Mr. J & Family Stalked, Threatened Because of Religion
When Mr. J., a citizen of Egypt and a member of that country’s Coptic Christian minority, was attending church, he responded
to a person yelling for help. He discovered a man attacking a woman. The man tried to run, but Mr. J was able to apprehend
him, and turned the assailant over to the police.
A week later, the assailant and others approached Mr. J. The man cursed and slapped him, and told him that he had thwarted the efforts to kidnap the woman and make her a Muslim. Neighbors intervened to end the confrontation.
When his sister-in-law—a nun—and her husband—a priest—were leaving Mr. J’s home a month later, several men began intimidating them. One man threatened to cut off the feet of both Mr. J and the priest if he saw the priest again.
Soon after, as Mr. J’s wife walked their young son to kindergarten, a motorcycle came up behind them and the man on the back grabbed for the little boy. Mr. J’s wife fought back, rescuing her son. That evening, the family received a phone call, with an anonymous voice demanding that the family convert to Islam. If not, their son and daughter would be kidnapped, the voice warned. Terrified, Mr. J went to the police. But, the officers refused to take the report, claiming Egypt had enough issues with which to deal.
When the frightening calls continued, Mr. J and his family hid in a relative’s home. The family’s location was quickly discovered, and the threats began again. Fearing for their lives, the family contacted the U.S. embassy to seek safety in the U.S. They hid until their visas were issued.
A local church referred the family to The Advocates for Human Rights soon after their August 2011 arrival in the U.S., and their asylum process began in November 2011. With assistance of volunteer attorney Franciso Gonzalez, the family’s asylum was granted in October 2013.
Making a home in Stillwater, Minnesota, both Mr. J and his wife are working and making plans for the future. “You can start a new life at any point here,” he said.