Give Asylum to Ex-Muslim Imran Firasat in the USA
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IMRAN FIRASAT, a Pakistani-born ex-Muslim, was given asylum in Spain because of threats to his life for converting to Christianity and his critical views on Islam. But after he released a movie, The Innocent Prophet, on the life of Prophet Muhammad in December 2012, the Spanish government revoked his refugee status, apparently fearing that the movie may ignite Muslim outrage.
Mr. Firasat’s final appeal for getting his refugee status restored was rejected by the Spanish Supreme Court earlier in May 2014. Since then, he has been detained by the Spanish police for processing his deportation to Pakistan (his home country) or Indonesia (country of his wife).
In Pakistan, apostates and critics of Islam are routinely punished with death sentence by courts under its Blasphemy Law, while such offenders are frequently lynched by mobs if fallen into their reach. Even police officers recently murdered two Christian blasphemy-accused in jail, while Salman Taseer, the governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province, was assassinated by his body guard for calling for a review of the country’s unfair Blasphemy Law.
In Indonesia, critics of Islam are punished under its blasphemy law, while extremist Muslim vigilante mobs often attack and even murder non-Muslims, and apostates such as the Ahmadi Muslims.
Given the kind of vocal critic of Islam Mr. Firasat has been over the years, if Spain deports him to Pakistan or Indonesia, he is bound to suffer extreme torture and even death under law, and lynching by mob if set free on the street.
It will be a worst comedy of justice if Imran Firasat will have to suffer death for expressing critical views about a religion while residing in a western country, where it is a constitutionally guaranteed human right.
The United States of America is country that has a long and excellent tradition of liberty, justice and human rights, and has even made immense sacrifices in defending liberty and human rights of people abroad. The USA also has had a great tradition of offering refuge to victims of political, ethnic and religious persecution overseas.
When Mr. Imran Firasat will certainly face severe persecution and torture, and even death in Indonesia or Pakistan for just exercising his fundamental right of freedom of expression, the United States government should step forward and offer him asylum.
Imran Firasat’s deportation by the Spanish authorities can be imminent. We urge the United States’ government and the US Department of Immigration and Naturalization to act immediately and save an innocent life.
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J. Schuyler Montague