Let Reza Karkah stay in the UK
Reza Karkah, a 38 year old Christian asylum seeker from Bradford is due to be separated from his English wife and child and deported to his home country of Iran, where he faces imprisonment, torture after his application to the Home Office for asylum failed.
Mr Karzah has been in the UK since fleeing Iran in 2003, but after his initial bid for asylum was rejected in 2004, he became a homeless drug addict and a petty criminal, meeting his now-wife on the streets.
In 2015 something incredible happened and they both became Christians after being introduced to the faith by a local church’s outreach programme. After being baptised Mr Karkah managed to kick his drug habit and has now been out of the criminal justice system for five years. He is highly active in his local church and undertakes outreach to Iranian Muslims and translates church services from English to Farsi.
In 2016, Reza applied for asylum a second time but was rejected after a judge ruled that he had fabricated his faith. The assessment was based on a 150 question interrogation, where Mr Karkah answered a number of questions correctly, but under pressure failed to identify who betrayed Jesus and the denomination of his independent evangelical church. He also failed to answer a question on his favourite Bible passage because he misinterpreted the word passage.
Bishop Michael Nazir Ali, a theologian and expert on international Christian persecution has said that he has met Reza and his wife Leigh and that they both seemed entirely sincere in their Christian faith and life. Bishop Nazi Ali also noted that Iran remains a dangerous place for Christian converts from Islam and that Mr Karkah is at real risk of losing his liberty or even his life, whether judicially or extra judicially via vigilante action and that he deserves protection.
In a tribunal judgement on his case in 2018, the Home Office downplayed the threat to Reza Karkah and said that there was no reason to believe that deportation would pose a real risk to Mr Karkah despite the fact that Mr Karkah’s Christian baptism alone, would be punishable by death under Sharia law in Iran.
An expert witness in Christian-Muslim relations, Dr Martin Parsons has testified that “if deported to Iran Mr Karkah is likely to face various forms of persecution as a Christian who has converted from Islam; and that it is ‘likely the Iranian authorities are already aware of his Christian activities’. Dr Parsons has also provided expert analysis in defending Reza Karkah against the Home Office allegations that he has ‘fabricated his faith’.
Iran has been listed as number 9 in the list of 50 countries where Christians face most persecution on the Open Doors watch list.
Mr Karkah has already received several threatening messages from Iranian citizens on social media. It is clearly not in his best interests, let alone those of his vulnerable wife and 4 year old daughter, for Reza Karkah to be deported back to Iran. The Home Office has claimed that it would not put undue strain on this young family to be split up and suggested that British born Mrs Karkah and her daughter ought to move to Turkey in order that the family can be together.
Sign the petition today, urging Home Secretary Priti Patel, to exercise some common sense, compassion and decency and grant Reza Karkah asylum.
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Please allow Reza Karkah to stay