Category Archives: Raja and Mahmoud

Raja speaks

From the Friends of Raja and Mahmoud Facebook page

Raja’s not allowed on Facebook in Yarl’s Wood but here is a message posted on her behalf:

“I am so happy and delighted at the way so many people have supported me. I thank everybody who has spoken out for me from the bottom of my heart. I run out of words to thank you enough. God bless you and God bless the people of Britain. Britain is a democratic country where there is justice and human rights and people can speak out for what they believe in as you have just shown by doing it for me. My dream is that one day we will be able to do the same across the Arab world.”

Let us join with Raja in dreaming and praying for a future world of full of God’s peace and justice.

Good news and a massive thank you!

24 Jun 2015 — The judge has ruled that the forced removal of Raja and Mahmoud scheduled for tomorrow cannot go ahead!

Slightly earlier Qatar Airways had said they wouldn’t fly them anyway!

Amazing news and massive massive thanks to everyone who has pulled together and brought this about. Raja was in tears of joy and relief hearing the news and hopefully will sleep tonight for the first time in a while!

This is just the start of the legal fight though because the permission hearing was not done today – it ended up only being about whether the removal should go ahead. We are now awaiting a date for a permission hearing to see whether a judicial review can be made on the case so please keep in touch as we will need all the support we can get.

Thanks so so so much everyone for your support!

More information on the Friends of Raja and Mahmoud Facebook page

Waterside Court Protest

Today saw the Friends of Raja and Mahmoud (#foram) protesting outside the Waterside Court Immigration Centre where the UK Border Agency’s Leeds office is situated. About 150 people came along to protest against the forced removal of Raja and Mahmoud.

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A huge thank you to all who came to speak out in support of Raja and Mahmoud.

Stop the deportation of Raja and Mahmoud

Raja Khouja, a women’s rights campaigner from Syria, is detained at Yarls Wood and threatened with removal to Saudi Arabia on Thursday 25th June 2015.

Raja and Mahmoud

Raja (56) is a member of the Syrian Republican Party and was involved in human rights activism on the internet, focused on the wider Arab world. She has written many times about her views on the denial of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Mutawa (the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice) has denounced her and she has received email and phone call threats of death, imprisonment and mutilation including for ‘the opposite limbs to be cut off the body’ were she ever to go to Saudi Arabia, the very country to which she is to be removed.

Raja is a Syrian national who has been living in Leeds with her Saudi husband Mahmoud Alhassan (67) for four years. They were stranded in the UK by the emergency in Syria. They are much loved and respected by her community of friends here in Leeds and we are gravely concerned for her safety were she to be removed to Saudi Arabia.

Raja and Mahmoud’s application for asylum has not yet been fully considered. Despite this the Home Office plans to remove them imminently to Saudi Arabia on Qatar Airlines, where Raja will be in extreme danger.

Raja and Mahmoud are great friends of All Hallows and we have grown to know and love them over the last few years.

Please show your support for Raja and Mahmoud by adding your name to this petition, and joining the campaign to stop the forced removal of our friends.

Write to Theresa May

If you have signed the petition to Theresa May on  why not email or write to her in person as well? You can use this template letter to get you started, but feel free to customise it!

Contact Qatar Airways


Raja and Mahmoud are scheduled to be removed on Qatar Airways Flight QA008 to Doha. Qatar Airways prides itself on being a high quality airline and doesn’t miss an opportunity to trumpet it’s SKYTRAX five star rating. It was apparently rated world’s best airline for 2015.

We can buy some time for Raja and Mahmoud by persuading Qatar Airways that it is not in their interests to allow the Home Office to remove them using one of their planes.

Please write to Qatar Airways, using this template if you like, asking them not to participate in the removal. Remember, remain polite and try to be as persuasive as possible, don’t make accusations.

You can send your messages to Qatar Airways London Heathrow Office by fax(0208 797 5003) or by email through Qatar Airways’ website (select Customer Services from the drop-down menu and fill out the form). You can also email the chief executive of Qatar Airways directly at – but I would recommend doing that as well as and not instead of contacting customer services as we’re not 100% this email address is correct.

You can call Qatar Airways Customer Services 0333 320 2454 (this is the number for ‘General Reservations’) and dropping them a line is an alternative option.

You can also tweet (@qatarairways) Qatar Airways and post to theirFacebook ( page – the same rules of politeness and persuasion apply!

Flight Details

Qatar Airways flight QR008 to Doha from Heathrow T4 25/06/15, 16:00.

Demonstrate outside Waterside Court

Monday 22nd June 12:30-1:30 
Please commit to join with Friends of Raja and watersideMahmoud to protest the unjust decision by the Home Office to detain in Yarl’s Wood detention centre and threaten with imminent removal, two dear members of our community. Raja and Mahmoud are known to many in Leeds through their involvement with the All Hallows Church community and from the year they spent living with a family in the Lilac cohousing project.

By holding a peaceful demonstration outside Waterside Court we will raise the profile of the case in a bid to stop their imminent removal and allow time for the judicial review of their case.

Your participation will really make a difference, please join us and speak up for the right to sanctuary in our city.

Getting there: Waterside Court is at 471 Kirkstall Road, LS4 2QB. The number 33/A bus leaves the Leeds City Centre Bus station at 12:05 then at 10 minute intervals.


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