September 28, 2009
WASHINGTON, DC (ANS) -- A Pakistani Christian man who married a Muslim woman who converted to Christianity has won the right for the couple to secure asylum in the United Kingdom.
The couple was helped by the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), the international affiliate of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ).
The ECLJ, in collaboration with Gillman-Smith Lee Solicitors and Barrister Mark Mullins, recently convinced the U.K.'s Asylum and Immigration Tribunal to permit an appeal by the persecuted couple to move forward and to issue a ruling on behalf of the couple.
"This represents a critical victory in the ongoing challenge to protect those who take great risk in proclaiming their Christian faith," said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the ECLJ and ACLJ.
"At a time when so many Christian converts face real persecution-including the threat of death-it's encouraging that this couple can now stay in the U.K. We're delighted we were able to provide assistance in this very important case," he said.
According to the ELCJ and ALCJ, the couple faced persecution from the woman's family because of their marriage and Christian faith. The woman's uncle, who is Muslim, attacked the couple in their home. He then detained them in his house for several months, beat them, and forced them to recant their faith. The uncle also sought the services of a Muslim cleric to teach the couple about Islam.
The two justice groups say that although current Pakistani law neither prohibits nor allows religious conversion, conversion from Islam to Christianity subjects converts to Pakistan's notorious blasphemy laws that often results in beatings and death.
The couple, whose identity is being withheld for their safety, made several attempts to flee before finally escaping. They received a visa to the U.K. and applied for asylum there. The U.K. Border Agency denied their asylum claim, but the couple was given the go-ahead to appeal that decision.
The ECLJ & ACLJ provided a critical report urging that the appeal be permitted and the couple be granted asylum in the U.K.
The report included an in-depth look at the danger facing interfaith couples and Christian converts in Pakistan. The U.K. Asylum and Immigration Tribunal allowed the asylum appeal on September 2, 2009, deciding that the couple prevailed on their asylum claim and should not be removed from the U.K.
Copyright 2009 ASSIST News Service. Used by permission. All rights reserved.