Note: The name has been changed, but the facts have not.
To be a Christian in Syria during that country’s Civil War could be like living with a target on your back, as Fayez knows too well. In 2012, the Free Syrian Army killed Fayez’s neighbor, who was also Christian. Several other Christians were injured in the shooting, but Fayez was not harmed.
Later when Fayez was attending college, his friends demanded that he join the Free Syrian Army; if not, they threatened to kill him. After repeated threats, Fayez moved back home.
Fayez’s family clan also had a feud with a rival clan dating back to 1944. That’s when their relationship soured due to jealousy and wealth. The rival clan leader was imprisoned for attacking and shooting Fayez’s great grandfather. While the rival leader was in prison, Fayez’s family bought all 1,000 acres of the rival clan’s property. Then, the rival leader’s wife suffered a miscarriage and he died in prison. Fayez’s family was blamed.
The hostility continued until 1992, when the rival clan demanded their land back and blood to avenge their losses. They called for the blood of Fayez or his younger brother. At that time, the Syrian government was able to protect Fayez’s family. But 30 years later, the rival clan renewed their demands. They destroyed Fayez’s coffee café business and left a note demanding blood for blood.
The threats were consistent and constant. Fayez and his younger brother were not allowed to leave their home. Eventually Fayez escaped to the United States and settled with extended family in Portland.
In December 2014, LCSNW’s Safe Route Immigration program filed an asylum application for Fayez. During his interview, he became disoriented and confused after three hours of intense questioning. He was fortunate to have an immigration officer who allowed him to take a break; it could have easily spelled trouble for him.
Fayez was granted asylee status in April 2015.