Pupils speak in support of Kamal Begi

Pupils speak in support of Kamal Begi


Written by: Harmit Athwal

Students at an east London school are hoping against hope that their campaign will stop the deportation of their Afghani classmate, Kamal Begi.

Kamal Begi, a Brampton Manor student, and his uncle have lost all their appeals for asylum and are under threat of deportation, despite having lived in the UK for over six years. When they arrived in January 2002, they were granted leave to remain for a year and then later refused indefinite leave to remain.

Kamal says that his father and one uncle were murdered by the Taliban and he was threatened by having a gun held to his head. His family decided that, for his own safety, he needed to leave. The family is Hazara, a Shia grouping which has, allegedly, been subjected to ethnic cleansing by the Taliban. Kamal left his mother and three younger brothers to travel with an uncle by a tortuous route through many countries to arrive in the UK and seek asylum.

Kamal, who joined his local Brampton Manor School in East Ham, London in September 2003, is now leaving Year 11, having taken his GCSEs. He is expected to do well and has been accepted by Newham 6th Form College where he plans to take his ‘A’ levels and later hopes to go to university and read business studies and information technology.

The school has already collected over a thousand signatures on a petition for him to stay which was handed to Lyn Brown MP at the House of Commons on 24 June.

Below we publish excerpts from letters written by fellow students campaigning for Kamal’s right to stay.

‘I have known Kamal for 5 years and as long as I have known him for he has not caused any trouble in or outside school … All he has ever done since he has come to this country is try and work hard to the best of his ability … please do not make him another statistic in Afghanistan … I and a lot of other people will be devastated if you take him away from us.’

‘He is a peaceful young boy with a chance to better his life in this country, he has built bonds with so many people including me. I have known him for 5 years now and would like to know him for the rest of time.’

‘He has always stood beside me when I was in trouble … the best memory of him was when we were in central London and we got lost, it took us 2 hours to find our way back. While I was panicking Kamal was keeping me calm.’

‘Me and Kamal have a very good memory. We both had some history.’

‘What’s the point him going back now. There’s war going on in his country, his life is in danger there.’

‘I started new and I never had friends. Kamal was my first friend. I never got along with no one. He was my first friend in Brampton Manor … he inspires people. If Kamal leaves then nothing will be the same without him.’

‘This person is always willing to go an extra mile to achieve best results. Kamal is an inspiration to the community and many children look up to him … He always used to help me. In maths lessons he was like my personal teacher … in ICT we used to have a laugh between ourselves.’

‘Kamal has been a close friend of mine for five years. He has helped me out in difficult situations and resolves things for me. When I need help on any of my work he tells me what to do and also helps other classmates. So here I am trying to say he is a great, loving and caring person so he should be allowed to stay … Our school has prepared a petition and of that doesn’t work out we are willing to go further because we won’t give up.’

Please support Kamal Begi’s campaign and sign the petition.

Related links

Sign the petition for Kamal Begi

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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