Alexander Khan was born to Margret Firth and Ahmed Khan, who got married in the 1970’s in England; it was a marriage of two different faiths and cultures. His own father kidnapped Alexander when he was 3!
Hurled back and forth between the narrow streets of an English town and the narrow mindedness of Pakistan, between physical abuse by a relative and sexual abuse by an older woman, between torture at the mosques in England and abandonment at a religious center in Pakistan, Alexander Khan writes his own story titled “Orphan of Islam.”
The book talks in all honesty about the harrowing experiences of this young boy at the hands of his Muslim Father who separated him from his English mother at a very tender age, the barbaric mindset of his caretakers in England, a cruel deception by his own blood relative and last but not the least the torture he faced in the name of Islam. The book concludes when he is reunited with his mother after 30 long, venomous years.
I completed the book in less than two days, located the very approachable Alexander Khan on Twitter and interviewed him on email. The excerpt is as follows:
ST: Can you briefly take us through the journey after you found the woman with the flowing hair (mother), and until you decided to write the book?
AK: After 30 years I eventually found my mother with the help of a people tracker. The reunion was very emotional and after 30 years I saw the flowing hair again. We met, talked and learned a lot about one another; however, things were going to be difficult as 30 years is a long time. It was my English wife who said that I should share my story.
ST: The emotional and psychological trauma that you faced and its deep impact has strengthened you in such a way that you have resolved to help others going through similar nightmares. What exactly is it that you are doing? Do you see a bit of yourself in all the others that you are helping?
AK: I work with two UK charities 1st – Karma Nirvana, helping victims of honor based abuse. And Reunite International, helping reunite children and parents. With Karma, I talk at events sharing my story and how I have come out, stronger. With Reunite, I have shared my story to help raise awareness in parental child abduction. I see many victims who shared a similar journey to mine, and by talking and comforting one another, it makes us stronger, together.
ST: Why do you think certain facets of Islam are used as a source of torture?
AK: I think it’s more cultural, rather than Islam. Certain cultures have their own ways of torture. However, it does seem that “certain” individuals teaching Islam use extreme ways of teaching their students.
ST: Those people, children and parents who don't have access to support, knowledge or resources, what is your advice to them?
AK: Be strong and always try to seek help and support. You will eventually get the help you need. Talk to a “trusted” family member or friend, I find by talking to someone will make you feel better in yourself, and you have more of a chance in getting help and support.
ST: What is your advice to our nation at large?
AK: End of the day we are all humans and we must get along, be kind, help and support one another. Alexander is currently working on rehabilitating and providing support to victims of abuse and finalizing his second book.
Alexander was tortured under the name of Islam, which only teaches submission, humility and peace. He was a victim of certain pockets of our Nation who are exploiting our faith and scripture with twisted notions of extremism and intolerance. In the least, we owe an apology to him and many others who have been muted!