On April 2, 2019, the Migration Court in Stockholm, Sweden, rejected my application for asylum. The court believes that my atheism is genuine and that I have been an atheist since 2016, but claims that I can live in Afghanistan anyway. One of the lay judges wanted to grant me protection and a refugee status declaration. Unfortunately, that is not enough.
As a consequence, Sweden will expel me to a country where leaving Islam – as I have done – is punishable by the death penalty.
This is what the court’s verdict says regarding my atheism:
In an overall assessment of what has emerged in the case, the Migration Court finds that A has made it probable that he is an atheist and that he has the opinions about Islam that he claims in the case, and that he has expressed them both in the media and in front of people around him in Sweden.
I am content that they believe in me, since I have a strong atheistic belief that I have expressed openly for more than two years. During the oral hearing in court, I did my very best to explain my innermost thoughts and my process from being a Muslim to becoming an atheist. Unfortunately, the court claims that I can live in Afghanistan anyway and that I will not be at risk.
But the only way to survive as an atheist in Afghanistan is to hide one’s identity and pretend to be a Muslim. Criticizing Islam, the Qur’an or the Prophet Muhammad is fatal. Here in Sweden I do it all the time, both online and with friends. I have lost friends and gotten into conflicts because of it. I sometimes find it hard to control my impulses, resulting in my innermost thoughts and feelings getting out in the open. Sometimes I get upset when discussing Islam, because I detest the religion that has hurt me and many other people. It would be impossible for me to be myself in Afghanistan, where society forces people to be Muslims. I would be forced to pray or fast by people around me. It would feel like a violation of my personal integrity to pretend to be a Muslim. I will not let anyone oppress me, nor will I hide my true identity.
If I lived in Afghanistan, I am confident that friends, neighbors and acquaintances sooner or later would realize that I am an atheist. They would see that I do not practice the religion, and since I have been in the West they would be extra suspicious of me. As soon as someone finds out, there is a great risk that I will be threatened, punished – or in the worst case killed.
All this I told at the hearing in court.
Several people have written depositions to the court about various events and
how I am.
Nevertheless, the Court wrote:
In conclusion, the Migration Court considers that A, neither through the documentary evidence nor through his oral account, has made it probable that he is at risk of being subjected to persecution or other risks that would constitute grounds for protection when returning to his home country. Therefore, A does not meet the requirements for protection in Sweden.
I don’t get it. No one should be subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment, and it is a violation of the human rights to expel someone to a country where the person is at risk. How can it be legal to expel an atheist to a country where leaving Islam is punishable by the death penalty?
Sweden cannot force me to hide my atheism. Nonetheless, during the oral hearing in court the representative from the Swedish Migration Board said I could ”keep a low profile” in Afghanistan. The court seemed to listen more to that argument, than everything I told them about myself.
Since I have lived openly as an atheist for almost three years here in Sweden, the Court’s verdict means that I would have to hide my identity and pretend to be a Muslim to survive in Afghanistan. It’s a violation of my human rights, taking into account this statement by UNHCR:
Religious belief, identity, or way of life can be seen as so fundamental to human identity that one should not be compelled to hide, change or renounce this in order to avoid persecution.
I will never give up my fight for freedom and for my human rights! Please support me by sharing my story.