Thursday, September 14, 2006

Isaac Schrödinger

[posted by Callimachus]

This blog has such a small readership you probably could fit us all in the Ardmore Taproom, where I first learned to drink, and still have room for a darts match. But because of that I feel like we're family. And if you're asking, "then why aren't you nicer to us," that's because you never did a Christmas with my family.

Well, now it's time for me to ask you to pull together for one of the family. The blogger who goes by Isaac Schrödinger has been a long-time friend here. He is a citizen of Pakistan, but living in Canada and seeking refugee status. He is a fierce defender of the rights and freedoms we all cherish who do this -- which ought to be universal but too often still bear the limiting adjective "Western."

And he has been an outspoken critic of the extremists of Islam. In the combined practice of his freedom and expression of his opinion, he has written and published words and images that would put his life at forfeit in his homeland. He has, among other things, published the Danish Muhammad cartoons.

And yes, you read that right. In Pakistan, blasphemy against Islam is potentially a capital offense. Isaac quotes the relevant clause:

Use of derogatory remarks, etc. in respect of the Holy Prophet. Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.

His claim to refugee status in Canada seemed secure. But it turns out it was not so. Now he faces a hearing in four months to determine his fate: residence or deportation.

He will need a lawyer. And some luck. We can't buy him luck, but we can help with the lawyer. At the urging of some of his friends, he's put up a donation button at the top of his sidebar. I think you can guess the rest of the message.