(iviews.com) A Libyan Muslim facing deportation has been allowed to stay in Canada, the Canadian Muslim Civil Liberties Association announced late last week.
Khalid Ghait, a self-proclaimed devout Muslim,arrived at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in 1997 to further his studies. He requested refugee status just one month upon his arrival on the grounds of religious persecution by Colonel Muammar Ghaddafi's regime.
Ghait claims the Libyan authorities arrested him in 1989 and 1995 for his religious practices, including associating with people who attended mosques and grew beards. The Libyan security service released him after he denounced his association with a Muslim group.
Ghait, who was among nine Libyans selected to study overseas, did not have a beard in Libya, but grew one upon arrival in Canada and began frequenting mosques, according to a personal information statement filed with the authorities. His group leader reportedly relayed the new developments back to Libyan authorities.
Amnesty international recently urged the Canadian government to reconsider Ghait's deportation. The human rights watchdog had been monitoring nearly a dozen cases in which Libyans were sent back and then detained, tortured or executed.
In a report prepared on behalf of Ghait, the secretary general of Amnesty International (Canada) wrote he was "...at serious risk of being detained and subjected to serious human rights violations, including torture upon return to Libya."
Ghait gained support from the 700,000 strong Muslim and Arab communities, many of whom turned out for a protest rally several months ago in Edmonton calling on the Minister to reconsider Ghait's case.
Numerous other individuals and organizations including the Canadian Islamic Center, the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC) and the Canadian-Muslim Civil Liberties Association (CMCLA) also worked on Ghait's behalf.