DIFFERENT WORLDS: Friends of Christian convert Khalid Muidh Alzahrani fear the refugee has been abducted from his Christchurch flat and taken back to Saudi Arabia – home to the Islamic holy city of Mecca – where it is against the law for Muslims to abandon their faith.
Two Saudi Arabian asylum seekers at opposite ends of the country have suddenly flown home, and friends are convinced they have been forcibly repatriated because they’d turned their backs on Islam. Tony Wall and Blair Ensor investigate.
A half-eaten chop rots in a frying pan on a stove. Packaged food spills out of a pantry. Elsewhere: electrical appliances, spartan furniture, towels, clothing.
Someone has left this council flat in the Christchurch suburb of Redwood in a hurry.
No-one has seen or heard from the tenant, Saudi refugee Khalid Muidh Alzahrani, known as Daniel, for three weeks, and the council has applied for an abandonment order for the property.
Alzahrani, 42, suffered polio as a child, uses a walking stick and a wheelchair, and has other serious health problems.
He arrived in Christchurch about five years ago on a Saudi Government scholarship to study English, moved to Dunedin after the earthquakes and then returned to Christchurch, converting to Christianity and applying for asylum. He was granted refugee status on the grounds that he would be persecuted in Saudi Arabia, and told friends he was terrified he would be kidnapped and forced to return.
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