An Iraqi nun who was forced to flee Islamic State in 2014 has finally been granted entry into Britain after being denied twice.
Sister Ban Madleen previously applied for a UK visa to visit her sick sister but was refused permission in March. A second application for a month-long trip to see her sister and sister’s family was denied last month.
Fr Benedict Kiely, founder of Nasarean.org, confirmed on Twitter:
Some good news for the day – Sister Ban Madleen from Iraq received her visa to visit her family in Britain for a month. Sad that it needed publicity and the intervention of J. Rees Mogg MP to get a victim of ISIS permission to visit her family in the U.K. pic.twitter.com/CdunyNFfgW
— Benedict Kiely (@benedict_kiely) July 17, 2018
Sister Ban’s case had been taken up by Conservative MPs Jacob Rees-Mogg and Sir Edward Leigh. Sir Edward raised the issue in the House of Commons on Monday, the same day her visa was granted.
Sister Ban, whose Dominican convent in the Christian town of Qaraqosh on the Nineveh plain was occupied by ISIS for two years, settled in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, where she set up pre-school centres.
In December 2016 three archbishops from Iraq and Syria were refused entry into Britain despite being invited by the country’s Syriac Orthodox Church for the consecration of the UK’s first Syriac Orthodox Cathedral, attended by Prince Charles.
According to Fr Kiely, another Iraqi Dominican nun with a PhD in biblical theology from Oxford has similarly been refused a UK visa twice.
Last year the Institute of St Anselm, a Catholic institute training priests and nuns in Margate, Kent, said it had been forced to close because of problems with visa applications for foreign students.