Matthew 5:10 - "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
A Christian father-of-six has opened up about the severe persecution his family has endured at the hands of Muslims who dubbed them "apostates" because they converted from Islam to Christianity.
According to the Mail Online, 50-year-old Nissar Hussain, who converted to Christianity 20 years ago, was first targeted by Muslims in Bradford, West Yorks after he appeared in a 2008 documentary about the mistreatment of Muslim converts. Last year, two hooded men, one armed with a pick-axe handle, assaulted him - leaving him with a concussion, a severely damaged kneecap and a broken hand because of his faith. His attackers reportedly believed he was a "blasphemer" for leaving Islam.
The Catholic Herald reports that despite all this, false counter-allegations resulted in the couple being questioned at a police station, with one officer telling Hussain to, "Stop being a crusader".
The persecution didn't end there, and this month, Hussain and his family were forced to flee their home after suffering continued abuse and harassment at the hands of their Muslim neighbors as well as damage to their home and car. Last week, armed officers arrived while he was packing a van with the family's belongings.
The Christian man shared how his wife, who was a nurse before leaving work due to post-traumatic stress disorder, and his children, aged 8 to 24, are "traumatized" by the "extreme persecution" they've endured.
He revealed that his young children were bullied on the playground after it was revealed their parents had converted from Islam to Christianity; their youngest daughter, Leena, was told by her friends "our parents say we mustn't mix with you because you are a convert."
"She was heartbroken and made to feel like a second class citizen," Hussain said. "My family are distraught and extremely traumatized to be leaving. But when your life is at stake there is no other choice.'
He added, "This extreme persecution by certain people in the Muslim community because we are converts has broken us as a family. We are fragmented and I do not know how we will recover from this. We haven't functioned properly for years."
The British Pakistani Association has launched a petition calling on the government to "publicly declare that punishment for 'apostasy' is not recognized at all under UK laws and people such as Nissar Hussein from Bradford are completely free to change their religion or faith beliefs."
They are also urging the Home Office to conduct a study into the problem of Christian persecution among minority communities in the UK and to review existing police and local authority policies, procedures and officers' training in regards to victims of apostasy.
Wilson Chowdhry from the British Pakistani Christian Association told the Catholic Herald that "apostasy crime" - committed against Muslims who convert to Christianity - needed to be acknowledged in Britain.
"Police officers seemed oblivious," he said of Hussain's case. "They didn't put it down as a hate crime. They had it down as a neighborhood dispute. That to me was atrocious."
He said the police "need to accept that apostasy hate crime exists in the UK. They need to understand the situation that victims face - the hatred and animosity that targets them for abuse on a daily basis."