Imran Firasat, a Muslim-turned-Christian from Pakistan who currently resides in Spain, is facing down a Spanish government that seems determined to punish him for his film, The Innocent Prophet, about the prophet Muhammad. The Spanish government has: 1) revoked his Spanish residency and now threatens to extradite him; and 2) initiated a prosecution for violating a Spanish hate speech law. The Spanish authorities have justified their revocation of his residency on the grounds that he is "threatening national security with the production of this video."
Although Mr. Firasat is originally from Pakistan, the Spanish authorities might also deport him to Indonesia, where his wife is from (and still lives) and where Firasat lived from 2008 through 2010. Meanwhile, the accompanying hate speech prosecution filed against Mr. Firasat is because his film violates section 510 of the Spanish Penal Code, which is a crime that punishes incitation to hatred and violence for racial, ideological or religious reasons. More facts about Imran Firasat's case may be found in an earlier column I wrote, here. In interest of full disclosure I should note, that the Legal Project is providing financial assistance to his attorney.
The most disturbing part of this Spanish campaign against Mr. Firasat is that the Spanish government really should know better than to push for Imran Firasat's deportation from Spain. As the government is aware, if he is sent to Pakistan, he may face death for his frequent blasphemy.
As the government is aware, if he is sent to Indonesia, the Indonesian authorities have actually accused Mr. Firasat, and convicted him, in abstentia, of a spurious murder charge. The Spanish learned this fact two years ago, when Interpol to enable police around the world to work together to make the world a safer placeis the world's largest international police organization, with 190 member countries. Our role is to enable police around the world to work together to make the world a safer place. is the world's largest international police organization, with 190 member countries. Our role is to enable police around the world to work together to make the world a safer place. contacted them regarding an Indonesian warrant. At that time, a Spanish judge ruled that the Indonesian conviction was not strong enough to merit his expulsion from Spain. The Spanish also know that Mr. Firasat has been accused -- but not convicted -- of blasphemy charge(s) in Indonesia. After all, Spain originally gave him refuge because his criticism of Islam, in various Muslim nations, put him in danger of blasphemy punishment anywhere within the Muslim world.
So, to sum up, the Spanish authorities are trying to remove Imran Firasat from Spain, even though they are aware that: 1) if he were sent back to Pakistan, he very well might be killed for blasphemy; 2) if he were sent back to Indonesia he would be exposed to either a murder conviction or a blasphemy charge, or possibly both; and 3) if he were deported elsewhere, there is an Interpol warrant hanging over his head that could be used to send him back to Indonesia to the same result