A family in Scotland have launched a fresh bid for asylum after being forced to flee their home country because they are Catholic.

Lorina and Wilson Dallas, who have lived Glasgow for more than a year, say they received death threats in Pakistan and that their lives would be at risk if they were made to return. 

But the couple, who have two children, have been forced to reapply for asylum in the UK after the Home Office dismissed an initial application and two stages of appeal, the Evening Times reports.

The pair were living in Dubai towards the end of 2017 when Lorina visited her brother in Pakistan.

Whilst in Karachi, Lorina, 31, and daughter Candice, were invited to speak to a group of women at a local Muslim wedding.

Lorina said things turned sour when she was questioned on why she would not convert to Islam, with the pair later attacked, held at gunpoint and ultimately forced to flee the country.

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Lorina said fatwa – a religious ruling meted out by recognised Islamic scholars according to Sharia law – had been issued against her, calling for the family to be killed.

The mum-of-two said: “My life was at risk. Since I came to the UK my brother has also been attacked, resulting in him losing his two front teeth. We have been trying to claim asylum for more than a year but have been refused.

“I am scared, there are lots of things going on in my mind. It is not easy being a mum, thinking about my children’s future. I don’t know what to do, what will happen. It makes me frightened and scared.

“I fear for my life, but also for the children as well. If we are forced to return they will be part of it and in danger.

“It is hard and they are punishing us because we are a minority, we cannot raise our voices.”

The Dallas family arrived in the UK on December 28, 2017, first in London before being transferred to Glasgow.

The family lived in Govan for a short while before relocating to Sighthill, where they have become well-known in the community through their volunteering work, despite living on just £151 per week.

Lorina, a beauty student at Kelvin College, has been studying alongside volunteering in the area while Wilson, who worked for Red Bull before being forced to give up his job in Dubai, helps people with IT skills at Springburn Library.

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The couple along with Liam, nine, and Candice, six, have also become very involved with St Aloysius’ Church in Springburn, who are now supporting them in a fresh asylum claim.

The family’s lawyers are currently gathering evidence ahead of next month, and are hopeful that the Dallas’ can be given the “protection they require”.

Darius Katani, the family’s solicitor, said: “We are in the process of obtaining fresh evidence to show that the Wilson family are at risk on return to Pakistan due to their religious beliefs.

“We hope to obtain a new expert report to comment directly on the issues raised by the Home Office and the judge of the first-tier tribunal.

“We are confident that the new evidence will create a realistic prospect of success for the Dallas family.”

An online petition has also been launched to drum up support for the family ahead of their fresh asylum bid.

Led by St Aloysius’ Church, the appeal calls for members of the public to sign up and help save the lives of the family.

Father John McGrath said: “The Dallas family have come to this country because they have nowhere else to go for refuge.

“The family are frightened for their lives after receiving death threats. All they ask is for the right to live in peace.

“Religious zealots have demonstrated to the family that they are not prepared to allow them human rights and will harass the family should they be forced to return to Pakistan.

“People in Springburn of all faiths and none are incensed that the government has rejected the family’s appeal.”

A number of politicians from across Glasgow have also backed Lorina and her family’s bid to stay in Scotland.

Springburn MSP, and fellow St Aloysius’ parishioner Bob Doris, raised the Dallas’ plight at First Minister’s Questions, with Nicola Sturgeon offering her help to the family.

Mr Doris said: “The fatwa issued against Mrs Dallas was an outright attack on her religious freedoms and personal safety. Following a gun attack in Karachi the family felt they had little option but to take refuge in the UK.

“With two children settling in well at school, the family need our help and compassion. I very much hope the Home Office will look again at the family’s case.

“Having discussed their situation with the Dallas family, I am clear they have a powerful case to stay here in Scotland.

“I have prepared a robustletter of support on behalf of the family to accompany what I hope will be a successful fresh application for asylum.”

Meanwhile, the family’s MP, Paul Sweeney, said the Home Office’s decision to refuse asylum to the family was “baffling”.

He added: “I am fully supportive of the family’s fresh claim for asylum, based on compelling new evidence, and stand ready to champion it at the highest levels of the British Government when it is submitted.”

In the midst of this ordeal, the family say the support of the people of Glasgow has been invaluable to them.

Wilson, 38, said: “The church and community have been very helpful, they have become our family.

“The children have made good friends and are doing well in school – we all want to stay here.

“It is very difficult to make a family, but it is even harder to leave one. We won’t be leaving them and are planning to remain for a long time.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The UK has a proud history of granting asylum to those who need our protection. Where a decision has been made that a person does not require international protection removal is only enforced when we and the courts conclude it is safe to do so, with a safe route of return.”

To sign the petition in support of the Dallas family, visit change.org.