I am rather hoping you have heard the story about the 18 year old Saudi Arabian woman Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun who renounced islam and sought to escape her home country. Who can blame her since in her moderate, liberal homeland, a key UK ally, apostasy is punishable by death. A bit extreme, you might say, but when in Saudi believe in the religion you are told to believe in or die. I can understand Rahaf’s choice.
Her initial intention was to seek asylum in Australia but Canada’s excellent prime minister Justin Trudeau has stepped in and immediately awarded her asylum in his country. Saudi Arabia is obviously furious, as it has been on previous occasions when Canada has had the effrontery to call for the release of detained women activists, but Trudeau doesn’t give a toss. He said: “Canada has been unequivocal that we will always stand up for human rights and women’s rights around the world. When the UN made a request of us that we grant Ms al-Qunun asylum, we accepted.” What a contrast with the UK.
We’re at the other end of the scale in terms of refugees and asylum seekers. In divided and broken Britain, all forms of migrants are regarded as benefit scrounging parasites who should be put in unseaworthy boats and told to bugger off and drown. We would have said exactly that to Ms al-Qunun.
The main difference between us and Ms al-Qunun is luck. I was lucky to be born in a non religious household in country where it matters less and less whether you believe in any kind of God and if you happen to renounce the God you were told to worship as a child, you may escape death with any luck. In Saudi Arabia, as with many other religious and mainly muslim countries, apostasy is worse than murder.
Yet again, the warm, compassionate and generous Canadians have acted with humanity and not hate, as we as a nation are doing on an increasingly frequent basis.
Well done Mr Trudeau. If you ever fancy a big money transfer to the UK, I’ll save up and pay for your airfare.