Grant asylum in the UK to humanist Hamza bin Walayat

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Pakistani Hamza bin Walayat has been denied asylum in Britain after living here since 2011, because the Home Office do not believe that he will face persecution in Pakistan, following his rejection of the Islamic faith in favour of secular humanism.

Walayat has received death threats from family in Pakistan who view his apostasy as a crime and who do not approve of his adoption of secular British attitudes and his relationship with a non-Muslim. Yet blasphemy is punishable by death in Pakistan - only last August British MPs wrote to the Pakistani Government to try to persuade them to repeal the blasphemy law which has been used to discriminate against minority religions and nonbelievers like Walayat.

While the Home Office often recognises the persecution of religious minorities as a reason to grant asylum, it does not appear to grant those same rights to nonbelievers. Yet the Freedom of Thought Report ( identifies 85 countries, including Pakistan, who routinely and severely discriminate against the non-religious.

That Hamza bin Walayat has been turned down because he could not identify ancient Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle is nothing short of absurd. That the Home Office have conflated a lack of knowledge of ancient history with a rejection of religious beliefs in favour of secular humanist philosophies is utterly unjust.

We ask the Home Office and Amber Rudd MP, Secretary of State for the Home Department to reverse their decision and grant Hamza bin Walayat asylum in the UK and that the Home Office revises its policies to recognise the responsibility it has to protect nonbelievers around the world from persecution at the hands of the religious, just as it would protect those facing discrimination for their faith.

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