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Gay teenage asylum seeker forced to share house with Taliban sympathiser

2016-02-12
A gay Iranian teenager who sought asylum in the UK following the persecution he received because of his sexuality has been placed in a Middlesbrough property alongside a former Taliban sympathiser. Local MP for Middlesbrough Andy McDonald has called the decision by private contractor GS4, who manage properties across the entire North East England region, as “ridiculous”, reports The Independent. “A young man in my community who is gay and who has come to this country is having to share a bedroom with somebody who was once a member of the Taliban - an utterly ridiculous state of affairs,” he said. Under the former Taliban regime in Afghanistan, the punishment for homosexuality was death. Last month, the housing of refugees in the Middlesborough caused controversy after it was alleged – and later rebuffed – that asylum seeker properties could be identified in the area by their red front doors. McDonald told MPs during a parliamentary debate he was “amazed” to find out “different people can be put into a single bedroom quite inappropriately.” He also told The Independent he had met with the teenager personally, and while his friends have offered him support, he was “very reluctant to go back to the other property, because he knows his roommate’s history”. “There have been many other instances where people who shouldn’t have to share rooms are being made to,” he said. “Another man, a former Muslim, has converted to Christianity and is worried about sharing a room, because apostasy is not welcomed. “Nothing has happened and we hope nothing will, but it’s that sort of thoughtlessness that characterises the way these contracts are run.” Openly gay Labour MP Steven Doughty has also called the decision a “shocking example”. “As a gay MP myself, I would find it horrendous to be placed in accommodation with somebody who potentially had persecuted me or potentially would persecute me,” he said. “However, that is the reality of many people’s experience - they find themselves in unsuitable accommodation. “Yesterday in the Home Affairs Committee, we heard one example of 11 people being crowded into a room, and I have heard examples of individuals being placed with people who allegedly may have persecuted them in the past. Some very serious concerns are being raised.” Last week, it was reported a 20-year-old gay Syrian refugee who fled to The Netherlands experienced persecution from fellow asylum seekers after escaping the war-torn country. “Coming to the Netherlands, which is the country one associates with freedom of expression and liberalism, and being bullied for being gay, was a shock,” Omar told French news agency AFP. “It was surprising that all those people who were tired after the long journey, still had it in them to harass me.” More stories: Jason Derulo gets completely naked in ‘Naked’ music video Does Kanye’s new album artwork rip off Madonna?