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DEAR SADIQ KHAN

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Dear Mr Khan,

You have used one of my tweets in your speech at the Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, accusing me of hate speech. When I constantly receive so called hate speech from the Muslim community, the very community that is being protected under the guise of ‘hate speech,’ which has actualised into threats to my person whereby I live with a panic button and a personal alarm, both provided by the police. I live under this constant threat and for asking you a valid question about FGM you have endangered me further.

I am a woman who has experienced the brutality of a forced marriage in which I was vaginally and anally raped for the best part of three years. I speak out in order to give a voice to those who still live under this.

And while you are using the narrative of hate speech to silence people like me, young Muslim women, men and in fact anyone who lives under the harmful cultural practices of Islam find themselves further isolated and unable to talk about what is going on in the community.

I also raise awareness on the rape of Muslim children by Muslim men. We both know this is a huge problem in the community and that honour and shame stops many from speaking out and even fewer from reporting this horrific crime against children.

Rather than encourage growth, integration and harmony in the community you are being divisive for who knows what reason.

Thanks for naming me as a hate preacher, alt right and far right, of which I am neither, and giving all those who allegedly suffer from mental health issues ammunition to come after me. Unlike yourself I am a vulnerable woman from the minorities and do not have the security of 24/7 protection.

You won’t silence my voice though; I too am the daughter of a Pakistani bus driver and not just the gori’s daughter.

Shazia