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Afghani Atheist Gets Asylum in the UK

I’m very glad to see that an atheist who fled Afghanistan for the UK is being given political asylum there because he faces death if he goes back home because, as an ex-Muslim, he’s considered an apostate. He’s been in the UK for several years but now won’t have to go back:

An Afghan citizen has been granted asylum in the UK for religious reasons – because he is an atheist.

The man fled to the UK from a conflict involving his family in Afghanistan in 2007, aged 16, and was allowed to stay in the UK until 2013.

He was brought up a Muslim, but during his time in the UK became an atheist, his legal team said.

They said he would face persecution and possibly a death sentence if he was returned to Afghanistan…

Lawyers lodged a submission to the Home Office under the 1951 Refugee Convention which aims to protect people from persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.

They said the man’s return to Afghanistan could result in a death sentence under Sharia law as an apostate – someone who has abandoned their religious faith – unless he remained discreet about his atheist beliefs.

This is a positive development. I’d like to see a lot more of this happen, not only for atheists but for Christians and adherents to other religions who put their lives at risk merely by expressing their views, mostly in Muslim countries.


  1. robinjohnson says

    What’s shocking is that having the death penalty for apostasy is part of Afghanistan’s new constitution – you know, the one adopted after we heroically freed them from that horrible repressive regime they used to have.

  2. billyeager says

    Ah, yes, that.
    Apparently it has caused the usual snarky sarcastic sneers from theists:

    This week it emerged that a young Afghan has won his fight to stay in Britain on religious grounds, despite the fact that he’s a self-professed atheist.

    Read more:

    I can actually hear the writer snorting at her own ‘cleverness’ as she utterly fails in understanding the idiocy of her snide.


  3. zmidponk says

    That Daily Mail link in #5 shows their usual journalistic standards. Instead of actually coming up with solid evidence of even a single person actually making up a story to try to get asylum in the UK, they offer thing like, “Chinese Catholics who couldn’t spell ‘Jesus’”, (because, obviously, ‘Jesus’ is spelled exactly the same way in Chinese as it is in English), and the idea that because a lot of people tell the same or similar stories, they can’t all be telling the truth – you know, stories like being persecuted after being caught carrying out homosexual acts in Islamic countries.

    All I can say, Daily Mail is *golfclap* well done there. No, really. Such an astonishingly well-done expose there. I’m not being sarcastic, honest.

  4. Walton says

    I’m a trainee immigration lawyer in the UK, and have experience of immigrants’ rights activism and meeting asylum-seekers. It’s pretty unusual for the Home Office to actually grant asylum at the initial decision stage – many meritorious asylum claims are refused, often because the Home Office refuses to believe anything an asylum-seeker says. More people win at the stage of appeal to the Tribunal. Thankfully the Home Office made the right decision in this case, but there are plenty of other Afghan asylum-seekers in Britain whose claims have been refused and who are facing removal to a war-torn country, in which many of them will be dumped on the street in Kabul with no one to return to. And many asylum-seekers of all nationalities are detained in abusive hellhole “immigration removal centres” like Yarl’s Wood and Harmondsworth. The immigration system is terrible, and often systematically victimises asylum-seekers.

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