The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain’s forum has just published an article to commemorate 16 year old Pharbin Malik from Birmingham who was killed by her father in 1989 for leaving Islam.
Pharbin Malik was sixteen years old when she died on a street in Birmingham, England, in 1989. She was killed by her father because she did not follow his religion anymore.
We could find no photograph of her anywhere online, or in newspaper archives.
It seems the world has forgotten her. And yet, her story reaches forward in time to touch raw and exposed nerves today.
Like there is no picture we can associate with her, so it is that we who leave Islam are somehow faceless, erased from history and kept hidden away.
The absence of her picture, and the silence accompanying her death, reflect the experiences of many of us who choose to leave Islam, and for that choice are forced to live in fear and silence.
We only have the bare details of her story. We want to know more. We want to know her dreams, her hopes, what she held in her imagination. We would love to know what she loved to do, who her friends were, what made her laugh. What was her favourite song? Did she dream of travelling the world? Perhaps her favourite subject at school was English literature or Art or History. Did she ever watch birds sitting on the window sill and imagine what it would be like to fly away?