Patrick Sookhdeo (born 20 March 1947) is the director of the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity and was for 22 years International Director of the Barnabas Fund. Sookhdeo is an outspoken spokesman for persecuted Christian minorities around the world. He has made many media appearances in Great Britain and is an advocate for human rights and freedom of religion.
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Patrick Sookhdeo was born in 1947 in British Guiana (now Guyana), to an originally Hindu father who had become a Muslim in order to marry Sookhdeo's Muslim mother. His family migrated to England in the late 1950s and, in 1965, the student Sookhdeo converted to Christianity. In 1967 he pursued studies at London Bible College (now the London School of Theology) and went on to obtain a Doctorate from the London University's School of Oriental and African Studies. During that time Sookhdeo began exploring inter-faith dialogue and became increasingly concerned by the brutality being leveled at Christian minorities in Islamic nations, and the Islamic death penalties for conversion from Islam.
In 1975 with his wife Rosemary, Dr Sookhdeo founded "In Contact Ministries" now called Servants Fellowship International, promoting evangelism and compassionate ministries in multi-cultural urban contexts in the UK. During this period, Sookhdeo was also one of the organisers of the early Greenbelt Christian arts festivals.
In 1989, Sookhdeo created the London-based Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity, and this saw the creation of a global database on extremist movements and ideologies whose followers were persecuting religious minorities across the Muslim world. By 1991, Sookhdeo was predicting that an "Islamic storm" was on the horizon. He is the International Director of the Barnabas Fund, a charity that supports persecuted Christian minorities around the world.
Dr Sookhdeo was awarded the 2001 Coventry Cathedral International Prize for Peace and Reconciliation,. The Syriac Orthodox Church has awarded him St. Ignatius Theophoros' Decoration as Commander. He is also Chorepiscopus in the Syriac Orthodox Church.
He is Dean Theologian of the Diocese of Abuja Province, Nigeria, and ordained in the Church of Pakistan. Dr Sookhdeo is non- residentiary canon of Khyber Diocese, Pakistan. He has been a pastor, evangelist and Bible teacher for 40 years.
He has been the Adjunct Professor at Western Seminary and Guest Professor at the Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida and McLean, Virginia, as well as lecturing in many other theological institutions[which?]. He has lectured, taught and written extensively on religious, cultural and security issues. He is currently Adjunct Professor at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies and Senior Visiting Fellow at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom and Visiting Professor at Cranfield University, UK. He has been a visiting lecturer at Oak Hill Theological College, London; at Ridley Hall, Cambridge; at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford; and Guest Lecturer at the NATO School, Oberammergau, Germany. He is a Fellow of The Security Institute of the UK.
He is the author of numerous papers and author/editor of several books, including Global Jihad: The Future in the Face of Militant Islam (reviews of which are accessible here) and Understanding Islamist Terrorism. Melanie Phillips reported in The Spectator that Sookhdeo received death threats following the publication of Global Jihad. A number of his books have been translated into German, Romanian and Russian, and at least one book is translated into Norwegian (A Christian's Pocketguide to Islam/Den kristnes lommeguide til Islam).
On 10 March 2014, The Independent newspaper reported that Sookhdeo had been arrested on suspicion of sexual assault against a woman. He has denied the charges. On 18 May 2014, Sookhdeo was formally charged by British police with sexual assault on a woman. He was released on police bail to appear at the Swindon Magistrates' Court later in the month. Following his arrest and indictment, Barnabas UK launched an internal investigation and temporarily suspended him from his duties. In June 2014, Sookhdeo was reinstated after the board decided that there was insufficient evidence of sexual assault. Later, it was alleged that Sookhdeo had used "intimidating and manipulative" language against two prosecution witnesses.
On 23 February 2015, Sookhdeo was found guilty by a majority 10-2 verdict by the jury at Swindon Crown Court on the charge of sexual assault and unanimously on the two further charges of intimidating witnesses. He was ordered to serve a three-month community sentence, and ordered to pay £3500 prosecution costs and a £60 victim surcharge. On 27 February 2015, Christianity Today reported that Sookhdeo had resigned from his position as director of Barnabas Aid, citing his sexual assault conviction. However, he was subsequently reinstated to his positions as a trustee of Barnabas Aid International and as the International Director and CEO of the Barnabas Fund. Sookdeo's conviction drew mixed responses from within the British Christian community and media. In August 2015, the British Christian news website Christian Today's contributing editor Mark Woods sharply criticized the Barnabas Fund for alleged "victim blaming" and reinstating Sookhdeo as its international director despite the verdict. By contrast, the Orthodox Anglican website Virtueonline's managing editor David Virtue criticized the legal process as a travesty, defended Sookhdeo's innocence, and cited concerns about the complainant's behaviour and inconsistencies in her testimony.
On 21 November 2015, Patrick Sookhdeo was arrested by the Metropolitan Police at Heathrow International Airport on suspicion of indecent assault. The following day, Sookhdeo resigned from all roles at Barnabas Aid International and Barnabas Fund due to the media publicity around his arrest. In February 2016, the Trustees of the Barnabas Fund defended Patrick Sookhdeo and announced his intention to appeal the conviction. They reported that twelve senior Anglican figures had concluded after looking at the evidence that “there had been a concerted move to take Patrick Sookhdeo down and destroy Barnabas Fund”. It also described Sookhdeo's arrest by armed officers from the Metropolitan Police at Heathrow after an 'all ports' alert had been issued for him, even though for a month prior, he had been living in his own home 100 metres from the police station which prompted the arrest.
In early March 2016, it was reported that Patrick Sookhdeo was facing historical sexual assault charges against a woman dating back to 1977. On 4 April 2016, Sookhdeo appeared in the Thames District Court where he was arraigned on one count of indecent assault on a woman aged 16 or over in Plaistow, East London in 1977. He has denied the charge and is scheduled to face trial at the Snaresbrook Crown Court.
Criticism and praise
Hamza A. Bajwa, News Editor of The Muslim Weekly, has criticised Sookhdeo, claiming that he presents a distorted image of Islam and Muslims,and Mehdi Hasan in The Guardian accused him of being a "crude, anti-Islam propagandist". Against this, Sheikh Dr Muhammed Al-Husseini, a Muslim scholar from the Inter-faith organisation Scriptural Reasoning, says of Dr Sookhdeo: "It is an absolute pleasure to be with somebody who is a very highly valued colleague, a deeply trusted colleague and for whose work I have the highest regard." A joint statement in support of Dr Sookhdeo was also published by Sheikh Dr Muhammed Al-Husseini and Islamic thinker and reformer Dr. Tawfik Hamid as a response to the Guardian article.
- The Age: Islam, The West And The Need For Honesty
- The Myth of Moderate Islam
- Evening Standard: The schools that divide the nation
- The Islamization of Europe
Books and booklets
- 1972 – The Asian in Britain, London: Community and Race Relations Unit of the British Council of Churches (booklet)
- 1972 – Asians in Britain : a Christian understanding, Church Pastoral-Aid Society, ISBN 0-85491-831-0
- 1983 – Christianity & Other Faiths, Paternoster Press, ISBN 0-85364-363-6
- 2001 – A Christian's Pocket Guide to Islam,Christian Focus and Isaac, ISBN 1-85792-699-4 (also 2006, ISBN 1-84550-119-5)
- 2002 – A People Betrayed: The Impact of Islamisation on the Christian Community in Pakistan, Christian Focus Publications ; Isaac Publishing, ISBN 1-85792-785-0
- 2004 – Understanding Islamic Terrorism: The Islamic Doctrine of War, Isaac Publishing, ISBN 0-9547835-0-6 (published in US 2009 as "Understanding Islamist Terrorism: The Islamic Doctrine of War", ISBN 978-0-9787141-6-1)
- 2006 – Islam the Challenge to the Church, Isaac Publishing, ISBN 0-9547835-4-9
- 2007 – Global Jihad: The Future in the Face of Militant Islam, Isaac Publishing, ISBN 978-0-9787141-2-3
- 2008 – Faith, Power and Territory: A Handbook of British Islam, Isaac Publishing, ISBN 978-0-9787141-3-0
- 2008 – Understanding Shari'a Finance: the Muslim challenge to Western economics, Isaac Publishing, ISBN 978-0-9787141-7-8
- 2009 – The Challenge of Islam: to the church and its mission, Isaac Publishing, ISBN 978-0-9787141-5-4 (2nd rev. ed. of "Islam the Challenge to the Church")
- 2009 – Freedom to Believe – Challenging Islam's Apostasy Law, Isaac Publishing, ISBN 978-0-9787141-9-2
- 2010 – A Pocket Guide to Islam, Christian Focus Publications ; Isaac Publishing, ISBN 978-1-84550-583-7 (2nd rev. ed. of "A Christian's Pocket Guide to Islam")
- 2010 – My Devotional Journal, Isaac Publishing, ISBN 978-0-982-5218-2-3
- 2011 – Islam in our Midst, The Challenge to Our Christian Heritage, Isaac Publishing, ISBN 978-0-982-5218-5-4
- 2012 – Heroes of our faith – Inspiration and strength for daily living, Isaac Publishing, ISBN 978-0-982-5218-9-2
- 2012 – Is the Muslim Isa the Biblical Jesus?, Isaac Publishing, ISBN 978-0-985-3109-1-2
- 1982 – Christianity and Marxism, with Alan Scarfe, Paternoster Press, ISBN 0-85364-289-3
- 1991 – Sharing Good News: The Gospel and Your Asian Neighbours, Scripture Union, ISBN 0-86201-547-2
- 2004 – Christians in the Muslim World in The Myth of Islamic Tolerance : How Islamic Law Treats Non-Muslims, Prometheus Books, ISBN 1-59102-249-5
- 2005 – Islam in Britain: The British Muslim Community in February 2005, Isaac Publishing, ISBN 0-9547835-5-7
- 2010 – Ideas Matter: How to Undermine the Extremist Ideology Behind al Qaeda in Towards a Grand Strategy Against Terrorism, McGraw-Hill, ISBN 978-0-07-352779-6
- 2012 – The West, Islam, and the counter-ideological war in Fighting the Ideological War – Winning Strategies from Communism to Islamism, Isaac Publishing, ISBN 978-0-985-3109-0-5
- 2013 – Patrick Sookhdeo in How prayer impacts lives: 41 Christians and their conversations with God, Christian Focus, ISBN 978-1-78191-131-0
- 1974 – All One in Christ: The Biblical View of Race, Marshall, ISBN 0-551-05398-4
- 1978 – Jesus Christ the Only Way: Christian Responsibility in the Multicultural Society, Paternoster Press, ISBN 0-85364-236-2
- 1988 – New Frontiers in Mission, Paternoster Press, Baker Book House, ISBN 0-8010-8284-6
- 2004 – The Persecuted Church, Lausanne Committee for World Evangelisation (reprinted in South Africa 2005, 2007)
- Parkinson, Tony (15 October 2004). "Islam, the West, and the need for honesty". The Age.
- "Sookhdeo leaflet" (pdf). Diocese of Exeter.
- Servants Fellowship International, Charity Number 280859
- "Persecuted Church" (PDF). Grosvenor Church Headquarters Quarterly. October–November 2008.
- "Thirty" (PDF). Greenbelt Festivals. 2003.
- Petre, Jonathan (18 December 2004). "Charles fights death penalty for converts". Daily Telegraph.
- Butt, Riazat (18 August 2007). "TV airing for Islam's story of Christ". The Guardian.
- "Beware The New Axis of Evangelicals and Islamists". The Spectator. 4 March 2009.
- "Den kristnes lommeguide til islam". Luther Forlag.
- Owen, Joseph; Milmo, Cahal (21 March 2014). "Exclusive: Controversial pastor arrested on suspicion of sexual assault". The Independent. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
- Owen, Jonathan (18 May 2014). "Head of Christian charity Patrick Sookhdeo faces sex assault charge". The Independent. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
- "Christian charity boss Patrick Sookhdeo denies groping women". Western Daily Press. 17 February 2015.
- "Barnabas founder Patrick Sookdheo guilty of sexual assault". BBC News. 23 February 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
- James, Sam Burne. "Patrick Sookhdeo of Barnabas Aid International found guilty of sexual assault". Third Sector. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
- "Hard Pressed on Every Side: Challenges Faced by Barnabas Fund and Patrick Sookhdeo". Barnabas Fund. 15 January 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 February 2016. Retrieved 14 February 2016.
- Zlystra, Sarah (26 February 2015). "Prominent Advocate for Persecuted Christians Resigns After Sex Assault Conviction". Christianity Today. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
- Woods, Mark (11 August 2015). "Patrick Sookhdeo: Why the Barnabas Fund's founder should keep silence". Christian Today. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
- Virtue, David (8 December 2015). "Dr Patrick Sookhdeo: The Story behind the Story, the Trial, Guilty Verdict, and Public Vilification". Virtueonline. Archived from the original on 12 May 2015. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
- Woods, Mark (24 November 2015). "Barnabas Fund's Patrick Sookhdeo arrested on suspicion of indecent assault". Christian Today. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
- Jones, Marcus (23 November 2015). "Patrick Sookhdeo steps down from Barnabas Fund". Premier. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
- "Patrick Sookhdeo: Man, 68, charged with sexual assault on woman almost 40 years ago". Daily Express. 4 March 2016.
- Woods, Mark (5 April 2016). "Patrick Sookdeo to face Crown Court trial for indecent assault". Christian Today. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
- Sookhdeo's Paranoia of 'Global Jihad': http://www.salafimanhaj.com/pdf_page.php?pdf=119
- Jihad & Terrorism - Does Islam Need to be Reformed? (15 Dec 2007)
- "Unbelievable? 3 Sep 2011". Premier Christian Radio. 3 September 2011. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
- Hassan, Mehdi (8 September 2011). "How the fear of being criminalised has forced Muslims into silence". The Guardian.
- "The Scripture Reasoning homepage". The Scripture Reasoning. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
- Al-Hussaini, Muhammad; Hamid, Tawfil. "Statement in Support of Dr Patrick Sookhdeo" (PDF). Tawfik Hamid. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
- Patrick Sookhdeo's blog.
- Article, originally published in the Sunday Telegraph, with extensive comments from Patrick Sookhdeo on the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy.
- The Myth of "The Myth of Moderate Islam" — Response to Sookhdeo originally published in Islamica Magazine.