Asia Bibi’s request for asylum was indeed rejected by Britain

As I reported in the last few weeks (see here, here, and here), the case of Asia Bibi (real name Aasiya Noreen), the Pakistani Christian woman convicted of blasphemy and then freed, has taken some distressing turns. After spending eight years in solitary confinement for an accusation of blasphemy that proved to be false (blasphemy is a capital crime in her benighted land), Noreen was set free by Pakistan’s Supreme Court. While she was in prison, two Pakistani politicians were assassinated simply for supporting her, and the Supreme Court judges have been threatened similarly.

(From the Spectator) Asia Bibi at a jail in Sheikhupura, located in Pakistan’s Punjab Province, November 20, 2010. (Reuters/Asad Karim/File Photo)

In the meantime, Noreen hasn’t been allowed to leave the country, and has gone into hiding. Distressingly, the Supreme Court is keeping her in Pakistan because they are weighing an appeal from Pakistan’s odious Tehreek-e-Labaaik party, a party dedicated solely to punishing blasphemy and establishing sharia law. But if the Court deemed the charges against Bibi insupportable, there’s no reason to force her to stay in Pakistan. Bibi’s lawyer has fled to the Netherlands, and her husband has pleaded to Canada, Italy, the US, the UK, and the Netherlands to grant her asylum. Here’s a short video showing Noreen’s husband:

As I reported on November 10, there was a report that the UK had refused asylum to Noreen because of the potential unrest it would cause:

Wilson Chowdhry, chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said two countries had made firm offers of asylum, but Britain was not one of them.

“I’ve been lead to believe that the UK government had concerns that her moving to the UK would cause security concerns and unrest among certain sections of the community and would also be a security threat to British embassies abroad which might be targeted by Islamist terrorists.

Several readers, exercising better diligence than I, deemed Cowdhry and the British Pakistani Christian Association shady, and doubted that Britain really would reject such a request for asylum. But now, after a report in Quillette from Hardeep Singh, a Sikh journalist, it seems more likely that my report was true—that the UK did refuse asylum for Noreen. Read the article below (click on screenshot):

In this piece we get two corroborating pieces of evidence that the British government acted reprehensibly by refusing Bibi asylum. First, we have an email to Cowdhry from a government official confirming the report.

Chowdhry has received threats for lobbying for Bibi’s safe passage to the West. He has been accused by hard-line Muslims of making up accounts about the British government’s decision not to grant Bibi asylum, despite having an email from an All Party Parliamentary Group secretary confirming the position.

If you don’t believe Chowdhry, ask to see the email.

Second, we have this letter to Teresa May from May’s now-resigned PM Trade Envoy to Pakistan, which contains a bit about Noreen’s fate:

The relevant bit:

This states clearly that the government is failing to offer help to Noreen. Indeed, if the initial reports were wrong, why hasn’t Britain announced they would give her asylum? The Australian Home minister has said as much, adding that “Britain initially suggested it would offer Bibi asylum but then pulled out, reported for fear of unrest from Muslims in the UK and of threats to diplomats in Pakistan.”

Finally, we have this report from the Guardian:

Tom Tugendhat, the foreign affairs select committee chair, asked the Foreign Office permanent secretary, Sir Simon McDonald, whether the episode “does not raise the question that either staff should be withdrawn or security increased or otherwise UK policy is effectively dictated to by a mob?”.

Tugendhat took the committee into lengthy private session after McDonald said he did not wish to give evidence in public on a such a sensitive issue

McDonald defended Britain’s efforts to find a third country to take Bibi, saying this would allow UK policy objectives to be achieved without any risk to its staff.

That’s just disgusting.

I hope Noreen is allowed to leave the country, for if ever a person deserved asylum as protection against persecution, it is she. And if some country other than Britain gives her asylum, that’s wonderful, but it’s a blot on the British government. That government has been whitewashing Islamist misdeeds for a long time, and it’s time for a supposedly democratic society to step up and act on its principles.

Speaking of “democratic societies”, why hasn’t the U.S. offered her asylum?

h/t: cesar


  1. Andrew
    Posted November 24, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Britain won’t offer her asylum because they are afraid of Islamic reaction? Doesn’t sound like a “phobia” to me.

  2. Posted November 24, 2018 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Islam’s pathological obsession with purity, blasphemy and sexual repression makes it incompatible with Western society.

    • Posted November 24, 2018 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      How about substituting the word ‘civilised’ for the poorly suited ‘Western’? That form of Islam is not suited to civilised life in Pakistan either.

      • ploubere
        Posted November 24, 2018 at 1:09 pm | Permalink


      • Posted November 24, 2018 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

        I will clarify by restating it as “Western/Enlightenment”.

        Pakistan is an Islamic state, its laws vetted by a sharia council, and has some of the most onerous blasphemy statutes in the world. It may be ‘civilized’ in that it has paved roads, electricity, and running water, but otherwise Pakistan is a most barbarous nation.

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted November 24, 2018 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    We have a perfectly good excuse here in Trump Land. She isn’t from Finland.

    • mikeyc
      Posted November 24, 2018 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      Ok, now THAT was funny.

    • Blue
      Posted November 24, 2018 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      Oooo, Randall, precisely stated.

      ” It is that cruelty, &
      the delight it brings them, that
      binds his most ardent supporters to him,
      in shared scorn for those they hate and fear:
      … … immigrants, black voters, feminists. ” from

      IT IS THUS! May I never BE
      as miserable as his supporters.


    • Posted November 24, 2018 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      Yes, or was it Norway that we favor?

      • rickflick
        Posted November 24, 2018 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

        “…any of those countries, up there, with snow and different things…you know what I mean? They even sweep their forests. Incredible people up there on the, like near the top of the map. They sweep and clean around the trunks and stuff. They’re wonderful people.”

        • Blue
          Posted November 24, 2018 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

          O my, Mr rickflick, I had not actually heard or
          read ‘the whole’ of the Moron – in – Chief’s statement
          on same;
          so, Jebus, that is soooo not even more than junior high.

          As I ‘ad heard on the city bus a mile out from
          my destination, “like” 27 times from just one
          such idjit to her companion. I had not meant to count them all; I just, with no free will,
          and such baaaad badness, could not help myself.


          • rickflick
            Posted November 24, 2018 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

            Fabricated, of course, but not inconsistent. Imagine he’s the leader of the free world. 😥

        • Posted November 24, 2018 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

          They are undoubtedly very strong. So much forest! So little time!

          • rickflick
            Posted November 24, 2018 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

            California will find it difficult to catch up. It’s actually a larger area than Finland.

    • Posted November 24, 2018 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      But can she rake?

  4. David Evans
    Posted November 24, 2018 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    “McDonald defended Britain’s efforts to find a third country to take Bibi”

    I see possibilities here. Next time someone invites the UK to take part in an unnecessary war, perhaps we could find a third country to do so in our place.

  5. Michael Fisher
    Posted November 24, 2018 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    I was one of the main people doubting the sincerity & effectiveness of William Chowdhry in a previous post. To me he is a bullshitter of the first water & everything he claims needs to be cross checked. In essence he ‘bigs up’ the influence he has.

    Regarding the email received by William Chowdhry from an unnamed secretary of an unnamed All Party Parliamentary Group [APPG]:

    There is a public register of APPGs refreshed yearly & the current one is 1139 pages as can be seen HERE [pdf, 2018]. There are 100s of currently active APPGs & it’s important to know that:

    “APPGs are informal cross-party groups that have no official status within Parliament. They are run by and for Members of the Commons and Lords, though many choose to involve individuals and organisations from outside Parliament in their administration and activities”

    SOURCE This then appears to be the full extent of Chowdhry’s contacts within the organs of the British state – a toothless, informal APPG that doesn’t speak for government at all.

    I suppose that Chowdhry is not releasing the email, because all the above is made clear in said email.

    However the other sources do confirm that British government officials are doing all they can to do nothing or to steer the ship to a different port.

    I was hoping that the Brit Gov was having a back channel with Imran Khan & keeping very quite in the meantime [standard Brit diplomacy], but it appears I am wrong.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted November 24, 2018 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      The Spiked! interview with Chowdhry. Worth a quick read.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted November 24, 2018 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      “I suppose that Chowdhry is not releasing the email, because all the above is made clear in said email.”

      Yes, that is curious. The first time someone has had an incriminating email that didn’t find its way into the papers at the first opportunity…


      • Michael Fisher
        Posted November 24, 2018 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

        It is curious. I also suspect that neither Asia’s family [particularly the husband] nor her lawyer have ever communicated with Chowdhry nor sought his help. I can’t find any interaction [but I’m still looking]. Why is there no statement from the lawyer, now in the Netherlands that mentions Chowdhry? Why no TV opportunity with Chowdhry & lawyer on camera together from the Netherlands or London blasting the Brit Gov?

        Perhaps I’m wrong, but Chowhdry appears to have no resources he can bring to bear on this mess – it’s self promo all the way – a donation button opportunity for his tawdry shoestring operation [including his Christian/Indian dating/find-a-bride website that’s linked directly to his charity website].

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted November 24, 2018 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

        That said, I’m embarrassed (as a Pom*) and disappointed that – it seems probable – the British government hasn’t offered Bibi and her family asylum.

        (*I’m English, live in NZ)


        • Michael Fisher
          Posted November 24, 2018 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

          I had thought only Brit/Aussies were “poms” – all that NZ lamb we buy & yet you’re still a pom. When are you upgraded to Kiwi status?

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted November 26, 2018 at 5:28 am | Permalink

            When it suits me 😉

            I’ve been here 50+ years, I’m not sure if I still have a noticeable English accent. Apparently I still have traces of one, at least. I have passports for both (or I would, if I bothered to pay to renew my British passport).

            ‘Pom’ was a term used here in NZ as well as Oz.

            Over the years though, New Zealand has got more cosmopolitan and ‘Pom’ is no longer used in the mildly derogatory sense that it once had. Most commonly used now, if at all, by Poms themselves.

            When I was young, the only thing I had to watch was not to make comparisons between New Zealand things and British things – it was quite true in those days that New Zealand was technologically behind Britain in many ways, but comparisons are usually invidious.


  6. David Coxill
    Posted November 24, 2018 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    It is things like this that make me ashamed to be British ,and that is a long list .
    On the other hand ,things that make me proud to be British to could write on the back of an cream cracker.

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted November 24, 2018 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    We shall capitulate in parliament, we shall capitulate in party politics, we shall capitulate in the universities, we shall capitulate in the police departments; we shall always surrender!

    What happened to the island fortress that alone stood strong against the forces of Fascism? Never in the field of human conflict have so many done so little for such a deserving refugee.

    • Posted November 24, 2018 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      I have been wondering the same for a long time. I suspect the change is ultimately rooted in low birth rates.

    • JezGrove
      Posted November 24, 2018 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      Even more shamefully, the “island fortress” narrative overlooks the over 2 million soldiers from India (including what is now Pakistan) who served with the British armed forces in WWII.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted November 24, 2018 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, they did; I meant no slight at all to them.

      • Steve Pollard
        Posted November 24, 2018 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

        That is not true. We have commemorated the contributions and sacrifices made by South Asian servicemen in both World Wars extensively this year – maybe too late, or not enough, but it has at least been done.

        Go and see, for instance, the Chattri Memorial , on the South Downs above Brighton, which commemorates the Indian and Sikh soldiers who were hospitalised there during WW1. It is accessible only by a bridleway, but is thronged year-round by people from all backgrounds. These people are honoured and remembered.

        • David Coxill
          Posted November 25, 2018 at 7:51 am | Permalink

          But a statue of a Sikh soldier was vandalised in Birmingham around 11/11 ,some people have no respect.

    • Richard
      Posted November 24, 2018 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      Because the Left’s political correctness has run riot in this country, and no-one dares stand up any more for the old-fashioned values of honour, decency and courage.

      As regards Ken’s parody of Churchill’s ‘we shall fight on the beaches’ speech: a few months ago I saw snowflake Afua Hirsch being interviewed on Channel 4 news about her belief that Churchill’s statue should be removed from Parliament Square because he was such an evil man.

  8. GBJames
    Posted November 24, 2018 at 1:08 pm | Permalink


  9. ploubere
    Posted November 24, 2018 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    It is, indeed, mob rule. Sadly, the human race has a long history of this.

  10. demigord
    Posted November 24, 2018 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    “Speaking of “democratic societies”, why hasn’t the U.S. offered her asylum?”

    Has some random celebrity tried tweeting at Trump about it?

    • Posted November 24, 2018 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      That is a good question.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted November 24, 2018 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, where’s a Kardashian when you could use one?

      They’re like USB cables. All over the goddamn place until you actually need one.

      • yazikus
        Posted November 24, 2018 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

        Lol. I snorted tea.

      • David Evans
        Posted November 24, 2018 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

        Also when you get one it’s quite often the wrong one.

        • yazikus
          Posted November 24, 2018 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

          Or too short.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted November 24, 2018 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

            Or Ray J’s been there first or … oh, wait, you guys are talking about USB cables, aren’t ya?

            • Randall Schenck
              Posted November 24, 2018 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

              It is good you provide added background or I wouldn’t know what the hell you are talking about.

    • Posted November 24, 2018 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      Obama should tweet that she should not be given asylum. Trump’s head would explode and perhaps it would result in her being offered asylum in the US.

    • Posted November 24, 2018 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      + 1

    • Jay
      Posted November 24, 2018 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      My understanding is that it IS on the table if the other negotiations fail.

      Incidenly a ‘draw Mohammed’ contest was canceled because members of the religion of peace started stabbing innocent tourists because of it. This getting serious.

  11. Mark R.
    Posted November 24, 2018 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    The madness that is religion never ceases to disgust.

    • jay
      Posted November 25, 2018 at 6:01 am | Permalink

      What many (especially on the left) ignore is that Islam is, by the claims of it’s leaders, NOT just a religion but a revolutionary political movement obligated by their teaching to take over any are that they become numerous in. This is fundamental to the belief system and explicitly detailed in the Koran.

      Europe and UK have gone farther down this road than we have (with significantly higher populations of Muslims) and are in essentially a ‘tiger by the tail’ situation. Critical mass exists in many places in Europe. These are huge populations absolutely opposed to everything we value from the enlightenment.

      People naively argue that we can’t block a religion… but we MUST control a toxic political ideology (would the same people complain if active members of the Nazi party were denied entry?)

  12. Posted November 24, 2018 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    While I agree it is a shame for Britain, I think it wouldn’t be wise for Asia’s family to go there anyway. There are too many violent Islamists there. Not so long ago, they assassinated a modest Muslim shopkeeper just because he congratulated Easter to his Christian customers. Even if Asia were given asylum, she would have to be guarded and could not have a normal life.

    • Posted November 24, 2018 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      I doubt she would be 100% safe anywhere unless she was also placed into something similar to a witness protection program. Of course, a government could certainly do this if it wanted to so there’s really no excuse for the UK or US not to offer this person asylum. It would be the right thing to do, in my opinion.

      • Richard
        Posted November 24, 2018 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

        Yes, the UK government had no problem in creating new identities for Venables and Thompson, the brutal murderers of two-year-old James Bulger; even going as far as creating a second new identity for Venables after he was twice re-imprisoned for child pornography offences.

        It’s a pity that they do not have the backbone to do the same for someone whose offence was simply to drink from the wrong cup.

  13. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted November 24, 2018 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    “Pakistan arrests top leader of Islamist party in Lahore

    LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — The party of a radical Islamic cleric who disrupted daily life with rallies across Pakistan following the acquittal of a Christian woman in a blasphemy case says he has been arrested by police in the city of Lahore.

    In a statement, the Tehreek-e-Labbaik party said their leader, Khadim Hussain Rizvi, was arrested Friday.

    It also said police arrested scores of its supporters.

    The arrests came weeks after Rizvi’s supporters held violent rallies against the Oct. 31 acquittal of Asia Bibi by the Supreme Court.

    Bibi had been on death row since 2010 on charges of insulting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

    It angered Rizvi and his supporters who rallied for three days.

    Rizvi ended the protest after authorities said Bibi would not leave Pakistan until a petition against her acquittal was reviewed.”

  14. Frank Bath
    Posted November 24, 2018 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    As an Englishman I am deeply ashamed of our government. I didn’t think they would bottle it and they have.

  15. Steve Pollard
    Posted November 24, 2018 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    Hang on a minute. Yes, Aasiya Noreen has been treated shamefully; and yes, the Pakistani Government has behaved disgracefully; and yes, she should be offered a safe haven in another country if her own craven Government can’t protect her properly.

    But why single out the UK government for condemnation? Aasiya Noreen has no connection whatever with this country, apart from the tenuous one of being a Christian. Maybe we should stand alongside other nations in offering her asylum; but if we did so, on what possible grounds could we refuse asylum to anyone suffering persecution anywhere in the world?

    People need to get real.

    • Posted November 24, 2018 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      I thought the UK is being singled out because she requested asylum there. Is that not the case?

      • Posted November 25, 2018 at 6:24 am | Permalink

        I don’t think there is any evidence that she has requested asylum in Britain. This is all about whether the British government is prepared to say its will offer her asylum if she requests it. Personally, I would be confident that she would be accepted.

        I will not be condemning them unless she asks for asylum and is refused. All we have at the moment is the British government refusing to overtly announce she can come here because of concerns about the safety of its employees in Pakistan. I would prefer them to offer public support, but then I’m not a British diplomat in Pakistan. I think the outrage is premature.

    • Posted November 25, 2018 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      I think that Britain and Pakistan are seen as connected because of the Commonwealth.

  16. Posted November 24, 2018 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    I am hoping there is some behind the scenes actions going on that will get her out of Pakistan and give her asylum, and that it is going on quietly so that the certifiable Pakistani governmet doesn’t go bat shit crazy.

  17. zackoz
    Posted November 24, 2018 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    Hurrah for my country, showing compassion and principle where others do not. One hopes Asia Bibi can make a decent life, if she makes it here.

    But just a minute….that Home Minister quoted by PCCE is Peter Dutton, one of the most creepy, uncompassionate, unprincipled persons in the snakepit of Australian politics. He doesn’t care a dead dingo’s donger for refugees. He’s famous for mistreating boat refugees, hundreds stuck on Manus Island in PNG and on Nauru for years with no future.

    So there’s something else going on. His “Liberal” Party runs a barely disguised racist immigration policy. Dutton’s on record – in public! – expressing sympathy for “white” South African farmers, supposedly under threat from marauding gangs (a statement that baffled the South African government).

    If one was uncharitable one might suspect that Dutton’s just a tiny bit more sympathetic to anyone who identifies as Christian than to mainly Muslim refugees on Manus and Nauru. This would indeed be uncharitable, but also accurate. There’s little or no compassion involved here.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted November 24, 2018 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      Good post on that animal Dutton.

      But Peter Dutton didn’t say these words as reported above by PCC[E]:

      “Britain initially suggested it would offer Bibi asylum but then pulled out, reported for fear of unrest from Muslims in the UK and of threats to diplomats in Pakistan”

      Those are actually the words of Andrew Bolt [blogger & columnist at the Melbourne-based Herald Sun & host of The Bolt Report TV show] who is no doubt quoting William Chowdry.

      Bolt writes that Dutton told him:

      “…if the discussions with Canada fall through, we will facilitate bringing Asia Bibi to Australia”

      Dutton lost & regained his position of Minister for Home Affairs, but the 2nd time [August this year?] his duties & responsibilities for “Immigration” & “Border Protection” were stripped away from him by the new PM Morrison & given to David Coleman. Thus he’s no longer responsible for asylum decisions with respect to Asia Bibi.

      Motive for stepping over the line re Bibi [no longer his job]? In my opinion, since losing the PM race & then having powers removed, Dutton is flailing about & giving the knife to whomever. Political spite.

    • jay
      Posted November 25, 2018 at 6:14 am | Permalink

      –. Dutton’s on record – in public! – expressing sympathy for “white” South African farmers, supposedly under threat from marauding gangs (a statement that baffled the South African government).–

      Actually there were changes to the constitution to allow seizure of land from people whose ‘crime’ was being white, and this is now being put into effect (does it surprise you that the government attempts to deny it?). There are claims of killings too but the SA government keeps that under tight wraps… there is no transparency there.

      This is apartheid all over again.

  18. CAS
    Posted November 24, 2018 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    Islam, in the case of true believers is not compatible with either democracy or freedom.

    “Are certain conceptions of morality especially good at binding community together, but incompatible with modernity?” Sam Harris

  19. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted November 25, 2018 at 12:26 am | Permalink

    Moreover, the area was ruled by Britain, so her choice is not all that surprising.
    And we are singling out the UK because they refused her asylum, something we haven’t heard from other countries.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted November 25, 2018 at 12:29 am | Permalink

      That was meant as a reply to Steve and Paul at 15.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted November 26, 2018 at 5:44 am | Permalink

        As Jeremy noted at #15, nothing in the post confirms that Bibi has officially requested/been refused asylum. Britain has not spontaneously offered it.

        Anything more than that is speculation.

        (One might hope, for example, that non-public negotiations might be taking place to, say, allow the Pakistani government to expeditiously extricate themselves from their embarrassing situation by quickly and quietly shipping her off to Britain. Obviously if made public there would be worse unrest by the crazies in Pakistan. Speculation, as I said).


  20. Posted November 25, 2018 at 4:16 am | Permalink

    You can help Bibi and others like her: Center for Inquiry’s “Secular Rescue”:

    “Secular Rescue is a program of the Center for Inquiry designed to provide emergency assistance to writers, bloggers, publishers, and activists who face threats due to their beliefs or expressions regarding religion.”

  21. Mike
    Posted November 25, 2018 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    I’m not surprised at anything this odious bloody Government does

  22. Posted November 25, 2018 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    There is a Change.Org petition to grant Asia Bibi and her family asylum in the US:

    Please sign it.

  23. Jonathan Dore
    Posted November 25, 2018 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    In the era of Brexit, this is yet another badge of undying shame to hang around the neck of what currently passes for a British “government”.

  24. Diane G
    Posted November 25, 2018 at 9:26 pm | Permalink


  25. Posted November 26, 2018 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Canada is supposedly doing something, but I haven’t seen much yet. But that doesn’t remove the shame of the UK, which should be able to use all those damn security cameras and what not to help.

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