This article first appeared in New English Review.
As I write this piece, there are two dramas playing out in Pakistan and Thailand. Both involve two young women, one a Pakistani Christian, the other a Saudi woman of 18 who has fled her family and renounced Islam. At this point, their fates are yet to be decided as Western nations debate offering them asylum.
Asia Bibi was arrested in Pakistan and accused of blasphemy against Islam and the Prophet Mohammad. Blasphemy against Islam is a capital offense in Pakistan-as it is in Islamic law. Sentenced to death, she languished in prison for several years until her conviction was recently overturned by the Pakistani Supreme Court. She is now in hiding, living under security at an undisclosed location until a country can be found to give her asylum. All the while, mobs roam door to door in an effort to find and lynch her. Great Britain, a country that never ceases to prostrate itself to radical Islamic forces, has already refused. Further complicating her situation is that the Pakistani government has now ruled that it will not let her leave the country until the prosecutor's appeals are fully resolved.
Then this week, an 18-year-old Saudi girl named Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun, fled her family residing in Kuwait and wound up at Bangkok Airport with an Australian visa. It appeared initially that she was going to be put on a flight back home until the Thais turned the matter over to the UN refugee officials. They have now determined that she is a legitimate refugee. At this writing, she is still in Bangkok and awaiting a decision by the Australians.
Any sensible observer would immediately conclude that by any humanitarian measure, both of these women should already be relocated to a country where they can live in freedom and security from vengeful Islamic law. But consider that another Saudi woman, Dina Ali Lasloom 24, who was trying to flee a forced marriage, was forcefully put on a plane back home from Manila where she was seeking asylum in 2017. Her fate remains unknown.
These cases deserve the widest possible publicity for several reasons beyond even human decency and considerations of human rights. The world needs to confront the basic severity of Islamic law as practiced by countries like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. The death penalty for apostates is affirmed by every leading school of Islamic thought and is enforced throughout Islamic societies either by national courts, tribal councils, or the families involved. It stands in stark contrast not only to our laws in the West, but also against basic principles of human rights. Laws against apostasy and blasphemy have no place in the West or any other civilized society.
Hopefully, Alquhun will be on the next flight from Thailand to Australia. If the Pakistani government insists on keeping Bibi in country until her case is finally "resolved", I would hope the US government and others will inform the Pakistanis that good diplomatic relations and foreign aid will hinge on justice for Asia Bibi.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia stand in shame before the world. If the West doesn't step up and provide refuge for Asia Bibi and Rahaf Mohammed Alquhun, we will stand in shame as well. Our governments and other "human rights" organizations bend over backwards to grant refuge and asylum to hundreds of thousands of people migrating around the world who should not qualify for refugee status. Many of these so-called refugees are Muslims. That we would turn our backs on Bibi and Alquhun would be a disgrace and would signal that we are submitting to Islam. After all, Islam in Arabic means "submission".
The time has come for the US and the West to re-evaluate their relationships with these two countries that still live in the Middle Ages. As for Britain, over history, enemies from Napoleon to Hitler have reportedly called them "a nation of shop keepers". If so, they proved both wrong, but the phrase sure fits now. Winston Churchill must be spinning in his grave.