Huff Post: The past few weeks have unveiled some horrific stories of human rights abuse. The world was first shocked by the death sentence handed to Meriam Ibrahim, the then pregnant Christian mother in Sudan convicted of apostasy and adultery. We then learned of two Ahmadi Muslims in Saudi Arabia who could also face the death penalty for apostasy – though, in reality they never left Islam, but simply the Islam endorsed by their government. The world then cried #BringBackOurGirls after the kidnapping of hundreds of school girls in Nigeria by Boko Haram. Religious intolerance and extremism was compounded in India by extreme social prejudice after two young girls in India were gang raped and hanged to a tree because of the caste they were born into.
If none of these were enough to question our faith in humanity, any one of a hundred similar stories from the past few weeks could be added. For example, the dishonour killing – as there is no honour in killing – of the poor Pakistani woman by her family outside the Lahore High Court. Stories emerging from Myanmar told us about the dying children and disadvantaged Muslims from the Rohingya community who faced persecution and wilful neglect by even medics. Finally, a man, who I happened to meet in London only a few days before he returned to his motherland on a humanitarian trip, was shot dead in Pakistan. His crime? Being an Ahmadi doctor, daring to help those in need.
Not all the reports have been bad though. With enough attention and determination, we have managed to respond and stop some of these abuses or bring those responsible to account. The latest reports suggest that due to international pressure and condemnation, Sudan has decided to release Meriam. Public outrage has caused authorities in India and Pakistan to throw the book at both those accused – and those responsible – for the death of women belonging to the two nations. We also hear of individual stories of compassion, such as the Christian priest in the CAR sheltering some 1000 Muslim refugees in his church. Without his act of bravery and kindness, many of them would have perished in the genocide. The message is clear; if the governments, media and peace loving public take a stand, we can make a change.