Atheist Saudis seek asylum in Britain

Published May 2nd, 2016 - 12:46 GMT
British Prime Minister David Cameron meets Saudi Foreign Minister in 2011 (AFP / Akira Suemori)
British Prime Minister David Cameron meets Saudi Foreign Minister in 2011 (AFP / Akira Suemori)

A Saudi family are claiming asylum in the UK – because they fear persecution for their atheist beliefs.

Haifa and Abdullah Alshamrani, who have two children and moved to the UK last year, say they’ve been threatened by Saudi officials and fear they won’t be safe if they return home.

Haifa had been preparing to complete a pre-medical course at the University of Glasgow when her scholarship from the Saudi government was withdrawn. The couple say it was cut off because Abdullah refused to help Saudi students build a mosque in Glasgow – a request that came with significant pressure from the Saudi Embassy.

Saudi officials denied the claim that the pair had been asked to help with the construction of a mosque.

The news has provoked strong reactions on Twitter, with many Saudis using threatening language against Haifa. 

Repent or the sword. From the truthful hadeeth of Ibn Abas, may god be pleased with him and the prophet, peace be upon him: He said: "Kill whoever changes their religon"


She is free to obey or disobey God… For she is the one who will pay.


Others condemned Mrs. Shamrani for leaving Islam - or blamed her leaving Saudi for her loss of faith.

Islam doesn't need her!

Nobody says you’re exaggerating.
(Cartoon: Man gives another man scholarship papers for international study. He says: “Don’t return until you’ve become an infidel!”)

Other tweeters, however, were more accepting of the family's belieifs – and criticised those who condemned them.

This hashtag is full of [people] wanting to kill her, drag her, drink her blood, stone her, and dismember her. Is this Islam? If so I don’t blame her.


Faith can't be forced on anyone, ISIS methodology is refused.


Glasgow MP Patrick Grady has said he will support the family in their request for asylum, Herald Scotland reported.


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