Editor's comment: Abdul must be allowed to stay in the UK
PUBLISHED: 09:00 15 April 2017
Stoke Newington is Abdul Hassan's home. By his own admission, he has "nothing" in Bangladesh.
He was taken away from his parents as a little boy; his father is now dead and his mother too mentally ill for the pair to have a relationship.
But that’s not the way the government sees it. The Home Office says his ties to his family in Bangladesh are too strong to justify allowing him to stay in the country that educated him, where all his friends are, and where he has just secured a six-year training course with a top City firm.
To send him to Bangladesh just as he begins the life for which England prepared him is cruelly and nightmarishly inflexible. Whose interest is served by sending him away? It won’t save the government any money, it won’t free up any school places, it won’t lower council tax or food prices or crime rates or any of the other things that politicians like to blame on international migration. All it will do is rip a hole in a community.
Abdul’s plight has attracted thousands of signatures – an extra 5,000 in the days since the Gazette ran it online. I’m glad we have shown Abdul that to us, at least, he is welcome here. But that support is only as useful as an amiable Christmas card unless it is taken into account at his appeal hearing in June.
Abdul should be preparing to enjoy his summer before starting a demanding professional life. Instead, a teenager and his friends are mounting a legal battle against their own government. It’s something I can’t imagine doing as a 29-year-old journalist; I certainly wouldn’t have fancied it at 18.
He should be granted indefinite leave to remain and given the freedom to get on with his life – which, for the avoidance of doubt, is here. Abdul’s friends, family and school – and the Gazette – will be right behind him in June. I only hope Abdul’s voice is heard.