8 years locked away without freedom, 8 Years apart from her home, husband and 5 small children: the case of Asia Bibi has been a terrible one.
My Islam teaches mercy and compassion, it was born as a faith which struggled to attain religious freedom, and so teaches us to stand up for minorities and protect innocent people from hateful injustice: the threats made to Asia Bibi in Pakistan go completely against those values and against the rule of law. The words of Pakistan’s founding father Muhammad Ali Jinnah ‘everyone (regardless of faith) will enjoy the same rights and privileges as any other citizen’ are poignant at this time.
As Asia and her family are unsafe in their home, Britain should offer to provide safety and security for them here. Our country is one that stands for religious liberty and freedom of expression. Those are important values in Britain - especially valued by Muslims and other minority faiths here, as well as by Christians.
I hope the Home Secretary will be clear that Britain is ready to offer sanctuary - the vast majority of those of every faith will think it the right thing to do. Muslims are speaking up, alongside those of many faiths and none, because these are values which should unite all faiths, not divide us.
The idea that granting asylum to Asia Bibi would damage community relations is unfounded. On the contrary, the case offers a chance to show how we can work together for our common values and respect for free speech. If anything could damage community relations, it would be letting this wrong-headed idea take hold that we should let fear of extremists dictate our policies.
- Rabiha Hannan, co-founder of New Horizons in British Islam