Edmonton man fears for his life after being issued deportation notice
Published Saturday, January 3, 2015 5:19PM MST Last Updated Saturday, January 3, 2015 6:28PM MST
An Edmonton resident is facing deportation because of his family’s links with the terrorist organization Hamas.
In fact, John Calvin, who does not use his real name, told CTV News that his family was one of the founders of the group.
“It is pretty close to ISIS. They are vicious when it comes to anything they are doing,” he explained.
“I was expected to take a role. I am the first born and thus I'm automatically expected to grow up to take a role in everything that was going on.”
However, Calvin had other ideas, which included a conversion to Christianity when he was 19-years-old.
That decision put him at deathly odds with his family, especially his father.
Calvin said he was able to hide his new faith for a while but they found out one night when he was on the phone.
“My mother overheard what I was saying, she screamed and then my father came. The whole thing came out. My father tried to stab me however I ended up jumping out of our window.”
From there Calvin said he found refuge with a local church. Within months he had been offered a scholarship to a bible college in Toronto.
While in Canada he applied for refugee status. He said that claim was suspended in July 2012 when his file was handed over to the Ministry of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.
A hearing was held to examine Calvin’s application but on New Year’s Eve, 2014 he received a letter of deportation.
To Calvin, that is a death sentence.
“So anyone who is converting is apparently a supporter of Israel, which made them traitors and thus they are convicted with treason.
“You get shot. Where there is no court, no hearing, no police. If someone just say accuse you of treason take you publicly and shoot you, that's it.
“As soon as they put their hands on me I will be executed.”
One of those called to speak at the hearing on John’s behalf said he was appalled with the decision.
“He has never engaged in any violent conduct. In fact, he was very much at odds with his father who was a Hamas leader. And he managed to get out, “ Dr. Leo Mos said.
Mos explained that he first meet Calvin three years ago, after Calvin applied to King’s University where Mos was a professor.
“I didn’t think he needed any help, or psychological help. We talked about his journey and it was as interesting to me as it was to him. He is very knowledgeable about both the Koran, which of course he was raised with, and the Bible, which he later acquired in his later teenage years.
“He is young. He is a great kid. He deserves to be here quite simply. I do worry about his life. I think I know enough about Hamas and the West Bank and I know enough about Islamic State and conversion especially in the contemporary world of Christian persecution around the world. I do think this could be a death sentence.”
To further complicate the situation, Calvin has told his parents that he is gay.
“When I did come out I did actually contact my parents and told them that I was gay and I did not care what they thought.
“That is another crime punishable by death without judgement,” he explained.
“You don’t actually really go to court for being gay you just get shot.
“So, if I am not executed for apostasy I am to be put to death for being gay.”
Calvin has 30 days to appeal the decision, which will mean a costly process involving the Federal Court of Canada.
To help him cover the costs, friends have started a crowdfunding campaign called Save John’s Life.
With files from Amanda Anderson