Mr. O, a citizen of Nigeria, was the victim of violent attacks waged by a Muslim youth group. Several times while he played soccer, Muslim youth spectators stormed the field and assaulted the players. The team’s bus was also attacked multiple times, injuring Mr. O and other athletes.
His mother and five siblings were among those killed in 2010, when rioters attacked and bombed their church. The rioters were likely the group who had harassed Mr. O and his teammates.
Mr. O had his chance to escape the violence later that year, when he was accepted on a soccer scholarship to a university in Tennessee. He did not want to return to Nigeria, fearing he would be killed because of his Catholic faith and western education. A friend helped him come to Minnesota, and his college advisor pointed him in The Advocates for Human Rights’ direction.
The February 2012 day he was granted asylum was one of the happiest of his life. “Of all the organizations, my mind picked The Advocates, and I am happy I made that decision,” he said. He feels at home in Minnesota because of the diversity and large African community in the Twin Cities.
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