Tommy Robinson: “This is the most horrible place on Earth. We are going to the Muslim area. We are dead.”
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
This is an excellent 1 hour investigation by the top Russian TV News Channel of London neighborhoods, including Luton, which have become majority Islamic immigrant areas. Tommy Robinson is featured for most of the film as he takes the team around for an ‘insiders’ tour of these hellholes.
It is a real eye-opener, and damning indictment of the UK, globalist elite’s failed policies of multiculturalism.
In addition to Robinson, the film interviews other anti-immigration activists, and a handful of Muslims, who present the other side of the argument.
Very high quality work. You won’t find this on the BBC.
Full transcript below:
"A quiet Sunday afternoon in Telford, UK is interrupted by rally cries of the anti-Islamist movement activists. Tracksuited guys with tattoos of Saint George, the patron saint of England, start a crusade against Muslims. They don't hesitate to use strong words in their resistance to those, who, in their opinion, is trying to turn their country into the British caliphate.
Luton is one of those cities where Britons have already become an ethnic minority. The British media calls the town the center of radical Islam. It's the birthplace of the al-Muhajireen group which has been called extremist. Several years ago, it was reported that a family of 12 left the town to join the ranks of the ISIS terrorists. And finally, Khalid Masood, who in 2017 carried out an attack on the Westminster bridge, had also lived here for many years.
Tommy Robinson: “This is the most horrible place on Earth. We are going to the Muslim area. We are dead.”
Tommy Robinson is the founder of the English Defence League, a far-right anti-Islam group.
Tommy Robinson: “Here we have our local Islamabad. We're not going to come any closer. I've been here once before and I was punched right through the window.
“-You are a racist!
-No, I'm not!
-You hate Asians! Get out of the car! Where are you going?
-Because I know there'll be a hundred of you here in a minute.”
Tommy Robinson: “In this small Muslim area, there are 35 mosques. If I get out of the car, there will definitely be a mosque within a stone's throw. The Pakistani and the Bangladeshi population of this town will grow 70-77% by 2030. It's not normal when there are mosques and Islam everywhere when there are constant arrests of terrorists, people who want to blow us up. Do you think the current level of terrorism is normal? No, we shouldn't have to live like that.”
Mr. Robinson doesn't let his phone out of his hands. It is both his weapon—thousands of followers watch his live streams in the social media— and his defense against attacks.
Tommy Robinson, Founder of English Defence League: “I'm on a live stream because if someone attacks me while we are walking, I don't want them to twist my words later. Because that's the first thing they are going to attempt. They are going to say, "He made some racist comments and that's why I hit him." Being a racist is now a bigger crime than a rape. They play that card every time."
Tommy Robinson is convinced that England is trapped in tolerance, and the spread of radical Islam through the country is a direct consequence of the failed multiculturalism policy.
-What are your personal motives behind this anti-Islam activity?
-The more Islam, the less freedom. That's what's happening in the UK right now. You've seen this Muslim district. It's a colonized Islamist territory. It'll never be British again. Never. The intelligence service calls this place the center of all terrorist activity in Europe. The illegal terrorist group al-Muhajireen. 60% of Muslims behind bars for terrorism. Former members of the group. Their office was a 3-minute walk from here. Every day, the members would go on the street and start recruiting. They barely do it now. The pressure on them is too strong. Not only from us, but also from the government and the police. But every time another terror attack takes place somewhere, in 90% of the cases it goes back to Luton.
Tommy Robinson started the English Defence League in 2009 after the clashes during the parade on this street.
Tommy Robinson: “As the soldiers walked past, Muslims started to spit them in the face. They spit in the face of my friend's mother. They were calling them infant killers and butchers. There were around 20 Muslims here. And another 60 over there. It was the last straw. I realized that if we let them attack our soldiers and spit them in the face, what's gonna happen next? At what point we, the British, are gonna say enough's enough?”
The movement quickly grabbed the attention of the central media, first of all because of Tommy Robinson's scandalous reputation. In his actions, he follows the motto, "Heard is he who screams the loudest and right is he who has the last word." In the years of the League's existence, Robinson had mastered the art of causing an Islamic outrage. Tommy Robinson had the ambitions of a new English Robin Hood, but in the end not only did he become a target for Islamists, but he was also attacked by anti-fascists.
In 2012, he decided to leave the movement he'd founded. From then on, Tommy has been calling himself an independent journalist, while continuing to spread his far-right views.
Tommy Robinson: “Our country has always been multicultural. The things started going south when the Islamic community was brought here and forced to mix with ours. Islam supports zero integration. They are not allowed to be friends with us. That's taught to them from the young age in their mosques.”
Jahan Mahmood, Historian: "With his vitriolic statements, Tommy Robinson is turning the British society against Muslims. He thinks that because he's British, he's allowed to do everything, even break the law. He says, "Hey, we are the real Britons and we don't like Muslims."
According to Jahan Mahmood of London, Tommy Robinson is just seeking public attention.
Jahan Mahmood: “He's fueling the anti-Islam frenzy, thus gaining unhealthy popularity. He doesn't even understand what the Quran is in the right context. Most Muslims don't understand the Quran. Most Muslims don't speak Arabic. And the English translation of the Quran doesn't convey everything that can be learned by studying it in Arabic.”
Son of a Pakistani father and an Iranian mother, Jahan Mahmood was born and lived his whole life in London. After getting his degree in history, he had been studying the life of Islamic communities.
Jahan Mahmood: “I don't like when people say that to be British, we have to integrate into the British society. You just need to know English to live in this country, receive education etc. I don't even think you need to get a diploma to be happy. To make the UK more successful, you need to think outside the box.”
As a true subject of Her Majesty, he likes his tea with milk, but he prefers to boil water in a pan, as his parents used to do. Jahan has every right to be called British.
Jahan Mahmood: “I have many British friends. My best friend is British. We've been friends with him since university. Even though my religion teaches us not to be open, it doesn't stop me from being friends and socializing with people of other ethnicities.”
We continue the conversation about the problems with the Muslim community integration with imam Maulan al-Saed Araza Rezvi, one of the UK's most influential Islamic preachers. He's convinced that the UK today is more Muslim than many other countries where Islam is the predominant religion.
Imam Maulan al-Saed Araza Rezvi: "The Muslims in this country are more religious than the Muslims who live in other parts of the world and often don't understand the importance of their faith, taking it for granted."
Maulan al-Saed Araza Rezvi was born in Pakistan. Soon after, his parents moved to the UK. All three generations of the big family consider themselves more British than Pakistani.
Imam Maulan al-Saed Araza Rezvi: "My father came to this country 52 years ago. My children are the third generation. We consider this country our home. My children don't know any other home. If they had to leave the UK, they wouldn't know how to live anywhere else, because they are used to the life here.”
The imam believes that criticizing the Muslim community for being too closed-off and failing to assimilate is pointless because this tendency cannot be changed due to the nature of their religion.
Imam Maulan al-Saed Araza Rezvi: "Assimilation implies many things we cannot do. Like going to clubs and bars, for example. Some things are forbidden in Islam, yet they are asked of us by the British society.”
The preacher blames the media for the current tensions with the Muslim society.
Imam Maulan al-Saed Araza Rezvi: "The local society believes that there are more terrorists and criminals among Muslims than among any other ethnicity, but that's not true. There is a very negative image of the Muslims, created by politicians and anti-Islam advocates and supported by some media.”
Alan Craig, Leader of Christian Peoples Alliance: "If I say something about Islam, I'm accused of fomenting hatred for Muslims. If in our society I can talk about Communism or Christianity, and I can say what I like about them, why can't I talk the same way about Islam? Why does Islam have a special status in our society? This is wrong, this is illogical. This is the end of free speech."
Alan Craig is the leader of the Christian Peoples Alliance. In 2008, he ran for Mayor of London. He believes that the limited freedom of speech is also a consequence of the country's policy of tolerance. He insists that everyone should have a right to talk openly about Islam.
Alan Craig: “It's a religion of obedience. Islam means submission. Not peace, but submission to the will of Allah.”
-Are you filming?
-Do you have a permission?
-This is Russian television. They are going to film me and talk to me.
-It's not allowed to film here.
-You understand that you cannot stop us from filming a public place, right?
Mr. Craig brought us to the place where the UK's biggest mosque was supposed to be built. It would have fit a congregation of 50,000 people. The ambitious project was scheduled for completion by the start of the 2012 Olympic Games.
Alan Craig: “I led a campaign against the construction of this mosque. The fight continued for around 10 years, but in the end we won, the construction was suspended.”
Craig emphasizes that they were not protesting the construction of the mosque.
Alan Craig: “The problem was in the separatist nature of the beliefs of the religious group that commissioned the project. They are not terrorists, but they are not peaceful people either. They advocate one main idea, "If you want to be a good Muslim, don't allow the integration with non-Muslims." That is their ideology. It's alien to the society around here.”
Still, the number of mosques and Islamic centers in the UK keeps rising every year. Together with Tommy Robinson, we're going to a new place of power for Luton Muslims which has opened not so long ago.
Tommy Robinson: “The man in charge of this center is Yusuf Bonner. In his blog he wrote that he won't rest until Islam comes to every home in Luton. In his other blog he wrote that Christians wear suicide vests. A peculiar choice of words for a Muslim, don't you think? Christians wear suicide vests of their wrongful beliefs, and they must deactivate these vests and convert those people to Islam. Who's behind this shop? It's the radicals and the council. But anyway, today this place is closed, so we won't get a chance to talk to them. Pity. I'd love to ask them a couple of questions.”
-What are you discussing?
-We're discussing Islam.
-What's the topic?
-The topic is Islam as an intolerant religion.
Having overheard our conversation, this guy couldn't just walk past. He definitely recognized Tommy Robinson and realizes he is getting himself into a lengthy theological argument.
-Are you a Muslim?
-What sect of Islam do you belong to? I'm a Muslim, I don't belong to any sect. I consider myself a Muslim.
-So you believe that everything that Prophet Muhammad did was right?
-What about him marrying young Aisha?
-I knew you were gonna bring that up.
The tension in this discussion is rising with Robinson's every comment. Meanwhile, the police arrive at the scene. We were sure they were going to break up the heated verbal exchange but they just watched the scene from around the corner.
-The Quran consists of 114 chapters. From the very start, it talks about God, the God of mercy and compassion, the Allah. That is my religion, the religion I follow. And I'm not a terrorist. My mother follows it. How can you say that we are violent people?
-I've never said you were violent. I've never said that. That's a lie.
-You haven't. But you implied. What are you trying to prove?
-I'm trying to say that the Quran explicitly says that if your wife doesn't obey you, you should sit down and talk to her, then please her in the bedroom, and then beat her up.
-Can I see those lines?
-I can show you that place in the Quran. “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women because Allah has given the one more strength than the other. The righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in the husband's absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them first, next, refuse to share their beds, and last, beat them lightly.”
-But have you looked at the context?
-It explicitly says that you should beat your wife.
-You're taking it the wrong way. You asked me to find these lines in the Quran. I found them.
Soon, this guy, who didn't give us his name, will understand that there's no point in arguing with the man called by his brothers in faith the biggest Islamophobe of the UK.
-There's 1,7 billion Muslims in the world. So if Islam was indeed a religion of hatred and violence, I wouldn't be walking and shopping here. If I really was a violent terrorist, I'd wake up every day and think, "Okay, who else should I blow up today?" My religion is not like that.
-All right. It was nice meeting you.
-Are there any results of your work? Sometimes I get a feeling that this is fighting just for the sake of fighting.
-I'd put it this way. We are fighting because to remain silent would be cowardly. Luton is a model of what's going to happen to the rest of the country. Muslims on average have 5-6 children. Since the 1960's, the Muslim population has doubled every 10 years. In one generation, there will be more Muslims in this country than non-Muslims. And since Muslims must follow the rulings of the sharia courts that enforce the sharia law, we already have 100 sharia courts in our country.
Several days after this interview, Tommy Robinson was taken into custody. He was arrested outside the court that was hearing a case of a gang of rapists with Pakistani background. He was charged with breaching the peace and sentenced to 13 months in prison. Tens of thousands of people, Muslims among them, have signed a petition and took to the streets, demanding that the journalist be set free.
From the center of London, we are going to its eastern side—Baker Street, Liverpool Street. The closer to the destination, the longer the dresses of young ladies and the less common English. We came to the White Chapel district— Muslims have settled here more than 20 years ago— right before Ramadan, and the first thing we saw was London's main symbol, a double-decker bus, with the words For The Love Of Allah written on it.
One of the biggest mosques in London. Islamic centers, bazaars, kebab shops and English with an Arabic accent. The eastern part of London has long been dubbed Londonistan. Here, freedom is interpreted under the sharia law, while disagreements, including financial and family ones, are usually taken to the qadi, a Muslim judge. Today, the UK is the only European country where Muslims have a chance to go to sharia courts. One of them is located inside the East London Mosque.
Sheikh Haitham Al-Haddad, Qadi: "First of all, I'd like to make it clear that we don't call ourselves sharia courts because we don't want to oppose ourselves to the existing justice system. We want to enhance it. So even though they are called courts, it's more correct to say the sharia council.”
Sheikh Haitham Al-Haddad is one of the most well-known qadis in the UK. On more than one occasion he has taken a public stance: in the country with more than three million Muslims, there's no way around sharia councils.
Sheikh Haitham Al-Haddad: “What makes Great Britain—Great Britain? Is it its geographical location, history, people? We believe that the country is the people who live in it. That is one of the foundations of democracy. So if the Muslims in this country are its essential part, there shouldn't be any conflict about the laws they want to uphold.”
Haitham Al-Haddad has also many times suggested to integrate elements of the Islamic law in the British legislation.
Sheikh Haitham Al-Haddad: “If our government or the government of any other European country wanted to incorporate the Muslim personal law into their legal system, that could have been done. But that might incite fear in the British society, and the media would quickly start churning out headlines, such as, "Europe Became A Muslim Continent," or "Europe Is Condoning The Sharia Law."
The media and Islamophobic organizations have many times criticized the already existing sharia councils of Great Britain. Sheikh Haitham Al-Haddad explains the need for them with the fact that every second Muslim couple in the UK decides against official marriage, instead opting for religious marriage, the nikah.
Sheikh Haitham Al-Haddad: “Most Muslims prefer to follow the religion's guidelines. They believe that if they perform nikah, their family life will be happy. The civil courts of European countries don't recognize these marriages and do not solve disputes. So people don't have other choice but to go to a sharia council.”
The status of qadi is higher than that of the mosque's imam. He bases his verdict on religious norms and a personal understanding of justice. His judgment cannot be contested or reviewed.
“-Sister, how do you find your life with your in-laws?
-I have a great relationship with my in-laws. My problem is that he's not paying me enough attention at home.”
This couple asked for their faces to remain hidden since they came to the sharia council for a very personal reason. They've been married for three years. The separation was initiated by the wife.
Sheikh Haitham Al-Haddad: “For some couples, it's very natural to talk more to other people than to each other. It's a very common problem. Very often, the husband and wife don't discuss family problems and don't tell each other how they actually feel.
“-Have you talked about these issues?
In this case, the qadi is not approving the divorce. He's asking the couple not to rush and gives the wife advice on how to strengthen family bonds.
Sheikh Haitham Al-Haddad: “A very important principle. The wife's place in marriage depends on her. If she wants to be her husband's companion, she wouldn't be telling him what to do. Start solving this problem yourself. For example, organize a holiday for the two of you. It's a really good idea. For example, find cheap tickets and a cheap hotel. A holiday will do you good. And afterwards, get back to discussing your problems.”
Baroness Caroline Anne Cox is a member and former deputy speaker of the House of Lords. She's a civil rights lawyer and the author of a dozen research papers on gender inequality and domestic violence. Among those who come to her for help are a lot of Muslim women.
Baroness Caroline Anne Cox, Member of House of Lords: "One of the women was desperate. She said, "I came to the UK to get free from the Sharia law, but it's even worse here than where I came from." So there's a big problem and we need to address it seriously because Muslim women are suffering like our famous suffragists used to back in the day. And they paid a very high price to give women the right to vote."
Baroness Cox is calling for a ban on the spread of the sharia law in the UK. Her main argument is that sharia courts often deliver judgments that go against the democratic norms of the UK.
Baroness Caroline Anne Cox: “For example, they have their own rule on divorce, according to which the man can divorce his wife just by saying "I divorce you!" three times. Women don't enjoy the same right. Another rule allows polygamy in the country where it's illegal. There are also interpretations of the sharia rules that allow domestic violence and let men punish their wives. These things are unacceptable in our country.”
In other words, the reality of the Islam law makes women vulnerable in their rights even in the UK.
Baroness Caroline Anne Cox: “One lady came to me in tears. She received a divorce notification by mail. It was in her mailbox. It said "I divorce you!" three times. The Imam said that yes, under the sharia law she was divorced. These women are not in an officially registered marriage. They don't have any rights and they end up being destitute and suicidal.”
Rama Tahir: “Barking is a small town to the east of London. A lot of Pakistanis live here. It's a quite close-knit community. People like me, who don't fit in, feel quite left out.”
Rama Tahir became an outcast in her hometown after her divorce which had shaken her belief in herself and in the justice of the sharia law.
Rama Tahir: “Before marriage, my fiancé was so nice, so kind. I felt very happy next to him. But the day the marriage happened he became a different person.”
Rama's husband was a Pakistani man who had moved to the UK shortly before marriage. She refuses to show us his pictures, afraid to yet again become victim of his short temper.
Rama Tahir: “At some point, I realized that he only married me for immigration purposes. Also, he was trying to imprint his Islamic ideology onto me, forcing me to pray five times a day and making me feel very dirty. I was born in the UK. My family was not religious. Unlike women who live in Pakistan, I wasn't following the same religious practices.”
Soon Rama found out that her husband's mother found him a new girl from among the faithful Muslims. The wedding was expected to take place as soon as he got a visa.
Rama Tahir: “I told him I wasn't going to help him with the visa. He immediately divorced me.”
The sharia council confirmed that the divorce took place which for Rama meant the beginning of iddah— three months during which the woman is not allowed to start a new relationship. The abstinence period, as per Muslim custom, serves to determine a possible pregnancy.
Rama Tahir: “During iddah, you are not allowed to wear jewelry or makeup, or go outside after a certain hour. It was just adding insult to injury. I wasn't going to accept that. But the town already knew about my divorce. My life became more difficult. People talked behind my back, "Her husband left her. There must be something wrong with her."
It would have been even more difficult for the girl to deal with despair if at some point Rama hadn't realized that she wasn't the only one having a problem with the sharia law. Their stories are very similar. After divorcing her husband who turned out to be a tyrant and a conman, Tavir got lost looking for justice.
Tavir Chakhlan: "He caused me a lot of problems, including financial ones. He abused me physically, emotionally and even sexually."
Having their stories out in the open wasn't easy for Rama or Tavir, but they hope that their example with help other Muslim women understand that they have to push for official marriage.
Rama Tahir: “The British government should ban this divorce. It should be considered abusive. Sharia councils should also be banned. There should only be the British law and official marriage. Otherwise, women don't get any rights.”
Jahan Mahmood, the secular Muslim who lives in London, believes that an Islamic marriage in which the husband beats and humiliates his wife is an exception to the rule, because everything depends on the family.
Jahan Mahmood: “Some women, as well as men, want to have a modern family inside the Islamic marriage. They try to work and live on the same level, be equal. Life today is very expensive. Real estate, utilities, taxes and so on. All expenses are split in half. But if you take on a second wife, the first wife has a right for everything. So it's important to sign a contract where you can say that you want to be the only wife. And the man who marries a second wife should understand that he has to support her like the first one and that the first wife has more rights than the second one.”
The woman's happiness in the Islamic family is like an essential clause of the sharia prenup agreement, tells us Jahan Mahmood, who then refuses to introduce us to his wife.
Jahan Mahmood: “The Muslim wife can be happy under the sharia law! Of course! Because she has rights. The husband has to provide for her. Again, this is a distorted portrayal of Muslims. The way the British media covers this is horrible. But of course, there are people among us who are too conservative in their views.”
Sadia Khamed, Activist with Ex-Muslims: "I guess the degree of inequality is what made me an atheist. The fact that my testament carries half the weight than the testament of my male opponent. The fact that I need a male guardian because I can't take care of myself. The fact that my body and my hair are perceived as something to be ashamed of. All that contributed to my choice."
For a long time, Sadia had been hiding that she became an atheist and had to lead a double life.
Sadia Khamed: “I kept going to the mosque and didn't tell anything to my parents or anyone in our community. Because it's a safety issue. Islam actually commands to kill apostates. It's something you're taught from a very young age.”
Having figured out her views, Sadia became an activist with the Ex-Muslims where she is now helping people like her with social adaptation.
Sadia Khamed: “People who come out end up losing their family and the community they grew up in. They are completely isolated and lonely, and only with us they can allow themselves to be who they want to be.”
On this meeting, members of the Islamic atheist movement discuss an upcoming protest they are going to stage on the first day of Ramadan.
“We are going to be eating, drinking and talking to each other in front of the embassies of Middle Eastern countries as a protest against mandatory fasting.”
To send a loud message, they often have to be provocative.
Maryam Namazie, Leader of Ex-Muslims: "We grew up in a society where a woman had to be completely veiled if she's dressed like me and you right now, she's considered a harlot. In my opinion, topless activism and naked protests are the only way to make our disagreement known. Provocation is not our end goal, but we have to resort to it, because we are trying to get rid of the blasphemy and apostasy laws. It's our way to say that we want to live in a society where we can say what we want and not get killed for that and where we can believe in anything without being ostracized."
The organization leader Maryam Namazie has many times been harassed by Muslim activists.
Maryam Namazie: “Stop interrupting me! Have respect! Get out!”
In her public speeches, not only she defends the Muslims' right to be atheists, but she also disagrees with the discrimination against women and explains the reasons behind the spread of radical Islam in the UK.
Maryam Namazie: “We have to remember that every terrorist attack that happens in Europe is only a tip of what's happening in Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan. People are getting blown up every day, at marketplaces and even in schools. So many innocent people are being killed at the hands of the terrorists. And that will continue until we start to see this not as the fight between us and them, between the West and the Islamic world, but as the war between far-right Islamists and the rest of the world, whether we live in Afghanistan, Iran or here, in the UK.”
“-Don't call me racist!
-You are racists!”
Activists of the English Defence League took to the streets of Telford after it became known that for several years a gang of Pakistani rapists had been operating in the town.
Martin Skaufer: “It had been hushed up for decades. The police knew well what was going on but they were covering it up just to maintain peace and keep an illusion that everything's okay.”
Martin Skaufer is one of the far-right activists. He was in charge of the London's Underground Emergency Response Unit during the 2005 terrorist attack.
Martin Skaufer, Activist of English Defence League: "We were at the site of the explosion. Not in the bus, but at the site of the explosion. The things I saw were absolutely horrific. Two years later, I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. I spent some time in a psychiatric hospital."
After what happened to him, Skaufer decided he had to resist the ideas of violence.
Martin Skaufer: “95% of all pedophilia cases in the UK are carried out by Pakistani Muslims. This is not racism. Not at all. It's not about the color. It's about the ideology that fosters violence.”
Imran is a regular taxi driver from Telford. Though here by accident, he couldn't just pass by. He decided to stand up for his Muslim brothers.
Imran: “We hate these rapists with all our heart because what they did is condemned in our religion. They did terrible things, but you can't generalize. It doesn't mean that all Muslims are pedophiles.”
Photographer Rizwan Ali Dar often shoots this kind of protests. He's calling for a closer look at those who stigmatize Muslims.
Rizwan Ali Dar, Photographer: "They all have beer cans in their hands. They are all drunk. It's obvious. Their Facebook page said, "The pub opens at 11, so let's have a drink before the protest."
Rizwan sharply criticizes the protesting methods of the English Defence League and similar groups.
Rizwan Ali Dar: “Pedophiles don't have nationality. And these people ignite fear in the British people saying, "The Muslims are everywhere and that's what they are doing." They don't have proof but they are still saying that, you know? They make people afraid of Muslims.”
Jahan Mahmood: “The Muslims are made out to be criminals. That is the essence of the media that assigns everything negative to Muslims. Especially crimes. They cast a dark shadow upon us. A Muslim is always a criminal. It's very embarrassing and unfortunate.”
A Londoner and a war historian, Jahan Mahmood believes that the negative, anti-Muslim attitude is created by the British media who tend to exaggerate the true state of things.
Jahan Mahmood: “Extremism, robberies, drug trafficking, violence and a rather big percentage of Muslims in prisons— there's ever more negativity. We are losing our face in the eyes of the modern UK again. But I would say that the treatment of the Muslim community in the British society is not that bad, and that matters more than what's reported in the news. The Muslims are demonized but the Muslims, too, abuse their position and push their limits.”
Sammy Woodhouse, Victim: "I was out shopping with my friend when he came over on his silver sports car. He started talking to us and asked if we wanted to go for a ride. I didn't see any danger or risk. But, of course, that was the moment that changed my life. I was going to be abused physically, psychologically and sexually for many years."
Sammy Woodhouse is one of the 1400 Rotherham girls who were sexually abused by the criminal gang made of men of Pakistani descent. When she met Arshid Hussain, she was 13 years old.
Sammy Woodhouse: “He was good-looking, he wore designer clothes, he had a cool car. He seemed to be a nice guy and not a pedophile. I always thought a pedophile would be some old fat guy who's sitting at home or at a playground and watching kids, or someone who comes in a van, kidnaps you and you never see your parents again. That's how I saw pedophiles. And of course, he didn't fit that description whatsoever.”
Sammy justified her boyfriend's violence as being a part of his passionate Eastern nature, but soon she found out that Arshid had run-ins with the law. Drugs, theft, armed assault.
Sammy Woodhouse: “Whenever I'd try to leave, he'd threaten to kill me and my family, to beat me to death. And one day he went too far.”
Sammy remembers the horrifying moment when he went from threats to actions. We were in the car on top of a hill. He said he was going to drive off the hill and kill both of us. He started speeding towards the edge, but then hit the brakes at the last moment. To this day I don't know how we didn't go off the edge, because we were so close. I knew I had to leave him, but it was very hard. I felt a strong emotional connection to him.”
At 16, Sammy found out she was pregnant. She decided to keep the child, even though she knew that at some point she'd have to tell her son about his father.
Sammy Woodhouse: “My son was then only several months old. I told Arshid I didn't want to be with him anymore. He grabbed me by the neck and hung me over the top floor balcony in the shopping mall. He said he was going to throw me out. Thankfully, his friend and his brother came over and dragged him off me.”
It took the young girl several years to first convince herself that she became a victim of child sexual abuse and then to prove it to the police. She described the difficult path she had to walk in a book.
Sammy Woodhouse: “I was never treated as a victim. I was always treated as his girlfriend, his mistress, a member of his gang, but never his victim. He was pushing me to commit crimes, to go on robberies, he put me on drugs. It was convenient for him because it stopped me from going to the police. I'd have to tell them about the crimes I'd committed.”
Sammy is convinced that if the police, human rights activists, and social services were more alert to her case, her suffering would've ended much earlier.
Sammy Woodhouse: “I think the reason why he was allowed to walk free was that he was a Pakistani Muslim. People were afraid to be called racists. They were thinking more of that fear and their reputation than about the children who were being raped, abused, trafficked and sometimes even killed.”
In 2013, Sammy got Arshid Hussain convicted. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison. Sammy promises to do everything to stop him meeting his son even after he's released.
Sammy Woodhouse: “My son is now 16. He knows who his daddy is. Once he asked me, "I'm also a Pakistani. Does it mean that I'm going to be a rapist when I grow up?" I told him, "Of course, not." It has been really hard on him. But we support him in every way we can.”
Sammy believes that her decision to make her story public saved many girls who could also have become victims.
Sammy Woodhouse: “I always say that there's life after abuse. What happened to me will stay with me forever. But I'm determined not to let it define me. That man took nearly two decades of my life. He was ruining my life and the life of my family. But I won't give up and I will keep fighting for my son.”
Despite a series of big scandals and continuous anti-Islamist protests, more than 5,000 people in the UK convert to Islam every year.
Neurologist Ann Coxon was 50 years old when she decided to change religions.
Ann Coxon: “This actually was Egyptian clothes, but I can wear it anywhere in the Middle East. This outfit is more suitable for Saudi Arabia, even though I bought it in Egypt. I wear hijab when I go to the mosque or to visit Muslim friends, even though I have a right not to wear it, but to me it's a matter of respect.”
She converted to Islam after a long search for a more spiritual alternative to Catholicism.
Ann Coxon: “The depth of the philosophy in Islam is so much bigger than in Christianity. I also like the fact that in the public sphere religion is an essential part of a Muslim's life. Things you don't do in the name of Allah have no value whatsoever. You can save a life or discover a cure for cancer, but if you didn't do it in the name of Allah, it won't do anything for you in the next life.”
Dr. Coxon recalls that a part of her family couldn't accept her choice which became a big test for her.
Ann Coxon: “My brother's wife kicked me out of their house and called me a terrorist, so now I'm not welcome at my brother's house anymore. It's sad. But it's her right to receive only those people she wants to see. I've accepted that.”
Ann Coxon: “Welcome to my loft.”
Today, Dr. Coxon is receiving a friend, photographer Jack Kilby. British born and bred, he, too, serves faithfully and loyally to Allah.
Jack Kilby: “I was married. I had two children. My wife wasn't thrilled about me becoming a Muslim. She decided to divorce me. The British law puts the children's interests first. They have to stay at home with their mother. I had to leave. When you become a Muslim, you start seeing your misfortunes as some kind of test which is aimed to see what you are going to do in that situation. All these misfortunes also make you stronger. I actually became homeless, and for a long time I had slept on the floor of a mosque in Central London.”
Both of them are really concerned with the growing Islamophobia in the UK. But to those who are afraid of the country becoming the Islamic Albion, they want to get across one simple truth which can also be read both in the Quran and the Bible.
Ann Coxon: “We all look in the same direction, only through different windows. But it's the same view unfolding in front of us. And we can talk about it.”
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