A Bradford man who faced threats and harassment for converting to Christianity from Islam was told by police to “stop being a crusader and move to another place”.
The incident is highlighted in a new report on persecution of Christians published by Christian Solidarity Worldwide, an organisation that helps Christians suffering persecution around the globe.
According to the report, Nissar Hussein and his wife, Qubra, converted from Islam to Christianity in 1996. They were subsequently alienated by family and friends.
As news of the couple’s conversion spread their Bradford home was vandalised and their car was set on fire. In 2001, one man told Mr Hussein that if he did not return to Islam, he would burn down his house.
Mr Hussein reported this to the police, but was informed that such threats were rarely carried out, and that he should “stop being a crusader and move to another place”.
However, a few nights later, the Husseins and their five small children awoke to find that the unoccupied house next door was on fire.
Mr Hussein said that he was offered little support from the police or the local authority. He claims that the police failed to arrest and charge the attackers because it was “not in the public interest”.
A police spokesman said: “Since August 18, 2001, we have investigated 11 crimes in which Mr Hussein was the complainant. Of those, five have been classed as hate crimes. We are satisfied we are doing everything that we can in respect of this matter.”
Jim Dutt, the Bradford-based chairman of the Pakistan Asian Christian Association, said: “We have faced these problems in Pakistan for a while, but they are becoming more regular over here too.”