Human Rights Defender, Shahzad Ahmed, files Asylum for Iranian Christian
~For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me. ~ Matthew 25:35 (ESV)
US Immigration Attorney Shahzad Ahmed filed for asylum relief for an Iranian Christian. The application is based upon the claim that if Mr. Ahmed’s client returns to Iran, he will be persecuted by Iran’s regime and its people.
The U.S. law of asylum is based upon the 1967 United Nations Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees and the U.S. Refugee Act of 1980. The law requires that the U.S. shall grant asylum to a foreign national within its borders who has a well-founded fear of being persecuted in his home country. The feared persecution must be on the grounds of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or belonging to a particular social group.
Christians have long suffered persecution in Iran, a country run by theocratic clergy which is harshly biased against minority religions. Apostasy in Iran (conversion out of Islam into another religion) is a crime punishable by death. Even if the Iranian regime does not carry out the penalty, a convert potentially faces mob attacks or severe harassment, forcing him to practice his faith underground.
“For years, my client was forced to hide his faith and his feelings for it. Thanks to the freedom of religion offered in the United States, he is now able to practice his faith freely. He no longer feels threatened,” Attorney Ahmed said.
When asked how he feels about advocating for Christians while he himself is a Muslim, Mr. Ahmed replied, “I see no contradiction in that. The Qur’an clearly states that ‘there is no compulsion in religion.’ So the so called ‘apostasy laws’ which some clergy believe in, I completely disagree with such laws and they should be dismissed by the clergy as non-Qur’anic. My client deserves to practice his faith freely, and I vigorously defend his right to practice it.”
--Shahzad Ahmed is an Immigration Lawyer, certified as an expert by the Florida Bar, and a Human Rights Defender. To visit his project, see www.facebook.com/hrdefenders
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