Showing Both Sides
Full Strength and Support

How The Time Was Set

I started getting ready for the big day at 4 a.m. I put on my suit and then went to Toronto. My meeting was at 9:30 a.m. I had breakfast and then entered the building at 8:45 a.m.

At about 9:50 a.m. all of us, five different claimants, were called into the meeting room. Our cases were similar and so were the rules that applied to us--these were relayed verbally. Two of the claimants had translators; one in Urdu, the other in Tamil. So, the person who was telling us about the regulations had to halt every few words for the deciphering. This got quite jarring after a few minutes. The entire talk in English / Urdu / Tamil took around 30 minutes.

After that we left the room. It was time for each case to be dealt with individually. I was called at around 10:45 a.m.

I was presented with a few documents such as the photocopy of my personal file and the supporting papers that I had provided them a few months earlier. A curious two-page document called the Screening Form was also given to me. Basically, in there, my claim was boiled down in a few words. I wasn't satisfied with the summary. In turn, the person(s) who made the Screening Form weren't satisfied with my claim.

For example, a part of the "Claim Description" in the Screening Form:

"PAKISTAN, Punjab, Lahore
Fear is unspecified/unclear
appears to fear persecution because of his anti-Islamic views."

Apparently, I have done an atrocious job of presenting my case. Fortunately, I still have three months to rectify the situation (since I can mail in documents at least 20 days before the hearing).

I asked a few questions about the summary. I was told that it comes down to credibility or rather the lack of it. The Refugee Protection Officer tried to console me by saying that that is the problem with everyone in my situation.

The officer made a phone call to schedule the time for my hearing. She inquired if X day in January is alright. I thought to myself for a second and then asked if it was possible to make it the day after that. The officer went back to the call and in a few seconds answered in the affirmative.

I left the building at 11:30 a.m. Leading up to the meeting, I tried to stay calm but somehow anxiety crept up ever so slowly. When I exited the building, I was mentally tired. I walked to the bus station in zombie-mode.

On the trip back, only one thought echoed in my mind: On my next birthday, I will fight for my life.

Comments

Laura(southernxyl)

It's good that you had a chance to review your documentation.

But I don't understand why it wasn't you who filled out the screening form, wrote your own summary and so forth. Isaac, do you have legal representation?

Isaac Schrödinger

No. Not yet.

Muslihoon

Thank you, Isaac, for that update. It must have been quite nerve-racking. If it's in January, you still have some time to prepare, and many people are making excellent suggestions. But you know your case best in the end. Let us know how we can help, if we can.

Demosthenes

What can we do to help you? Is there some place we send emails or letters?

My advise is to use the Adbul Rahman case from Afghanistan to illustrate your plight. There is a chance that the PC brainwashed may get it.

Michael van der Galien

Isaac: people are suggesting quite some good things. I have e-mailed you some suggestions people made: names of people you should contact to give you relevant information, etc.

Robert Stevens

Isaac, have you tried writing Irshad Manji and asking her to intervene on your behalf? She's Muslim and she's Canadian.

Kathianne

Isaac, is there no possibility someone can testify to the problem with your having left "Islam"? I do not know it's a 'fact' but have been reading for a few years now, that to denounce Islam is a capital offense in Pakistan and other Islamic countries?

Mikkel

I don't know what all you've tried, but I do know that refugee status sympathies are declining. Have you considered applying for a skilled worker's visa? Someone that knows english, demonstrates ability to assimilate into the culture and is highly educated has a far greater chance of getting in for economic reasons than humanitarian ones. If you haven't considered it, I would look into this program and accept the possibility that they might not overlap -- like your refugee status could get rejected before the worker's visa is enacted. In that case, it should be possible to come over to the US on a temporary work visa for a few months in order for Canada to reply to your economic one. I should note that I've only heard about these things as a second/third party so I don't know the legal issues around doing that though. Good luck.

Michael van der Galien

Kathianne. One example:
"Under Pakistani law, blasphemy against Muhammad carries the death penalty."

From here

Bill Faith

Blogger In Fight For His Life will remain at the top of the Old War Dogs site through Monday. You are also now on the OWD blogroll.

truepeers

Isaac,

My Covenant Zone blogging colleagues and I here in Vancouver will render any assistance we can. I don't suppose you can start appealing to the Minister until after your hearing, but if you want any letters written, research done, all you need to do is write me and make clear what you need.

john

MissingLink

Perhaps you should concentrate on apostasy rather than "anti-Islamic views".

Quote legal cases which ended up in apostates being imprisoned or worse.

truepeers

For example, we could make every journalist-blogger in Canada aware of your story, if that would help.

Maggie45

Isaac, I can't help except to let you know that I support you, and that you're in my thoughts and prayers. I'm thinking that the blogosphere will come through for you.

Isaac Schrödinger

Good questions and suggestions.

Demosthenes: "What can we do to help you? Is there some place we send emails or letters?"

I'll keep that in mind and let you know when and if.

Robert Stevens: "Isaac, have you tried writing Irshad Manji and asking her to intervene on your behalf?"

No, I haven't contacted her.

Kathianne: "Isaac, is there no possibility someone can testify to the problem with your having left "Islam"?"

I'll see if that is possible. I'm allowed to bring a witness to the hearing.

Mikkel: Right now, the Canadian government has my passport. So, the only option for myself is to see this to the end.

Bill Faith: Thanks you. I'll reciprocate the blogroll link.

Truepeers: Thank you. I would certainly like it if the Canadian media were to pick up this story. I think the added attention (and the resulting criticism and suggestions) will help my case.

MissingLink: Will do.

Maggie45: The Blogosphere brought you here with your kind words. I also think it will come through.

reelcobra

There are a lot of us pulling for you here in America.

I will send this post around.

Isaac Schrödinger

Reelcobra: "I will send this post around."

I would appreciate that. Thanks.

M. Simon

Track back:

Pakistani Blogger in Canadian Trouble

Isaac Schrodinger needs your help. He is an apostate Muslim trying to get assylum in Canada. It appears that the Canadian authorities are not to sympathetic.

evariste

I'm a bit late in reading this, but my heart goes out to you, Isaac. Even Ahmadi Muslims are treated atrociously, robbed, raped, segregated, killed, and legally discriminated against in Pakistan, because they're not "the right kind" of Muslim. I would emphasize this as an example of just how intolerant Pakistan is of anyone who is not Muslim.

evariste

Let me know if there's any gesture of support I can make to help your case with the Canadian authorities.

Isaac Schrödinger

Evariste: "Let me know if there's any gesture of support I can make to help your case with the Canadian authorities."

I'll publish a huge post soon that will present my case in great detail. I'd like it if you could link to it and ask the folks at Discarded Lies to offer input.

evariste

Isaac-certainly! I've just published a post supporting you and I've subscribed to your feed so I can keep on top of things. I look forward to it eagerly.

Alex

"I'll see if that is possible. I'm allowed to bring a witness to the hearing."

I've offered before, so I'll just remind you: if you need someone to acompany you and testify on your behalf I'd be more than happy to do so. I do live in Toronto after all, and my status as a member of the CF might make some difference in the matter. Or, if you just want someone to look over and critique your evidence before you submit it, I'd be more than happy to sit down at a timmies with you and have a look over what you've put together. I'm no lawyer, but having a second opinion always helps. Anything I can do to help, let me know.

Shelley

Isaac:

A link to your blog was posted at "The Canadian Coalition for Democracies". Al Gordon, the President, may know someone who may know someone who may be able to help you with your case. It's worth a try. I was also going to suggest Irshad Manji who may know other apostates from Pakistan who may be of help to you. I would think that Pakistani law would be your best defense. What does the law say in Pakistan about apostates from Islam? Bring THAT to your next hearing. Better yet, get it to them right away. Man, if I were you, I'd be plumbing the depths of the net case law and newspaper accounts about apostates in Pakistan. All the best to you. Visit the CCD forum for like- minded Canadians.

dymphna

It would seem to me that the first order of business is legal representation. Someone with breadth of experience in immigrant law.

And one very practical thing we could all do is contribute to this since such assistance will not be cheap.

If anyone in Canada can set up a bank fund for this purpose, we'll certainly contribute. And once it's set up, we could link widely across the 'sphere for donations.

I'm donating the offer of an image for this from the Baron. Haven't told him yet, but I know he'd be glad to do one, customized for your situation.

Let us know.

Meanwhile, a post is in order on our blog. It'll be up shortly.

Rhymes With Right

I'd encourage you to respond to this idiot, who sent me a gloating post about Isaac's problem.

From: ken hoop [revbronco@yahoo.com]
To: RHYMESWITHRIGHT
Date: Sep 10, 2006 8:43 PM
Subject: POOR GUY, ALL HE DOES IS PRAISE ISRAEL BOOHOOO

http://ibloga.blogspot.com/
i HIPE THE PAKI AUTHORITIES NOTICE WHO SUPPORTS
HIM,LIKE THE ASSHOLES AT IBLOGA WHO RUN THE JUVELINE
YET MALICIOUS & LIBELLOUS
POST UNDERNEATH...

Let him know what you think of him and his ill wishes for Isaac.

IM Fink's Pa

The little research I have done indicates that apostasy, in and of itself, is not outlawed in Pakistan. There are, however, broad blasphemy laws that could well subject a blogger to prosecution, including, potentially the death penalty. The laws are readily available on-line and can be found by a search for "pakistan blasphemy laws."

Amnesty international has been tracking and documenting persecution of Christians and Minority Muslims in Pakistan and a representative of theirs may make an effective witness.

As mentioned above, I would immediately forward a copy of the blasphemy statutes to the Court and would attach any writings you have posted or published that may seem to transgress those laws. Furthermore, I would try to document the traffic to your blog and to those specific posts to highlight the risk.

You should also head to the local law library and research the case reporters for similar cases. I am sure that the Courts have decided multiple apostasy cases at this point.

As indicated by others, legal counsel is virtually a must and could be of great assistance in finding similar cases and presenting your particular case most effectively, as well as identifying potential witnesses and presenting alternative grounds (ie. other forms of visa applications, et. al.)

Best of luck to you.

Paul

IM Fink's Pa

I should have added that there are innumerable reports of blogs and other media being shut down by pakistani authorities and their authors and editors jailed or otherwise persecuted. You should gather a collection of these reported incidents (Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Jihad Watch - strange bedfellows all, LGF and the like are good resources for general searches and to reach out for assistance). I'm sure if you sent an e-mail to Charles Johnson at LGF and Spences at Jihad Watch as well as the editors at more liberal sites, they would run articles and solicit assistance in putting together a portfolio of articles detailing the oppression of apostates, Christians, and other outspoken critics in Pakistan. Such a portfolio would make an impressive exhibit in future hearings.

Paul

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