WASHINGTON – The Obama administration has replied to a request for rehearing of a case involving a Christian homeschooling family seeking asylum in the United States, asserting that the couple has not been able to prove that they have been persecuted by being forced to send their children to public school.
As previously reported, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the United States Department of Justice to respond to a rehearing request filed by attorneys for Uwe and Hannelore Romeike last month. The court had previously ruled against the Romeike family, opining that the requirement that their children be sent to public school in their homeland of Germany under penalty of law — and at the risk of losing their children — is not tantamount to persecution.
“The Romeikes have not shown that Germany’s enforcement of its general school-attendance law amounts to persecution against them, whether on grounds of religion or membership in a recognized social group,” the court stated. “There is a difference between the persecution of a discrete group and the prosecution of those who violate a generally applicable law.”
The Romeike family fled to the United States in 2008 after German authorities demanded that they stop homeschooling their six children. Homeschooling was made illegal in the country in 1938 under the dictatorship of Adolph Hitler, and the law has never been repealed, but rather strengthened. In 2007, the German Supreme Court ruled that the country’s mandate that children be sent to public school is necessary to “counteract the development of religious and philosophically motivated parallel societies.”
German officials have been cracking down on families that keep their sons and daughters at home, and have threatened them with fines, imprisonment and even the removal of the children from the household. The Romeike children were taken from their parents for a time before fleeing to the United States for refuge.
In 2010, Memphis immigration judge Lawrence Burman granted the family asylum, stating that he believed the Romeike’s would face persecution for their faith if they returned to Germany. However, the Department of Justice later appealed the ruling to the Sixth Circuit, which overturned Burman’s decision.
In court documents filed last week by the Department of Justice, the Obama administration asserted that the requirement that German children be sent to public school is valid as the government seeks to create an “open, pluralistic society.” It asserted that German officials are not persecuting the family by mandating attendance since the law applies to all citizens, regardless of their religion.
“Teaching tolerance to children of all backgrounds helps to develop the ability to interact as a fully functioning citizen of Germany,” wrote Senior Litigation Counsel Robert N. Markle. “Along with other evidence that Germany punishes all parents who fail to comply with the law, regardless of all the reasons the parents may provide for failing to comply, substantial evidence exists to support the Board’s determination that Germany has no persecutory motive against religious minorities when enforcing the compulsory-attendance statute.”
He then requested that the court deny the Romeike’s request for rehearing of their case, essentially contending that the family should be deported.
However, Michael Farris, president of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), which has been representing the Romeike family in the courts, wrote in a news release this week that it is antithetical to the principles of American liberty to assert that social tolerance trumps the right to homeschool.
“Attorney General Holder is trying to seek dismissal of this case because he believes that targeting specific groups in the name of tolerance is within the normal legitimate functions of government,” Farris said. “This cannot be the ultimate position of the United States without denying the essence of our commitment to liberty.”
“We’re trying to provide a home for this family who would otherwise go back to facing fines, jail time, and forcible removal of their children because of their religious convictions about how their children should be educated,” he added. “Why Attorney General Holder thinks that it is appropriate for any country to do this to a family simply for homeschooling is beyond me.”
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals will decide in the days ahead whether to rehear the case before a full panel, or force the matter to be sent to the United States Supreme Court.
As our world continues down a immoral, destructive path, (if they have the ability) parents should have the right to educate their own!
Keep the Romeike family in your prayers!
Obama Pushes Funds for Islamists — Trashes Their Christian Victims
snipped: Boko Haram frequently attacks Nigeria’s police and military forces. In 2012 as documented by the Facts on Nigeria Violence website, there were at least 67 attacks, almost exclusively by Boko Haram, against military barracks, police stations, prisons, and other government facilities, as well as against individual soldiers, policemen, and civil servants. But Boko Haram’s main targets are northern Nigeria’s Christians and churches. Read More
Open Doors Appeals For Prayer After Reports of Boko Haram Attack
Open Doors USA has issued an urgent appeal for prayer after receiving news that suspected Boko Haram terrorists attacked the predominantly Nigerian Christian village of Zangan in southern Kaduna around midnight on Monday. Local sources report fatalities and Open Doors says it understands “the entire village has been destroyed.” The village chief’s residence was reportedly burnt to the ground and the village chief’s whereabouts remain unknown after he fled Zangan.Churches and homes were among the buildings destroyed in the attack. Open Doors reports: “Zangan villagers are fleeing in large numbers for fear of escalating violence. Local sources have told us that Boko Haram had vowed earlier to destroy the predominantly Christian communities located in southern Kaduna. “We do not have any more details at this stage, but understand that this area saw a similar attack about four weeks ago. Open Doors urges to pray for the people of southern Kaduna state and Zangan village in particular.”
“The extremists group Boko Haram wants to create an Islamic state and put Sharia Law into effect in a country split almost equally between Christians and Muslims,” says Open Doors USA spokesman Jerry Dykstra. “Attacks by Boko Haram have killed more than 3,000 people since 2009, based on figures from Human Rights Watch. Please pray for peace as the violence is spreading, especially in northern Nigeria.” Read More
More Trouble With Pakistan’s White Stripe
Image: Reporter Mobeen Azhar speaking to Bushra Masih. Her home was burnt down after her brother was accused of insulting the Prophet Mohammed—Pakistan’s Christian minority is facing persecution through the controversial and far reaching blasphemy laws. Earlier this year, 120 Christian-owned homes in Joseph Colony, Lahore, were burnt down after one Christian man was accused of insulting the Prophet Mohammed.
As Pakistan completes its first democratic transition, minority rights have been an electoral non-issue. Mobeen Azhar speaks to cricketer turned politician, Imran Khan, to ask why. Many Pakistanis now believe the nation is at a cross roads. We hear from senior Christian politician, Akram Masih Gill, who has called for a separate province for Pakistan’s Christians.
Mobeen also hears from families who have been forced to flee persecution, a social worker who devotes his life to relocating Christians families who have been forced into hiding and Bushra Masih, the sister of the man at the center of the Joseph Colony burnings. Source
Persecution of Pakistani Christians- By Tabish Irfan
It is very sad to state that Christians of Pakistan are day by day persecuted under false cases in blasphemy law. This shows the weakness of Government and law & order department. Where as, many speeches had been made for the protection of minorities and all happenings show that this is only limited to words.
In March 2013, 178 houses of Christian Community in Badami Bagh Lahroe were burnt in the presence of Lahore Police which clearly shows that Christians are not safe in Pakistan under such Law and Order situation where the Government and Law and Order department are helpless in saving human lives against mindset of Islamic extremists. An other case in March 2013 was also booked in Shahdara Lahore under Blasphemy Law in which a hawker was arrested by police and declared insane, by declaring such things what would have happened to the family of the hawker. Many such, numerous cases take place whereas many of them are not high-lighted and reported in the Media. Another such case came into notice of a lady Mrs. Tabassum Khurram residing in Defence Lahore Pakistan who was booked under Blasphemy Law 295-B-C only for teaching poor Christian Children in remote areas as she was voluntarily working for the uplift of Christian Community. Even though a Minister Shehbaz Bhatti in support of Asia Bibi and to make amendment of Blasphemy Law was brutally murdered. This shows clearly that in this Blasphemy Law if a high profile case is not safe how can a normal living person be safe. We all are pray full that Our Lord may Protect His People.
German Homeschoolers Denied Asylum
(BP) — A German homeschooling family has been denied asylum in a unanimous decision by a three-judge panel of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upholding a ruling by the Board of Immigration Appeals. “Congress might have written the immigration laws to grant a safe haven to people living elsewhere in the world who face government strictures that the United States Constitution prohibits. But it did not,” the judges wrote in releasing their ruling today, May 14th. Instead, asylum laws apply only to those who have a “well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion,” and the Romeike family did not make a sufficient case, the judges ruled.
The Romeikes fled Germany in 2008 because of mounting fines and the threat of losing custody of their children unless they attended public school in a country where homeschooling is illegal. In 2010 they were granted asylum, but the Obama administration appealed the decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals and won.The Home School Legal Defense Association, representing the Romeike family, had argued that the right of parents to direct the education of their children, including homeschooling, is a fundamental human right that the government must protect.
“We believe the Sixth Circuit is wrong and we will appeal their decision,” Michael Farris, founder and chairman of HSLDA, said in a statement. “America has room for this family and we will do everything we can to help them.” Mike Donnelly, HSLDA’s director of international affairs, said Germany continues to persecute homeschoolers. “The court ignored mountains of evidence that homeschoolers are harshly fined and that custody of their children is gravely threatened — something most people would call persecution. This is what the Romeikes will suffer if they are sent back to Germany,” Donnelly said. Read More
Egypt: detained Christian teacher released on bail
ERITREA | CSW Calls for End to Human Rights Violations in Eritrea
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) renews its call for an end to human rights violations in Eritrea, including the abuse of freedom of religion or belief, ahead of the 11th anniversary of a government crackdown on all but three Christian denominations and the start of mass detentions of Eritrean Christians.
On May 15, 2002, all churches, except those belonging to the Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran denominations, were effectively banned, and the era of mass arrests of Christians began. Over 2,000 Christians are currently detained in Eritrea without charge or trial, often in life threatening conditions pending denial of their faith.
Initially members of independent evangelical and charismatic churches were singled out. Even permitted churches, eventually, began to experience persecution. Orthodox patriarch Abune Antonios has been under house arrest since 2006 for resisting government interference in church affairs. Priests seen as sympathizing with him are detained, harassed, forced out of the church, or conscripted following the 2005 revocation of clerical exemption by the government. The government has also attempted to seize Catholic schools and projects, and the conscription of seminarians and other church workers is reportedly occasioning a shortage of personnel.
CSW will join six organizations from the UK and Ireland in a protest vigil against human rights abuses in Eritrea outside the Eritrean embassy in London on May 30, which will be followed by an evening of prayer for the nation. Read More
From Saeed’s wife, Nadhmeh Abedini:
There has been a Farsi (Iranian) human rights Facebook page started to raise awareness to the Iranian population on Saeed’s imprisonment and human rights violation for his religious freedom. Please share and spread the word.
Please pray for continued open doors for me with the Iranian media (BBC Farsi, VOA Persia) and other secular Sattelite TV that reaches the Iranian population.
Time is of the essence to bring awareness to the Iranian people and support them in speaking out against Iran’s human rights violation as the Iranian election nears (June 14)…. The Iranian people who are open to the Gospel and are speaking up about human rights in Iran need our support and prayers.