They wrote “Christian dogs” on his home. At school, his children were told by fellow pupils: “We can’t play with you, you’re Christians.” Sixteen years of persecution against Nissar Hussain and his family culminated in a brutal attack. He was hospitalised with a broken kneecap and fractured arm. He and his family now live in a secret location. Their crime? Being Muslim converts to Christianity.
Now an MP leading the Government’s inquiry into hate crime is urging people to raise their voices about anti-Christian hate crime in Britain.
“I have met victims, and myself been subject of abuse, and some years ago to threats of violence,” says David Burrowes, in reference to threats made against him for his opposition to same-sex marriage. The MP sits on the home affairs select committee which is conducting the “Hate crime and its violent consequences” inquiry.
Nissar Hussein wants the inquiry to bring about a sea change. “We’ve been victims of anti-Christian hate crime for 16 years, and let down by the police, political leaders and the Church,” he says. “They’re scared to offend Muslims. It’s the same mentality that allowed the Rotherham sexual abuse to happen. This inquiry has to take anti-Christian hate crime, including attacks against converts, much more seriously.”
Burrowes says Christians should not feel excluded from the remit of the inquiry, but cautions against rushing for prosecutions to remedy the situation. “Most of the abuse that I am aware of will not be solved by criminal sanction, but by a better understanding and respect for freedom of religion and belief and public manifestation of faith,” he argues. “These are matters which are not primarily the subject of the select committee but are relevant to an appropriate response to Dame Louise Casey’s review into integration. I would encourage Christians to consider the Casey Review and write to Communities Secretary Sajid Javid encouraging a better understanding of faith and belief.”
Anti-Christian hate crime statistics are hard to come by. The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) inquiry submission says that between March 1, 2015 and March 31, 2016 there were 316 reports of hate crime against Christians – 7.3 per cent of the total of religious hate crimes for that period. The data was based on intelligence and not any formal system of reporting.
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