Family seeking asylum in York face homelessness

Daughter Yara is four years old
The family are being supported by the Jewish community in York
The family are being supported by the Jewish community in York. Picture shows Rabbi Daniel Lichman, Dena, daughter Yara and baby Liza

A Jewish family seeking asylum in York are relying on an online fundraiser to avoid homelessness.

Donate to the cause on the GoFundMe page

Dena Nuuman, her husband Sinan, and four-year-old young daughter Yara, moved to York from their native Iraq four years ago for Sinan to pursue a postgraduate degree in electronics at the University of York.

Since then they have had another child, Liza, born in York in 2015.

Sinan’s student visa expired after he completed his degree. The family would have to move back to Iraq if their claim is rejected.

The lease on Sinan’s university accommodation expired on September 4, leaving the family reliant on support from the local Jewish community to stay in temporary accommodation.

A verdict on the family’s asylum application will not be reached for another three months during which time they are not permitted to find work.

Hostile country

Daughter Yara is four years old
Daughter Yara is four years old

Approximately a third of Iraq is under the control of the terrorist group Islamic State, committed to genocide against Jews. The rest of the country remains broadly hostile to practicing Jews.

The fundraiser organisers aim to raise £5,000 to cover the costs of legal fees and private accommodation in York.

The National Asylum Support Service have not responded to the family’s request for housing support.

Jordan Hennessy, who started the GoFundMe fundraising appeal, told YorkMix:

The idea of sending a Jewish family back to one of the most volatile Arab regions is not one I’d like to comprehend.

It is incredibly important for the family’s safety and wellbeing that they can stay in York where they’ve thrived over the last four years.

Aware of her Jewish heritage in Iraq, Dena did not become a practicing Jew until she moved to the UK for fear of persecution.

Dena became an active member of the York Liberal Jewish Community from its inception in June 2014. She formally converted to Liberal Judaism last year.

Inspired by his wife’s faith, Sinan is currently going through the lengthy formal process of conversion himself.