Syriac Orthodox Bishops Refused Entry into Britain
Last month, Archbishops Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf of Mosul, Timothius Mousa Shamani of St Matthew’s and Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh of Homs and Hama, were all refused UK visas which would have enabled them to attend the consecration of the UK’s first Syriac Orthodox Cathedral.
Prince Charles, who has been an outspoken advocate for persecuted Christians in the Middle East, addressed the congregation at St Thomas Cathedral last week to which the Archbishops were invited. Because of the British embassy’s decision however, they were unable to attend.
Lord Alton of Liverpool, said he was incredulous when he heard the news. “When the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch told me that these two bishops had been refused visas to come to the UK for the consecration of the new Syrian Orthodox cathedral I greeted it with incredulity and disbelief. It’s a decision that brings shame on our country.
“These amazingly courageous bishops come from the Mosul region of Iraq – where Christians have been beheaded, crucified, raped and either forcibly converted or forced to flee as their possessions have been seized by radical Islamists. It adds insult to injury that the UK would refuse admission to men who pose no threat and whose community has suffered so much – especially when we still fail to bring to justice Jihadists who have committed genocide.”
UK Visa and Immigration’s decision is especially egregious since earlier this year, they were apparently happy to admit the radical Muslim preacher, Shaykh Hamza Sodagar who gained notoriety this year for his lecture on “one of five” ways to kill homosexuals at which he said:
“If there’s homosexual men, the punishment is one of five things. One – the easiest one maybe – chop their head off, that’s the easiest. Second – burn them to death. Third – throw ’em off a cliff. Fourth – tear down a wall on them so they die under that. Fifth – a combination of the above.”
That a man who preachers such repugnant drivel would be allowed into the UK, but not these bishops who were attending the consecration of the UK’s first Syriac Orthodox Cathedral is a national disgrace.
They were refused because there was concern that they would not leave and that they did not have enough money. As Mor Athanasius Toma Dawod (the UK Syriac Orthodox Archbishop who invited them) made clear however, had they come, they would have stayed in the vicarage and they did in fact have the necessary funds. In which case, both of these claims are in fact unfounded.
Please sign this petition asking the Minister of State for Immigration, Robert Goodwill MP and director General, UK Visas and Immigration, Mark Thomson to apologise to these bishops and investigate fully the extent to which Christians from troubled parts of the world are being discriminated against in their visa applications.
Sign this petition now!
Syriac Orthodox Bishops Refused Entry into Britain - You Owe Them an Apology