Pakistan must end Aasia Bibi’s ordeal

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Aasia Bibi, a mother of five accused of blasphemy, will have her last chance of a court appeal hearing on the 22nd July 2015. The poor Christian mother was implicated in Pakistan’s draconian blasphemy laws after she had an argument with her Muslim co-workers in June, 2009. 

Global Minorities Alliance (GMA), a Glasgow based organisation which fights for persecuted minorities, is calling on Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, to ensure a safe passage and rule of law to the poor mother. She has been on the verge of death due to medical conditions.

Imprisoned mother and wife Aasia Bibi has been languishing in prison since 2009 in solitary confinement which has had a considerable effect on her health.  She is reported to have internal bleeding and is ‘spewing blood’ due to poor health conditions.  In Pakistan, those accused of blasphemy are often poisoned, beaten and sometimes killed by fellow inmates or even by radicalised policemen who feel its their ‘obligation’ to kill those accused of blasphemy.

It is also believed that a bounty has been placed on her head by radical Muslims who believe that Aasia Bibi should be killed even if she is released by the court. The price on Bibi’s head, even though it may be as low as £60, poses an additional threat to her and her family. 

 In a message of support and solidarity, Fareed Ahmad, National Secretary of External Affairs of Ahmadiyya Muslim community UK told Global Minorities Alliance: 

“It is deeply distressing that Aasia Bibi has been on death row in Pakistan for nearly 6 years due to charges of blasphemy. The founder of Pakistan Mohammad Ali Jinnah was a passionate advocate for freedom of religion and it is shocking to see how far the country has moved away from such noble principles.”

Commenting on the blasphemy laws, which are instruments of persecution for all minorities, Mr Ahmad said:

 “The blasphemy laws are a blot on Pakistan’s landscape and are simply used to settle personal disputes. The blasphemy laws have no basis in Islam and should be repealed. Islam promotes freedom in matters of faith and we pray that Aasia Bibi is granted clemency and released. We also pray that all Christians in Pakistan are granted full freedom to practise their faith and live in complete peace.”

 Manassi Bernard, Global Minorities Alliance Chief Executive, said:

“It is appalling how drinking a glass of water and the argument which ensued could result in solitary confinement for six years with death threats from within the prisons and from the outside world. Aasia Bibi has become an embodiment of persecution and oppression and she should be given safe passage and rule of law.”

“Aasia bibi is an embodiment of determination, faith and courage in the face of persecution. We urge Pakistan’s government to end the misery and persecution of this poor mother, Aasia Bibi, and ensure a safe passage to security so that she can re-start her life with her family without fear and death threats.”

See Global Minorities Alliance full song in support and solidarity with Aasia Bibi written, composed and sung by GMA’s members https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kHtmsPgGik

Free Aasia Bibi Song
Members of Global Minorities Alliance wrote, composed and sang this song in support and solidarity of poor mother of five on death row in Pakistan over blasp…

2015: a new hope for peace

GMA

By GMA

So 2014 is coming to an end. What have we learnt this year?

We’ve learnt a number of words – ISIS, Yazidis, Boko Haram, #bringbackourgirls (and most recently #sydneysiege #PeshawarAttack) that fill us with sadness and fear.

We’ve learnt that the world is not always the place of safety that we would like it to be for everyone and anyone, regardless of race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, sexuality, gender or background.

We’ve learnt that there seems to be an unlimited amount of war that can be fought in the name of hatred, an unlimited depth for people to sink to (the last two weeks have proved this to us through the Peshawar school attack), and a seemingly unlimited amount of persecution in the world.

And yet with 2015 comes a new dawn; a new year and a new start, with new things to learn. Because although the world in 2014 has seemed so cruel, the goodness of people still shines through.

For example, to combat Islamophobia in the wake of the Sydney cafe siege, the hashtag #IllRideWithYou showed solidarity with Australian Muslims in the hope that they would feel safe and not fear retribution for the actions of one man.

To show the Taliban that they cannot halt the march of female empowerment, Malala Yousafzai continued calling for worldwide access to education, culminating in her co-winning the Nobel Peace Prize this year.

And, finally, in GMA’s native Scotland, equal marriage became legal on 16 December 2014, meaning a gay person now has the same right to marry the one they love as a heterosexual person does. In a world where gay communities are sometimes punished by death, this is a massive step along the path towards global equality.

As these small victories show, there is always goodness to counterbalance the depths of despair. And with this, there is always hope that 2015 will be a more peaceful, a more equal, and a more just year, leading to a better world for us all.

And, to help make sure that happens, Global Minorities Alliance will be there every step of the way to help make sure minority communities have a voice and persecution is challenged, wherever it presents.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Decades long persecution of Kurds – An Overview

kurdistanBy Aso Fotoohi

  Kurdistan refers to a geographical area in Middle-East of which the residents are predominantly Kurdish people. The land of Kurdistan- has been divided between four countries Iran, Turkey, Iraq and Syria.

In Iran, the majority of the population are Persian, In Iraq and Syria Arab, and in Turkey Turks. This makes Kurdish people fall into the category of ethnic minorities in all these countries. As an ethnic minority, Kurdish people have been completely marginalised and excluded from any sort of social and political power. Furthermore, for centuries, the central governments of Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria have put a great effort to ethnically cleanse out Kurdish people. Not only the central governments, but also the other socio-political dominant powers within these countries have been institutionally discriminated Kurds.

All the social and cultural institutions and powers including education, media, military and political forces have been recruited to ethnically cleanse Kurdish people in Middle-East. Let us not forget that we are talking about a population of 40 million Kurdish people which is a fact that makes it more and more difficult for the oppressors to deny their human rights as an ethnic minority. However, during the history of Middle-East, the central governments have shown no hesitation in using all sorts of actions, although against the very fundamental principles of human rights, to oppress and marginalise Kurdish people. These include military attacks on unarmed people and massively executing innocent people in different historical periods. To name a few, the Anfal campaign which was led by Saddam Hussein in Iraq was particularly aimed to cleanse out Kurdish ethnicity. The Anfal campaign began in 1986 and lasted until 1989; it included the use of ground offensives, aerial bombing systematic destruction of settlement mass deportation, firing squads and chemical warfare  which earned al-Majid the nickname of “Chemical Ali”. Thousands of civilians were killed during the anti-insurgent campaigns stretching from the spring of 1987 through the fall of 1988. The attacks were part of a long-standing campaign that destroyed approximately 4,500 Kurdish and at least 31 Assyrian villages in areas of northern Iraq and displaced at least a million of the country’s estimated 3.5 million Kurdish population.

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