No Longer Strangers
NO LONGER STRANGERS
My Family's Experience of Seeking Asylum in the West
Javed MasihThe Biography of a Christian Asylum Seeker
Javed Masih was a well educated practising and committed Roman Catholic in Pakistan where 1.6% of the population are Christian. Being among those who are persecuted for their faith, Javed fled to The Netherlands to seek asylum. In just over 100 pages, Javed relates the sub-title of the book ‘My Family’s Experience of Seeking Asylum in the West’. Javed had written a book about the Pakistani Christian Minister of Minority Religious Affairs who had been assassinated when he had to escape rapidly from Pakistan with his family to Amsterdam. There is not a word of bitterness throughout the book: only thanks to God for his blessings at every stage of the two years it took to receive their permanent residence certificate and integration into Dutch society. The family experienced a series of short stays in very basic camps staffed by a few professionals and many volunteers, from mostly religious organisations across the denominations. Wading through Dutch bureaucracy and waiting for decisions was debilitating. But the kindness of individuals was appreciated by his family who all cooperated in trying to alleviate unhygienic and depressing conditions. The worst feature was the constant uncertainty and the frustration of having virtually nothing to do. Getting people to teach them Dutch was a struggle. Understanding a distinctly alien culture was equally hard for refugees from the dozen or so nationalities thrown together and deprived of all former status and dignity. But on every page Javed refers to a biblical event or teaching, stimulating him to thank God for his mercy and goodness. He comes across as an inspirational, charismatic Christian leader in adverse circumstances caring for people regardless of denomination and religious background.
Reviewed by David Sellick
Church History - Biography