As the doors of the P&O container carrying the human cargo of Afghan Sikhs were flung open at the Tilbury docks at 6.37 am last Saturday, what was revealed was the sad plight of the 35 souls who opened their eyes to a freedom earned with tragedy, leaving behind the misery, terror and uncertainty of Afghanistan.
Despite being guaranteed a solitary national assembly seat by Hamid Karzai in 2013, the Afghan Sikhs continue to flee – with their homes and Gurdwaras burnt to the ground, taxed the ‘Jazia’ tax for being ‘infidels’ and unable to cremate their dead even today in the Afghan capital Kabul, they leave behind not only their home of over five centuries but crucially the daily persecution, communal terror and an inhospitable Afghanistan.
It is very likely that the Tilbury docks Afghan Sikhs may receive asylum here in Britain as genuine refugees escaping the clutches of a Talibanised society. However, it is a stark reminder of how millions across the world face internal and cross-border displacement often resulting in illegal immigration to places offering safety, familiarity and opportunity.
Illegal immigration remains a huge problem in Britain, yet the Labour Party has consistently ensured that any debate about immigration is a taboo for most politicians and anyone daring enough to discuss it constructively is hastily labelled as racist. The matter of illegal immigration has created a society divided in its opinion not just on legal, positive and managed immigration, but increasingly of multiculturalism itself.
But this is a situation not limited to the United Kingdom, as over the last decade India has had a socialist Congress-led Government unwilling to tackle the problem of illegal immigration from Bangladesh while shamelessly issuing ration cards and voter identification documents legitimising millions in return for votes.
It will take far more than just recruiting more officers to man our ports or carry out more raids on illegal immigrants already here. We have to respond much more profoundly to illegal immigration and forced displacement by working to tackle the roots of the problem, from proactively bringing to justice the criminal gangs trafficking people to fighting and defeating the evils of terror, poverty and corruption that stifle hard-working people around the globe from realising opportunities, creating wealth and building safe and just communities, often forcing them to move.
When we have to waste millions of pounds of our hardworking taxpayers’ money and over a decade wrangling with the looney liberals that reside in the European Court of Human Rights to deport a UNSC resolution 1267-sanctioned terrorist like Abu Qatada even as genuine refugees such as these poor, brave Afghan Sikhs have to make such a needlessly perilous journey to reach safety, peace and security; somewhere our immigration system is broken.
While we dither in indecision to help and give refuge to the defenceless, distressed and displaced Yazidis facing the evil blades of Islamist terror at their throats, we have an increasingly daring, devilish and depraved Islamic State forcing yet more internal and cross-border displacement.
PM Cameron continues to say “I have been very clear that this country is not going to get involved in another Iraq war. We are not putting combat troops, combat boots on the ground, that is not something we should do.”
Yet with hundreds of young Muslim Britons already raging jihad on the frontlines of the Islamic State, likely to infiltrate back into the UK, the threat of something like a ‘Mumbai’ type terror attack this time in London, is an increasing possibility. As India has unfortunately had to suffer over the past few years, the lack of immediate action to fight such evil head-on usually exacerbates the situation.
When will we realise that the call for action against the evil that is Islamist terrorism is not a call for a fight of one religion against another, it is a fight to protect not just Hindus, Christians, Sikhs and Jews but also our Muslim brethren from being over-run by this spectre of poisonous and extremist ideology. No one should be forced to leave their homes. We are genuinely all in it, together.
We owe it not just to our ancestors who fought fearlessly to defend our freedom of today but also our children and our grandchildren to ensure a safe, secure and prosperous world of tomorrow.
We need a new ‘Axis-of-Good’ as it is about time that that we did more than just dropping bottles of mineral water on Mount Sinjar.
It is about time that we stood up to protect our freedom of tomorrow. It is about time to put the interests of the free world first, for we cannot forget that we have only One World.