Islamic Human Rights Commission
25 July 2002
1. Urgent Alert – New Tactics Used by Immigration Services for Unwanted Asylum Seekers & Model Letter
2. Rally in Luton for 28 July 2002
1. Urgent Alert
Historically religious places of worship have always been treated as sanctuaries where the weak or oppressed or those in danger seek refuge. Even War Criminals like Sharon respected this fact earlier this year in Bethlehem when alleged terrorists sought protection in the church of nativity. This morning however, police officers raided a Mosque in the West Midlands to remove an Afghan couple and their children who had taken refuge there earlier this month.
Rather than negotiate with the mosque committee, the Immigration services had chosen the extreme use of force. 12 Police officers, some of whom were dressed in riot gear sealed the Mosque just as Fajr prayers were coming to an end and used a metal battering ram to break in. The door was left broken.
Had the family sought refuge in a church it seems unlikely that such drastic action would have been taken at all. A spokesperson for IHRC commented that ‘It is clear from the decision to use force that the immigration services apply rules of sensitivity only when it suits them, it also shows that the values and ways of life of Muslims are not placed on an equal footing with those of other faiths’.
The family, fleeing from the Taliban, were illegally smuggled into the UK from Germany and have been living here for the past year.
The were denied the right to stay in the UK on compassionate grounds and were told by the Home Office that they would be deported to Germany on Friday. Campaigners for the family have argued that the family were in danger in Afghanistan and that they had also suffered racial abuse in Germany and would therefore not be safe there either.
IHRC are encouraging campaigners to write to David Blunkett and their local MP, using the followingmodel letter.
Rt. Hon David Blunkett Home Secretary
The Home Office
50 Queen Anne’s gate
London SW1H 9AT
Name of MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
I am extremely disturbed by the way violence against asylum seekers has been legitimised by the Immigration services. The dispute regarding the Afghan family in the west Midlands could have been resolved through negotiation on both sides instead of the brute force that was actually employed.
I am also concerned by the manner in which the police raided the Ghausia Jamia Mosque in Lye, as worshippers had completed early morning prayers on the 25th July 2002. I feel it is wholly inappropriate and disrespectful to violate the traditions that make places of worship sanctuaries for those seeking refuge.
Please can you explain why it was necessary to storm the mosque without having first tried more peaceful means to persuade the family to leave the premises? Is this action standard of New Labours new policy in dealing with unwanted asylum seekers?
I trust that an apology will be issued to the committee members of the mosque and that this disgraceful incident will not be repeated. I look forward to hearing from you regarding this matter.
2. Rally in Luton for Human Rights and Justice in Palestine
Date: Sunday 28 July 2002
Time: 4.00 pm
Venue: The Moor Park, New Bedford Road, Luton
Speakers: George Galloway MP, Rabbi Grohman, Furrak Awan,
Dr. Anthony McRoy, Mohammad Awan, Massoud Shadjareh
Bury Park Jamia Masjid, Grren Party, Main Mosque Westbourne Road, Beech Hill Methodist Church, Masjid-e-Ali, Medina Mosque, Noor Masjid, Socialist Alliance, UKIM…
From M1 Junction 11 turn towards Luton and stay on Dunstable Road until you see a Sainsbury’s on the left hand side. After Sainsburys, turn left at the roundabout onto Telford Way. At the next mini-roundabout turn left onto New Bedford Road. It is immediately on the left.
For more information please contact:
(07960 076 099)
“And what reason have you that you should not fight in the way of Allah and of the weak among the men and the women and the children, (of) those who say: Our Lord! Cause us to go forth from this town, whose people are oppressors, and give us from Thee a guardian and give us from Thee a helper.”
Holy Qur’an: Chapter 4, Verse 75
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Islamic Human Rights Commission