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United Kingdom Asylum and Immigration Tribunal
You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> United Kingdom Asylum and Immigration Tribunal >> KH(Afghanistan, Bahai faith) Afghanistan  UKIAT 00041 (25 January 2005)
Cite as:  UKIAT 41,  UKAIT 00041,  UKIAT 00041
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KH(Afghanistan – Bahai faith) Afghanistan  UKIAT 00041
Date of hearing: 4 November 2004
Date Determination notified: 25 January 2005
|Secretary of State for the Home Department||RESPONDENT|
"10. The Appellant is a single man. He is of Tajik ethnicity and espouses the Ba'hai faith. He lived with his parents and siblings in Kabul. His mother taught English and he received a good education from her. He gave evidence without the aid of an interpreter.
11. His parents converted from Islam to the Ba'hai faith some time ago and the Appellant was brought up in that faith. His father traded in Iran but his business suffered when they discovered he was not Muslim.
12. There were no other Ba'hais in the area apart from the Appellant's own family and his uncle. On the 15 July 2001 a problem arose when his father fought with a villager over religion and the villager stabbed his father. Five days later thieves broke into the house. They knew the Appellant and his family were not practising Islam. They told his family to leave otherwise they would tell the Taliban.
13. In August the family sold its land having decided to leave. Shortly after that his family home was bombed, possibly by the Taliban. Everyone in the house was killed. The Appellant lost his mother, brother, eldest sister, uncle and uncle's family.
14. The Appellant was sent to Pakistan for safety. There he waited for his family to join him. They did not and the Appellant has heard nothing from them since.
15. The Appellant had no contacts with other Ba'hai in Pakistan and there was no freedom for him to practice his religion. He had problems when it was discovered he did not practice Islam. Yaqoub, who had travelled to Pakistan with Appellant, was beaten as a consequence. They decided to leave.
16. The Appellant left Pakistan at the end of April 2002. He feared that if he returned to Afghanistan he would be killed because he is not a Muslim."
"The Bahai religion dates back to 1844, when a young Shiite Muslim named Bahaullah in what is now Iran announced his divine revelation of the spiritual unity of humanity and an equality of all faiths. Today, there are an estimated 300,000 adherents in Iran.
But while religious minorities such as Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians are officially recognised in the Islamic Republic of Iran and are granted official, if not actual, 'equal rights', Bahais are the non-people of Iran.
It's an exclusion that comes with a host of subtle and often not-so-subtle persecutions ranging from an inability to practice their faith to a ban on any identifying structures on Bahai graves.
The principal reasons for the persecution, some experts say, are rooted in a narrow reading of theology. The fact that Bahai was founded in 19th-century Persia by a young Muslim is viewed by some as a challenge to Islam. Bahaullah's teaching is seen in the Islamic state of Iran as an affront to the Prophet Mohammad, whose teachings, Muslims believe, were the last revelation."
He also referred to an article at page 271 and following of the bundle describing the deep animosity for Bahais and recording that they are often viewed as having a Zionist connection, because the base of the Bahai faith is in Haifa in Israel. In this connection Mr. Bazini drew attention to the difficulties for Bahais in other Muslim countries in particular Iran, Egypt and Tunisia.
"27. It would not be an option for to return to Kabul as he would be in a highly vulnerable position, having no family members to protect him or accommodation to go to. It is difficult not to arouse suspicion as a stranger in Afghanistan and questions would be asked as to his origins and personal history. The population has lived under intense fear for over two decades under a succession of regimes which have relied heavily on a combination of brute force and the use of intelligence services, with an associated use of imprisonment and torture. The rumour mill is extremely powerful and stories can quickly spread, arising from the threat that strangers represent, which can put them at risk.
28. In any event, rents have risen in the past year or so way beyond the capacity of the average citizen to pay and there have been high levels of eviction as a result, with many families having to take refuge in the homes of relatives, thus contributing to growing overcrowding. If Mr. Hisham is not able to find accommodation, he would be compelled to survive under conditions of destitution amongst the ruins of southern and western Kabul. Here, he would be in an exposed position in relation to the various militia forces and to the surrounding population if it became clear that he was not a practicing Muslim.
29. To summarise, would be at risk of arbitrary violence, if he returned, from those who were responsible for placing a bomb in his family home and to any others amongst the various power holders and the population at large who would find his abandonment of Islam unacceptable. It is clear that this bomb attack, and the burglary that preceded it, were aimed to intimidate his family into leaving the village because of their abandonment of Islam and were, therefore, of a persecutory nature. He cannot return in security to his village and is also in a situation in which there is no other place in Afghanistan where he would have family members to protect him. Without such protection, the individual is extremely vulnerable throughout Afghanistan."
(1) The previous treatment, which was very severe, suffered by the Appellant's family in 2001 by reason of their Bahai faith.
(2) The general religious intolerance in Afghanistan. This is demonstrated, for example, by the treatment received by members of the Sikh community, see the cases of IB 150 and KK 258.
(3) The treatment received by Bahais in other Muslim countries and the manner in which they are there viewed. Among other matters we bear in mind the perceived Zionist connection.
(4) The report from Mr. Marsden in which he specifically considers the Appellant's case and concludes that he would be at risk of arbitrary violence if he returned.
HIS HONOUR JUDGE HUSKINSON