A Turk who claims to be a descendant of Islam’s prophet Muhammad has converted to Christianity while living in Germany.
But Sedar Dedeoglu, of Luedenscheid, now faces a threat to his life if he’s forced to return to Turkey, and is seeking help from German authorities.
Dedeoglu, who is involved in Christian outreach programs among Muslims, has been receiving death threats from Muslims unwilling to accept his conversion. His relatives also regard the apostasy as shameful.
If Dedeoglu is returned to his native country, he very likely would be killed, his lawyer says.
Despite this threat, the German Federal Migration Office and several courts of justice have rejected asylum applications by the Dedeoglu family. They claim Christians are free to practice their religion in Turkey.
To avoid deportation, Dedeoglu, his wife Husniye and their daughter Isil now hope at least to be tolerated in Germany as a “case of hardship.” According to their attorney, Oswald Seitter, it is impossible to overlook the extraordinary danger the Dedeoglu family is facing.
For Muslims, he said, it is undeniable Dedeoglu descends from Muhammad’s daughter Fatima and her husband Ali. In Dedeoglu’s hometown, Elazig, in eastern Turkey they used to be revered as a holy family. According to Seitter, the apostasy of a family member is regarded as an insult of the prophet himself.
Dedeoglu’s case has become so widely known in Turkey that his life is in real and imminent danger, the lawyer said.
“We should rejoice that a such a person has become a Christian, and we should avoid any actions which could put his life in additional danger,” Seitter told an evangelical news agency.
Seitter is an evangelical Christian and used to be the speaker of the synod of the Protestant Church in Wuerttemberg.
Dedeoglu came to Germany in 1997 and asked for asylum because of political persecution of the Kurdish minority in Turkey. Four years later, he and his family converted to the Christian faith. They are members of an Evangelical Brethren church.