Afghan Atheist Granted Asylum Rather Than Return To Afghanistan Due To The Denial of Basic Rights and Protections

158px-flag_of_afghanistansvgThere 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.

Source: Guardian

25 thoughts on “Afghan Atheist Granted Asylum Rather Than Return To Afghanistan Due To The Denial of Basic Rights and Protections”

  1. Lest we forget, the War in Afghanistan has very little to do with the “country” of Afghanistan, Harmed Karzai or the politics therein. I think it’s pretty obvious the US has given up on Afghanistan as ever being a long term or appreciative ally. Not sure it’ll even be viable as a country within five years, but that’s not the point. Ninety-plus percent of the activity in the region has to do with attacking Taliban fighters in Pakistan and making certain they don’t destabilize the Pakistani government and up with Pakistan’s nukes. If Pakistan had given the US overt support by providing bases, we would have left Afghanistan long ago. For reasons of their own internal politics, the Pakistani government gives the US only tacit approval for the drone attacks–which, btw, I support in lieu of ground troops and I don’t have much sympathy for the collateral damage to Taliban relatives.

  2. That’s the whole point, we sit in our high chairs and castigate the rest of the world for their evils, when those evils are remnants of or reactions to ours. The history of the world, and the history of evil in the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent reveals our thumbprint, marked and indelible.
    Human beings are just that, human beings. Whether here or there, people act according to their psychological makeup, and that is influenced more so by their current socioeconomic and cultural conditions than by their genetic makeup. Poverty and lack of education are the perfect conditions to induce much of the ills we attribute to these people. And this poverty and that lack of education is compounded by our occupation and the violence we inflict on that society.
    Their extremists are no different from our extremists, and ours are no different from theirs. If there is one thing this forum has shown me, is that some of us would behave just as extremely there were we in the same conditions.
    As an added bonus, Afghanistan before the Taliban, which, if one needs reminding, would not have been in any position to be evil had it not been “helped” along by who again, who? the US? Bingo!
    http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2013/07/afghanistan-in-the-1950s-and-60s/100544/

  3. We hear a lot about everyone having the right to practice their religion, not so much about the right to reject their religion.
    I agree with Randyjet that the Soviet-backed regime seems to have been the best the Afghans had. There was a previous reformist government in A’stan in the 1920s; Britain engineered its overthrow.
    I read in the NYT Int’l Weekly that the Taliban have killed hundreds of Afghan Muslim clerics for refusing to support them. We don’t hear much about that.

  4. nick spinelli

    “Those who don’t understand history are bound to repeat it.” The Russians chuckle daily seeing us in Afghanistan. I think we should applaud the UK and encourage them to be a sanctuary for all Muslim atheists, women, homosexuals, etc. I would support giving them financial aid. We don’t do well w/ refugees, ask the Hmong!!
    ====================
    Another recent ruling in a European Court is at the opposite end of the spectrum this case deals with.

    It emphasizes your point … concerning England and our nation too.

    The high European Court said that England (and by extension America) is not in violation of European standards for holding that Saudi Arabia is immune to international laws against torture.

    It was another lawsuit against Saudi Arabia in which England’s courts said Saudi Arabia was immune from suit for torturing Englishmen (Follow The Immunity – 3). U.S. courts have said the same, but the cases are not fully litigated yet.

  5. First it is a noble thing on the UK’s part but I have a question, how does one prove that one is an Atheist especially coming from the Muslim background. It seems like a nice loophole though.

    Having said that the US, should open more doors for those who are oppressed in their countries whether they are abused girls/women/gays or any other kind of the repression and the suppression they are going through.

    I would also like to add some historical facts about the history of Afghanistan that many here may not be aware of.

    The only person to defeat the Afghanis and reign there for many years was Maharaja Ranjit Singh, a Sikh Maharaja who had peoples from all religions and origins including the europeans in his army.

    The state of Punjab spanned to what is Pakistan now and also part of Afghanistan.

    Punjab was the only state where the Britishers who have given this asylum to the Atheist had to sign a contract with him rather than taking over through wars. Then, they showed their dishonesty as usual and took his son Prince Dalip Singh to England after the death of the Maharaja, stole the diamond famously known as Kohinoor which is the centerpiece of Queen Victoria’s crown and converted Dalip into Christianity while giving him false promises.

    Many more precious jewels and other expensive stuff still remains in the UK in the hands of the Crown.

  6. Po,
    Please. As much as I agree with you on some of your points, you are way off on other’s. There is no comparison between this country and a third world backwater such as Afghanistan. My daughter who was there for a year spoke of children who would be brought in to Camp Leatherneck for medical treatment because of the negligance or abuse of their parents, some o them died. What of the eight year old girl who had a explosive device strapped to her, what of the men of Afghanistan throwing acid in the face of schoolgirls, what of the eight year old bride murdered by her old husband by sexual trauma? What of the Naza Bachi dancing boys who get sold to Afghan high rankin officers for their pleasure? Disgusting country, not worth one more drop of any American’s blood. To equate the societal ills of that country to our own is beyond the pale.

    I am an immigrant and came here as a three year old from war torn Europe in 1955. My parents practically kissed the ground when we got off the ship. So please Po.

    1. Annie, reread yourself and you’d see each of those items you just spelled out have happened right here in this country, ( other than the story about the 8 years old, which, so far, has not been confirmed, for I have read various reports of it.)
      Beyond that, yes, obviously, the US is not a hell hole by most standards, but my point is less to compare the extremes of the US/ Afghanistan but more to reiterate the need to stop labeling countries in such extreme terms when,
      1) your own country knows the same evils (perhaps not to the same extremes individually, but surely worse communally)
      2) your country has played a major role in establishing the circumstances that allow such evil to run there, rampant.

  7. I agree with Randyjet. The folly of our government’s effort to expel the Soviets from Afghanistan is probably the dumbest thing America has ever done in foreign affairs. There was a bumper sticker back in the Vietnam era which has resonance today with one name substituted for Nixon and one war substituted for another. Neither war was declared and both men might later be declared insane. Obama: Pull Out Now
    Like Your Father Should Have

  8. Po As one who helped smuggle a friend of mine into the US from Iran, I would not say that the difference between the US and those other countries is trivial. The US most certainly is no way close to a hell hole, nor is the current Afghan government as bad as or worse than the Taliban. While the previous communist regime there was not a great place, it was FAR more preferable to the one we supported and put in power out of stupid anti-communism. I was all for the communist government being in place only because its efforts to support a modern society was more in our interests as a people.

    Prof Turley, the fact is that we are engaged in a war against the Muslim fanatics who caused such mass destruction in OUR country. So we are more than justified in being there. In war, one does not get to only choose those who are pure and democratic as our allies. If there were a more democratic party or movement that we could support over the Karzei regime, THEN we should do that. Absent any such political force, we are stuck with this regime. I think that the best we can do is to give the government the means and tools to construct their own government, then the rest is always up to the Afghans themselves. In any case, we will be leaving soon, so this will become a moot point.

  9. Another perspective:
    one who wants to immigrate to the West has generally 3 options:
    1- Have the means to be a business immigrant
    2- Have the fortune of an immigrant visa, usually via lottery
    3-Overstay their tourist visa
    4- Apply for asylum.

    If number 4, one’s only chance for success is to show a high likelihood of being murdered for one’s religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, political affiliation. Having known many immigrants (as being one myself), I can guarantee you of the tendency to exaggerate one’s circumstances for success. I would thus refrain from castigating, once again, a whole country based on the claim of one person. Generally, in other than the West, people don’t go around claiming their atheism. They either practice a religion or they don’t, they are neither asked to claim a faith nor to demonstrate one.

    And, Annieofwi, regressive hell hole is a very subjective term. Based on our failing standards for education, social issues, infrastructure, the environment, our tendency for violence and mayhem within and out our borders, the erection of the bible as constitutional, the fact that no presidential candidate can win in this country without swearing allegiance to the bible and Jesus Christ, the privileging of the wealthy and their interests over the greater good, the sustained sexual abuse of women in schools and the military, and this “The third leading cause of death for pregnant women is homicide”. Regressive hell hole is indeed a subjective term.

    And, Rafflaw, have we asked ourselves why we went into Afghanistan? ANd why we are still there? I can give you one definitive answer: it was not for their sake. SO perhaps it is better if we stop thinking that we are owed some form of thanks. Whatever the Taliban did while in power is not much compared to what we did, us the good guys. And to think that Kaarzai has any real power in Afghanistan is to really overlook much.

  10. We should have been out of Afghanistan years ago. Karzai is living in luxury with CIA not so secret cash dumps and he allows women and non-believers to be abused and killed.

  11. We should grant them asylum. We should also get out of there and never come back as some are calling for us to do in Iraq. Our country’s treasures, wasted in this regressive hell hole, for what? For those lucky enough to leave that place, any civilized country should give asylum. That is what decent people would do.

  12. Darren,

    If you’ll read the Dulles brothers book…. It will explain lots of things such as why we do some of these things….

    Ok, so England granted asylum…. Would we?

  13. “Those who don’t understand history are bound to repeat it.” The Russians chuckle daily seeing us in Afghanistan. I think we should applaud the UK and encourage them to be a sanctuary for all Muslim atheists, women, homosexuals, etc. I would support giving them financial aid. We don’t do well w/ refugees, ask the Hmong!!

  14. President Obama can excuse us if we are a bit confused.” – JT

    The confusion may be self-inflicted:

    The enemy aggressor is always pursuing a course of larceny, murder, rapine and barbarism. We are always moving forward with high mission, a destiny imposed by the Deity to regenerate our victims, while incidentally capturing their markets; to civilise savage and senile and paranoid peoples, while blundering accidentally into their oil wells.

    (Myth Addiction Is Establishment’s LSD – 3, quoting from 1944 Book “As We Go Marching“).

  15. Darren Smith

    Sad state of affairs. When will the US gov’t ever learn not to be in bed with governments that are against everything our government allegedly stands for?
    ————————–
    Jonathan Turley,

    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.
    ===============
    Boy howdy, it appears that there is some other reason for these goings on.

    Especially since the military is considered to be the most competent institution in American society.

  16. Well, ‘our government’ has two faces, one good & one evil. The majority in our federal government & the majority of laws for our federal government are on the side of good, reason & keeping religion seperate from law & politics. But the minority face of evil has more power & is more hidden so it can do a lot of damage at taxpayers’ expense & get away with it.

  17. Sad state of affairs. When will the US gov’t ever learn not to be in bed with governments that are against everything our government allegedly stands for?

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