My Blog has Moved to since 1 November 2011

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

In defence of the Iranian asylum seekers participating in a sit-in at the British parliament right now

People fleeing political Islam must be given asylum, full stop.

You may think that this statement is outrageous. Aren't most of them 'failed', 'illegals', 'scroungers'? Isn't only a handful 'genuine'?

No, they all are genuine. And for the very simple reason that medieval Islamic laws are antithetical to 21st century lives and values.

Let me explain. I say this not just because of outrages like sweet 16 Atefeh Rajabi, hung from a city square for 'acts incompatible with chastity' or Maryam Ayoobi, stoned to death for having sex outside of marriage, or Abdul Rahman, facing execution in Afghanistan for converting to Christianity... I say this not even because of the brutal attack and arrest of women at a March 8 rally in Tehran or the arrest of Tehran bus workers, including some of their wives and children, for demanding basic labour rights.

I say this for the everyday, more 'subtle' things - if you can call them that. For the teacher threatened in Afghanistan, for doctors being beaten in Iraq for treating female patients, for the students prevented from studying because they did not pass the Islamic ideological test in Iran, for the very fact that you cannot even give your child a non-Muslim name, for the limited rights to divorce, for the reason that you cannot hold your lover's hands and walk down the street...

The law, government agencies, army, baseej and militias, just won't let you be. They just won't let you live your life even if you have no intention of being politically active. They dictate your dress, your sexual relationships, even the music you listen to.

And so we see that even though the British government is jubilant that the asylum numbers are at a 13 year low in the UK, Iranians, Iraqis, Afghans are still in the top ten ranking of asylum seekers coming here and seeking refuge. Because they have to keep on coming and it's not for the incentives the UK government keeps deceptively insisting. Does having more shelters give women the incentive to be beaten or those with homes to become homeless?

They have no choice but to come, thanks in large part to this government's own policies in the region. But also thanks to cultural relativism which deems that people deserve to live the way they are forced to. Peace is at hand then - but according to Afghan standards; and Iranian prisons are satisfactory then - for third world standards! It also has to do with the close relations between governments and mostly because if they did grant asylum, it would reflect most badly on them; after all Iraq is their swamp; Afghanistan is not fit to live in...

Saying that all those who do get here from Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan deserve the right to asylum is not so farfetched. It is like saying all those who fled the racial apartheid of South Africa had a right to asylum; or all those who fled Nazi Germany had a right to asylum.

So too people fleeing political Islam have a right to asylum. Full stop.

To see pictures of the sit-in, click here.

To read more about the bogus UK asylum policy, click here.

To support the sit-in and the International Federation of Iranian Refugees' campaign, click here.

Support Iranian asylum seekers' sit-in
Three days sit-in in London in protest to the Home Office's asylum laws
(27-29 March in front of parliament)

Thousands of asylum seekers who have fled the Islamic regime of Iran and have come to Britain are faced with appalling and inhumane conditions. Many have either been refused asylum and issued removal orders or are in the precarious situation of waiting. An illegal, unsafe and unprotected life has been imposed on many of them.

According to reports published by the Home Office, in 2005 alone more than 600 Iranian asylum seekers were deported back to the Islamic regime of Iran and many more are at risk of being deported in the future. Deporting Iranian asylum seekers to an Islamic dictatorship is taking place despite the fact that any opposition is violently crushed, dissidents suppressed, executions have increased, unfair trials are norms, freedom of speech and press is denied, and human rights are violated with impunity.

In recent months, several political activists have been executed; a number of young, teenaged gay boys have been hung publicly in Mashhad; hundreds of opponents in different cities and towns have been arrested and imprisoned and the Islamic government is intending to execute some of them. Also some labour activists have been arrested, tortured and imprisoned.

The flagrant violations of human rights by the Islamic Republic of Iran have concerned many human rights organisations and even some western governments! They have condemned state violence against the population at large. It is interesting to note that the British government is amongst those countries condemning the Islamic regime of Iran for violating human rights but the truth is that its condemnations are nothing more than politicking for its own political benefits not anything else!

The British government is not concerned that people in Iran are stoned to death, executed, imprisoned, tortured and faced with sexual apartheid. All it wants is to stop asylum seekers from coming here at any cost. The fact that people, who flee persecution, are directly or indirectly victims of British or western government’s policies, is not of any concern to them.

The current policy of the British government towards asylum seekers is totally arbitrary, irresponsible and inhumane Following our “life without fear” campaign and in protest against these inhuman policies, the International Federation of Iranian Refugees in the UK is organising a three day sit-in protest on Monday- Wednesday 27- 29 March in London in front of Parliament.

The International Federation of Iranian Refugees (IFIR) in the UK and the participants of this sit-in demand the following:

1- Iran under the Islamic Republic is not a safe country. No Iranian asylum seeker should be deported to Iran;
2- There should be an immediate stop to all detentions of Iranian asylum seekers. All those currently in detention in British prisons for the ‘crime’ of seeking asylum should be freed;
3- Given the present suppressive nature of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the British government must change its policy towards the asylum seekers and grant them refuge.

We urge all humanitarian organisations and individuals, trade unions, and all freedom lovers to support our campaign for “a life without fear” and our three day sit-in.

For more information, please contact Siamak Amjadi, the Secretary of the International Federation of Iranian Refugees, UK Branch.

Tel: 07946 75 25 34 or 07931 866 985
BM Box 1919
London WC1N 3XX


Frank Partisan said...

Your campaign deserves broad support. It is against Islamist terror, and it exposes the hypocrisy of the imperialist world powers.

Anonymous said...

i think you should continue to do a good job and i hope people with hearts are behind you 100percent.

Anonymous said...

I'm Iranian ( I was born as a Muslim but converted to Christianity faith ) and I was lucky to escaped detention from iran in 1997 and go to turkey, once there I seek refuge at UNHCR, after 7 month waiting, my case was refused and I appealed but the turkish police arrested me once I went to sign ( as we had to sign once a week) and took me to iranian border, and handed me to iranian authorities, They took me to a place called white building I was beaten and asked to fill in forms explaining the reason of applying for asylum at UNHCR then transferred me to tabriz then to tehran and once in tehran I was blind folded and token to a place which later I found that the place is called hefazat etelat 59, I was kept there for nearly 6 month, they tortured me both physically ( beating me and leaving me like a minced meat, pulling out one of my nail and mentally, playing quran 24-7, forcing me to pray by banging my head to the floor, washing me with a freezing water with just hose pipe. you might not get me unless you put your self in my shoes and feel the pain. My father managed to find out where I was and bribe them through connections to let me free. Once out I was a different person, I couldn't talk, scared, and suspect any one with beard, I felt like some one was watching me all the time.
I found that Iran is not safe for me anymore; I would be killed by a narrow minded basiji or plain cloth hesbollah. Basiji or hesbollah are fanatic muslims, narrow minded and would do anything to protect their belief, they do what ever the quran says, ( check out sorreh Tobeh around verse 8 to 9, says killing any one that is not muslim is halal) So I escaped from iran and aimed for a safer country and ended up in uk. I entered UK with lorry and once in the uk I used the forged documents that was given by the smuggler to live like normal people and taste the freedom. I did not apply for asylum for 3 years because of my bad experience through UNHCR, I was scared to be deported back to Iran, but after 3 years I got tiered of living with some one else’s identity and hide the real me behind curtains. So I went to police and told them that I’ve been in the UK for three years and did not apply for asylum and was living with forged document, that was then I was interviewed with an immigration officer and applied for asylum, then they through me out on the streets with nothing, reason was section 55 not supporting asylums that apply after 5 days of their arrival, I had no where to go, I was so ashamed to go to friends and that night sudden flash back hit me once I was in London bridge and I thought this is it, its end of the line just jump in Thames river and finish the story, but because of my faith to Jesus Chris I survived to fight back the thought and walk on, that’s where I became homeless and living on the streets for 3 month, mainly Victoria street, eating breakfast at the passage, relying on night hand outs, and sleeping rough on the streets, I saw many Iranians the same my situation, some selling big issues and sharing their money with others to survive, anyway my asylum case was refused, reason of refusal, 1- not applying for asylum once arrived in the UK, 2- Christians are safe in Iran and have no problem in practicing their faith. 3- Using forged documents to live in the UK. After 3 months sleeping rough an Iranian lady in refugee council in Brixton managed to find me a temporary place to live. After 1 month in the temporary place I was kicked out as the place had to close down, but this time I wasn’t on the street because I worked black in a pizza shop doing flyers and earning money, with the money saved I bought another forged document and found a proper job and rented a flat for my self, my solicitor appealed on my behalf and home office said they never received an appeal and terminated my case, my solicitor ignored my phone calls and letters and that was it really. Till today after 4 more years I’m still in the UK living in London with forged document but my situation is different now, I have a wife and 2 sons both British citizens but me no Identity yet, recently saw couple of advisors, one from refugee council and one private and guess what , they told me to go back to Iran and apply for visa clearance through marriage, I wrote to UNHCR in turkey again but no reply or anything, I wrote to amnesty international, but no response, I wrote to UNHCR in Swiss and the same again no reply. Do these people understand my situation? NO, have they been tortured before? NO, do they know the meaning of sleeping rough? NO, Can they handle mental pressure? NO. Do they care? NO. Living in the UK with my situation is like being mentally tortured continuously. At the end of the day I’m taking this risk to go back to Iran, the reason is just because of my sons, being a dad is different, I can’t tell my sons that I don’t have enough money to buy them the very basic thing that a kid wants, for their future I’ll take this risk, if I could make it back, I’ll work hard to support them If not then at least I’ve tried my last chance.

Anonymous said...

If I was in a Country that was so surpressive of human rights, strict, abusive and of course my life being in freedom, I too would be desparate to escape to where I heard or was told is the best place. Isn't it natural to want to escape for your life anyway? If you hear that Britain is fantastic, why would you not try to come here? Why not Britain anyway?

If people are fleeing from their own countries for whatever reason, what chance will the UK have to help Asylum Seekers gain freedom in their own country? Are they trying to help them anyway?

I'm British and lived in the UK all my life and I enjoy living here...but just imagine if it all changed, the shoe is now on the other foot so to speak. Just imagine trying to flee Britain and to go where you hear the grass is so much better and with a fantastic government that will give you freedom to grow!!

All the support to you Maryam and all Iranian 'People' Asylum Seekers.