauma. Even before the attack, he has been unable to work due to PTSD from the campaign of hate against his family – he lost his job as a nurse. However, a few days after he left
hospital, the BPCA helped organize a protest vigil in the centre of Bradford.
View Nissar’s vicious attack:
Mr Hussain’s son was targeted in a premeditated event after returning home from university to attend the vigil. He was provoked, intimidated and assaulted by being shoved and spat upon in the face. Police ignored the history of the families suffering to insinuate that the Hussain’s were the perpetrators in the subsequent interviews, despite police calls being made to the police prior to the incident of harrassment and intimidating behaviour. The Hussain’s feel that the police force made spurious charges to appease the perpetrating family in a case of ‘mob rule’ and also to discredit the Hussain’s themselves. . Other visitors coming for the protest also reported similar intimidation, with reports being made to the police. For many years when visiting his father, Issar has been using precaution to avoid the perpetrating family.
This, says the Hussain family, is typical tactics from ‘Family A’ (perpetrating family) who premeditate events in an attempt to provoke a response and then claim that the Hussain’s are the instigators.
Police were called however no arrest was made even though the assault was made known to the attending officers, the response from the attending Sergeant was ‘ we have to contain the situation’ accompanied by the roll of her eyes. They did take details from all sides, however; during the course of the investigation the assigned officer did not contact all the witnesses and neither did they take any action when cars of Asian youths who had been called as ‘back –up’ by Family A for greater intimidation had been pointed out to the attending officers.
Nissar states that Mr A is continuously inciting the younger family members to act against Nissar ‘with impunity and lawlessly’. However, one of the ‘Family A’ members is an ex-policeman and a criminal solicitor, and counter allegations were made against Issar (as expected). They blamed both Nissar and his son Issar, and claimed that they felt ‘threatened’ when Issar got out of the car to make sure other visitors were safe. In addition, when Issar
was interviewed in January he found the assigned officer to be biased and opinionated in his views. The family have alleged that the police-force themselves are trying to discredit the Hussain family as a result of failings which have been highlighted by the media, and are also avoiding dealing with the sinister nature of their situation through fear of being labelled islamaphobic.
The BPCA managed to talk briefly with Issar, he said:
‘Words can’t express how mentally fatiguing it has been for my family and I. The huge effort and difficulty in going to university and work and trying to maintain it all whilst worrying and fretting about what is going to happen next at home, has taxed all my energy.”
BPCA chairman Wilson Chowdhry said ‘Whilst quite correctly, the government has been making noises about the recent spike in racism after the referendum, this kind of issue that Nissar faces has been going on for years, and he is not alone. Whilst what we heard and received in and after our meeting with Minister Karen Bradley were very encouraging , we won’t be satisfied until we see real change, so we don’t have a situation where converts are being made internal refugees within the UK, which is effectively what is happening with the Hussain family. Wholesale changes are required to policing guidelines for dealing with apostasy hatred victims. Moreover, the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 and Government policy on hate crime must reference and tackle apostasy hatred.’
The spurious Public Order charges against him and his son have been dropped at court on 5th July. This is both a relief and a disappointment for the Hussains, because unfortunately the much more serious assault charge against the Family A member has been dropped by CPS for the same reason – namely that a court case date was not set within 6 months of the incident, extremely bizarre. Nissar pointed out that firstly none of Family
A appeared at the court case, and secondly that CCTV video shows clearly that his son was not committing any offence, and the police had that video, and that he himself wasn’t involved in the incident due to his injuries from the previous assault, although, as he says, he ‘went hysterical’ on the doorstep as another assault was launched on his family. It seems the police have failed again to deliver justice, even with the evidence to hand.
Additionally, Nissar was once again interviewed by the police on 6th July for another false accusation of assault against him, brought by yet another family A member, one who had been convicted of a minor offence last year in relation to the ongoing campaign or harassment and terror against the Hussain family. Nissar spent 10 minutes at the police station before charges were dropped immediately.
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BPCA has recently secured funding for research into the scale and impact of apostasy hatred in the UK. They would like to hear from other victims who can contact them on 020 8514 0861, or alternatively email admin@britishpakistani christians.org. BPCA will maintain anonymity for those who come forward and hope the report which will be submitted to government and policing bodies, will result in improved legislation; statutory practice, protocol and guidelines towards victims of apostasy hatred.
BPCA is working towards a long term project to introduce a safe house for victims of apostasy hatred. The cost of such a facility is close to £500,000. We hope the centre will become a place where victims will be able to receive confidential advice and support and a place to heal and restore their lives.
You can contribute to this appeal by clicking (here)