According to a report in the Clarion Project by Soeren Kern, Spain is refusing asylum to a Muslim who converted to Christianity, stressing Spain’s relations with the Muslim world outweighs other considerations.
Imran Firasat Photo Credit: Youtube
Imran Firasat is an ex-Muslim from Pakistan who was compelled to flee his country due to death threats against him following his decision to leave the Islamic faith and marry a non-Muslim. He found political asylum in Spain. However, after he released the documentary ‘The Innocent Prophet: The life of Muhammed from a different point of view,” Spain is considering deporting him to a country where his life may be in danger because they have declared that his criticism of Islam is a threat to Spanish national security.
According to the Clarion Project, Gatestone senior fellow Soeren Kern reported that in December 2012, Spanish Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez issued an order to deport Firasat based on Article 44 of the Law of Asylum and Protection, which allows the country to revoke asylum to persons that “threaten Spanish national security.” The deportation order claimed that he constituted “a persistent source of problems due to his constant threats against the Quran and Islam in general.”
In 2013, Firasat appealed the deportation order, claiming that his criticism was protected as freedom of speech. The Spanish National Court did not accept his appeal. They argued: “The right to the freedom of expression can be subject to certain formalities, conditions, restrictions or sanctions, which constitute necessary measures, in a democratic society, to preserve national security, public security and the constitutional order.”
In May 2014, this viewpoint was upheld by the Spanish Supreme Court, who even took it a step further than the Spanish National Court: “The right to the freedom of expression does not guarantee the right to intolerant manifestations or expressions that infringe against religious freedom, that have the character of blasphemy or that seek to offend religious convictions and do not contribute to the public debate.”
Soeren Kern reported in the Clarion Project that the Supreme Court’s verdict was very similar to the position adopted by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, who has been calling for an international ban on “negative stereotyping of Islam.” However, it was also noted that the Supreme Court also upheld that Firasat should not be deported “to a country where there is a danger to his life and freedom.”
Due to the Supreme Court ruling, the chances that Firasat will be deported to Pakistan are slim. Given this, his opponents have changed tactics, arguing that he should be deported to Indonesia. In 2010, when Firasat had visited Indonesia with his family, he was deported over an alleged immigration violation, but after he returned to Spain, he was accused of being a fugitive. At that time, Spain refused to deport him, but following the publication of his documentary, their position appears to have changed.
According to the Clarion Project, the Spanish National Court ruled recently that they don’t know if Firasat is innocent or not, but that he should be tried because that country observes “the same level of respect for human rights and formal guarantees of public and private freedoms as those observed in Spain.” The Spanish National Court maintained this position, even though Islamic law is widely applied within Indonesia, that Firasat has virtually no chance of getting a fair trial, and that Firasat has received death threats from Indonesian Islamist groups. Furthermore, documentary evidence exists’ showing that the charges against him were fabricated by the Indonesian authorities. None of this influenced the Spanish National Court. In conclusion, the Clarion Project noted that unless he receives some media attention, his chances of appealing the decision do not appear good.