Manchester: school leads campaign to stop deportation of Coptic Christians

Our Lady's Church

Our Lady's Church

Pupils, parents and staff from a Catholic school in Manchester are leading efforts to stop the deportation of a Coptic Christian family to Egypt.

Campaigners on behalf of the Mansour family are holding a vigil at Our Lady's Church in Moss Side on Tuesday 14 July, to protest at the fact that the family - with 5 children under 10 - are still being held in detention, two weeks after they were forcibly removed from their home in Moss Side on Wednesday 1 July.

The Mansour family, with 5 children aged 10 , 7, twins of 3 and a 1 year old, were just minutes from being forced on a plan back to Cairo on Saturday 4 July, before action from the family and campaigners halted their deportation.  They have now been held at Tynsley House detention centre, Gatwick for almost two weeks - and have had no further information as to whether the Home Office will make a further attempt to deport them or not. 

Hany Mansour, a member of the Coptic Christian minority, was a successful businessman in Luxor, Egypt until he was harrassed, detained for 17 days by the secret police and tortured for allegedly insulting Islam.  The family has independent medical evidence corroborating his torture - a fact which has been accepted by the authorities, in spite of the fact that they wish to return him to Egypt.  The Home Office claims that it is safe for the Mansours to return, even though independent media reports show continuing persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt.

Carrie Hetherington, a foundation Governor at Our Lady's School said: "It is shocking that the Home Office is trying to forcibly deport a family with five young children in this way. It is doubly shocking that the family is still in detention after almost two weeks - No family should have to go through the ordeal that the Mansours are being put through.

"After four years, the Mansours have settled in Manchester, the children are thriving at school and the family have formed good relationships in school, at church and the wider community.  The Governors, the school, the parents and the wider community are 100% behind the campaign for them to be released from detention and the threat of forcible deportation, and given permission to continue with their lives in Manchester.'

The Mansour family campaign being run by parents and teachers from Our Lady's school, is gaining momentum: 

*         Over 2,000 people have signed a petition to allow the Mansours to stay in the past 10 days. 
*         Many classmates of the two oldest Mansour children at Our Lady's School have written personally to the Immigration Minister, Phil Woolas, asking that their friends and classmates be allowed to return home to Moss Side.

*         Tony Lloyd MP has given his support to the campaign.

The Mansour family appeal campaign is calling on the Home Secretary to:

*        Stop any further attempts to forcibly deport the family
*        Order their immediate release from detention
*        Give serious consideration to giving the family Indefinite Leave to Remain in view of the fact that, after four years, they have settled in Manchester, the children have thrived at school and the family have formed good relationships in school, at church and the wider community.

The Vigil is being held at Our Lady's Church, Raby Street, Moss Side, M16, from 5.30pm - 6.15pm.  Following the Vigil in the church there will be a mass balloon release.

The campaign has a Facebook group at: The petition is at

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