Prospective Parliamentary Candidates, especially in urban areas where there is a significant Muslim population, should be asked specifically whether they uphold Article 18 of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
Candidates must be asked whether they will vigorously take up the cases of Muslim constituents who have converted to another religion or worldview and are suffering the sort of violent abuse experienced by Nissar Hussein in Bradford.
A hospital nurse, Mr Hussein was born a Muslim but converted to Christianity in 1996. His wife converted soon after.
According to Freedom To Believe (p83-84):
Since their conversion they and their children have been regularly jostled, attacked, told loudly to move out of the area and given death threats in the street. His wife has been held hostage inside their home by a mob for two hours....Hussein’s car has also been rammed and torched, and the steps to his home have been strewn with rubbish. Recently he was told that his house would be burned down if he did not repent and return to Islam. He reported this to the police, who told him that such threats were rarely carried out and that he should “stop being a crusader and move to another place”. A few days later the unoccupied house next door was set on fire.
The attitude of the police reported here contrasts strongly with the conscientiousness with which many police forces in the UK are pursuing complaints of ‘homophobia’ and even ‘Islamophobia’. The recent case of a Christian street preacher from the US who was fined £1,000 by a Scottish court after answering a question about homosexuality has been publicised by the Christian Institute. Shawn Holes was kept in a police cell overnight in Glasgow and then charged with a breach of the peace. The accusation was that he had used “homophobic remarks” that were “aggravated by religious prejudice”.
Muslim converts to our Lord Jesus Christ are vulnerable. They are precious to Jesus. To persecute them is to persecute him. It is incumbent on those of us who live in the kind of communities where we can bask in the sunlight of Article 18 to support them.
We must exercise the responsibility that accompanies the privilege of living in a Christian-influenced Parliamentary democracy to stand shoulder to shoulder with them.