Benjamin Weinthal, citing a Saudi-American blogger, Rasheed Abvou-Alsamh, reports in The Jerusalem Post that the U.S. Government last week denied asylum to a gay Saudi diplomat “to avoid disrupting US-Saudi relations.” The diplomat in question, Ali Ahmad Asseri, who has worked at the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles, faces the death penalty for same-sex conduct if returned to the radically fundamentalist Islamic kingdom.
Apparently the decision to reject Asseri's asylum application was made at very high levels of the U.S. government. If Abvou-Alsamh's account proves to be true, it is impossible to see this as anything other than a disgraceful act by the Obama administration and a shameful betrayal of American constitutional principles. Indeed there are so many despicable aspects to this story that it is hard to know where to begin.
First, Saudi Arabia is the most backward country in the Muslim world. Across the Western world the Saudi government has lavishly funded mosques, madrassas, Muslim organizations, and Islamic Studies programs which preach and teach the most extreme, anti-Western, anti-democratic attitudes. Saudi cash has turned Middle Eastern Studies scholars and retired Western diplomats into amoral PR flacks for the Saudi regime. There is no way of knowing how many Western Muslims have been transformed into jihadists with the help of Saudi money.
Most of the 9/11 terrorists were Saudis. Yet ever since 9/11 U.S. leaders have bent over backwards to send out the message that the Saudis are our friends. This has been a bipartisan disgrace. George W. Bush was so palsy-walsy with Prince Bandar bin Sultan that he made him an honorary member of the family, calling him “Bandar Bush.” Under Obama the chumminess has continued, and the already nauseating effort to whitewash Islam has only intensified. In his famous speech at Cairo's al-Azhar University, Obama painted an unrecognizable picture of Islam's glorious achievements in culture, learning, and jurisprudence. The brutal laws that may spell the doom of Ali Ahmad Asseri give the lie to every word of that appalling piece of propaganda. To send Asseri back, and allow sharia to do its dirty work, is to sacrifice a human life in the name of an inhuman lie – a lie that, if not exposed, will be responsible for the taking of many more lives in the years and decades to come.
Diplomatic niceties, the military's strategic considerations, and the hard facts of petropolitics are one thing. But for the United States of America – the nation whose Founders changed the face of the world by eloquently explaining to their fellowman that they had a natural right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” – for the U.S. to send Ali Ahmad Asseri back to be executed by a regime that practices seventh-century desert justice is to trample on the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. And it is an especially cynical act on the part of President Obama, who in his first presidential campaign went out of his way to convince gay voters that he was their Great Stone Face, the champion for whom they had been waiting all their lives, the Moses who would deliver them to the Promised Land of full equality and human dignity. Obama has already, of course, betrayed that promise over and over again, but to ship Asseri back to a certain execution for being gay would, for Obama, be the ultimate unforgivable act – an out-and-out “f--- you” to every gay American.
This decision also needs to be viewed within the larger context of Western asylum policies. Throughout the Western world, asylum policies are nothing less than a joke. In some countries, an overwhelming majority of those admitted as “refugees” are nothing of the kind; they claim to be escaping certain oppression, imprisonment, torture, or even death in their home countries, and as soon as they get their hands on a Western passport they start commuting back and forth between their new “homes,” where they collect generous welfare benefits, and the countries from which they supposedly “escaped,” where they use those welfare benefits to build lavish second homes, keep their second and third wives and multitudinous progeny in luxury, and employ servants (or buy slaves). Even more absurd are cases like those of Norway's Mullah Krekar, a terrorist monster of the first water who lives as a free man in Oslo and whom the government will not return to Iraq because it is feared he may face punishment there. And then there are the foaming-at-the-mouth imams and other inciters of anti-Western mischief who can give all the public speeches they want calling for the destruction of the countries that have given them food, shelter, and a comfortable unearned income without having to fear expulsion.
Yet the same countries who roll out the red carpet for these fake refugees, terrorists, and loudmouth enemies within have routinely turned down asylum applications from precisely the kind of people whom they should be letting in from Muslim countries – among them members of persecuted religious groups (Christians, Jews, Ahmadi Muslims, Ba'hais, Hindus, Buddhists, and so on), outspoken atheists, women who don't want to be treated like cattle, and gays who would prefer to keep their heads. The U.S. and many Western countries have routinely sent gay asylum seekers back to the Muslim world on the grounds that, well, they'll be OK as long as they refrain from acting on their sexual orientation. Rarely do the people making these decisions seem to ask themselves: Does this person want to live here for the right reasons? Does he share our love of freedom? Will he be a good and loyal citizen if we let him in? Too often, indeed, perversely, the people who get into the West most easily are those who hate the West and its freedoms the most. How many Saudi students, for example, are at colleges in the U.S. right now, busily participating in the anti-American and anti-Semitic antics of Muslim Student Associations? How can any American Commander in Chief with a shred of genuine decency and moral courage return to Saudi Arabia someone like Asseri – who simply wants to breathe free – when the U.S. is full of Saudis for whom the very word freedom is anathema?
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