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Candle Vigil outside St John’s in support of Ansari brothers

Emma | 23.11.2004 11:59 | Anti-racism | Education | Repression | Oxford

“Keep Azim in Oxford” Campaign
Candle Vigil outside St John's College
Tuesday 23 November 2004 (Today!)
17:30 - 18:30
Bring candles, yourself, and your friends.
Sign letters and petitions.
(Town AND Gown Welcome!)

Support Azim and Wali’s Ansari’s campaign to remain in the UK, as valued members of our community. Defend Azim’s right to complete his studies free from the fear of persecution in order that he might be better able to contribute to the world.

We all want to change the world – this just might change someone’s life…

Meet outside the main entrance to St John’s College today (Tuesday 23rd November) at 5.30pm. Thank you very much.


Azim Ansari is a first year undergraduate reading engineering at St. John’s. He and his brother Wali feared for their lives in Afghanistan, where tens of thousands of their ethnicity have been slaughtered in the last decade, and fled from their home and country leaving their parents and family. They claimed asylum in the UK in 2001 and were granted exceptional leave to remain in July 2002.

Despite Azim having gained admission to St John’s College in 2004, the Home Office is refusing to extend this exceptional leave to remain. They claim that Afghanistan is now a safe country. The brothers have appealed against the decision and the case is due to be heard on the 22nd December.

Azim and his brother Wali, who has been working in Bristol to support them both, have made every effort to contribute to our society. Azim’s success in gaining a place at Oxford, just three years after arriving in Britain without English, friends or funds is a tribute to their extraordinary determination and bravery.

We believe:

Azim Ansari is a valued part of the Oxford community and deserves our solidarity. A motion to this effect was passed unanimously in OUSU Council and motions in support of the Ansari brothers have now been passed by the following Colleges:

Having settled and began his studies, Azim has every right to remain in the UK.

Azim would be far better able to contribute to the rebuilding of Afghanistan once he has gained an engineering degree from Oxford. (He plans to work in international development).

The definition of Afghanistan as a 'safe country' is, at best, dubious. Medecins San Frontiers, known for working in some of the most dangerous countries in the world, have pulled their entire medical staff out from Afghanistan (summer 2004). They had previously been working in the country for 24 years without a break.

Since the disappearance of their family, Azim and his brother have nothing and nobody to return to in Afghanistan, and returning now would destroy Azim's hopes for an Oxford degree.

Also, students at Oxford University should have the opportunity to sign petitions/letters on Friday…
Stalls in Oxford College
Friday 26 November 2004
All day!
Contact to find out what your college is doing.

Those outside the University can download petitions and letters online from

Thank you so much.


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