God's Firebrand: An Interview With Hatun Tash
In which I meet a modern saint
The most fearless critic of Islam in the world today is barely over five feet tall. On the streets, her reputation as a firebrand precedes her. But when we meet over Zoom, she is quiet and slightly shy. I have connected with her through a mutual friend who put in a word for me. I am keen to hear her firsthand perspective on the previous week’s stab-and-run at Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park, which I want to turn into a story for The Spectator. However, this is far from the first time Hatun Tash has faced death.
My conversation with this remarkable woman lasts a little less than an hour. By the end, she’s relaxed and we are chatting away like friends. Later, as I re-listen and start to transcribe it, I realize it’s going to be a challenge to make my selections for The Spectator’s tight word count. Inevitably, I find myself remembering too late a quote I’d meant to include after the story went to press. But I’m happy with it anyway, and so are Spectator readers. As usual, never a dull moment in the comments section. A few victim-blaming trolls, but in the main, spirited comments of support for Hatun and outrage at the collectively disengaged establishment media. Someone asked, “This news item was reported on GB News. Was it covered on BBC1, BBC2, ITV or Channel 4?” Someone else replied dryly, “Local news on the BBC, just off Marble Arch section, behind a bush, in the dark.”
Since there was so much gold in our full interview, I decided it would be a shame to waste it. So as an exclusive gift to you, my Substack readers, I’m printing the transcription in full. It has been lightly edited for length, clarity, and discretion. Some places might have the appearance of typos, possibly because they are typos, but also possibly because I’ve preserved Hatun’s original diction as much as possible, and she is not a native English speaker. I hope you enjoy the conversation as much as I did. My thanks to Freddy Gray and the Spec for letting me present this in full.
Me: When did you first begin your evangelistic ministry?
Hatun: I was kind of involved [in] evangelism, mainly friendship evangelism just before 2012, just kind of building friendships and inviting people to church. But I kind of become more 24/7 evangelist, or like evangelist as in lifestyle after 2013, summer of 2013.
Me: And what denomination is your church, currently, are you still at the same church?
Hatun: No, I just moved. Right now I’m kind of trying to figure out church. I was part of Protestant church, Church of England—that was my home church, the church I become a Christian, the church I served. So I moved out from that area last year October…In UK we had lockdown so churches were not meeting where I was, so they just start meeting. I’m just trying to find the church where I can go and serve.
Me: OK, so you’re looking for another CofE church, or a general Protestant denomination?
Hatun: The church I’ve been always [is] Church of England, so ideally in that circle, but…where I am, it’s very Muslim area, so I don’t have that much options. There is a Baptist church and there is Church of England church, so I’ll try both and see where I can serve better.
Me: Well, and Church of England church…the theology is not always very good, you know?
Hatun (grinning): Yeah. So you need to find the right church of England.
Me (laughing): Yeah.
Hatun: So, in London, I don’t know if you’ve been to UK or London…
Me: No, I want to be!
Hatun: Yeah, there are two churches that are very good churches of England, All Souls’ and St Helen’s. But I’m like way outside of London. You need to attend a local church where you can serve, where you can have your house groups, where you can be fed.
Me: So, originally you were working with Pfander Ministries. And then you left to sort of begin your own ministry?
Hatun: So I started going to Speakers’ Corner ministry since 2013, and I was working with Jay Smith, he was the founder of Pfander. In 2017, Jay moved to [the states], and then I took over his Speakers’ Corner ministry from him. When I took over, I set it up as DCCI ministries, because…we needed to set up YouTube channel, all those kind of things, so I labeled it as DCCI ministries, and then also I add into that my weekly ministry, like mosque visits, Bible studies in the mosques, street preachings, discipleships, equipping the churches, all things under it, but our public work is just Speakers’ Corner focused.
Me: Yes, now I am very interested to learn more about your other ministries, your mosque ministries in particular. So how does that work? You simply walk into a mosque and you ask to speak to the imam, and that’s led to some conversions, hasn’t it?
Hatun: Yeah, so depending on… If first time you’re gonna go to mosque, so after you kind of pray and figure out which mosque you are gonna go, you turn up at the mosque, you introduce yourself, like I started “Hi, my name is Hattie, I’m Christian, I believe Bible is the Word of God, I believe in Triune God, Father, Son and Spirit, I believe Jesus is the eternal Son of the living God who died on the cross for my sins, do you have any problem?” And then if you know a little bit about Islam, person’s gonna say “Yep!” I say “Good! Let’s talk about it when you finish your prayer, yeah?” And after that, he usually says “Okay,” and I’ll go and wait for him...usually ladies’ sections, if they don’t have ladies’ sections I just wait far, far from the men. Once they finish their prayer, I’ll go and I’ll pick up where I left. So that’s one. There are other ways. I just go in front of the mosque, and after they pray on Friday, I would just say for example “Mohammad is false prophet, prove me wrong,” or “Jesus is the only way,” or “Jesus died on the cross,” but mainly I kind of pick up Islamic lines so that Muslims can stop and then have conversation with me.
Me: So you make a sign to hold up?
Hatun: Sometimes sign to hold up, sometimes just, like, shout. In the early days I used to give out leaflets, which was just saying “God loves you” stuff… (pause, grinning) sorry, I didn’t mean like in the sense of “stuff…,” but…
Me: No, no, that’s OK!
Hatun: Yeah, giving out the flyers which state “God loves you.” But, I wasn’t able to have conversation with people. “OK God loves me, or Jesus loves me, we love Jesus.” But now, if it is something kind of critiquing Islam or something dealing with Mohammed or Allah or the Koran, they stop and then want to have conversation with you. From that I encourage them to come to coffee shop with me, or kebab shop, fish and chips shop. We sit down and have discussions. From those things, my aim is to set up regular Bible studies, where we compare the Bible and the Koran together, and then…when people become Christian, plug them into the churches and people disciple them and all that structure.
Me: So that’s very interesting to me, that you’re talking about sort of shifting method or tactics. So some people might criticize you for holding a cartoon of Mohammed, or you know, saying these sort of edgy, criticizing things. Some people might say “Oh, that’s not loving, that’s not showing the heart of Jesus,” or whatever. But then it sounds like in your experience, it actually works to get people’s attention, and then sometimes people will actually agree to come to Bible study with you.
Hatun: I do get that critique a lot. (slight sigh) Every day, right now I’ve got like over 500 e-mails… Um, so, in the body of Christ, we do have different gifts and different skills, and we are all unique. It shows how amazing our God is, because he made us all unique. He is unique. So, therefore, I am quite open to the different methodologies. But before 2012...I didn’t know better, I didn’t know any better, all I would do is, I used to be a very friendly person. (grinning) I’m not that much friendly now, but I used to be very friendly, so I would always invite my friends to church. They would come to church...and they would be in the country for short time. Once they go back, they never went back to church, but while they were here, they enjoyed the church. So in my mind...I didn’t know, “Oh, someone needs to become a Christian, understand what gospel is all about.” In 2012 I started doing prayer walks, just standing in front of the mosques and just giving out flyers which just states “Jesus loves you,” and that was okay. But I was never able to have, like, proper discussions…
So in 2013, when I met with Speakers’ Corner style, I kind of [thought] oh, the same questions Muslims are asking me at Speakers’ Corner are the same questions people are asking me in the book tables, or in front of the mosques...How am I going to... Because every week you answer the same question. You are in the book table, same questions. You are at the mosque, same questions. You’re just kind of fed up with answering the same questions, because it goes nowhere. You answer question one, second question on the list, third question on the list. I start kind of adopting more Speakers’ Corner approach. When they ask me question, oh okay, now I can ask them question. And then I noticed at Speakers’ Corner, the questions we start asking on Mohammed and the Koranic manuscripts, they were not being answered well. I start bringing those questions to the mosques, and then I notice even imams cannot answer my questions. I saw that as the weakness of Islam, yes they are good at critiquing my ideology, but they are not good at defending their ideology.
From that, I changed my leaflets instead of “God is love” to “Oh, Mohammed’s a false prophet, prove me wrong. Oh, Mohammed had sex with a child, you are better than your prophet, prove me wrong.” And with that I noticed, people are not always taking up the leaflet I am giving to them, but they are there to stand their ground and defend their prophet. It is amazing, you get to see people, imams, they don’t know very basics of Islam. Muslims who attend the mosque week after week, they were not aware of what I was saying. So I had to bring books to show it to them, read with them. When I noticed that is working, when I noticed people are [saying] “Oh, this is wrong! How can my prophet did that?” that was causing them to step back from mosque. It was causing them to not go back to mosque. And… I mainly changed my approach to “Let’s use apologetics and polemics together,” because you can just critique ideology, you can use polemics, but if you are not able to answer their objections, what will happen? They will become atheists, and that’s not the salvation of the world. So you use apologetics and preach the gospel. When I saw that was working...actively, I’ve been using that since 2013, but as the time went on, it is now more polemical instead of more apologetics.
Me: And that actually has increased your reach, that’s actually opened more conversations. That’s so interesting.
Hatun: Before lockdown, first lockdown in UK, that was March last year, I was having Bible study with 800 people Monday to Saturday, 800 Muslims...Monday to Saturday, lots of different groups, and all of them kind of joined the Bible study because I questioned Islam, and then I said okay, let’s meet and discuss...When I said Bible study it’s not house group, not church Bible studies, like Bible and Koran together, compare Mohammed to Jesus, we compare Islamic Jesus to biblical Jesus in that sense. And, like I know over a thousand ex-Muslims in Britain who left Islam and become a Christian. So I noticed, it was producing fruit, so that’s what I was looking [for], so helping people to hate Islam, give up Islam, and give people alternative of our delightful triune God. And from that, you plant them into churches, help churches to equip them with five years of discipleship structure, and then I know people who went to Europe to work as a missionary, after they kind of [got] equipped in UK. So once you see yeah, that kind of methodology is working, you kind of take action for it.
Me: Wow, so then about how many people meeting at a time?
Hatun: For some of them I had to book out community halls, because I had a group of like 83 people, as well as I had a group of five people. So every morning, I start like 5 o’clock in the morning, so…I used to meet imam one to one when they come to their morning prayer, they would come an hour early, and then we would do Bible study, and then people from the mosque I would set up Bible studies. So over 80 people, largest group would be 80 people, smallest group would be three, four people.
Me: I see, and then the three or four people you could meet in a coffeeshop or something.
Hatun: Yeah, and then others I had to book a hall, or I had to book a room in the mosque.
Me: And they would allow you to do that?
Hatun: Yeah, it’s better for meeting to be in a mosque, because imam can control what is happening.
Me: I see!
Hatun: Also community halls are sometimes so expensive, and you think practically. But if the imam doesn’t want it, you just have to book community halls.
Me: So how many people would you estimate that you have directly led to Christ over your years of evangelizing?
Hatun: Easily over a thousand, just in Britain.
Me: Wow. And then how many of those are imams?
Hatun: Uh, just a minute… (pausing, checking her screen). So, I keep them on a list, because I pray for them every day for five years… I’m not up to date, because lockdown…Lots of things change in my life, sorry. (smiling)
Me: I hate lockdown.
Hatun: I’ve got 17 imams since 2013 who’ve left Islam and become a Christian.
Hatun: And of course I’ve got online ministry. So what we do in Speakers’ Corner we put on YouTube. Right now we are discipling over 300 ex-Muslims who watched us on YouTube, left Islam and become a Christian, or seriously looking into Christian faith…We’ve got, like, online churches for them.
Me: So let me move into a little bit of the history of escalation with your incidents at Speakers’ Corner. So December 2020, they bring these charges that you’d breached COVID restrictions. Then I’ve been reading the letter from your solicitor, and it’s like “No, no not really, that was just a made-up thing,” so speak a little bit about that.
Hatun: I think it all started like last year June…no July, last year July… Sheik Yasir Qadhi expressed there are holes in the narrative. So Muslims believe there is only one Koran—thought by thought, letter by letter, word by word, sound by sound, it’s exactly the same. So in 2016, I produced 26 different Korans. That, until last year, it’s always been denied. And last year in July, a Muslim sheik kind of expressed yes, there are different Korans...which tradition we look at, which scholar we take, there are holes, we cannot simply why there are different Arabic Korans...There are lots of problems in it. And then he used the phrase “holes in the narrative.” There are holes in the standard narrative. And so I start talking about that at Speakers’ Corner, and Muslims didn’t take that well. So I got dragged on the floor, because Muslims just...There is only one perfect Koran. And in couple of months, a month after that, my book was stolen from me, because again, Muslim mobs were ruling.
Me: Which book?
Hatun: Koran, Muslims stole my Koran.
[She’s referring to her infamous “holey” Koran, with holes she’d drilled into it.]
Hatun (ct’d): And then a week after that, Muslim mob again surrounded me.
Me: This is autumn of 2020?
Hatun: Yeah. Muslim mob surrounded me, and then they were asking “Get out of here, we kill her,” like they were asking [for] my death. And police removed me “for my safety.”
Me: Do you know what I thought of, I thought about the book of Acts, where the Apostle Paul is speaking to the Jews, and then the Romans come and arrest Paul. Because it’s like “OK, Paul is provoking the Jews, we need to move him,” and it sounds very similar.
Hatun (laughing): Yeah. Yep. And then I was told if I go back to Corner that day I will get arrested, or I will get banned from Speakers’ Corner. I went back following week. And then Muslims were kind of like “Ah yeah, we can, like, push more, and then we can get her out,” because they didn’t want me to talk about different Korans.
In December, I got arrested at Speakers’ Corner. Reason was given to me breaking the coronavirus regulation. So I was in a cell for 20 hours, and then they give me date for court hearing. And then I think it was a week before the court hearing, they send me this letter to say, like “Oh well, we are dropping the charges because there is nothing we can follow it up.”
Me: Yeah, and also I read in the letter they claimed that you were crossing tiers, but actually you were in the same tier.
Hatun (smiling and nodding): Yeah, yeah.
Me: And “congregating with six people,” when you, like, spoke to one person.
Hatun: Yeah. [Most crowded] moment I was was when the police was around me. But also with the congregating with six people, London mayor made a statement, people had tried to go to Speakers’ Corner to speak, but that was, like, very basic human right.
So anyway, just like a week before my court hearing, they send me letter to say “Oh well, there is nothing we can chase it up, so we are dropping the case.”
Me (raising my eyebrow): OK…
Hatun: And… back in one point, I think before that in October or November, I got slapped at Speakers’ Corner, and then person was just like, simply walked away.
Me: Was that… I saw a video where you were, I think you had a Mohammed cartoon, and they came along and punched you, like hit you in the head, is that this…
Hatun (smiling): Yeah, that guy. He punched me, yeah. So he’s still out there. (wry laugh)
And May this year, I got arrested again. Again Muslims were offended by my presence at Speakers’ Corner. Police asked me to remove, asked me to leave the Corner. I didn’t leave the Corner, and then police arrest me for breach of peace.
Me: And I can see in the video, I was watching footage of that, and it seems like the police are shouting at you. Were they shouting at you to leave? What were they saying to you?
Hatun: “Leave or we will arrest you!”
Me: I see. And you said “No, go ahead and arrest me.”
Hatun: No, no, like not “Go ahead and arrest me,” but like “I didn’t break any law.”
Me: Oh, well right, yeah yeah.
Hatun: Yeah, like those people were harassing me. They were calling my death, one of the gentlemen was showing his private parts. So police wasn’t dealing with them, but it’s always easy to remove five foot woman. Especially if that person’s Christian, because they are just this (indicating herself) nice, gentle Christian…
[She smiles and I laugh]
Hatun (ct’d): …Versus Muslims who are just shouting, loud people.
Me: Right, and I saw this letter from the police chief who was saying, “Well, it would be difficult to ask 40 people to leave.”
Hatun: Yeah. But it wasn’t 40 people, it was four or five people who were, like, actively pushing forwards. So I got arrested because I wasn’t removed, and then I was told I’d breached the peace [and] my presence at Speakers’ Corner was causing stress to other people.
Me: Hmm. You were causing stress to other people!
Hatun: Yeah. When I arrived at police station, I was told I was further arrested for hate crime 4(a), because the T-shirt I was wearing was offending people.
Me: The Charlie Hebdo T-shirt?
Hatun: It wasn’t Charlie Hebdo picture, but it was another Mohammed cartoon. It was simply saying like…Mohammad pointing at a paint brush and saying “I got offended by this, because they are drawing me.” So I got arrested for that, I was in a cell for 23 hours, and then I was left without charges.
Me: Hmm. It’s interesting how they always, like, stop short of actually charging you. It’s like they want to see just how far they can get, and then they drop it, you know?
Hatun (nodding): Yeah, yeah, yeah. And meantime, I was given something called Osman warning, where police knows your life is in danger if you go back to Speakers’ Corner...Soon after I got slapped, police came and then they give Osman warning to the family I was living with. They said like “Oh, because she still goes to Speakers’ Corner, she’s putting your life in danger.” They need to change their lifestyle, they need to consider to change their home, all those kind of things, because I was still going to Speakers’ Corner. So I had to move where I was… And then, police was, like, telling me still “We advise you to not go to Speakers’ Corner,” and I was going to Speakers’ Corner, because it’s great place to preach the gospel and keep Islam accountable. And also, I was seeing the fruits internationally, how people were leaving Islam.
And so a week before I got attacked, Muslims stole my Koran again, and they stole the mike for the camera. I was on the floor twice in the same day. (laughing) And a week after that, sometimes just tried…I’m assuming they tried to chop my head off, but yeah.
[Brief moment where I misread her and mix up my chronology, we discuss a previous unrecorded attack outside a mosque which she’d initially kept back even from friends.]
Hatun: You get on with these things, you can’t just, like, focus on “Oh yeah, those negative things happens.” Those things happen, still Lord Jesus Christ is in control. And we still continue to preach the gospel. Jesus doesn’t say “Oh yeah, people are gonna give you flowers and chocolates when you preach the gospel.” They’re not gonna like it. And especially if you are saying…People get very much offended, like I got arrested just before Christmas. Not arrested, but like, they took me to the police station, because someone in the audience when I was doing street preaching got offended that I said “God has a son, and his son came to the world and lived among us. Because of that, we celebrate Christmas.” So people get offended because of things. People don’t give you flowers and chocolates because you are preaching the gospel. And in addition to that I use polemics, so that doesn’t go well at all.
Me: I wanted to ask you, so you have a Charlie Hebdo shirt that you wear sometimes, so do you feel…a certain solidarity with them?
Hatun (shaking her head): No, no, no. In 2015 when Charlie Hebdo journalists were killed, we took [their] cartoons to Speakers’ Corner with Jay Smith… We took the drawings of Charlie Hebdo for Jesus and for Mohammed. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen it, if you have seen it, please don’t look at it, they are very disgusting. Very insulting. But that doesn’t mean I’m gonna chop someone’s head off. They make fun of triune God, they made fun of Incarnation. But Scripture doesn’t give me right to go and chop their head off. So we brought pictures of Jesus and pictures of Mohammed to Speakers’ Corner, and we questioned Muslims on that.
When Samuel Paty was killed, I brought those pictures again…It was the same structure, drawings of Jesus as well as drawings of Mohammed. Should someone be killed, specially a teacher, simply showing those pictures? And people quite okay for no one to be killed when Jesus is on the cross saying “Get me out of here,” that’s one of the Charlie Hebdo drawing. But people are not okay when Mohammed says “Love is stronger than hate.” Like, I think…I just thought that was important, freedom of speech in that occasion was important.
Plus, Muslims were like…Muslims somehow, they cannot take any criticism for Mohammed in UK. They need to grow up. And, like, no one should force me to follow their ideology if I don’t follow. If someone is not Christian, I cannot force my ideology to them to follow. If they’re not Christian, I don’t expect them to celebrate Easter or Christmas. Because our God is gentleman, our God is not a rapist who force Himself to someone. So he gently pursues His people to come to Him. If people don’t want Him, they will have the consequences of that. So, my main point on the Charlie Hebdo pictures is for Muslims to learn actually, this should be okay, because I don’t live in Pakistan, I don’t live in Saudi Arabia, and I should not be banned, especially at Speakers’ Corner…
I don’t know what it is, but somehow it is only Charlie Hebdo pictures is getting attention, but in the backside of the T-shirt is the gospel message. So I’ve got picture, drawing of Jesus, where Jesus is saying “They are gonna say follow me, and I am Messiah. They are false prophet. They are gonna say, Messiah didn’t die. They are false prophet.” Like I’ve got all that, drawings of Jesus where I put the gospel message in it…
Me: So you designed and printed those T-shirts yourself?
Hatun: Yeah. So, some of the Mohammed cartoons where I had Mohammed pictures drawing competition, people send it, but for like the gospel messages, I put them, they’re not perfect, OK. (grins) So I put them together, and backside is mainly Jesus, gospel, so when people walk from the back, they can see what T-shirt says, they get to read the gospel. From the front, if you are speaking to Muslim, they need to grow up—“Oh, she’s not a Muslim, therefore it should be okay for her to wear what she wants to wear.” But yeah, like I think looking at art is very different, forcing my views to someone who doesn’t believe is very different. And with the Charlie Hebdo pictures…like, I don’t believe Charlie Hebdo is hope to anyone. It’s Lord Jesus Christ hope. But that doesn’t mean I’m gonna chop someone’s head off.
Me: Right. So it’s a statement about free speech.
Hatun: Right. And in UK, like this year in March, we have a teacher who is still hiding, because he showed in the classroom the Charlie Hebdo pictures. Like, we don’t live in Pakistan. Like I don’t know, you look at the freedom triune God gives us, yet forcefully freedom are being taken away from us by blaspheming law in UK. That should stop, there is something sensitive in everything Islam. You cannot critique Mohammed, you cannot critique Koran, you cannot talk about Muslims. But they are able to rule the Speakers’ Corner. They are able to run the show. That’s not acceptable.
Me: Right. So then, let’s talk about the latest incident. So you were having what seemed like a peaceful discussion, and then all of a sudden, the attacker comes up from behind, it seems like? And just kind of swipes you and runs off.
Hatun: Yeah. So I was talking with…actually it’s strange, I was talking with a Shia guy who converted. In Islam you’ve got Sunnis and Shiites. This guy converted to be Shia. It was like pouring rain. We were just talking about oh, like why did you convert… And in that conversation, he said, like he’s been like following [me] on YouTube for like three years. And he said, like I’m so different on YouTube, people are just mocking me, “You are shouting, screaming, but you are so different,” he said. And then in that conversation we had a couple of hecklers came to hijack the conversation, which we didn’t give attention, and he didn’t want to give attention, because we were just… It’s raining, we just need to go. Once those Muslims left, I simply [said] “Because you are Shia, and people who came here, they are Salafi Muslim, they don’t like you. I don’t want them to come and heckle you because you are speaking to me. So let’s just wrap up the conversation. We were just like wrapping up that conversation. And then suddenly like…suddenly just like… (pause) It happened so quick. (shaking her head and laughing)
Me: Yeah, well, that’s how it is. You know in movies, these things go on and on. But in real life it’s like, a second and then it’s over.
Hatun: It’s usually like, when such things happens, usually get, like big mob who are like coming around you. And then, you know like how something might happen. But suddenly, like, in gentle conversation, someone comes and attacks you from the behind. Which is I think…like I was reflecting on it the other day like, people don’t even have the dignity to look into your eye and then give you their top five list why they want to kill you, or they want to hurt you. It just says a lot about people… I’m like someone who is very direct, if I’ve got problems, I just say it on your face and move on, versus they don’t even bother to kind of tell you that. I found that heartbreaking. (smiling, laughing gently)
Me: Yeah. So, clearly a Muslim attacker. [Our mutual friend] was showing me some of these YouTube channels spreading the idea that oh, it was really a Christian who attacked Hatun Tash. Garbage conspiracy stuff.
Hatun: Yeah, and like I’m not good person, I would say I’m in the okay life, but I don’t know why would a Christian do such a thing. And also Muslims are like condemning the attacker, “Don’t do that,” like they are doing dawah [peaceful invitation], “You are affecting our dawah.” In the Muslim mind, I don’t know why they are saying it’s Christian.
Me: Yeah. So then, in the footage, the wounds were actually not very deep, although you were bleeding a lot. And so then out of shock, you fall unconscious for a few moments.
Hatun: Yeah, so…I had very small cut, which is already gone, because it’s just so small. I just, like, when I noticed oh, there is small cut, I was just feeling very dizzy. I moved to the other side of Speakers’ Corner. And when I moved there I was like more dizzy, and then like there was blood dripping on the floor, and then I noticed my hand in here (showing me) was like open. You know, like when you cut the chicken? It was like that. And it was bleeding. When I saw that, I don’t remember much. (laughing) I think it was like shock. There was no pain. And then I remember next thing was I was just asking people to help me to stand up. When I stand up, I just like…yeah. Like someone cut me, ‘cuz I didn’t put that together, it just took time for me. There was like no pain, even like…until I get to hospital, still there was no pain. So it happened around 3:30. It was after 7:00, and I was still bleeding, because my hand…deeper than my face. And I noticed my face was cut as well when I was in ambulance, because it doesn’t hurt when it happens.
Me: Yeah, right, right. That’s how you hear, like in war.
Hatun: Yeah. I watched the video. All I can say is, it wasn’t my time. And everyone is surprised like how I survived. Even I had like (indicates with her two fingers) that amount, this size of knife left over…because since knife is broken, and then I had this much pieces, like when I took off my clothes at night, it was between my clothes.
Me: So then when you stood back up, you immediately began preaching again about how Jesus does not need you, but Allah and Mohammed rely on the Muslims. So that…something that you’ve preached before, the words just sort of came to you in that moment?
Hatun: I… (pausing, slow smile as she looks up me) Sister, to be honest, I’m so grateful I didn’t say something else, because I don’t fully remember what I said. Like, good I didn’t say like ‘I love hot chocolate’ or something… I was just like… my hand was bleeding… I don’t…I don’t even remember…I remember I was speaking something, but I don’t know fully what I said… But after that, I was like so dizzy I couldn’t even stand. I was just like okay, I need to go to hospital, I don’t feel well. And we had to wait ambulance, which turned up very soon. So what do I said? I have no idea. But it’s good that I said something with the gospel (laughs) because you never know, in those places you might say something which is, like, so anti-gospel, and by God’s grace, I said what I said.
Me: Yes. It was a good thing. It was a good thing that you said.
Hatun: But I didn’t watch it, because I just watched the first part where guy is attacking me. And I was like, it wasn’t my time. And after that I was just like, I didn’t want to watch it. Like, I’ve got other things to do. We’ve got life to live, so.
Me: Well, I’ve watched it.
Hatun (laughing shyly): OK.
Me: And you were preaching the gospel, so, well done. It worked out well.
Hatun (smiling): Good, good. Because yeah, in those… like in those moments you say lots of crazy things. I’m just grateful…
Me: Right! Because, I mean, you were in shock. Like how do you even stand upright in those moments? I’m just grateful…
Hatun: Yeah, it’s just God’s grace, whatever I said. I think I’m Calvinist now. It was all pre-planned, I just had to say it. (laughing)
Me: Yes, exactly. There you go.
[Here we briefly discussed the pre-action letter filed on her behalf by Christian Concern, detailing the timeline of escalation up to right before the stabbing.]
Me: So a question that I wanted to ask you is… So your attacker is still out there. Like many of your attackers are still out there.
Hatun: Yep. (laughing)
Me: All of your attackers, in fact, I think. So if you could speak to this man who stabbed you, you’re face to face, what would you say to him?
Hatun (thinking): I don’t know, but in my mind, they don’t know any better. The way we engage with our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ is very different. So you’ve done something, you knew better, I will step in to confront you and encourage you to repent. And if you don’t follow those instructions, we bring the third person. If that doesn’t happen, you get expelled from the church.
But with someone who doesn’t know Lord Jesus Christ, we don’t have much, I don’t have much expectations. All I can say is there is no any other way. They have to turn to Lord Jesus Christ. I have been as a Muslim, I lived as a Muslim, and I know how important it is to defend honor of Mohammed or Allah, but that means your god is not even able to stand on his leg, or your prophet is not even able to defend himself. If you cannot rebuttal the arguments with arguments and if you are using violence, that all shows… actually how true [can that] ideology be?
But I do acknowledge every Sunday, when I come back from Speakers’ Corner, those people don’t know any better. So as a Christian, I am on my knees and praying for Muslims. And I pray that Lord Jesus Christ may bring those people to himself, once they hear the gospel. That they will repent instead of running away from the gospel. It’s not about what I would say to him, it’s about does he know how he is going to stand in front of holy God on the day of judgment? Does he know he is forgiven and accept that forgiveness, or he is not aware of that? Because both side has the consequences. It’s not about my chit-chat with him, but it’s about his conversation with the Lamb of God.
Me: Amen, Amen. Well, I think that’s a beautiful note on which to end.
[Here I do a bit of tidying up, confirming what she wants on and off record. She asks me gently, “Where are you going to publish this, sister?”]
Me: I’m so grateful that you agreed to do this with me.
Hatun: That’s okay.
Me: I know you don’t like to talk about yourself.
Hatun: Like, it is not my story. I have a bigger story, better story, and that’s the story of eternal Son of God who stepped into the world. It’s not like… I don’t want to get attention to me. If Lord Jesus Christ is gonna get attention, yeah that’s fine, I’ll speak. Otherwise, I’ll just keep my peace. And then we get on with life.