Backbench debate on the persecution of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community on the 24/05/2018:

This page features parliamentary questions and debates on matters relating to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

  • Question:

    Housing, Communities and Local Government

    Islamophobia

    To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking to help protect Ahmadiyya Muslim citizens from verbal and physical attack and abuse on religious grounds.

    Asked by Andrew Rosindell MP. Asked on: 20 February 2019

  • Answer:

    Government is clear that everyone in Britain has the right to feel safe and at ease. Verbal and physical attacks and abuse on religious grounds are hate crimes and will be dealt with appropriately by the police and criminal justice system. As part of our efforts to tackle hate crime, the Government supports the work of the Cross-Government Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group, which represents a range of perspectives, including those of the Ahmadiyya community. We also support Tell MAMA, a service which spreads awareness about Anti-Muslim hate crime and Islamophobia, and provides victim support, amongst a number of other initiatives.

    Answered by Heather Wheeler MP. Answered on: 20 February 2019

  • Question:

    Her Majesty’s Government

    Islamophobia

    To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims’ working definition of Islamophobia, as set out in its report Islamophobia defined: the inquiry into a working definition of Islamophobia, published in November 2018, on (1) the efficacy of counter-extremism and integration policies, (2) the ability to study, investigate and criticise political and radical Islam, and (3) community relations, in particular for moderate or liberal Muslims and the Ahmadiyya Muslim community.

    Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch. Asked on: 19 February 2019

  • Answer:

    We are examining the options for a definition of Islamophobia and intend to examine this issue through the newly appointed Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group. Any such approach would need to be considered carefully to ensure that this would have the positive effect intended.

    Answered by Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, Answered on: 19 February 2019

  • Question:

    International Development

    Pakistan: Textbooks

    To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to help reform the education curricula in Pakistan to remove derogatory references to Ahmadis and other minorities.

    Asked by Roger Godsiff MP. (Birmingham Hall Green) Asked on: 24 January 2019

  • Answer:

    Working with the provincial governments of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPDFIDhas supported improvements to primary English, Urdu, mathematics and general knowledge textbooks. In Punjab DFID has also supported the government to revise the primary curriculum in core subjects. HMG regularly raises freedom of religious belief issues at the highest levels with Pakistan government counterparts. DFID’s investments in education in Punjab and KP have supported 10 million primary and nearly 6 million secondary children.

    Answered by Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP, Minister of State. (International Development) Answered on: 24 January 2019

  • Question:

    Foreign Office

    Pakistan: Voting Rights

    To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Pakistan about the exclusion of Ahmadi Muslims from the right to vote in Pakistan’s elections.

    Asked by Lord Alton. Asked on: 23 January 2019

  • Answer:

    We are deeply concerned about restrictions on the freedom of religion or belief in Pakistan. The Government strongly condemns the discrimination of all minorities, including legislation which acts as a barrier to Ahmadiyya Muslims taking part in the democratic process fully.

    We regularly raise with the Government of Pakistan at senior levels the importance of religious tolerance and its duty to uphold the rights of all Pakistan’s citizens regardless of religious identity. The Prime Minister emphasised the importance of advancing the rights of minorities during her telephone call with Imran Khan in August following his election as Prime Minister of Pakistan. I raised our concerns about Freedom of Religion or Belief and the protection of minority religious communities with Pakistan’s Human Rights Minister in September 2018.

    At the UN Periodic Review of Pakistan’s human rights record in 2017, the UK urged Pakistan to strengthen protection of minorities, including by having a fully inclusive electoral roll without discrimination or religious bias, and by establishing an independent National Commission for Minorities.

    We continue to urge the Government of Pakistan to guarantee fully the rights of all Pakistani citizens, including religious minorities, and to honour its international obligations.

    Answered by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State (Foreign Office). Answered on  23 January 2019.

     

  • Question:

    Foreign and Commonwealth Office

    Thailand: Refugee Arrests

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether his Department has made representations to the Thai government on the arbitrary arrests of Ahmadi Muslim refugees.

    Asked by Zac Goldsmith MP. (Richmond) Asked on: 7 February 2019

  • Answer:

    We closely followed the October 2018 detention in Thailand of approximately 100 people, mainly from Pakistan, whom the Thai authorities considered illegal immigrants. This followed arrests and refoulment of Cambodian and Vietnamese nationals in August 2018.

    On 2 November 2018, the Minister of State for the Commonwealth and UN, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, spoke to the Thai ambassador in London to raise our concerns over the detention of foreign nationals, including nationals of Pakistan, in Thailand. The British Embassy Bangkok also raised the issues with the Ministry of the Interior. We believe that the actions of the Thai authorities are not aimed at any specific group or groups, but apply to anyone whom they deem an illegal visa over-stayer. The UK has repeatedly urged Thailand to sign the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees. The UNHCR are working closely with the Royal Thai Government over asylum, resettlement issues, and improving conditions for genuine claimants, for example by giving them documentation that allows them to access services and protected them from persecution. We are also working with the Thai authorities to improve conditions of detention.

    Answered by Rt Hon Mark Field MP, Minister of State. (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) Answered on: 7 February 2019

  • Question:

    International Development

    Pakistan: Textbooks



    To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department has taken to address biased or hate material in textbooks and curricula as part of her Department’s sponsored education support programmes in (a) Punjab, (b) Sindh and (c) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces in Pakistan.

    Asked by Siobhain McDonagh MP. (Mitcham and Morden) Asked on: 29 June 2018

  • Answer:

    DFID has supported the provincial governments of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) in Pakistan to revise specific textbooks including replacing any content that promotes prejudice and discrimination against religious or other minorities. In KP the subjects covered are English, mathematics, general knowledge and science. In Punjab, the focus is on English, Urdu, science and mathematics. DFID technical assistance to both provincial governments is also increasing the capability of the Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board and the KP Textbook Board to carry out this work. In Sindh, DFID only supports education through non-state sector schools run by BRAC, The Citizen’s Foundation and Family Educational Services Foundation. An internal DFID review of texts books used in these schools in 2017 did not identify concerns.

    Answered by Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP, Minister of State. (International Development) Answered on: 06 July 2018

  • Question:

    International Development

    Pakistan: Textbooks 

     To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent steps her Department has taken to review and monitor the content of textbooks in states throughout Pakistan for material which is biased and discriminatory towards religious minorities

    Asked by Siobhain McDonagh MP. (Mitcham and Morden) Asked on: 29 June 2018

  • Answer:

    DFID’s technical assistance teams in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Punjab regularly report on efforts to reduce the gender gaps and biases with respect to religion, regions, race, and ethnicity in school textbooks. In 2017 DFID carried out an internal review of official provincial government primary textbooks in KP and Punjab and of books used in non-government primary schools supported by DFID in Sindh, which did not find content inciting religious hatred or promoting intolerance. We continue to monitor progress and lobby provincial governments at senior levels to prioritise inclusion and religious tolerance.

    Answered by Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP, Minister of State. (International Development) Answered on: 06 July 2018

  • Question:

    International Development

    Pakistan: Textbooks



    To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what information her Department holds on the prevalence of (a) religious bias in education policy and (b) religious hate material in textbooks in Sindh and Punjab states in Pakistan; and if she will make a statement.

    Asked by Siobhain McDonagh MP. (Mitcham and Morden) Asked on: 3 July 2018

  • Answer:

    DFID does not hold information on the prevalence of religious bias in education policy. However, respect for human rights, including the provisions of non-discrimination and protection for freedom of religion is one of the four Partnership Principles that guide the DFID Pakistan programme, and which are also set out in Pakistan’s constitution. A Partnership Principles Assessment provides the basis for regular bilateral assistance talks between the UK and Pakistan and is regularly reviewed.

    While DFID has not carried out a general review of textbooks in Sindh, we have reviewed textbooks used in DFID supported non-government primary schools in Sindh. DFID has carried out an internal review of textbooks used in the public sector in Punjab and KP.

    Answered by Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP, Minister of State. (International Development) Answered on: 10 July 2018

  • Question:

    Home Office

    Refugees

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     To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Office, when an update is planed for her Department’s country report for Pakistan.

    Asked by Tom Brake MP (Carshalton and Wallington). Asked on: 18 July 2018

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    Answer:

     

    As explained in the response of 26 April 2018 [137113], the Home Office no longer publishes comprehensive country reports covering all aspects of human rights in that country. Instead, we produce more focussed topic-specific reports called Country Policy and Information Notes (CPINs) designed to address the most common and/or complex issues raised in protection claims in the UK.

    There are currently 12 CPINs on Pakistan, which are updated periodically and available on the Gov.Uk website. We have just updated the CPIN on Ahmadisand are in the process of updating the one on Christians and Christian Converts.

    Answered by Rt Hon Caroline Nokes MP, Minister of State. (Home Office) Answered on: 18 July 2018

  •  

    Foreign and Commonwealth Office

    Persecution

    Image result for paul scully

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations his Department has made to the Government of Pakistan on (a) the murder of Mr Muhammed Shoban on the 25 June 2018 and (b) the ongoing persecution of Ahmadi Muslims in that country; and if he will make a statement.Asked by Paul Scully MP (Sutton and Cheam). Asked on: 13 July 2018.

  •  

    Answer:

    We remain deeply concerned by reports of discrimination and violence against the Ahmadiyya Muslims in Pakistan. As I stated during the backbench business debate on Ahmadiyya rights on 24 May 2018, we wholeheartedly condemn attacks on the Ahmadiyya community. We regularly raise with the Government of Pakistan at senior levels the importance of religious tolerance and its duty to uphold the rights of all Pakistan’s citizens regardless of religious identity.

    During my visit to Pakistan in November 2017, I raised the treatment of religious minorities, including discrimination and violence against the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, with the Ministry of Human Rights. My Ministerial colleague, the Minister of State for Commonwealth and the UN, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, discussed the issue of freedom of religion or belief, and the protection of religious minorities, with Pakistan’s Interior Minister in February 2018. At the UN Periodic Review of Pakistan’s human rights record in November 2017, the UK called on Pakistan to strengthen protection of minorities and establish an independent National Commission for Minorities.

    Answered by Rt Hon Mark Field MP, Minister of State. (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) Answered on: 13 July 2018

  • Question:

    Home Office

    Blasphemy Laws

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    My Lords, when the noble Lord is looking at outdated laws in the Commonwealth, will he reflect on the meeting that he kindly attended last week that considered blasphemy laws, particularly those that operate in countries such as Pakistan, and also the Pakistan penal code, which specifically requires the country’s significant Ahmadi minority, some 5 million people, to register as non-Muslims in order to be able to qualify to vote, thus disqualifying them from the franchise? Surely this is a law that needs to be overhauled.

    Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool (CB). Asked on: 21 May 2018.

  • Answer:

    Image result for lord ahmad

    First, I thank the noble Lord for chairing that meeting, all three APPGs which convened the meeting and all who attended. When we look at blasphemy laws around the world, they were in many ways a legacy of the days of Empire. It is important that we take a lead responsibility in ensuring that those who are now using laws that were intended to protect religions to discriminate against minority communities, such as the Ahmadi Muslim community and Christian communities, are met on the front foot and that we deal with it directly and bilaterally. Equally, when those laws are used to discriminate on important issues such as excluding people from elections, as they are in Pakistan, they should also be called out for what they are: they are straightforwardly discriminatory and should be eliminated and eradicated.

    Answered by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State (Foreign Office). Answered on  21 May 2018.

     

  • Question:

    Home Office

    Human Rights

    Image result for tom brake

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when her Department plans to publish its report on Pakistan covering immigration and political and human rights.

    Asked by Tom Brake MP (Carshalton and Wallington). Asked on: 23 April 2018

  •  

     

    Answer:

    We no longer publish comprehensive country reports covering all aspects of human rights in that country. Instead, we produce more focussed topic-specific reports called Country Policy and Information Notes (CPINs) designed to address the most common and/or complex issues raised in protection claims in the UK.

    A list of our current products on Pakistan is available on the Gov.Uk website, these are updated as-and-when required. We are currently updating our CPIN on Ahmadis in Pakistan and we anticipate this will be published by the end of May.

    Answered by Rt Hon Caroline Nokes MP, Minister of State. (Home Office) Answered on: 26 April 2018

     

  • Freedom of Religion and Belief Debate on the 01/03/2018:

    On the border of my constituency is the largest mosque in western Europe. Unveiled across its entrance is a welcoming banner that reads “Love for all, hatred for none”. The mosque can accommodate an incredible 10,000 worshippers, so it is no wonder that there is a thriving Ahmadiyya Muslim community in my constituency.

    The Ahmadi community identifies as Muslim, but does not believe that Mohammed was the final Prophet sent to guide mankind. Not only does freedom of religion evade the Ahmadi, but they are actively persecuted across the world, including in the UK. I would like to take hon. Members on a global tour, from Africa to Asia, and from Greater London to Glasgow.

    Algerian Ahmadis live in fear and are denied fundamental human rights, contrary to the guarantees offered by the Algerian constitution. Between the summers of 2016 and 2017, 280 Ahmadi Muslims across Algeria were arrested due to their faith. In Egypt, the Interior Minister, Mr Magdy Abdel Ghaffar, issued arrest warrants earlier this year for at least 25 Ahmadi Muslims, following which the Ahmadi publications secretary, Ahmed Elkhatib, was arrested following a raid on his home.

    In Burundi, 13 young Ahmadis were arrested earlier this year. They were attending a religious education class at a mosque in Bujumbura city when it was raided by the secret service. I am pleased to hear that that situation has now been resolved, although it should never have occurred in the first place. In Indonesia, Ahmadi mosques have been burned down, some Ahmadis have been denied voting rights and the right to marry, and many have been driven out of their homes.

    I could go on, but the persecution is happening right here on our doorstep. In Glasgow in 2016, Ahmadi shopkeeper Asad Shah was murdered by an extremist. During the police investigation, officers claimed that the incident was “religiously prejudiced”. In Waltham Forest, Muslim members of the Waltham Forest communities forum actively stopped an Ahmadi Muslim being re-elected in October 2017, stating that he could not be a representative of Islam.

    The country I want to focus on today is Pakistan, which is home to an estimated 4 million Ahmadis. Across the country, they are actively targeted by the state on the grounds of their faith. In 1984, under General Zia, the Government of Pakistan made it a criminal offence for Ahmadis to call themselves Muslims, to refer to their faith as Islam, or even to preach or propagate their faith. Since that year 259 Ahmadis have been killed, and 183 assaulted for their faith; 84 mosques have been demolished, sealed, burnt or forcibly occupied, and 52 banned from construction; and 65 Ahmadis have been denied burial in a Muslim cemetery. Yet Pakistan is a country where people have a constitutional right to freedom of religion.​

    In order to vote in the forthcoming elections, Ahmadis must either sign a declaration that they do not belong to the Ahmadi community, or acquiesce to their status as non-Muslims. What is more, that separate electoral list for Ahmadis is published and publicly available. On Monday, the High Court in Islamabad ordered Pakistan’s national citizenship authority to provide detailed information on an estimated 10,000 Pakistani citizens who are believed to have changed their religion from Islam to Ahmadiyya. No wonder Ahmadis face such widespread persecution.

    In October 2017 Captain Muhammad Safdar, the son-in-law of Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, gave a hate-filled speech in the National Assembly, encouraging all public authorities, including the judiciary, to oust the Ahmadiyya Muslim community from all aspects of life in Pakistan. The following day three Ahmadis were sentenced to death on spurious charges. In December I received an extremely concerning report that Captain Safdar was visiting the UK. As chair of the all-party parliamentary group for the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, I wrote immediately to the Home Secretary. Twelve weeks later I received a quite remarkable response from UK Visas and Immigration:

    “In order to safeguard an individual’s personal information and comply with the Data Protection Act 1992, we are limited in what information we can provide when the request is made by someone who is not the applicant. We are therefore unable to provide you with information about Captain Safdar without his written consent.”

    Let me make that clear. As a Member of Parliament, representing hundreds of Ahmadis in my constituency, owing to data protection I was unable to receive confirmation that a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan who had just made a hate-filled speech against the Ahmadi community was entering the UK. I ask the Minister, in whose interest is it for the data protection of that man to be considered more important than the protection of the Ahmadi community as a whole?

    Freedom of religion is one of our most fundamental human rights. It is an indispensable pillar of the freedom of communities and societies worldwide. The case of the Ahmadi community globally proves that it should not be taken for granted because, when it is denied, the consequence to life can be threatening.

    Delivered by Siobhain McDonagh MP (Mitcham and Morden) on the 01 March 2018.

    Watch her speech on here.

     

  • Question:

    Foreign and Commonwealth Office

    Freedom of religion

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    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support freedom of religion and belief in other countries to meet the strategic commitment to supporting freedom of religion and belief set out in the FCO Departmental Plan 2015-2020

    Asked by Gavin Shuker MP (Luton South). Asked on: 27 February 2018

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    Answer:


    The Foreign and Commonwealth Office‘s Departmental Plan 2015-2020 was replaced in December 2017with the FCO Single Departmental Plan which can be found on gov.uk. In step with the new plan, the FCO continues to promote and defend human rights, including the right to freedom of religion or belief (FoRB).

    In our ongoing dialogue with foreign governments and through public statements, the FCO raises individual cases and highlights practices and laws that discriminate against people on the basis of their religion or belief. For example, during my visit to Pakistan in November 2017, I raised the treatment of religious minorities, including discrimination and violence against the Ahmadiyya and Christian communities, with Pakistan’s Ministry of Human Rights.

    The United Kingdom also actively promotes FoRB through multilateral diplomacy. At the United Nations, we work to maintain consensus on the adoption and implementation of the European Union sponsored Resolution on ‘Freedom of Religion or Belief’ and the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation sponsored Resolution on ‘Combating Religious Intolerance’.

    Through the Magna Carta Fund for Human Rights and Democracy, the FCO continues to support a number of projects to promote tolerance. Current projects include work to promote religious tolerance through secondary school curricula in Iraq, Morocco and Lebanon, and a project which supports a network of human rights defenders in South Asia working on this priority.

    Answered by Rt Hon Mark Field MP, Minister of State. (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) Answered on: 27 February 2018

     

  •  

    Question:

    Foreign and Commonwealth Office

    Freedom of religion: Ahmadiyya



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    To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they have taken to advance freedom of religion and belief in (1) Saudi Arabia, (2) Pakistan, (3) Myanmar, and (4) the Central African Republic.

    Asked by the Rt. Hon. Lord Boateng. Asked on: 19 February 2018

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    Answer:

    Image result for lord ahmad

    The Government strongly supports the right to freedom of religion or belief and our views are well known.

    Saudi Arabia:

    We regularly raise our concerns with the Government of Saudi Arabia using a range of Ministerial and diplomatic channels of communication, including the British Embassy and through the European Union in Riyadh. We will continue to look for opportunities to work with Saudi Arabia in encouraging greater freedom of religion or belief. We received positive messages from the Saudi authorities on the tolerance of religious minorities and freedom of religion or belief.

    Pakistan:

    During his visit to Pakistan in November 2017, the Minister for Asia and the Pacific raised the treatment of religious minorities, including discrimination and violence against the Ahmadiyya Muslim and Christian communities, with Pakistan’s Ministry of Human Rights. The Foreign Secretary raised religious tolerance and the importance of safeguarding the rights of all Pakistan’s citizens during his visit to Pakistan in November 2016The UK has supported projects in Pakistan to promote greater tolerance and religious freedom. Pakistan remains a priority for UK development assistance, with programmes designed to improve human rights that include promoting tolerance of religious minorities.

    Burma:

    I raised concerns about the treatment of religious and ethnic minorities in Burma at the Human Rights Council in September 2017. The treatment of the Rogingya is of particular concern, the Foreign Secretary raised this with State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma on 11 February. British Embassy Rangoon has been supporting local projects addressing the drivers of prejudice and inter-communal violence. In 2017 we delivered a two-day inter-faith dialogue and a workshop for civil servants, parliamentarians and non-government organisations.

    Central African Republic:

    We are working with the international community, including through the UN peacekeeping Mission (MINSUCA), to support the Central African Republic government’s efforts to end the violence and bring about reconciliation and stability. In January, with our UN Security Council partners, the UK also agreed a mandate to sanction individuals who incite violence on an ethnic or religious basis (UN Resolution 2399). Since 2013, the UK has provided £63 million in humanitarian aid for those affected by the violence.

    Answered by the Rt. Hon. Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State. (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) Answered on: 19 February 2018

  • Question:

    Foreign and Commonwealth Office

    Indonesia: Ahmadiyya



    Image result for theresa villiers portrait

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the extent of religious freedom in Indonesia; and whether he is taking steps to raise the importance of freedom of religious belief with the Indonesian Government.

    Asked by Theresa Villiers MP. (Chipping Barnet) Asked on: 08 February 2018

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    Answer:

    The Government of Indonesia has taken steps to address the issue of freedom of religion, including through the creation of a new Presidential Working Unit which aims to promote, among other things, tolerance of the 6 officially recognised religions of Indonesia. We also welcome the ruling of the constitutional court in November 2017 permitting followers of traditional beliefs to state their faith on their identity cards. However, we remain concerned about treatment of non-Sunni Islamic groups, such as the Ahmadiyya and Shia communities who often face intolerance. Lord Ahmad of WimbledonMinister of State for the Commonwealth and the UN most recently discussed it with the Indonesian Ambassador to London in January.

    Answered by Rt Hon Mark Field MP, Minister of State. (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) Answered on: 08 February 2018

  • Question:

    Foreign and Commonwealth Office

    Egypt: Ahmadiyya



    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to his counterpart in the Egyptian Government on the arrest of 25 Ahmadi Muslims in Egypt on the grounds of their religion; and if he will make a statement.

    Asked by Siobhain McDonagh MP. (Mitcham and Morden) Asked on: 26 January 2018

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    Answer:

    I refer the Honourable Member for Mitcham and Morden to my answer to her earlier PQ on this matter (121319) on 15 January. We will continue to raise our concerns around the discrimination of religious minorities in Egypt. This includes concerns over the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly in Egypt. These rights are essential to improving the protection of Freedom of Religious Belief in Egypt.

    Answered by Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP, Minister of State. (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) Answered on: 26 January 2018

  • Question:

    Foreign and Commonwealth Office

    Egypt: Ahmadiyya

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to the Egyptian Government on the arrest of 25 Ahmadi Muslims in that country on the grounds of their religion; and if he will make a statement.

    Asked by Siobhain McDonagh MP. (Mitcham and Morden) Asked on: 25 January 2018

  • Answer:

    ​I refer the Honourable Member for Mitcham and Morden to my answer to her earlier PQ on this matter (121319) on 15 January. We will continue to raise our concerns around the discrimination of religious minorities in Egypt. This includes concerns over the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly in Egypt. These rights are essential to improving the protection of Freedom of Religious Belief in Egypt.

    Answered by Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP, Minister of State. (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) Answered on: 25 January 2018

  • Question:

    Foreign and Commonwealth Office

    Egypt: Ahmadiyya
    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether his Department has made representations to the Egyptian Government on the arrest of 25 Ahmadi Muslims in that country on the grounds of their religion; and if he will make a statement.

    Asked by Siobhain McDonagh MP. (Mitcham and Morden) Asked on: 05 January 2018

  • Answer:

    We condemn all discrimination against religious minorities and constraints on their freedom to practise their faith. The Egyptian constitution contains protections for Freedom of Religious Belief and it is important that these rights are respected.

    We regularly raise our concerns around the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, which are essential to improving the protection of Freedom of Religious Belief in Egypt.

    Answered by Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP, Minister of State. (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) Answered on:15 January 2018

  • Question:

    Foreign and Commonwealth Office

    Pakistan: Blasphemy

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what reports his Department has received on the case of three Ahmadi Muslims who were sentenced to death in early November 2017 by a court in Pakistan for allegedly breaking that country’s blasphemy laws; and whether his Department has made representations to the Government of Pakistan on behalf of those three people.

    Asked by Siobhain McDonagh MP. (Mitcham and Morden) Asked on:3 November 2017

  • Answer:

    The UK remains firmly opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances. We have repeatedly called upon the Government of Pakistan to end capital punishment and, at a minimum, commit to renewing the previously imposed moratorium. We regularly raise our concerns about freedom of religion or belief and the misuse of the blasphemy laws with the Pakistani Government at a senior level. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip (Mr Johnson), raised religious tolerance and misuse of the blasphemy laws during his visit to Pakistan in November 2016. During my visit to Pakistan earlier this month I raised the death penalty and the treatment of religious minorities, including discrimination and violence against the Ahmadiyya community with Pakistan’s Ministry of Human Rights.

    During the Universal Periodic Review of Pakistan on 13 November in Geneva we expressed our concerns about human rights and limits on freedoms of expression and religion or belief, particularly for the Ahmadiyya Muslim and Christian communities. We called for a clear timeline for the review of legislation carrying the death penalty with the aim of limiting the scope of crimes to which it applies.

    The Government will continue to urge Pakistan to honour in practice its human rights obligations, including those related to the death penalty and freedom of expression and religion.

    Answered by Rt Hon Mark Field MP, Minister of State. (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) Answered on:21 November 2017

  • Question:

    Foreign and Commonwealth Office

    Algeria: Ahmadiyya

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his counterparts in Algeria on the arrest and detention of Ahmadi Muslims across Algeria since June 2016 on grounds of practising their faith.

    Asked by Siobhain McDonagh MP. (Mitcham and Morden) Asked on: 20 July 2017

  • Answer:

    We are aware of a number of reports of Ahmadiyya being arrested in Algeria. We have raised this with the Algerian government, who said that the arrests relate to breaches of laws which apply to all religions in Algeria. The Algerian constitution provides freedom of religion and we encourage them to make domestic law fully compatible with that. The promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief for all individuals internationally remains a high priority for the UK.

    Answered by Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP, Minister of State. (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) Answered on:11 September 2017

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