Thursday, 27 December 2018

A Symbol of Global Repression

by Les May

THE title of this piece is that used by the ‘i’ newspaper to preface two extracts, one from The Times and the other from the Daily TelegraphBoth relate to the case of Asia Bibi the Pakistani Christian woman who was held on death row for eight years accused of blasphemy before finally being acquitted by the Pakistan Supreme Court.   The acquittal resulted in mobs taking to the streets demanding that she be hanged.  The rioting mobs were only placated when the president of Pakistan Imran Khan said that her acquittal would be ‘reviewed’Since then she has been in hiding and her defence lawyer has fled to the Netherlands of fear of his life.

A report in The Telegraph quoted Jeremy Hunt the Foreign Secretary as saying:  ‘So often, the persecution of Christians is a telling early warning sign of the persecution of every minority. But I am not convinced that our response to the threats facing this group has always matched the scale of the problem’.

A Times editorial said ‘Asia Bibi’s case symbolises the fate of persecuted Christians around the world. It is welcome that the Foreign Secretary has clarified the Government’s stance whilst acknowledging the UK’s failings with regard to safeguarding Christian’s overseas.’

What is both surprising and disappointing is that it has been left to a Tory cabinet minister and two Tory supporting papers to take up the Asia Bibi case. The normally very vocal so called ‘liberal left’ with its obsession with identity politics has ignored her plight.  I am also aware that some time ago one of the Northern Voices editors contacted Jeremy Corbyn’s office for a response to the Asia Bibi case.  A reply is still awaited.

As I have mentioned before I have no axe to grind on this as I am an atheist.   But I cannot help noticing that all too often, because some Christians express views about homosexuality and abortion that some people do not like, Christians are seen only as persecutors of others and never as victims of persecution.

So far as I am concerned Christians are free to believe that they know what God thinks about homosexuality or abortion and to tell the rest of us if they are minded to do so.  I am free to ignore them. It’s called tolerance and stems from the belief that freedom of speech is having the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.

Given that Asia Bibi is in fear of her life, yet her plight is ignored by the so called ‘liberal left’, puts into perspective the constant whingeing from assorted self interest groups about trivial incidents which they claim are ‘offensive’. A stray hand on someone’s knee or calling someone with full set of wedding tackle ‘he’ when they claim to be ‘she’, doesn’t really compare with having mobs on the street determined to hang you from the nearest lamp post.

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