When Hatun Tash went missing before Christmas her friends and family had good reason to be worried. In recent years, Tash has moved house dozens of times and been repeatedly warned by police about threats to her safety. She has been stabbed and wrongly arrested. Tash has been harassed on the street and followed by strange men outside her home.
Tash, who is 41, has been targeted because she is a Christian preacher who used to be a Muslim. Last week, an Islamist terrorist who tried to buy a gun to kill her had his jail sentence increased. Edward Little, a 22-year-old Muslim extremist from Brighton, will now spend at least 24 years behind bars for planning a terrorist attack against Tash. Little, who was initially sentenced to 16 years at the Old Bailey last summer, refused to come to court for sentencing.
But while Little is now safely locked up, Tash – who has since been found safe and well – feels little relief. There are, after all, plenty of others who would seek to do her harm. The man who slashed her in the face in July 2021 at Hyde Park’s Speakers’ Corner, where she regularly used to go to read from the Bible and critique the Islamic religion she used to follow, has never been caught. As a result, Tash must keep her whereabouts a secret: the Met, who launched a missing person’s investigation into her disappearance, have since confirmed that Tash is OK but won’t say how they know, or where she is.
‘I don’t feel safe at all,’ she tells me over the phone when we spoke before Little’s sentencing. ‘There are lots of other individuals (who might be) planning or thinking the same thing.