There is an important ruling in England where an Afghan man is believed to have become the first atheist to be granted asylum based on his rejection of religion. The 23-year-old had good reason to fear that if he returned to Afghanistan, he would be persecuted. While the United States has poured hundreds of billions of dollars into the country, the government continues to reject the most basic civil liberties as well as the separation of mosque and state. The punishment is particularly likely for Muslims who reject their faith. They are considered blasphemers and apostates. What is interesting is that we continue to support Afghanistan when the abuses of that government are now viewed as a basis for asylum in England. We now have the ignobility of one ally (England) trying to protect innocent people from another ally (Afghanistan). More importantly, we still have people putting themselves at risk for a government that denies the very rights that define us as Americans in favor of a rigid religious orthodoxy.
, The man was raised a Muslim and came to the UK at the age of 16. He soon embraced atheism and his case was taken up by a clinic at the University of Kent’s law school. They argued that he fell within the protections of the UN’s 1951 refugee convention given the intolerance and violence meted out to non-believers. The government’s enforcement (with the protection of the United States) of religious orthodoxy was cited as the basis for the order.
Credit for this historic ruling for atheists and credit goes to second-year student Claire Splawn who worked under the supervision of the clinic’s solicitor, Sheona York.
A similar argument could be made by women. Recently, debate over a law that simply banned the beating and abuse of women was halted among outcry by Muslim religious leaders and traditionalists.
So let’s recap. We have lost thousands in Afghanistan while ignoring open corruption by Karzai and others. We have spent hundreds of billions while cutting programs in the United States due to lack of money. The government that we have maintained rejects basic civil liberties, applies Sharia laws, and allows the rampant abuse of women and girls. Now, even going back to the country is deemed so dangerous for non-believers that they can secure asylum. President Obama can excuse us if we are a bit confused.