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Tunisian man seeks permanent residency in New Brunswick

Man who has taken refuge in a Shediac, N.B. church since 2015 hopes to make Canada home
WATCH ABOVE: A Moncton refugee clinic is going public with the case of a Tunisian man who has taken sanctuary in a church in Shediac, N.B. since 2015. They’re hoping to get his case heard, and his permanent residency application accepted. Paul Cormier has more.

Mohamed Amine Maazaoui has been living in a small room at the Shediac Bay Community Church in New Brunswick for two years and two days.

After converting from Islam to Christianity when he was 19, the Tunisian-born man fled his country of origin, with his adopted family, because he feared religious persecution.

“The Sharia law, the Islam state, if you leave your faith, you must be killed,” said Maazaoui.

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So in 2011, they moved to Canada.

While his family was granted permanent resident status on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, Maazaoui’s application was refused, leaving him in a state of legal limbo.

“Mr. Maazaoui’s application was rejected because the deadlines for submitting the applications were not respected.” said lawyer, Akram Ben Salah.

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Akram Ben Salah’s organization, the New Brunswick Refugee Clinic, provides free legal assistance and representation to refugee claimants. Lawyers with the clinic have examined Maazaoui’s situation and call it a compelling case for permanent residency on the same grounds awarded to his family.

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“Arriving in Canada perfectly trilingual,  Mr. Maazaoui found no difficulty in communicating in French or English which made his integration in the community as well as in professional life, very easy,” added Salah.

Salah says a review of Maazaoui’s case by an immigration officer could take years, and inaction from
elected officials has forced the NBRC to make a public appeal for help.

They are urging Ahmed Hussen, the Federal Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, to
intervene in Maazaoui’s case.

“All we need is for someone to read his application because we are sure he meets all the criteria asked by the immigration of Canada,” concluded Salah.