Gay Palestinian Christian appeals against deportation from Canada
An out gay Palestinian man who was born into a family among the founders of Hamas says he could face death if he is deported from Canada to the West Bank.
John Calvin is the subject of a campaign to allow him to stay in Canada, as he is openly gay, and a convert to Christianity.
Writing in a blog post on Sunday on the Times of Israel, Calvin discussed his conversion from Islam to Christianity, and said if he used his birth name it would become clear that he is from “one of the most pro-Hamas families in the West Bank”
He wrote: “Please help me, I don’t want to die.”
A petition on Change.org, signed by over a thousand people, now urges the Canadian Government to allow him to stay, rather than sending him to the West Bank.
“From as early as I can remember, I was taught that Islam was the one true faith, that violence was the only answer, and that the Jews were our enemies,” he wrote.
“These were facts, as real and obvious as the fact that the sky is blue. These were ‘facts’ and deep down I wasn’t sure if I believed them.”
He continued: “Hello. My name is John Calvin, and I want to live in a place where I can be free to be Christian, gay, and Palestinian, and a hundred and one other things.
“My name is John Calvin, and I want to live in a country where I’m free to forget about the circumstances of my childhood. My name is John Calvin and, most of all, I want to live. My name is John Calvin, and I need your help, desperately.”
As well as the petition, the hashtag #SaveJohnCalvin has taken off.
After fleeing to Israel, having crossed the border illegally, Calvin was sent to jail, where he was sexually assaulted by a fellow inmate.
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In the blog, the 24-year-old also recalled almost being stabbed by his father, who discovered he wanted to convert to Christianity.
According to reports, Calvin has had his request for asylum rejected by the Canadian Government.
He has denied claims that he shot at Israeli military jeeps, however, and on reports that he passed coded messages for Hamas through Israeli checkpoints, he said he didn’t understand the messages.
He said he had been given a gun by his grandfather when he was 14, but that he never shot it.
Speaking to CTV in January, Calvin said some of his family members were among the founders of Hamas.