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PAKISTAN – GERMANY: Two Ahmadis at risk of being deported from Germany

Two more Ahmadis at risk of being deported from Germany to Pakistan

Request to immediately halt the deportation

IHRC/HRWF (18.08.2022) – https://hrcommittee.org – The International Human Rights Committee (IHRC) has just been informed that a deportation flight to Pakistan is planned on 6 September on 2022 and that two Ahmadis living in Germany for several years would be among the passengers.

 

Mr. Tariq Mahmood and Mr. Nadar Rehman were arrested by the German authorities a few days ago due to the rejection of their asylum applications.

 

  • Mr. Mubarak Ahmad Rahmani (DOB: 01.01.1972) came to Germany in December 2015.

 

  • Mr. Abdul Wasay Khan (DOB: 05.09.1977) came to Germany in January 2014. His asylum case was rejected several times and now his lawyer has filed an urgent application again.

 

It is well established that members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community face persecution per se in Pakistan and all recent reports indicate that this persecution is intensifying on a daily basis. Returning a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community to a country where his life and safety are at serious risk would be a clear breach of Germany’s obligations under international human rights law and the Convention against Torture (CAT).

 

This includes a prohibition on sending anyone to a place where he or she would be at risk of such abuse. The principle of non-refoulement applies to everyone including persons who are excluded from refugee protection.

 

Under such circumstances deportations by Germany are immensely concerning and we request Germany to immediately halt the deportation of these  individuals.

 

Nasim Malik, IHRC General Secretary, has asked Mr Olaf Scholz, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, to cancel the deportation of the two Ahmadis in a letter he has copied to

 

Annalena Baerbock (Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany)

Nancy Faeser (Interior Minister of Germany)

Michelle Bachelet (United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights)

Nazila Ghanea (UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief)

Photo : wallup.net

Further reading about FORB in Pakistan on HRWF website

Further reading about FORB in Germany on HRWF website





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IRAN – GERMANY: Germany denies refuge to Christian convert

Germany denies refuge to Christian convert – after family member tortured, killed for his faith

An Iranian Christian convert in Germany faces likely death for his faith as deportation looms

Court deems it “unlikely” that a person would have really converted to Christianity after family member was killed for his beliefs

ADF International (11.08.2022)- https://bit.ly/3dAYd48 – A 44-year-old Iranian cabinetmaker who converted to Christianity has been denied protection in Europe, facing likely imprisonment or death upon return to his home country. The European Court of Human Rights has dismissed his attempt to appeal the decision on the basis of his right to freedom of religion. The 44-year-old is now threatened with deportation to Iran.

“No one should be persecuted for their faith. Iran is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for Christians, and converts are particularly at risk. In the last year, religious persecution has greatly worsened. So-called “religious deviants” can be given prison sentences, national security charges are continuously used to target religious minorities. The courts in Germany must take this into account when processing asylum applications,” said Lidia Rieder, Legal Officer at ADF International.

A dangerous journey to Christianity

Hassan – whose name has been changed to protect his identity and is recorded only as “H.H” in public documents – applied for asylum in 2018.

He testified before the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees that he had learned about Christianity in Iran through his wife’s brother. His brother-in-law had been imprisoned for his activities with a house-church, and was ultimately killed for practicing his faith in jail.

“My wife’s brother had become a different person by becoming a Christian. We wanted to see if we would get this feeling when we became Christians,” H.H. told the authorities.

“I had had many problems in Iran…I had many questions, but I was not allowed to ask them. When I asked questions, I was beaten at school. This led me to want to know which God I was facing. One day my brother-in-law said to me and my wife that he had good news. There is a treasure, there is a living God, Jesus Christ, we are His children and not His slaves…He said there is a free salvation available,” he continued, reflecting on his conversion experience.

Subsequently, Hassan’s wife adopted the Christian faith and eventually the whole family converted. Once discovered, security forces then stormed their house and confiscated books, the computer, their passports and their Bible. The family fled to Turkey, and from there to Germany.

“In Germany I share the gospel, I organize prayer circles here in the accommodation. I want to be a good example, to win the others to faith in Jesus Christ. My greatest goal would be for my children to be able to find Christ in freedom, and to do good,” said Hassan.

Credibility under Question

When H.H.’s asylum application was rejected by German authorities, he appealed to the Greifswald Administrative Court. The court dismissed H.H.’s case, declaring that it was “not particularly likely” that a Muslim would decide to become a Christian after his brother-in-law had been tortured and killed and his wife abused. It was more likely that the events described, if they had actually taken place, would have a deterrent effect on third parties,” said the Administrative Court.

“There are national and international guidelines for asylum applications based on religious grounds. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), decision-makers need to be objective and not arrive at conclusions based solely upon their own experiences. General assumptions about a certain religion or country should be avoided. Unfortunately, this guidance is being used very selectively by the German decision-makers. They do not understand that maintaining a religious belief when persecuted can be appealing to others and not just a deterrent as seen from the history of Christianity,” Rieder continued.

This week, the European Court of Human Rights quickly declined to hear arguments in Hassan’s defense, leaving him vulnerable to deportation to a country where religious conversion can carry a prison penalty.

Inconsistent allocation of asylum decisions nationwide

According to OpenDoors, Iranian asylum seekers in Germany are often confronted with suspicions of feigned conversion. The situation varies greatly across the country: a comparison of the federal states shows an inconsistent picture of very low to very high rejection rates with regard to the recognition or rejection of converts by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) and the administrative courts, which suggests subjective examination procedures.

“There appears to be a tragic disregard for the application of a uniform and objective standard of examination for these kinds of dire asylum cases, in violation of international law. When decision-makers and judges decide on asylum applications according to their own criteria and without regard for the on-the-ground situation in the countries of origin, it results in severe personal suffering. H.H.’s case is a very worrying example of this,” said Lidia Rieder.

Situation of Christians in Iran worsens

Iran is ranked 9th on the World Watch List, a ranking of countries with the worst persecution of Christians worldwide. The extent of persecution is “extreme”.

In 2021, Iran passed amendments providing for prison sentences for “insulting Islam” and “deviant activities”. Last year, several Christians were arrested on this basis, charged and sentenced to five years in prison each. According to a report by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, the persecution of converts to Christianity is particularly bad.

“Every person must be able to freely choose their faith. Iran systematically fails to protect its citizens’ right to religious freedom. Iranian law must be amended to be brought into accordance with international human rights law, which protects the right of every individual to choose and freely practice their faith. Until this happens, countries like Germany have a responsibility to help to protect vulnerable religious minorities when they have an opportunity to do so. Ignoring that responsibility can have fatal consequences.” said Kelsey Zorzi, Director of Global Religious Freedom at ADF International.

Photo: Federal Office for Migration and Refugees

Further reading about FORB in Iran on HRWF website

Further reading about FORB in Germany on HRWF website





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IRAN – GERMANY: Iranian Christian converts struggle to get asylum in Germany

Iranian Christian converts struggle to get asylum in Germany

Human rights activists and pastors denounce that “the recognition rate of asylum applications has dropped from close to 100% to close to single digits”.

Evangelical Focus (05.08.2022) – https://bit.ly/3dvMhk7According to human rights activists, asylum applications by Iranians who have converted to Christianity have less and less chance of success in Germany. 

 

Human rights violations on religious grounds are an everyday reality in the country“, said Martin Lessenthin, board spokesman of the International Society for Human Rights (IGFM), in a press conference about the situation of Christian converts from Iran in Germany.

 

At the IGFM’s press conference, pastor Gottfried Martens called the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) “a political authority that is not concerned with the individual case of an asylum application“.

 

According to Martens, “the recognition rate of asylum applications from Christian converts has dropped from close to 100% a few years ago to now a figure close to single digits”.

 

He pointed out that politicians show a “certain indifference” and “shrug their shoulders” when Christians from Iran are deported because of their faith.

Administrative courts

Martens stressed that the asylum seekers “have no choice but to go to the administrative courts”. The trials he has experienced with converts from Iran and Afghanistan of his church, “are often a pure game of chance. I wonder how that could be reconciled with the rule of law”.

 

“In many cases these administrative judges presume to be experts in matters of faith in such a way that one is simply stunned. They would sometimes openly say that they knew better about the seriousness of a conversion than a pastor”, he added.

 

For the pastor, “the hearings are less about the seriousness of the conversion and much more about the personal attitude of the judge”.

Churches support

Lessenthin also called on “to the churches, especially the big churches in Germany,to stand up for the interests of their brothers and sisters in faith”.

“This is where the church leadership would have to position itself more clearly” , concluded the IGFM spokesman.

 

Photo: Berlin, Germany. / Photo: Florian Wehde, Unsplash, CC0

Further reading about FORB in Iran on HRWF website

Further reading about FORB in Germany on HRWF website





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GERMANY: German intel: Known antisemitism cases ‘tip of the iceberg’

German intel: Known antisemitism cases ‘tip of the iceberg’

AP News (20.04.2022) – https://bit.ly/3Kizqw3 – Germany’s domestic intelligence agency said Wednesday that antisemitic offenses are continuing to rise and those that come to light are only “the tip of the iceberg.”

The head of the BfV agency, Thomas Haldenwang, said it is alarming that antisemitic narratives are sometimes embraced by people in “the middle of German society,” serving as a link between social discourse and extremist ideologies.

He said his agency has seen that increasingly in protests against coronavirus restrictions or over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and, in a few cases, in connection with Russia’s war in Ukraine. The internet serves as “fertile ground” for antisemitism, he added.

A report from the BfV, its second on the subject, said that 2,351 antisemitic offenses, including 57 acts of violence, were reported in 2020 — compared with 2,032 and 73 respectively the previous year. The overall figure for offenses has risen steadily since 2015, and the 2020 figure was the highest since counting started in 2001.

Haldenwang said in a statement that “this is only the tip of the iceberg.” He said the number of incidents that for various reasons don’t lead to a criminal complaint is believed to be “significantly larger.”

The government’s antisemitism commissioner, Felix Klein, told the Welt newspaper that “the pandemic acted like a fire accelerant for antisemitism, also in that it linked together many environments that previously stood for themselves.”

Photo :Hundreds of people keep a vigil at the synagogue in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, Friday, May 14, 2021. Germany’s domestic intelligence agency said Wednesday that antisemitic crimes are continuing to rise and those that come to light are only “the tip of the iceberg.”(AP Photo/Martin Meissner,file)

Further reading about FORB in Germany on HRWF website





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GERMANY: A Federal Court confirms “sect filters” are illegal

Germany and “cults”: the Federal Administrative Court confirms “sect filters” are illegal

The federal judges ruled that the City of Munich cannot ask citizens to declare that they are not Scientologists to be eligible for certain benefits.

By Massimo Introvigne

 

Bitter Winter (09/04/2022) – https://bit.ly/3KQzJiT – Some readers of Bitter Winter may remember our coverage last year of a decision by the 4th Senate of the State Administrative Court of Appeal of Bavaria, overturning a first instance judgment by the Administrative Court of Munich on the issue of a “sect filter” used by the City of Munich.

”Sect filters” are bizarre documents required by local governments, businesses, and political parties in some areas of Germany. Those looking for a job, or for doing business with these institutions and companies, should sign a statement that they are not Scientologists nor do they “use the teachings/technology of L. Ron Hubbard” (the founder of Scientology).

The City of Munich subsidizes the use of electrical bikes called “pedelecs” for the purpose of environmental protection. A musician who happens to be a Scientologist applied to receive a grant for purchasing a pedelec on August 6, 2018. As part of her application, she was required to sign a “sect filter” declaring that “she will not apply, teach, or otherwise disseminate any of the contents or methods or technology of L. Ron Hubbard and that she will not attend any courses or seminars based on this technology.” She refused, and on December 12, 2018, the City of Munich rejected her application.

She sued the city, but on August 28, 2019, the Administrative Court of Munich found against her, stating that the city was “free to decide which group of persons is to be supported by voluntary financial contributions,” and exclude Scientologists and supporters of L. Ron Hubbard.

The musician appealed, and the State Administrative Court of Appeal decided on June 16, 2021, with reasons communicated on August 3, 2021, that the city’s decision “is unlawful and violates the plaintiff’s rights.” Imposing a “sect filter” before granting electromobility funding violates the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom and the constitutional principle of equality before the law, which requires that citizens should not be subject to disadvantages by reason of one’s race, origin, language, belief or religious or philosophical conviction, the court concluded. The judges noted that the city had admitted that, apart from the “sect filter” issue, the musician’s application met the legal requirements and would have been granted. Accordingly, the application of a “sect filter” amounted to unconstitutional religious discrimination.

On April 6, the Federal Administrative Court concurred and ordered the city of Munich to issue the required subsidy approval. It noted that there are three reasons to declare the use of the “sect filter” in this case as unlawful.

First, the subsidy of a municipality must not be made dependent on a sect filter. Art. 28 of the German Constitution related to the self-government rights of a municipality does not entitle it to demand a declaration on the belief of a person.

Second, requesting such a declaration and denying a subsidy if it is refused violates freedom of religion or belief and the freedom of religious practice, both of which are protected by Art. 4 of the German Constitution. Such practices are unconstitutional.

Third, the sect filter practice violates the principle of equal treatment before the law of all citizens, as the involved criteria for persons qualified to receive a subsidy are improper and inappropriate.

Although the case was not about “sect filters” in general, the court’s view seems to indicate that in the absence of a proper law, demanding a declaration of a person’s belief is unconstitutional per se. This outcome certainly encourages Scientologists and all citizens jealous of their human rights to refuse to sign these obnoxious documents. As such, the decision is a victory for religious liberty, and should persuade Germany that there is no room for “sect filters” in a democratic country that is based on human rights.

Photo: The Federal Administrative Court, Leipzig. Credits.

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Massimo Introvigne (born June 14, 1955 in Rome) is an Italian sociologist of religions. He is the founder and managing director of the Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR), an international network of scholars who study new religious movements. Introvigne is the author of some 70 books and more than 100 articles in the field of sociology of religion. He was the main author of the Enciclopedia delle religioni in Italia (Encyclopedia of Religions in Italy). He is a member of the editorial board for the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion and of the executive board of University of California Press’ Nova Religio.  From January 5 to December 31, 2011, he has served as the “Representative on combating racism, xenophobia and discrimination, with a special focus on discrimination against Christians and members of other religions” of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). From 2012 to 2015 he served as chairperson of the Observatory of Religious Liberty, instituted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to monitor problems of religious liberty on a worldwide scale.

Further reading about FORB in Germany on HRWF website


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