The daughter of a British imam is living under police protection after receiving death threats from her father for converting to Christianity.Islam, or freedom of conscience: pick one.
The 31-year-old, whose father is the leader of a mosque in Lancashire, has moved house an astonishing 45 times after relatives pledged to hunt her down and kill her.
The British-born university graduate, who uses the pseudonym Hannah for her own safety, said she renounced the Muslim faith to escape being forced into an arranged marriage when she was 16.
She has been in hiding for more than a decade but called in police only a few months ago after receiving a text message from her brother.
In it, he said he would not be held responsible for his actions if she failed to return to Islam.
Officers have agreed to offer her protection in case of an attempt on her life.
Last night the woman said: "I'm determined to live my life the way I want to because I should have that freedom in this country.
"If you make the choice to come to this country, as my parents did from Pakistan, you have to abide by the laws of this country and that means respecting the freedoms of other people.
Hannah was born in Lancashire to Pakistani parents who raised her and her siblings as strict Sunni Muslims.
She prayed and read the Koran, wore traditional Muslim clothes and was sent to a madrassa, a religious Muslim school.
She ran away from home at 16 after overhearing her father organising her arranged marriage.
Hannah was taken in by a religious education teacher and decided to convert to the Christian faith.
Although unhappy, her parents tolerated their daughter's dismissal-of Islam as a "teenage phase".
But when she opted to get baptised, while studying at Manchester University, her family were incensed and the death threats began.
Her father arrived at her home with 40 men and threatened to kill her for betraying Islam.
"I saw my uncle and around 40 men storming up the street clutching axes, hammers, knives and bits of wood," she said.
"My dad was shouting through the letter box, "I'm going to kill you", while the others smashed on the window and beat the door.
"They were shouting, 'We're going to kill you' and 'Traitor'.
"It was terrifying. I was convinced I was going to either die, but suddenly after about ten minutes the noise stopped and the men suddenly went away."
Since then Hannah, who gives talks to churches on Islam, has been on the run from her family, often being forced to flee her home with only a few minutes' notice.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Religion of Peace
This is one of those depressing stories that if it happened in a Muslim nation, it would be discouraging. But it is happening in a formerly Christian nation--and one that prides itself on tolerance. From the December 7, 2007 Daily Mail: