Fiaz was brought up in Bradford in a Muslim home. He left home to stay in a Christian hostel and through a family he met there, became a Christian.
But nearly 20 years on, Fiaz’s family still don’t approve of his decision. Fiaz explains:
“I have turned away from Islam and turned to Christ. My own household, my brothers, my parents, they don’t want anything to do with me. They’d rather see me dead.”
Fiaz’s experience has convinced him of the need for Safe Haven.
“I thought I was the only person in the UK that had turned away from Islam. So if I knew that there were these houses that existed and I knew there were others who had turned away from Islam then that would have been a great asset to me at that age.”
He is now committed to raising awareness of what people—especially women—face when they leave Islam. “When an Asian girl turns away from the culture or the religion itself then it’s all about honour. They are at greater risk than the men are. There are hundreds and hundreds of women across the country who have turned away from Islam. And there are those who are still at home but they are too afraid to turn away because they don’t feel that they have anywhere to go.
“Right now, as we are speaking, there are girls who are beaten, who are abused, and they are afraid to go out and tell others because they feel that if they did and they get caught, that’s the end of the road.
“I came across a girl a year ago and her own brother raped her. She is still at home. If she had an escape route she would take it.”
Fiaz is also concerned that people realise this is happening in the UK: “If people think that this is not happening in Britain, then they need to wake up because it is.
“An individual who has turned away from Islam will get killed. It hasn’t happened yet but it will happen. The Safe Haven project is long overdue. It’s time to act now.
“I’m not afraid to speak out because I know Jesus. I have eternity with him after I die, so to me, being under threat does not stop me speaking out. I forgive my own household because I believe, as Jesus taught, that you should forgive those who persecute you. I forgive my family and I love them. I feel it’s important people know that I’m not attacking the people of Islam—what I’m trying to expose is the teachings of Islam: that is a problem.”