Thursday 26 July 2012

Ibrahim sleeping out

A FAILED asylum seeker has spent the past three weeks sleeping rough on College Green in protest – and threatened to sew his eyes and mouth shut to get his point across.
Ibrahim Moulkaf, 43, had to flee Algeria in 2009 after writing a book criticising the government and violent behaviour of Islamic fundamentalists and promoting peace.
  1. Ibrahim Moulkaf, backed by supporters,  on College Green
    Ibrahim Moulkaf, backed by supporters, on College Green
The publication of Democracy in the Arab and Islamic World in France led to hard line Islamic militants starting a hate campaign against him.
They preached in Mosques about him, he received death threats, beatings in the street and his home was raided. He fled to England and applied for asylum but has continually been denied residence preventing him from gaining access to work, education or benefits.
He says he decided to apply to voluntarily return to Algeria, despite the risks, but permission was refused because a travel document could not be obtained for him.
Mr Moulkaf said he had now decided to voluntarily sleep rough on College Green to protest at his position.
"I sleep on the grass unless it is raining and then I shelter either under the council building or in a shop entrance," Mr Moulkaf told the Post.
"I had been staying in a house but I have come out here in protest because my appeals for asylum have been continually denied. It is hard and I am very tired.
"It is important because this is not just about me it is about the many other, more than 100 asylum seekers, sleeping on the streets in Bristol."
Paulette North, of the Respect Party, has started a petition and is submitting a motion at Bristol City Council's cabinet meeting tomorrow entitled: "We urge Bristol City Council to follow the example of Glasgow City Council."
Last month Glasgow City Council criticised the UK Border Agency for the amount of failed asylum seekers sleeping on the street and demanded that the Government relax restrictions on what local authorities can provide.
Ms North, who is the Respect party Bristol mayor candidate, said: "We are making a noise and asking for the council to intervene. We need to give failed asylum seekers hope.
"We are the fifth richest country in the world but this is still going on. We are reaching breaking point because there is such a feeling of injustice, despair and hopelessness.
"I hope this protest will be like a snowball that will grow and grow because this is one of the most vulnerable groups of people.
"He has even threatened to sew his mouth and eyes shut to make a point."

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