I am contacting you to ask for your prayers for an Iranian woman called Laleh whom the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit are helping.
Laleh is an Iranian convert to evangelical Christianity. She has been worshipping at a lively church in Manchester for the last two years and has been lodging with one of the pastors. The Home Office are seeking to deport her to Iran tomorrow – Good Friday of all days – where she fears persecution.
As you may know some forms of Christianity are tolerated in Iran and Christians have some legal rights. The churches which are tolerared are part of the Orthodox family of churches which worship in Assyrian – a language most Iranians don’t speak. As such these churches, which are not allowed to proselytise, are considered to be non-threatening by the regime. Evangelical churches are harshly persecuted. To convert from Islam is known as apostasy and the penalty is death.
The authorities here in the UK often use public holidays to deport people as it catches their solicitors, and the courts, on the hop. Generally courts do not sit on Good Friday (unless there is an emergency). Staff from the Immigration Aid Unit are working on a fresh application this afternoon for Laleh but if it is turned down it will be very difficult to get a judge to review the decision tomorrow. Many Iranians are not deported from the UK as they did not arrive on valid passports; however Laleh did, so it is possible for our government to deport her.
Please pray for Laleh, that her application may be successful, that a stay of deportation is granted, and that she is given the strength to face all that is happening to her. Please also pray for the Immigration Aid Unit as they work on this case.
Today, on Maundy Thursday, we are especially mindful of the unjust legal system which sent Jesus to his death; this should add a certain determination to our prayers for Laleh at this time.
With much love,
Metropolitan Community Church of Manchester