A family who fled war-torn Iraq after an assassination attempt fear they will be killed if they are deported back by the UK government.
The Al-Aloosi family escaped the country at the height of the Iraq war in 2006 after dad Yasir faced death threats from the ruling Shia militia.
His family were subjected to a car bombing attempt for being Sunni, a minority group in the country.
The Home Office has rejected the family’s asylum claim and told them they will be detained and deported back to the troubled Middle Eastern nation in March, the Liverpool Echo reports .
Electrical engineer Yasir and his family found safety in Liverpool in 2013 and his 18-year-old daughter Yam said she felt like a Scouser now.
A petition has been set up to help keep the family, who now live in Kensington, an inner city area of Liverpool, in the country.
Yasir said before the car bombing he was bombarded with death threats.
The 50-year-old added: “They did this for sectarian reasons, we come from Muslim background. We are Sunni Muslim and the militia belong to Shia – they only want their own people, they don’t want anyone else.”
His wife Fanan, 44, and their three children Jean, 20, Yam, 18, and Wed, 11, initially fled to Jordan before Yasir was granted a work visa in the United Arab Emirates.
When Yam was on a study exchange programme in 2013, her family came to visit her in Bath but were unable to return to the UAE because Yasir’s work contract was cancelled.
The dad-of-three said: “We couldn’t go back there and we definitely couldn’t go back to Iraq, so we were stuck here and that’s when we applied for asylum.”
The family were housed in Kensington, where they have lived for the past five years, while their asylum claim was processed.
Under UK law the Al-Aloosi parents were not allowed to work – so instead enrolled in scores of college courses in a bid to keep busy.
Clever youngster Jean was awarded a place at Cambridge University to study maths, but was unable to take it up when the family’s asylum bid was rejected.
The same happened to Yam with an engineering course she wanted to study in Sheffield.
If there had been any doubt that the militia in Iraq had forgotten about the family, it was dispelled when a threatening note was put on the front door of Yasir’s elderly parent’s house in Baghdad two years ago.
It stated that if the elderly couple did not give their son up, they would be taken and killed instead.
The terrified couple – both in their eighties – have now also fled to nearby Jordan.
For 18-year-old Yam, who has spent her formative teenage years in Liverpool, the prospect of leaving her friends and life here to go back to a terrifying war zone is unbearable.
She said she feels like a Scouser now, adding: “I really like Liverpool, the people are really nice and all the friends I have made have been really helpful.
“I have made my own family here and it would be really horrible to just leave them.
“The idea of going back makes me feel awful. If the situation was getting better then maybe, but its not – every day we hear something has happened, like another suicide bomb just the other day and we also heard about a shopping mall being blown up recently – as a teenager I would want to be out and going to places but I just won’t be able to.
“One of the memories I can remember vividly was when we were driving to a birthday party, so it was quite a happy occasion and I was dressed up nicely.
“And then suddenly the car was caught between two groups fighting and the car was getting shot at – I remember my mum pushed my head under the seat and I didn’t know what was happening, that is just one of the things I remember.”
The teenager was recently treated for post-traumatic stress disorder because of her experiences in Iraq.
But it appears that none of these factors have been able to convince the Home Office that the Al-Aloosi family should not be forced to return to their war-ridden home.
Yam added: “They are saying they would put us in a detention centre and then deport us – my little sister cried for an entire night when she heard about that.”
A spokesman for the Home Office said: “The United Kingdom has a long and proud history of granting asylum to those who genuinely need our protection, and each claim is carefully considered on its individual merits.
“Where someone is found not to need our protection we expect them to leave the country voluntarily. Where they do not, we will seek to enforce their removal.”