As Muslim Immigrants Invade America, Pastor Fights for US Asylum
September 02, 2016
While President Barack Hussein Obama and Presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton continue to advocate for the importation of thousands of Muslim immigrants, one Christian pastor has been fighting for nearly a decade to be granted asylum in the United States for him and his family.
Finally, their journey is over. Three years since fleeing Uzbekistan – following four years in a labour camp, house arrest and death threats – Pastor Dmitry Shestakov has arrived in the United States, where he and his family have been granted asylum.
- It’s been almost 10 years since Shestakov was first detained, after a raid on his Full Gospel Church in Andijan, south-eastern Uzbekistan.
- The date was 21 January, 2007. Four years to the day later, he was released.
- Shestakov had been found guilty of two offences: the organisation of religious groups and manufacture/distribution of materials that “threaten social safety and public peace”.
- He was sent to a prison camp in central Uzbekistan, 450 miles from his home, making it difficult for his wife, Marina, and three daughters, Maria, Alexandra and Vera, to visit.
- When eventually he was released, only two church members went to collect him.
‘HAD TO ASK PERMISSION TO LEAVE HIS OWN HOME’
“No-one else dared to come, because they’re afraid to attract unwanted attention due to their connection with him,” a charity worker with Open Doors, which advocates for Christians like Shestakov, said afterwards. Their name was withheld to protect their security. “Pastor Dmitry has to be very careful and everything he does will be strictly monitored. This includes the people he will be talking to, everything he says, everywhere he goes, and much more.”
Shestakov himself said he had been “ordered to follow strict guidelines and regulations”.
He added: “I am a pastor and I want to serve God, but I have to find a wise way to do this.”
But two years later it became apparent that staying in Uzbekistan was no longer possible. After being made to ask the police for written permission to leave his house, and then receiving death threats, Dmitry Shestakov took his family to Ukraine, where they were granted refugee status by the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Then, after another three years, on Tuesday 30 August, Dmitry, Marina and their two youngest daughters – Alexandra (20) and Vera (16) – landed on US soil. They will live in Florida. (Their eldest daughter, Maria, 22, is now married and has stayed in Ukraine with her husband.)
But challenges still lie ahead for the family, according to Sergey Rakhuba from Mission Eurasia, which hopes to raise $10,000 for them to help their transition. He said the money will go towards rent, food, furniture, clothes and transportation.
“After nine years of hardships, the family is arriving with nothing – no money, no housing, and precious few possessions,” Rakhuba said.
Read the entire story on Pastor Shestakov on World Watch Monitor
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