Persecuted religious minorities reveal flaws in global immigration systems
Sentenced to death by hanging for drinking water out of the “wrong” cup while on a hot workday of harvesting berries, the case of Asia Bibi has made global headlines.
This Christian woman from Pakistan spent nearly eight years on death row for making this seemingly simple mistake when her enraged coworkers observed her and reported her for her “crime.”
A mob of religious extremists came to her home, beat her and her family before police took her away. Bibi was subsequently found guilty of Pakistan’s notorious “blasphemy law”—a law that is being used to bully religious minorities and vindictively settle personal vendettas.
It is arbitrary “annoyances” like these—drinking a cup of water, declining to sell your property below the market price, or refusing to give your daughter away to an interested suitor—that can earn the chagrin of neighbours, resulting in false accusations and planted evidence, and the widespread abuse of a justice system that allows for the punishment of the innocent.
Though colossally ludicrous, the blasphemy law has had disastrous effects for all of the people of Pakistan, though religious minorities like Christians are believed to be targeted with greater frequency for reasons pertaining to discrimination on the basis of caste and religion.
The Asia Bibi case garnered great international attention, serving to raise some awareness on an issue often overlooked. Enough international pressure was put on the Pakistani government to allow for Asia Bibi’s release and (apparent) recent arrival in Toronto, Canada, where she has been accepted as a refugee.
Yet, religious persecution remains a rampant problem all over the world, and the stories of millions more are never told.
People like the Ayub family (names have been changed for security purposes), whom I have had the privilege of getting to know since their arrival in Canada in August 2018, now count themselves as one of the lucky few who managed to escape their persecutors, and successfully make a new home for themselves in Canada.
Despite their refugee status, the Ayub family was the picture of generosity and hospitality, kindly welcoming me into their home. As we sat in a circle, gingerly sipping on milk chai tea and eating pakora—a delicious “cousin” of the samosa—different members helping to translate and interjecting to ensure that no detail was left out, the Ayub family shared with me their collective story of trauma, terror, and triumph.
Mr. Ayub (a lawyer and pastor), his wife, and his adult son and daughter come from an educated family in Karachi, Pakistan, one that prospered both spiritually and intellectually, contributing to Pakistani society through at least 12 books on philosophy and religion, their promotion of education through various projects, and their general community involvement.
Yet, even when reminiscing on the “good times,” the Ayubs emphasized that discrimination was never far off. The son noted that a cousin of theirs had received the class’s highest marks at a famous medical college in Karachi—which would normally have resulted in his receiving the gold medal—however, the college told him that they were unable to bestow this greatest of honours upon him simply because he was a Christian, saying that his religious identity would reflect poorly on the school.
Prejudiced incidents like these have always been a part of the Ayub’s daily lives, but they too would come to face the brunt of the wayward Pakistani justice system.
One day, while the organization that Mr. Ayub was working for was engaged in the construction of a building project for a Christian education centre for children—a project that had already been approved—radical Islamists approached and threatened them.
This is how their years-long nightmare began. The death threats got worse and the Ayubs were forced to move residences three times, but they were always found again (through different factors, including the Pakistani national I.D. cards—containing an electronic chip, making the tracking of people easy).
On one occasion four to five men physically assaulted Mr. Ayub at night. He doesn’t share the details of that event, only saying: “God saved me.” The police were contacted over and over, but their answer was always the same: “We can’t help you; you have to have a solution for yourselves.” Sadly the extremists successfully intimidate Christians and moderate Muslims alike.
They then escaped to an undisclosed location in the Asia Pacific region where they spent the next four years inside one small room, living on sometimes less than one meal a day, suffering health problems, and only daring to venture outside on Sundays to attend church services.
Fear of capture was a daily reality as their refugee application with the UNHCR dragged on as the years went by. They knew of others who lost childhoods in detention—missing education during their formative years, contracting illnesses, even dying of disease, and others of old age.
The daughter says, “The most scary thing every day was the thought of getting caught. We were always praying that God would give us one more day.”
Thankfully, through some connections at their new churches, the Ayubs were able to connect with a small church in Langley, B.C. that financially sponsored the family under the Canadian private refugee sponsorship program (initiated by the previous Conservative government).
This community has been able to provide financial and emotional support to the family, ensuring their transition to becoming well-adjusted and productive members of Canadian society (they already have full-time jobs).
Though the scars of their horrendous experiences remain, the Ayubs are not bitter. They believe that anyone deserving of refugee status, irrespective of religion, should be admitted to Canada. But, they point out the present bias against Christians in many countries, as well as in various immigration/refugee processing systems—including at the U.N.—that have resulted in the imprisonment of legitimate refugees, as well as their deportation back to places that would bring about their certain death.
While it is difficult to track the exact numbers amidst corrupt leadership, rumours swirl that the cases of some groups are accepted close to 100% of the time, whereas Christian cases may be accepted less than 50% of the time in some instances. Corruption runs deep as some local translators hired by the U.N. are reported to have relayed false information to officials during refugee interviews, resulting in the rejection of some cases on the basis of the false information given.
It cannot be denied that the actual processing of refugee applications is systematically flawed. This is not only a problem in Canada; it also extends to various nations around the world as well as to international organizations like the United Nations.
A recent example is that of a 19-year-old Yazidi girl (who was able to claim refugee status in Germany) accidentally running into one of her ISIS captors on the street—twice—a man who had participated in holding her hostage and repeatedly beaten and raped her for years. This man had also claimed and been granted refugee status in Germany. There have also been reports of Yazidis in Canada receiving threatening messages from extremists.
Ensuring that these kinds of mistakes don’t reoccur must be seen as a priority. Educating ourselves on the particulars of religious conflicts and different kinds of bigotry that exist in various parts of the world is key to succeeding in making our immigration system that much fairer.
Many mixed messages exist—including those who deny that religious persecution exists in Pakistan at all. In response to Tarek Fatah, a Pakistani-Muslim immigrant to Canada who has widely criticized Pakistan’s government and legal system, Nadeem Haider Kiani—Press Attaché of the Embassy of Pakistan—wrote: “People belonging to all faiths including Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Sikhs and Ahmadis are living with complete freedom of worship. No one has been subjected to persecution on the basis of religion, race, or sect.”
Yet incidents of Christians being beaten, driven from their homes, and burned alive in Pakistan are not rare. Not only do attacks like these happen daily, but also the criminals are rarely held responsible. In spite of the overwhelming evidence proving this reality, persecution against minorities like Christians in Muslim countries is still ignored or even blatantly denied.
Millions of refugees are living in squalid and life-threatening situations all over the world. These men, women, and children come from all walks of life. Regardless of religion, the majority of them simply want to work hard and make a better life for themselves and their children in peace.
It is people like these whom we can thank for building up our country in the past and it is these same people who will contribute to our collective success in the future. It is our responsibility to sift through the mixed messages we are receiving, look at the evidence, and discern a just response—political correctness and bias aside.
The Ayub family said, “Please help our friends. We know so many people who are still there suffering without hope. Please bring them to Canada.” The onus is on us to do just that.
Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford was awarded the Roger Baldwin Courage Award by the ACLU on Sunday. Named for ACLU founder Roger Baldwin, the Roger Baldwin Courage Award honours those who embody his view that “so long as we have enough people in this country willing to fight for their rights, we’ll be called a democracy.” We’re not altogether sure what rights Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was fighting for when she testified about an alleged assault before the U.S. Senate, but she just got an award for doing so.
Blasey Ford, a political pawn used in the efforts to railroad Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh with false accusations, is not a courageous person but she certainly did play one on TV. Honouring a person who made a baseless accusation seems a stretch for an organization that prides itself on advocating for civil liberties, truth, and justice.
As Kavanaugh himself stated to Senators at the time, “All of the people identified by Dr. Ford as being present at the party have said they do not remember any such party ever happening. Importantly her friend Ms. Keyser has not only denied knowledge of the party. Ms. Keyser said under penalty of felony she does not know me, does not ever recall being at a party with me ever.”
But the story of Dr. Blasey Ford had as much, if not more, to do with optics than anything that actually happened in Chevy Chase, Maryland, in the summer of 1982. For the Democratic Senators, Ford’s hearing was something of a redo of Anita Hill’s testimony against Justice Clarence Thomas. It was a chance to get back what they felt they had lost.
So how is this woman, who is at best, someone who was manipulated by political actors to participate in a show trial, and at worst, a malicious false accuser, being touted as an American civil rights hero?
Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino, in their book Justice on Trial, sum up the peculiar victimhood bias that has propelled Blasey Ford to the status of resistance icon despite her clear flaws as a witness: “her credibility, if anything, was viewed as stronger because of her lapses in memory and because of the odder parts of the story, such as her description of how she came to tell her husband about the assault.”
The ACLU are basically giving Blasey Ford an award for participating in a moral panic. One complete with trauma-informed recovered memories and everything. It’s a shame. The ACLU we remember actually cared about facts, due process, and protecting individuals from a mob mentality. Now they are the mob.
The ACLU was once a respected and vital institution that fought for Americans’ constitutional rights regardless of ideology. In its esteemed history, the organization has spearheaded landmark cases before the Supreme Court.
In the 1931 case, Stromberg v. California, the ACLU successfully reversed the conviction of a communist for displaying a red flag, on the grounds that the conviction violated his first amendment rights. This was one of many cases they took to the Court to defend the rights of people to express their political views. They brought the case of the “Scottsboro Boys” to the Court to fight for the rights of African-Americans to both effective counsel and a fair trial.
The ACLU defended freedom of public assembly, the rights of religious persons, voting rights, fought against censorship, for housing rights, and against school segregation. And that just gets us from the early 20th Century to the mid-1950s. They were all about keeping the government out of the minds and hearts of individuals. But now the ACLU has clearly jumped the shark.
In recent years, their partisan perspective has become transparent. No longer the last greatest hope of people who feel their rights are in jeopardy, they are more interested in clamping down on individual liberty than elevating it. It’s the ACLU that brought the Aimee Stephens case to the Court in the 2019 term, which will require the Justices to either rule that biological sex is real or that it’s a fiction.
In 2015, they sided with the government that would require employers to provide contraceptive care even if that went against their religious beliefs. And it was the ACLU that argued that a Colorado bakery that didn’t want to make a cake for a gay wedding was discriminatory.
The last-minute intercession by House Democrats, orchestrated to thwart Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination, created a circus of pointlessness and panic in the Capitol. And the ACLU thinks that this partisan act, that Blasey Ford has admitted was inspired by her desire to not have another conservative on the bench who could vote for the overturning of Roe v. Wade, was courageous.
The new ACLU seems hell-bent on undoing its legacy of protecting the constitutional rights of Americans. Instead of protecting your speech, they are pushing compelled speech. Instead of standing up for women’s spaces, they are pushing for biological men to be let in to dominate and intimidate women.
And in the case of this newest Blasey Ford debacle, instead of celebrating individual courage, they are lifting up the cynical, underhanded political cowardice that made her a thing in the first place.
Suspected terrorist Ikar Mao has been given a peace bond after returning to Canada. Terrorism peace bonds are uncommon. According to Global, “Mao is currently the only person in Canada facing a terror peace bond application.”
While Mao was arrested only on suspicion, not any known and actual alleged activity, the bond was granted.
Mao has agreed to 19 bail conditions while living in the Guelph/Brampton, Ontario area pending a hearing on the issue.
Mao had an active account on Couchsurfing.com and managed to raise $20,000 in bail after his arrest.
He is currently wearing an ankle monitor and not permitted to contact anyone “who is involved in or supports terrorist activity as defined in the Criminal Code.”
A Teen Vogue article from October has re-surfaced online in the last couple of days.
The headline “10 Best Vibrators for Beginners: How to Pick Your First” has made jaws drop—including mine.
This is a magazine targeting teenagers. That basically means children: 13 and 14-year-olds. And let’s face it, there are probably 12-year-olds out there reading too.
The article starts off, “As young people, it’s important to learn what feels good for us and what doesn’t, and masturbation is nothing to shy away from. In fact, we should all be doing it!. .. plus, it releases endorphins that make us feel happier and less stressed.”
Not only is this article encouraging sexual activity, but the article is listed on the “Gift Guide 2019,” so now your kid can get her and her bestie $200 vibrators.
Apparently, Teen Vogue thinks kids should be using sex toys and that vibrators make great gifts for the holidays.
Encouraging teens to be sexual is sexualizing teenagers.
Even as I type I can’t help but cringe and feel weird just writing about how … well, weird it is.
Why would a teen need a list of 10 different types of vibrators?
As if she knows what she likes sexually. As if she is ready and comfortable enough to experiment sexually.
And really, I shouldn’t even be using female pronouns because Teen Vogue has an entire online section named Identity with many articles about sexual and gender identity like transgenderism and non-binarism.
This section also includes articles like, “How to Masturbate If You Have a Penis: 9 Tips and Techniques” and “Anal Sex: Safety, How to’s, Tips, and More.”
Teenagers are much more children than they are adults. Let children be children and teens be teens.
Let teens live in the awkward stage where their bodies grow and change and they start to get shy around the opposite sex.
Let teens be slightly uncomfortable in their own skin—like when you don’t know what to do with your arms when you’re just standing around.
It’s all a part of growing up. And everyone grows up in their own time, naturally.
Let teens be inexperienced and uncomfortable with their sexuality. After all, this isn’t activity we should take lightly—or should I say casually?
At some point, society stopped letting kids be kids. Progressives have forced kids to grow up so fast and bear the weight of the adult world on their small shoulders: kids like Greta Thunberg whose childhood was “stolen” from her and lives with fear and anger because adults made her believe the world will end in 12 years due to climate change, or James Younger whose mother manipulated him into thinking he was a girl and was almost pushed into making a huge, life-altering decision of transitioning.
Kids and teens shouldn’t be worried or involved in such mature and complicated issues like sex, masturbation, and sex toys.
Teen Vogue also has a Politics section which, you guessed it, is completely anti-conservative.
I remember reading magazines as a pre-teen and teenager. Whatever happened to articles about fun sleep-over ideas? Or quizzes to find out what kind of mystical forest creature you’d be?
I miss the old days when children were allowed to be children and not at risk of being coerced into a deeply politicized and sexualized world by cynical and malicious adults.
The Soviets had a term for their minions in the West who advocated for Communism and tried to tear down democratic capitalist nations:
They were “useful” in the sense of doing what the Communists wanted in pushing their message and sowing discord, and they were ‘idiots’ in the sense that they would obviously suffer if Communism had won, and wouldn’t be a part of the “new order.”
And now, the Western world is once again beset by “useful idiots.”
A recent report discussed how US activists initiated a plan in 2008 to crush the Alberta oilsands, and are apparently “claiming victory” as Canada is increasingly divided, the Alberta oil industry struggles, investment flees, projects are delayed, and the energy sector faces existential risk.
Of course, global emissions keep going up.
Because emissions in Communist China continue to surge, with China building loads of new coal plants, both within China and in other nations like Pakistan.
So, what have those foreign-funded activists accomplished?
They’re tearing apart Canada, a democratic nation which already has among the highest environmental standards, redirecting money towards ruthless states like Saudi Arabia, and giving Communist China cover for increasing their emissions as the Communist State builds up their economy, which in turn gives China the wealth to build up their military forces and impose their authoritarian will over a larger and larger section of the planet.
Great job guys…
It seems that this generation’s “useful idiots” are much more successful than the useful idiots of the past, as their effort to destabilize and weaken Western nations like Canada are actually working, while the power of the Communist State grows by the day.
And like the useful idiots used by the Soviets, those who do the bidding—even unwillingly—of Communist China will meet a similar fate if the Communists win.
Do you think China will listen to criticism of energy projects?
Do you think China will give activists any rights?
Do you think China will follow environmental regulations?
Of course not.
The fact is the world is increasingly locked in a battle of two world-views. The democratic capitalist nations vs authoritarian communist China. Anything that hurts one (like dividing Canada and crushing Alberta’s oil industry), benefits the other.
That’s why all freedom-loving Canadians must speak out against the foreign-funded activists seeking to weaken our country and must redirect attention to the true threat posed by Communist China under that country’s current leadership. We must stand up for Alberta’s energy industry, stand up for the interests of Canada, and stand against those who put everything we’ve built at risk.