Now let’s see what constitutes persecution, according to the United Nations Refugee Convention:
Persecution and the Reasons for Persecution
“Although the risk of persecution is central to the refugee definition, “persecution” itself is not defined in the 1951 Convention. Articles 31 and 33 refer to those whose life or freedom “was” or “would be” threatened, so clearly it includes the threat of death, or the threat of torture, or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
So let’s say you have apostatized from your religion (example: Islam), but your country’s laws (or unwritten laws) does not allow you to apostatize or convert, or else you’ll be facing severe punishments such as death, imprisonment or rehabilitation – right now you’ll be leading double lives. One religion when you’re outside, another when you’re inside your private homes. That’s fine, but how about the future, when you decided to fall in love with your partner who doesn’t share the same “supposed” religion as you do, and that “supposed” religion doesn’t allow inter-faith marriages? Or you’re already having kids by the time you decided to apostatize? Or you had already apostatized, went to another country, had a legal civil wedding, give birth to your child there, then decide you have to come back to your country with your kid?
Persecution is a serious thing, even if it does not involve injuries. Making someone stay in solitary confinement or rehab for an amount of time not specified and making them submit to your cause or turning them into vegetables, although no physical torture was present is a type of persecution. Try abducting a heterosexual man, placing him in a no-escape room secluded in a place he do not know of and forcing him to become gay. Keep throwing in gay pornography materials into his room/cell and demonstrate homosexual actions in front of him while someone else forces him to watch your acts. Although no acts of rape was done, do you think that the person forcing the victim has done nothing wrong?
This is where your compassion comes into realization. Or not. But most of us know what was wrong with the situation. Same thing goes to people who were persecuted based on their religious beliefs – they were forced to submit to something they never believed in their whole lives. What you think is true doesn’t necessary constitutes truth in other people’s belief system. This reminds me of a story written by Ajahn Bram, a Buddhist abbot of a monastery in Australia. You can read the story here.
Anyways, I have read a report from Australia’s Refugee Review Tribunal’s case file regarding a Malaysian lady who has converted from Islam to Christianity, and claimed asylum in Australia during the year 2008. As a Malaysian I thought that religious freedom reports regarding my country wasn’t enough to show evidence but as shown in the RRT’s report I am glad that a Malaysian’s plea for protection from religious persecution has finally come true.