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BHA member in deportation and death penalty threat

Some personally identifiable information has been removed from this article by request. – December 2009

Hussain, a BHA member and activist of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain was detained on 10 September and is facing imminent deportation to Afghanistan where he will face the death penalty for ‘apostasy’.

As part of his principled secular stance, Hussain has publicly renounced Islam, a renunciation punishable by death under Sharia law. Hussain believes that everyone has the simple right to leave a religion.

Previously Hussain has said:

I was not born to be a Muslim and be afraid of God and more importantly I did not sign an agreement with him/her/it to worship him. As a child, religion has been forced upon me. I have been forced to pray, fast, etc… In Afghanistan where I was living, questioning the existence of god or religion is deemed blasphemy and punishable by stoning to death. Now in the UK I have the opportunity and courage to declare who I am. I am a free man without any extra bondage on me.

Hussain was detained after being summoned to the Gillingham police station in Kent on September 10. Discussing his situation with members of the Council of Ex-Muslims on his way to the police station, Hussain said: “If I went back to Afghanistan myself, I would call it a suicide; if I am sent back to Afghanistan, I would see it as an execution.” [Video removed]

Despite having a pending fresh claim that was likely not have been reviewed until 2011 and despite the fact that the police informed CEMB members who accompanied him that he would be released shortly, Hussain was issued a Home Office refusal letter that very afternoon and told he would be deported to Afghanistan in a couple of days. The authorities initially tried to force him to sign his removal order and refused him any calls until he persisted.

Ironically, only a few days earlier, Hussain had celebrated the release of Perwiz Kambakhsh. Perwiz Kambakhsh is a young Afghan who was initially given the death penalty and later 20 years imprisonment for downloading information on the status of women under Islam from the internet. Only after an international campaign was he pardoned; Kambakhsh nonetheless still had to be sent out of Afghanistan for his own safety. Hussain called for the release of Perwiz Kambakhsh on a number of occasions including when carrying out an act of solidarity with the resisting people of Iran against the Islamic regime on September 1.

Hussain’s removal to Afghanistan would create yet another ‘Perwiz Kambakhsh’ with far worse consequences because of the severity of his ‘crime.’

Speaking for the BHA Andrew Copson said today, “Freedom of speech and belief is a core British value. It is not shared by all countries but it certainly is shared by Hussain, who sings the praises of the free and open British society. He is a thoughtful, conscientious man who has acted on principle and spoken up for others; the Home Office could very well be sending him to his death. Whatever principles the Home Office has based this decision on, they cannot trump the principles of the freedom of speech and belief which Hussain has championed.”

Hussain’s deportation is imminent. You can act by calling or emailing the Minister of Immigration or Hussain’s MP, whose details follow below.

 

Mr Phil Woolas, Minister of State (Borders and Immigration):
Telephone: 020 7035 4848
E-mail: woolasp@parliament.uk
2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF
Fax: 020 7035 4745
Commons and constituency details for Mr Phil Woolas:
House of Commons Phone number: 020 7219 1149
House of Commons Fax number: 020 7219 0992

Husain’s MP Robert Marshall-Andrews, Medway Constituency:

Update 16 September: We have removed Robert Marshall-Andrews MP’s contact details at the request of his PA, who has been inundated with your messages. We are informed that Mr Marshall-Andrews is “on side”.

 

 Notes

For more information or comment from the Council of Ex-Muslims please contact Maryam Namazie, 07719166731 or email exmuslimcouncil@gmail.com.

For further comment or information from the BHA contact Andrew Copson on 07534 248 596.

The British Humanist Association is the national charity representing and supporting the interests of ethically concerned, non-religious people in the UK. It is the largest organisation in the UK campaigning for an end to religious privilege and to discrimination based on religion or belief, and for a secular state.

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