By Olivia Pierson
[First published on Incite 12/11/18]
17th November 2018
To: The Honorable Iain Lees Galloway & Kris Fafooi
Immigration New Zealand
370 Airdale Street,
RE: Urgent asylum for Asia Bibi and her family from Pakistan
I address you both in order to ask for New Zealand Immigration to offer asylum to Asia Bibi, her husband and her daughters from Pakistan.
After recently being acquitted of blasphemy by the Pakistan Supreme Court, a charge which has seen Mrs. Bibi in prison on death row for eight years, her recent acquittal has sparked violent riots all over Pakistan and her life is so much in danger that she is now in hiding while trying to seek asylum in Western countries; which do not seem to be falling over themselves to give a woman and her family some much-deserved protection.
The United Kingdom, due to their 1.17 million strong Pakistani community and their primitive threats of violence, have denied Asia Bibi asylum. They forget their liberal heritage and are now pandering to the highly intolerant adherents of a religion, whom their leaders have allowed to settle in the UK; obviously in too great numbers if they have this kind of political sway. Only three Imams in Britain supported her being given asylum. Three. This stance is a tragic disgrace for Britain – and is to their eternal shame. I do not recognise this Britain as being anything close to the once great country which led the allied forces, including our own, into battle to combat the threat of totalitarian force which Germany then posed.
Asia Bibi is the victim of a totalitarian force in the form of an Islamic theocracy. She is a Christian woman and mother who was persecuted in a Muslim country and suffered unimaginable pains for her diversity of belief and speech. One of the great benefits of New Zealand as a democracy is that we have religious tolerance and freedom of speech enshrined in our laws of freedom.
New Zealand prides itself on its liberal attitudes toward everything: the emancipation of women and children, freedom of religion and freedom of speech being among them. If ever there were a time for New Zealand to put its hand up in the protection of these rights, both publicly and as a matter of national conscience, I submit that it is now, for the protection of this family.
Most other Western countries, the UK, Canada, Germany, France, Switzerland, Sweden and Norway have had to walk a path of genuflection to their Muslim communities in the case of Asia Bibi, to avoid violent uprisings. The United States is yet to take a stand and, to my knowledge, despite certain media personalities such as Andrew Bolt calling for Bibi and her family to find sanctuary in Australia, it has also not yet put its hand up to take action.
Here is a chance for New Zealand to signal to the world that we are serious about human rights in our land. Religious refugees are welcome here so long as they abide by the liberal tenets that make our country a thriving democracy. I ask that you offer asylum to Asia Bibi, her husband and their daughters so that they can create their lives anew without the terrifying threat of sectarian violence, rape, acid attacks and murder dogging their every step. The persecution they face – something so alien and disgusting to the New Zealand mentality – is on the basis purely of being a Christian family in a Muslim nation. They need and deserve protection in New Zealand. New Zealand is a signatory of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, the 1984 Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Let our nation’s signature on these Conventions actually mean something consequential in the times we live in.
I ask that you direct New Zealand to lead the way in support of our precious Western freedoms and offer this family sanctuary on the other side of the world, a world which has so far shown them an indescribably cruel and barbaric face.
It’s only fair to share ;-)
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