July 20th, 2009

Misbah Azam

A man makes a bid for freedom. It could be a woman, but in this case it happens to be a man. He grew up a Muslim and thinks his life would be better if he became a Christian. It is a move that could get him killed-  just as it used to get you killed if you wanted to cross from East Germany to West Germany- or as it still does if you try to cross from North Korea to South Korea.

He didn't really know what he was doing, or how to go about it. He is young, naive, charming, absurdly cheerful. He went to his local church- and made a few contacts. He told them how much he loved being there. Then a member of his own community found out what he was doing.

Is his life really in danger? Oh yes.  When asked if he knew the risks he was running he would grin hugely and say, "I don't care".

There are still people out there who think freedom is worth dying for.

He applied for asylum- and at that point more or less disappeared into the system. The System was embarrassed.   He wants freedom? How very inconvenient of him.  His application was "fast-tracked"- which is a sparky, little governmental phrase for a shoddy and illiberal process- and turned down.  The intention is to send him back to the country he came from-  a country where changing your religion can get you your throat cut in double-quick time. 

I am horrified such things can happen in England. 

Horrified and ashamed.

I am sure there are thousands of people in similar circumstances, people the System is embarrassed by and would like to see the back of.  I just happen to have met one of them. His name is Misbah Azam.