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Posts Tagged ‘Christophobia’

Asia Bibi and The Breakdown of British Asylum System

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on November 16, 2018

Tim Dieppe investigates why Asia Bibi has not been offered asylum by the British government.

Asia Bibi was acquitted of blasphemy in Pakistan prompting massive demonstrations across the country. She is currently hiding for fear of her life. Her lawyer has had to flee the country. It is hard to imagine a more deserving case for asylum. Yet the government has refused to make this offer amidst security concerns. It is now apparent that British policy is being dictated by Islamist threats.

The case of Asia Bibi

Has there ever been a more deserving case for asylum than that of the Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi? After spending eight years on death row in Pakistan, Asia Bibi was acquitted of blasphemy by Pakistan’s supreme court on 31 October. She had been sentenced to death on a charge of insulting Muhammad following a row with some Muslim colleagues over a cup of water.

The verdict prompted massive protests by Islamists in Pakistan calling for Asia Bibi to be hanged. Mrs Bibi’s lawyer has fled Pakistan fearing for his life. Asia Bibi herself remains in Pakistan, in hiding for her life. This is clearly not sustainable. At some point she will be found and killed. She and her family need to be offered asylum so that they can leave the country safely.

But Britain has so far failed to offer asylum. Why is this?

Admissions in Parliament

There was a revealing exchange about Asia Bibi in the Foreign Affairs Committee meeting on 13 November. The committee, chaired by Tom Tugendhat MP, was questioning Sir Simon McDonald, Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Head of the Diplomatic Service.

Tugendhat stated that Asia Bibi’s case represented “one of the clearest examples of free conscience being challenged today.” Tugendhat then explained that he has heard that the Home Office has suggested that Asia Bibi should be offered asylum since she qualifies on absolutely every ground, but that this has not been done because the head of staff in Pakistan is concerned about the security implications for staff in the British High Commission in Pakistan.

Tugendhat then asked: “Does that not raise the question that either staff should be withdrawn or security increased, because otherwise effectively British policy is being dictated to by a mob?”

Sir McDonald does not deny that asylum has not been offered because of concerns about the reaction in Pakistan.

Later Tugendhat asks: “Are you saying that the policy of the British government is to hope that someone else offers her asylum.”

Sir McDonald responds: “No not to hope, Mr Chairman, to work with others. If the objective is to protect a life and some other country can offer a more complete safe harbour than the UK, why wouldn’t the UK be open to working with that country.”

The exchange concluded in this way:

Tugendhat: “So we are not making an offer because we are afraid of the reaction.”

McDonald: “I am not saying in public exactly what we are doing, because it would be played straight back ….”

Tugendhat: “Would you like to go into private session.”

McDonald: “Yes I think it would help to go into private session.”

At this point the meeting went into private session for an extended period.

British policy dictated by a mob

What this reveals is that, as Tugendhat put it, “British policy is being dictated by a mob.”This is very concerning indeed. Allowing the mob to dictate policy will only encourage mob violence in every other area.

Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association also claims that the government is concerned about potential unrest within our own communities in the UK. This claim appears to be validated by Sir McDonald supposing in the exchange above that“some other country can offer a more complete harbour than the UK.” It appears that he considers that the UK is not as safe as some other countries might be for someone like Asia Bibi and that this is a consideration in their discussions with other nations about her case.

So the situation is that Jihadi brides and ex-ISIS soldiers are welcomed back in the Britain, but no offer of asylum is made to Asia Bibi. This week, Laruen Southern released video evidence of NGOs teaching refugees how to lie about being Christians so that they can claim asylum. They are encouraging Muslims to claim that they have been threatened for being Christians and thus obtain asylum. Meanwhile, the most genuine, clear-cut case, is not receiving the help she needs.

Resignation

On Thursday, Rehman Chishti MP resigned as Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party and PM Trade Envoy to Pakistan over the draft EU withdrawal agreement and the lack of leadership show by the government regarding Asia Bibi. In his resignation letter he stated:

What I found shocking is that the British Government is failing to put into practice the core values that our country stands for; religious freedom, justice, morally doing the right thing, and that when we see an injustice where an individual’s life is in clear danger and they have been persecuted for their faith, we do all that we can to help them. The Government should not wait to see if another country offers sanctuary, we should have had the conviction to lead on this matter and offer sanctuary ourselves straight away.”

He refers to a letter signed by some 124 MPs and Peers asking the Prime Minister to personally intervene to offer asylum to Asia Bibi. The Prime Minister was asked about Asia Bibi in Prime Minister’s questions on Wednesday. Mrs May expressed her concerns for Asia Bibi’s safety, but stopped short of offering asylum.

Johnson letter to Home Secretary

Boris Johnson has written to the Home Secretary about Asia Bibi. In the letter he said:

I am well aware, as a former foreign secretary, of the constant threat to our overseas missions but we cannot allow the threat of violence to deter us from doing the right thing.

I do not think it is a dignified position for the UK, given our historic links with Pakistan and the extent of our influence there, to look to others to do what we are allegedly nervous to do ourselves.”

Moral cowardice

It is clear that the government is not prepared to stand up to pressure from Islamists, even when it has a clear moral duty to do so. British foreign policy, is subject to mob pressure. The government repeatedly states that Islam is a ‘religion of peace’. If that is true then why are they so concerned about giving asylum to Asia Bibi?

British policy should not be held to ransom by potential Islamic unrest either here or anywhere. Yet this is what is currently happening. Backing down to Islamic pressure only encourages Islamists.

We should pray that the government recovers the moral courage required to do the right thing, even when it costs. Otherwise it will not be long before government policy is dictated by Islamists.

Source

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Posted in Conspiracies, Ethiopia, Faith | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Christians Dragged Out of Cars and Beaten, Haunted With Fear as Asia Bibi Case Tears Pakistan Apart

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on November 14, 2018

Christians have been dragged out of their cars and beaten, and said they are “haunted” with fear of Islamic radicals as the blasphemy case of Christian mother Asia Bibi tears Pakistan apart.

Romana Bashir, a Christian rights activist in Islamabad, said in an interview with CNN that blasphemy laws have been used to target followers of Christ in the Muslim country for years, but the fallout of Bibi’s acquittal has been truly severe.

Hardliners have blocked the streets, burned cars, and rioted through cities, angry at what they perceive to be the Pakistan Supreme Court’s giving in to pressure by deciding to free the Christian mother, instead of confirming her 2010 death sentence.

Peter Jacob, the executive director for the Center for Social Justice in Lahore, said that there have been cases where rioters have asked people in cars to tell them their religion. If they were found to be Christian, “they were taken out of their cars and beaten up.”

He warned that “the mental and psychological scars” that the Christian community are suffering will endure in the “current climate of fear.”

Large-scale Islamic radical attacks in Pakistan have decreased in the past year, though some church-going believers, such as those at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Rawalpindi, have admitted that they are constantly having to be careful.

One gatekeeper at St Joseph, who didn’t wish to share his name, said that he is “grateful for the presence of the military close to the church,” but that the sense of fear has “begun to haunt him” since Bibi’s acquittal.

Christians face discrimination in Pakistan in a variety of different ways, such as being offered only low-skilled jobs and kept at the bottom of society.

The blasphemy laws, which, such as in Bibi’s case, can put believers on death row even if they claim to be innocent, create a whole new dimension of terror, Bashir explained. She said that one of the biggest problems is that when non-Muslims are accused of blasphemy, “the entire community is branded and labeled with the crime.”

“When you are accused you cannot live in the same place, your family is under threat, your entire locality is under threat, you must run, you must leave everything you love behind. The impact is very severe,” she explained.

Bashir, who in 2012 was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to serve as adviser for the Commission for Religious Relations with Muslims, said that progress in terms of trust between Muslim leaders and Christians is being broken apart due to the blasphemy controversy.

“People on both sides are now afraid to come forth, there is no middle ground for discussion, there is no air for reconciliation, it’s like the bridges of harmony have been burnt in the aftermath of acquittal,” she said.

Bibi’s fate meanwhile remains uncertain, with the Christian mother of five not yet allowed to leave Pakistan, due to the pressure hardliners are putting on the government.

Source

UK ‘Won’t Offer Asylum To Asia Bibi Amid Security Concerns’

The British Pakistani Christian Association said UK government is concerned about “unrest among certain sections of the community.”

A Pakistani Christian woman’s appeal to Britain for asylum has been denied because her arrival in the country may stir civil unrest, HuffPost has been told.

Asia Bibi, a Christian farm labourer, was released from prison in Pakistan on Wednesday after being acquitted of blasphemy. She had spent eight years on death row after an argument with a group of Muslim women in June 2009.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan overturned Bibi’s 2010 conviction for “insulting the prophet Mohammed” last week, saying the case against her was based on flimsy evidence.

But her acquittal sparked violent protests led by Islamic religious hardliners, and the government has now agreed to try to stop her leaving the country.

On Saturday her lawyer, Saif Mulook, fled Pakistan, saying he feared for his life. Bibi’s husband, Ashiq Masih, has also released a video message saying he too fears for his family’s safety.

I am requesting the Prime Minister of the UK help us and as far as possible grant us freedom,” he said.

But campaigners working to secure Bibi’s move abroad said the UK government had not offered her asylum, citing security concerns.

Wilson Chowdhry, chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said two countries had made firm offers of asylum, but Britain was not one of them.

I’ve been lead to believe that the UK government had concerns that her moving to the UK would cause security concerns and unrest among certain sections of the community and would also be a security threat to British embassies abroad which might be targeted by Islamist terrorists.

Asia and her family have now decided to take up one of the offers for asylum from a western country.”

The Home Office said it could not comment on individual cases.

Chowdhry, who once lived just streets away from recently released hate preacher Anjem Choudary, pointed to a number of incidents of Pakistani Christians being violently assaulted.

Tajamal Amar, 46, fled to the UK from Pakistan 10 years ago after being targeted in a drive-by shooting by Islamists who wanted to convert him. He was working as a delivery driver in Derby in October 2017 when he was attacked by “young local Muslim men”.

Amar told HuffPost that it was the third time in 12 months he had been targeted in the UK because of his Christian faith.

He said: “I came to the UK to get away from being attacked and so I never expected that the same would happen to me here.

This country is still better than Pakistan where anti-minority feeling is in the mainstream.”

No-one has been arrested for the attack on Amar, which left him in a coma and with lesions to his brain, but he believes he knows his attackers.

Chowdhry did say “the majority of the British Muslim population are fine with us”, and said it was a small extremist fringe who were against Pakistani Christians.

According to Home Office statistics there were 8,336 religious hate crimes in the last two years – a 40% rise from the preceding two years.

The statistics showed that there were 264 recorded hate crimes against Christians last year, making up 5% of religious hate crimes – compared to 52% of such crimes being against Muslims.

In Europe the Dutch government has designated Pakistani Christians as a “high risk group”, opening the door for them to receive special considerations as refugees in the country.

But Khalid Mahmood, a Muslim MP from Birmingham, said relations between Pakistani Christians and Muslims in Britain are generally good.

He said: “Yes there may be a tiny minority on the extremist fringes of Islam who might resort to violence against Pakistani Christians but they will attack anyone who isn’t Muslim.

It would be wrong to suggest that the general Muslim population in the UK is prejudiced against or hates Pakistani Christians.”

He said despite tensions, many Pakistani people living in the UK have a “shared culture.”

Source

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Posted in Conspiracies, Ethiopia, Faith, Media & Journalism | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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