Our vision is to create a network of Pakistanis united in Christ, focused on better quality of life, fellowship and religious freedom for Christians in Pakistan and the UK.
A 43 year old married man with two children is the latest public victim of apostasy hatred in the UK, in what is becoming a growing phenomena across Britain.
In 2014 Faisal Bashir contacted the BPCA for help and support after he became disturbed by the hatred within Islam and strong messages of division that were being taught in local Ilford mosques. He chose to stop practicing Islam but suddenly found himself being targeted by men from a local mosque.
Faisal was living behind BPCA's offices at the time and his children attended many of our community centre projects including art, sport and dance workshops that provided opportunities for disenfranchised and deprived children and young people.
Faisal has told the BPCA that after local Muslims realized he and his family had stopped going to mosque and the family's attitude to Islam had changed, he was abused daily. Men from a local mosque would turn up at his door determined to convert him back to Islam through antisocial behaviour.
He was called an apostate, was told he had betrayed Islam and was threatened often. On several occasions men claiming to be 'Sharia Police' threatened to arrest Faisal and his family.
Despite frequent calls to local Police, Faisal believes little was done to resolve the persecution he and his family were subjected to. He feels more should have been done and has called for a review of hate crimes of this nature, in the London Borough of Redbridge.
He has told BPCA that the bullying reached unprecedented levels leading to his moving away from his previous home in 2015. He said:
"When a local Police officer told us they could not help and that we should move away, it dawned on me that I had no other option."
"I feel let down by both the local council and Redbridge Police they paid little attention to our plight."
Wilson Chowdhry Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said:
His description of persecution is similar to that faced by many Muslims choosing to leave the faith who become shunned by their community for their 'apostasy.
"Attacks such as these on converts from Islam in the UK are not new. The level of hatred faced by Nissar Hussain a Christian convert from Islam led to him being hospitalized for two weeks after he was attacked by two men with pickaxe handles in November 21015. (video clip)
"Nissar had his car smashed an average of six times a year for leaving Islam. He and his family were almost killed when a vacant house next door to his previous family home was set alight with intent to burn their home also. In November 2016 Nissar was forced to leave his home under armed guard due to the heightened risk to their lives in Bradford, where a very radical form of Islam is prevalent (ITV News). If Faisal had chosen to remain at his previous home I have no doubt he would have experienced similar violence.
"The murderer of Asad Shah of the Ahmadi Muslim Sect last Easter was a man from Bradford living on the same road as Nissar (Daily Mail story). Asad Shah was killed for wishing Christians a happy Easter, illustrating that hatred can be spurred by something as little as showing love to non-Muslims in areas where a more fundamental Islam is taught.
"Our work with Nissar which included placing him in a safe home and with many other victims of similar hate crimes including Faisal, has led us to initiate a report on apostasy and Islamic hate crime in the UK. Our report will be submitted as part of the current Hate Crime Inquiry and will hopefully stimulate a political debate on this growing social malaise in the UK.
"We will reccomend amongst other things a review of the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006, Government Hate Crime Policy and Policing Guidelines which we believe should include a new classification for apostasy hatred."
BPCA arranged a meeting between Nissar Hussain and Karen Bradley the former Under Secretary of State for the Home Office last year (click here). Minister Bradley's timely action helped enhance policing performance with regards to Nissar Hussain until we were able to assist him with a move. For much of Nissar's police investigation the crimes against him were labelled as 'neighbourhood disputes' and not hate crimes.
Mr Chowdhry added:
"Police authorities and councils up and down the country do not understand the level of animosity that people choosing to leave Islam can face. Apostasy is an unforgivable sin in many schools of Islam. Sadly more radical Islamic teaching is rapidly permeating through western society meaning the perceived safety of the west is no more."
BPCA operates a safe house for apostates and provides counselling and support to victims of apostasy hatred. If you would like to contribute to our work please (click here)
We are seeking people to take part in our research into apostasy and extremist islam in the UK. Further details can be found by clicking (here). A survey can be completed (click here)