Thursday, February 17, 2005

Former Muslims Face Persecution - from Militant Muslims

Even as Muslim activists decry the alleged spread of "Islamophobia" and denounce those who work to expose Muslim terrorist networks and their supporters, Muslim militants are waging a campaign of intimidation against those who dare to leave the Muslim faith - even those living in non-Muslim countries like Britain.
While those who convert to Islam, such as Cat Stevens, Jemima Khan, and the sons of the Frank Dobson, the former Health Secretary, and Lord Birt, the former BBC Director-General, can publicly celebrate their new religion, those whose faith goes in the other direction face persecution. Mr Hussein, a 39-year-old hospital nurse in Bradford, is one of a growing number of former Muslims in Britain who face not just being shunned by family and community, but attacked, kidnapped, and in some cases killed. There is even a secret underground network to support and protect those who leave Islam. One estimate suggests that as many as 15 per cent of Muslims in Western societies have lost their faith, which would mean that in Britain there are about 200,000 apostates.

For police, religious authorities and politicians, it is an issue so sensitive that they are accused by victims of refusing to respond to appeals for help. It is a problem that, with the crisis of identity in Islam since September 11, seems to be getting worse as Muslims feel more threatened.

Muslims who lose their faith face execution or imprisonment, in line with traditional Muslim teaching, in many Islamic countries, including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt and Yemen. In the Netherlands, the former Muslim MP Ayan Hirsi Ali had to go into hiding after renouncing her faith on television.

Repeat three times: Islam is a religion of peace, completely compatible with Western ideals of tolerance and democracy; large numbers of Muslim immigrants are not a threat to European culture.


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