Rather a lot of people were surprised by this article, which appeared over the weekend:
A Pakistani Christian woman’s appeal to Britain for asylum has been denied because her arrival in the country may stir civil unrest, HuffPost UK 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.”
I don’t know why anyone’s surprised. For starters, the government is quite correct that moving Asia Bibi to the UK would almost certainly result in violent protests and heightened security risks. In fact, I’d be surprised if she’d last a week if she moved to the UK. This is because Britain contains an alarming number of Muslims who both threaten and practice violence if their theocratic demands are not met, many of whom are of Pakistani origin. What do you reckon would be the result of a poll among British Muslims over Bibi’s fate? Regardless of the moral stance of the British government, it’s practically not a good idea to allow Bibi to settle in the UK unless she fancies spending the rest of her life in protective custody.
The Home Office said it could not comment on individual cases.
Ah yes, of course. This is why they can’t answer any questions about returning jihadis and “child” refugees either. Let’s face it, this government and the preceding one has failed every single moral test it has had thrown at it. Whenever a case comes up which ought to be the most morally simple to answer the government has done the precise opposite. It’s tempting to suggest they have no principles, but one cannot operate with such consistency without them. Rather, their guiding principles seem to be drawn straight from university social studies departments which promote a hierarchy of protected classes atop which sit radical Muslims. Asia Bibi ought to be a cause célèbre among western feminists, but it doesn’t matter if you have three aces and two kings when your opponent has a royal flush. So they fall silent on the matter, and instead rail against middle class white men and campaign for new laws on upskirting.
The moral cowardice of the government in the face of violent Islam is consistent with their stance on the Salman Rushdie fatwa, and later the yes-butting over the Mohammed cartoons and the Charlie Hebdo massacre. All these should have been met with a firm response from western governments, and each time they were found wanting. It makes one wonder, not for the first time, what purpose the Conservative party serves, other than to keep a handful of people wallowing in gravy. It’s little wonder people are starting to think a Corbyn government mightn’t be so bad after all. True, he’d serve Asia Bibi’s head on a plate during a Hezbollah rally, but at least we’d know where he stood. It’s the cowardice that I can’t stand.
Hopefully Asia Bibi will be granted asylum in a country governed by people with courage who don’t allow foreign theocrats to dictate policy with threats of violence. Meanwhile, perhaps the British government could partly redeem itself by not hosing any more taxpayer cash at Pakistan. Some hope.