I wonder if newspapers will be allowed to publish stories like this in a year or two?
Multiculturalism, the respect for the “other” is an important concept, but like everything else that human beings get their hands on, ir can be abused to the point of becoming the opposite of the original meaning. Here is a story about Britain, the daughter of an imam, and the threat against her life because she converted to Christianity.
My imam father came after me with an axe
Hannah Shah had been raped by her father and faced a forced marriage. She fled, became a Christian and now fears for her life
We are all too familiar with the persecution of Christians in countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan. Yet sitting in front of me is a British woman whose life has been threatened in this country solely because she is a Christian. Indeed, so real is the threat that the book she has written about her experiences has had to appear under an assumed name.
The book is called The Imam’s Daughter because “Hannah Shah” is just that: the daughter of an imam in one of the tight-knit Deobandi Muslim Pakistani communities in the north of England. Her father emigrated to this country from rural Pakistan some time in the 1960s and is, apparently, a highly respected local figure.
He is also an incestuous child abuser, repeatedly raping his daughter from the age of five until she was 15, ostensibly as part of her punishment for being “disobedient”. At the age of 16 she fled her family to avoid the forced marriage they had planned for her in Pakistan. A much, much greater affront to “honour” in her family’s eyes, however, was the fact that she then became a Christian – an apostate. The Koran is explicit that apostasy is punishable by death; thus it was that her father the imam led a 40-strong gang – in the middle of a British city – to find and kill her.
Hannah Shah says her story is not unique – that there are many other girls in British Muslim families who are oppressed and married off against their will, or who have secretly become Christians but are too afraid to speak out. She wants their voices to be heard and for Britain, the land of her birth, to realise the hidden misery of these women.
Hannah’s own voice is quiet and emerges from a tiny frame. She is clearly nervous about talking to a journalist and the stress she has been under is betrayed by a bald patch on the left side of her head. Yet she has a lovely natural smile, especially when she reveals that she got married a year ago; her husband works in the Church of England, “though not as a vicar”.
Note to Hanah: The Church of England is not really your friend. I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you, but that’s the truth. The head pooh-bah of the Church of England, Archbishop Rowan or something, has called for sha’aria to be imposed in Muslim communities in England. The laws of sha’aria would not look favorably on your case. But I understand the desperation that you must feel and why you fled to the Church of England. Still, they don’t have such a great history when it comes to human rights. (see Church of England, Nazi era).
There’s a long interview with the poor soul. Here’s a taste:
I tell Hannah that the passages in her memoir about her sexual abuse are almost impossible to read – but I also found it hard to understand why, now that she is in her early thirties, independent and married, she has not reported her father’s horrific assaults on her to the police.
“What has stopped me is that if my dad went to prison, the shame that would be brought upon the rest of the family would be horrific. My mum would not be able to . . . I mean, it’s bad enough having a daughter who’s left, is not agreeing to her marriage and is now a Christian. Then to have my dad in prison would be the end for her.”
I tell Hannah, perhaps a little cruelly, that in her use of the word “shame” she is echoing the sort of arguments that her own family had used against her.
“I understand that, but what I’m saying is that if I do that, then there will never be a door open to me to have contact with my family ever again. I’m still hoping that there will be some opportunity for that.”
I feel bad for her. She doesn’t have any friends. As the the theory of multiculturalism runs up against the fact of the abusive behavior towards women and girls in parts of that community, the theory will win. Hanah will eventually have to leave Britain, just as Ayaan Hirsi Ali had to flee The Netherlands. And she was an MP. It didn’t make a particle of difference.