A visit by CID officers to the Hussain home left the family terrified and confused. The officer’s gave the family a stark warning of an imminent threat to Mr Hussain’s life. The level of threat was so serious the family were provided with a phantom police car parked outside the home to thwart an attack.
Despite the extreme anxiety the family felt the police informed them that they did not have the resources to provide 24 hour protection to the family and offered a temporary shelter. In no uncertain terms they insisted Nissar and his family would not be safe in his home as 24 hour police protection could not be provided.
Nissar and his family immediately informed the BPCA of the incident and we helped them push through plans to get them to a safe home far away from Bradford.
The family were greatly distressed throughout the move especially their two youngest children. Nissar and his wife have six children in total but many of the older ones have already moved from the family home.
The family have repeatedly informed Bradford police of the abuse and persecution that they have been facing over the last 15 years, but feel response has until the last few weeks has lacked commitment and conviction.
The animosity towards the family started when Nissar first informed a long-term Muslim friend of their family about their conversion to Christianity. The friend immediately chastised Nissar and aggressively informed him never to communicate with him again. After the friend shared Nissar’s secret publicly the family found themselves shunned by the local community that was made up primarily of Muslims.
After an arson attack to a vacant home next door to their home which they allege was intended to kill them, the family realised they had no choice but to leave the area. They moved to Mannigham in September 2008 and things were quiet until they were approached by Channel 4 for a dispatches programme on apostasy (term for converts from Islam) and the hatred converts receive in the UK.
Nissar agreed to appear on the documentary without any shrouding of his image and used his real name. He had not been informed that he alone had revealed his identity within the feature. When the documentary came out his persecution re-emerged only this time it was more severe.
For the last 7 years Nissar has had eggs thrown at his car and home, fireworks aimed at his house, he and his family have been targeted with abuse and violence,, they have been shunned by many Muslims and had the windows of their vehicle smashed dozens of times – six times in 2015 alone costing thousands of pounds in repair costs.
The hatred culminated in Nissar being beaten up in November 2015 and being hospitalized for 14 days, after two men with pick axes jumped out of a car, in an event described by Nissar as an attempt to take his life. “By God’s grace I survived the attack, after a bat swing intended to strike my head was thwarted by my hand shattering every bone in my right hand. Nissar also received a smashed knee and was on crutches for
over 8 weeks as his body recovered.
Despite the regular abuse aimed at the family often they have found themselves at the receiving end of police investigation. Nissar believes this is a consequence of mob rule by way of false allegations made by groups attempting to hound them out of Bradford.
A meeting with Karen Bradley Undersecretary of State for the Home Office, is believed by the family to have been the trigger for the dropping of public order offences laid against them this year. The family allege they were targeted themselves in that incident during which attempts were made to goad Nissar’s son to violence by spitting in his face, which he did not respond to.
On Thursday 4th November 2016, Nissar and his wife Kubra returned to their home to collect some of their remaining household items. In line with a pre-planned procedure Nissar arranged for a police presence at his home for their safety while they visited their former home. When the police arrived Nissar and his family were totally shocked and surprised by the size and the scale of the protection being offered to them.
Several vehicles and officers arrived and blocked the nearby roads with their vehicles. Many of the officers were from the ‘Armed Response Unit’ and were carrying large semi-automatic weapons. They were cordial and professional and offered the family help with their removals. Officers even went the extra mile by giving the family a vehicle escort till they had cleared the area of Bradford safely and were safe on a motorway far away from their former residence.
The family are now starting to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives at a location many miles away in an area with few if any Muslims. As they come to terms with the hardline approach most Muslims have towards those who leave Islam and their forced departure, Mr Hussain still asks for peace.
“We leave Manningham with a heavy heart. When we moved their 9 years ago it was to escape persecution from another community in Bradford and we never expected the same persecution to rear its ugly head again.
‘My family and I have suffered greatly we have been under the cosh for so many years and the persecution has now reached epic levels. We simply have found the threat to our lives an untenable situation and in recent months in discussion with the British Pakistani Christian Association we have decided to move
to a place of safety.
‘Despite the hatred we have received we hold no animosity towards Muslim’s quite conversely we continue to have Muslim friends and pray for those who persecute us hoping one day they will recognise the commonality we share through our humanity.’
Last night, a West Yorkshire Police spokesman said hate crime would not be tolerated and officers had been working 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.”
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said:
“For some time we have been aware of the growing number of apostates in the UK and the severe persecution and abuse they have been subjected too. Our growing awareness has led to the initiation of a report looking into this growing social malaise.
‘As a group since meeting with Nissar Hussain we have met with key figures at Scotland Yard and the Under Secretary of State for the Home Office Karen Bradley, after we discovered a policing error in the defining of the attacks against Nissar as a Neighbourhood dispute, rather then hate crime.
‘Although these meetings resulted in an improved policing performance via the Bradford Police Constabulary, sadly it did not curb the persecution towards Nissar’s family and we were forced to find a solution together with the family. That the family were forced to leave their home is a deplorable outcome and a damning indictment of policing in the UK.
‘We hope that their new home will provide solace and safety. Moreover we pray that their unstinting desire to change government policy, policing practice and for reforms to the Race and religious hatred Act 2006, creates a better environment in the UK for those choosing to leave Islam. “
British Pakistani Christian Association has now partnered with another Christian charity and have initiated a safe house for apostates to Christianity. The safe house will provide shelter, counselling and spiritual development to residents. The safe house will be free of charge and without time limit, however a primary aim will be to equip tenants to re-establish their lives and independence in a place of safety away from those seeking to harm them. Apostates wishing to apply to stay at the premises will be vetted and those interested to stay at the home can make an initial enquiry by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org by calling 020 8514 0861. Should you wish to donate towards the ongoing costs of our safe house please (click here)
We challenge people to sign our ongoing petition:
Nissar has been a brave campaigner for justice but his efforts to raise awareness of the abuses faced by apostates in the UK, has taken its toll on his family. They are now looking forward to the opportunity to convalesce in relative safety. However the family still want the perpetrators of the injustice to be prosecuted. This is not due to any anger but a desire to remove the culture of impunity within which persecutors of apostates thrive.
Nissar Hussain, said:
“I hope Bradford police continue to investigate the violence and abuse my family suffered and that one day the perpetrators are brought to justice.
“Nothing the Police have said or done in our situation has given my family and I any confidence that they understand the true predicament faced by converts from Islam.
“This lack of understanding will continue to scar many further families until acceptance of the pariah status for converts from Islam is recognised by statutory authorities.”
“The Islamic Hadith calls for the killing of apostates ‘Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.’
“This statement by Muhammed means converts like myself are the targets of violence by Muslims across the globe, I hope this message gets across to authorities in the UK.”
“The last seven years have been torturous but despite the pain my family and I have remained close and have never deterred from our desire for justice.
“I thank God that he has given us the fortitude to retain our sanity despite the odds being stacked against us.”
Nissar has been sharing his testimony across churches and conferences across the country. He can be contacted to speak at an event near you through the British Pakistani Christian Association.