CRITICIZING ISLAM CONSIDERED NATIONAL SECURITY THREAT
by Taylor Rose
WASHINGTON – As tensions continue to surge over the expansion of Shariah law both in the Middle East and in Europe, a new speech rights case has emerged in Spain where an ex-Muslim Christian convert is threatened with deportation for speaking out against Islam.
Imran Farasat, who was interviewed by WND, is a Pakistani Christian who converted from Islam in 2004, after, he said, "I realized that what I was following for 26 years of my life is not a religion but in reality is a political dictatorship which persecutes and teaches to persecute through the orders and teachings of a self-proclaimed prophet (Muhammad)."
After his conversion to Christianity, he began to speak out against Islam. He told WND, "Muslims are involved everywhere in terrorism. Christians are being persecuted in Islamic countries to the maximum level of torture and suffering and Islam is trying to invade the Western world and kill our values. Who will stop this all?"
In his legal fight, he's represented by The Legal Project, which describes itself as working "…to protect the right in the West to freely discuss Islam, radical Islam, terrorism, and terrorist funding."
It has a large, transnational clientele that "includes authors, bloggers, journals and politicians."
He adds on a more personal note that it is the tenets of his Christian faith that lead him to resist Islam.
"It is the time that the citizens of the Western world should stand up and speak the truth against something what is wrong. [The] Bible teaches us to speak the truth in any situation. And for me the truth is that Islam is a man-made religion which was created in order to govern the world. It has several contradictions in itself. It teaches killing (Jihad), hate non-Muslims, discriminate women, rule the world at any price etc…."
According to Sam Nunberg, an attorney at The Legal Project who spoke to WND on the details of the case, it was threats from the Islamic community for violating Shariah blasphemy laws that prompted the Spanish Interior Ministry to grant refugee asylum status in 2004.
While in Spain, Imran continued his activism against Islam, by calling for the Quran to be banned throughout Europe and after the attacks on the American consulate in Benghazi, releasing a film about Muhammad called "The Innocent Prophet."
Since the film's Internet debut, the Spanish Interior Ministry has revoked his asylum status and is now threatening to send him back to Pakistan on the grounds that his activism is "creating national security concern," according to Nunberg.
The fight now is in the Spanish courts.
But The Legal Project noted, "The Spanish government has revoked Imran Farasat's asylum status because he made a film. Besides denying him his right of freedom of expression, the government is now trying to facilitate his transfer to Pakistan where Imran will face certain death for blasphemy. It is downright shameful. The Legal Project plans to take every measure possible to make sure that does not happen."
Spanish government's role
"He was granted political asylum in 2004 in Spain, and it was granted specifically because his life was in danger because he criticized Islam."
Nunberg described the case to WND as a straightforward legal fight, explaining, "The Spanish government is reneging on the fact that they granted him asylum in the first place…"
However, Nunberg says that it is more fundamentally "…a violation of his right to freedom of expression to be able to speak out against Islam."
Both Nunberg and Imran suspect that there are "ideological" reasons behind the Spanish government's decision to deport Imran. Nunberg told WND the impetus behind the fight now is that the "Spanish government is afraid to lose their economic relations with the Islamic countries. That is why they want to leave a message to the Islamic world that they have taken sufficient actions against someone who criticized Muhammad."
Nunberg additionally believes the Spanish government is supporting the implementation of Shariah and appeasing Islam. When asked if this is true Nunberg replied "Sure. I would say definitely."
Imran also adds, "The Spanish government wants to set an example for all the Western countries that all the countries should do the same thing with the anti-Islamic bloggers and activists what Spain has done to me. My status has been revoked and I am on the verge to be deported, not because I have violated any Spanish law, but it is all because of the fear from the Islamic world."
He said his life is in danger if forced to return to Pakistan.
"I know if I would be sent back to Pakistan, I will be killed on arrival for the blasphemy. What I consider is the truth. Muslims consider that the blasphemy. They do not have the capacity to bear the truth. That is why they kill brutally … everyone who speaks the truth about Muhammad," he said.
Nunberg commented on the uniqueness of this case by saying that Imran "would be the first case where they [the Europeans] flat out extradite someone to an Islamic country to be killed for blasphemy."
Nunberg also believes this case is a part of a larger agenda to forward the interests of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation via the Istanbul Process and the UN Resolution 16/18. The OIC, a collection of all Islamic nations at the UN, has been pushing for the implementation of laws globally to criminalize any negative reference to Islam or Muslims.
When asked by WND if this case can set a precedent for the implementation of new speech codes against Islam in Europe, Nunberg said, "Yes that is exactly it. This is certainly a precedent."
He adds though it is not just Islamic and European nations that are pressing the agenda but the United States under President Barack Obama as well.
"This would set the precedent and Obama also set the precedent. By using the rationale that the Benghazi attack … was all caused by spontaneous combustion … by a video, it becomes the rationale that it [freedom of speech] is a crime."
Imran also fears the encroachment of Shariah will lead to hate speech laws that protect Islam, while ignoring attacks on Christianity.
"Then a day will arrive in a very near future when expressing your view on Islam will be declared a legal crime according to the Western constitutions. Anyone can criticize Jesus Christ and insult the Christianity and nothing happens. But criticizing Muhammad for his cruel acts and corrupt life doesn't fall anymore under the right of liberty of speech."
Nunberg argues that this case serves the core presuppositions of the Istanbul Process and UN Resolution 16/18 by shifting responsibility away from the perpetrator to the victim. He says it sets the legal precedent that, "They [Islamic extremists] are not responsible for the attack, but rather we are responsible for provoking the attack."
He adds that thanks to already existing European hate speech laws, it provides an already institutionalized precedent for expanding those laws to include the prohibiting of the defaming of Islam.
Nunberg suspects a darker agenda behind the Spanish government, because, "The Spanish Interior Ministry will not even say who accused him….He cannot even face his accuser."
Imran confesses that even if he is deported back to Pakistan and killed, "I will be happy to die even, if I can change the mentality of some Muslims before something happens to me. I never hated Muslims. For me they are blind. What I hate is the Islamic violent ideology which is not compatible to our Western world."
He also adds that despite his troubles, "Today I feel proud to say that I am a Christian. I have found the real God and the true message of life. I know that Christ has a special purpose for my life which is to expose the false prophets who misguide and mislead people. I want the entire Muslim world to know that truth which I have recognized."
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