Many battered women stay with their batterers because they have been warned that if they ever leave, turn to the police, or “tell” anyone what is really going on, their batterer will then be justified in killing them.
Cult members are routinely warned that if they break free and “tell” anyone about abusive cult practices, not only will they be shunned, stalked, and punished, but their relatives, including children, who are still prisoners of the cult, or true believers, will be punished too.
By now, many Westerners may believe this is true about batterers and about cults; but they will not believe that it is also true about fundamentalist Islam. Trained in favor of religious tolerance, concerned that if one religion is restricted that all religions might be; genuinely uninformed about non-western religions such as Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Shintoism, etc., they assume that all religions are alike in terms of their virtues and that sinners of every religious persuasion exist despite—not because of–their religion.
When it comes to Islam such views may be wrong.
Many Muslims are not religious. Many Muslims who are religious are not fanatic fundamentalists or radicals and tend to lead (or would like to lead) quiet, peaceful lives. But an increasing number of Muslim religious and political leaders are quite hostile to human rights and freedom of religion as universal values. These leaders point to passages in the Qur’an or Hadith that justify cross-amputation, stoning to death, arranged child marriage, polygamy, and wife-beating as religious rights. They believe that infidels should either convert, be killed, or are to be held hostage and subordinated economically, physically, and psychologically—or are to be exiled, jailed, tortured or murdered.
Fundamentalist/political/radical Muslims are very clear that any Muslim who criticizes or exposes the truth about Islam must be intimidated, harassed, and attacked—and that any Muslim who actually converts to another religion must be killed, on sight, by any Muslim, or preferably by a member their own family, who is expected to cleanse their shame and restore their honor and the honor of Islam by murdering such an apostate.
As my studies in Middle East Quarterly have shown, Muslim girls are honor-murdered in the West (North America, Canada, Europe) for refusing to wear hijab, having non-Muslim friends, including friends who are boys, refusing to marry a first cousin, wanting to marry a non-Muslim. Imagine how much more grievous a sin it is for a Muslim to choose a Christian God.
In 2001, “Sabatina James” (a pseudonym) fled from Austria to Germany and went into hiding to escape being honor-murdered by her family after she converted from Islam to Christianity. Her family had immigrated from Pakistan. “Sabatina’s” troubles began when she was 15 years old because she dared to wear lipstick and blue jeans; she was mercilessly beaten for these crimes. When she rejected marriage to a cousin, “Sabatina” was sent to a Qur’anic school in Lahore, where she was repeatedly flogged. She finally agreed to the marriage—but only in order to be able to return to Austria. Then, when she was 19 years old, she fled.
In 2002, Marlyn Hassan, who was eight months pregnant with twins, was stabbed to death in New Jersey by her husband for refusing to convert from Hinduism to Islam. Her husband also killed his mother-in-law and sister-in-law who were present at the time. They had all immigrated from Guyana.
In 2009, Iraqi-born Vian Bakir Fatah was stabbed to death by her Iraqi ex-husband in Norway. Her “crime”? She had converted to Christianity and had a new boyfriend. Her ex-husband murdered her in the presence of their four children.
We certainly know that Christians have been—and still are–being savagely persecuted in Muslim lands. I and many others have written about this often. Authors Nonie Darwish and Ibn Warraq have both spoken out about this burning issue. Darwish, a Muslim convert to Christianity, has challenged the major Muslim American organizations to denounce the Islamic belief in death-for-apostates. Thus far, no organization has done so.
While about 50,000 Christians convert to Islam in America each and every year, we know very little about the estimated 20,000 American Muslims who turn to Christianity each year. In 2002 (a lifetime ago), Julia Duin wrote a very informative article on this subject. She interviewed Muslim apostates and the pastors who converted them to Christianity and described the punishments to which they were all routinely subjected. At best, families disown them, they lose custody of their children, they must use pseudonyms, disappear, and in live in hiding, and can never safely see their relatives again.
Muslims who convert to Christianity in America do so secretly and usually talk to reporters using pseudonyms. Those who raise questions about Islam online report being hacked, sent viruses and death threats. Pastors who convert Muslims to Christianity report being “watched” by many mosques. Muslim converts in America who wear crosses are sometimes recognized on the street or at work by Muslims from their former circles who then verbally and physically attack them; they are also threatened with death.
According to several sorces, a Saudi princess who converted to Christianity in America was whisked away by limousine and never seen here again. Most Muslims who convert in America are pressured by their families who will travel here to apply pressure in person. In one instance, an Iranian male convert to Christianity has applied for political asylum “because he knows he can’t return to Iran and be safe…(but) people (in America) are in danger, including from family members, who shun them, disown them, and deprive them of any inheritance. And their family members still back in Iran get used as hostages.”
According to Mina Nevisa, an Iranian Muslim convert to Christianity who wrote a book about her experiences, both she and her female cousin were attending an underground church in Teheran. Nevis fled Iran together with her husband. Her cousin was not so lucky. “She was arrested on charges of apostasy and taken to Evin prison, where she was raped, tortured, and then killed by firing squad. The pastor was also killed.”
I hope that American judges, lawyers, mental health professionals, and immigration officials will educate themselves about this. Why? Because without doubt, they will soon be handling the cases for police protection, witness protection program status, and political asylum which Muslim converts to Christianity (apostates) are bound to bring in America.
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