Don't send Andrew Mustapha to danger in Morocco
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Andrew Mustapha Boussik is a young man of passionate integrity who has risked and lost everything to speak out against the preaching of a violent version of Islam. He came to the UK seeking safety and is now detained by the UK government and threatened with removal on Tuesday 16th to Morocco where he is hated and reviled for what he has said and done. He must not be sent back where he risks being killed as an ‘apostate’.
Update: Mustapha's removal was postponed by the Home Office 'due to operational reasons' on Tuesday 16th and on Wednesday 17th Mustapha was released and returned home. For details see petition updates below. Please continue signing and sharing the petition as we do not know whether the Home Office might seek to remove him again.
Mustapha was brought up near Agadir, Morocco. As an adolescent and young man, he was a fervent believer in Islam. He attended mosques where a message was preached that was about violent Jihad, and he joined and became a key member of Brothers for the Sake of Allah, a Salafi Jihadist youth organisation active across Morocco in spreading a radical message of Islam. Mustapha was by this time leading prayers in the mosques. His passionate belief, keen intellect and leadership potential were recognised and he was put forward by his Imams for an all expenses paid scholarship to study Arabic Studies in Al Medina, Saudi Arabia. Mustapha was well on the way to becoming one of the very Imams whose radical messages he had been hearing all his life.
But as he entered his early 20s, Mustapha was beginning to doubt. He found that in all integrity, he could not agree with the messages of violence and secretly started seeking for truth, at first by looking at online sites which critiqued the interpretation of Islam he had been hearing all his life. It was a search which shook him to the foundations as he found that he increasingly agreed with the critiques and started to admit to himself that he could not continue to support the beliefs which had formed his whole identity, and that of his entire family and community. He came across the website of a Christian convert from Islam, now living in the USA, and felt drawn to the messages of love and forgiveness he found there and found that this, for him, reflected God, and truth.
Mustapha managed to make contact via the internet with the secret Christian community in Morocco. The community was living in fear and was very suspicious of infiltration and discovery but one man agreed to secretly meet Mustapha and give him a Bible. Mustapha now knew that he could not continue as a Muslim and began to think that he was called to be Christian. However, he knew that if he told anyone in the Brothers for the Sake of Allah, he would be seen as an apostate and he had many times heard the preaching that apostates should be killed.
At this time a young Imam from the UK visited Mustapha’s home town on a study visit. Mustapha recognised in him a different kind of Islam, more open and tolerant, and knew that this man could be a friend. He still did not dare to share his beliefs about Christianity but they did talk about doubts and questions, and the dangers of living in Morocco having been a fervent member of the Brothers for the Sake of Allah whilst now entertaining doubts.
The young Imam, now back in the UK, urgently arranged for Mustapha to attend a summer course at a University in the UK.
With 1 day to go to his flight date, Mustapha told his immediate family about his opinions about Islam and that he had been finding out about Christianity. They were shocked and could not believe it at first, but when they realised he was serious they were furious and his elder brother physically attacked him. He fled from the house.
Once in the UK, Mustapha met a priest who heard his story and told him about the possibility of seeking asylum. He attended an Anglican church, where he became a committed member and was baptised with the name Andrew Mustapha. Troubled by all the messages of violent Jihad which he had heard preached in Morocco, and thinking of the young people who were constantly exposed to them, he began to post his own videos online of the kind which he himself had found so helpful when he was questioning.
While he waited for a decision on his asylum claim, Andrew Mustapha volunteered at a community organisation, interpreting for other asylum seekers using his several different languages. His keen intellect and potential was recognised by Oxford University, who told him that they wanted to offer him a scholarship but were unable to as the Home Office had not given him leave to remain in this country.
However, his asylum claim was refused by the Home Office and he was taken into detention and has now been given the date of Tuesday October 16th for removal to Morocco, the very place where the Brothers for the Sake of Allah, his family and former community all now know the full truth of his conversion and regard him as an apostate.
Surely a young man like Andrew Mustapha, who has risked everything to argue against messages of violence and to follow his beliefs with integrity is the kind of person that our country should be offering protection to, not sending back to risk death. We call on the Home Secretary to halt his removal to Morocco and to consider the new evidence in his case.
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