It takes guts to renounce Islam, even in 21st-century Britain.
The UK is a country that celebrates fundamental freedoms – including freedom of belief. We are free to put our faith in gods, tooth fairies, men in turquoise shellsuits who proclaim divinity, or the mystical powers of the occult, if we so choose. But recent evidence given to the Home Affairs Committee on hate crime paints a frightening picture for those who choose no longer to believe in Islam. The written evidence, provided by the British Pakistani Christian Association, includes testimonials from ex-Muslims, many of them anonymous. ‘Typically those who leave Islam face a stark choice – keep quiet about their decision, or face discrimination, hatred and violence’, the evidence reads. While Islamophobia and anti-Semitism feature prominently on the political agenda, the persecution of Britain’s ‘apostates’ has gone largely unnoticed.