The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has made a further impassioned plea to keep a Malawian mother and daughter in Scotland.
The Rt Rev John Christie addressed over 2,000 Church of Scotland Guild members at their annual meeting in Dundee’s Caird Hall last week, putting the case for asylum seekers Precious and Florence Mhango.
Mrs Mhango has argued that, if returned to Africa, her daughter will be taken to live with her former husband's family and will be at risk of genital mutilation.
The Moderator based his speech on the Guild’s key theme for the 2010-11 session, “called to love mercy”.
He voiced his bitter disappointment at Home Secretary Theresa May, after she refused to intervene in the Mhangos' case following a joint letter from himself, Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and the head of the Catholic Church in Scotland, Cardinal Keith O’Brien.
“There are certainly for the three of us, and many others, good reasons for them to be allowed to stay in Scotland," declared Christie. ”This is an opportunity for compassionate love and it would be disappointing, to say the least, if they are deported."
He added: “The New Testament is full of examples between the tension of the law, and grace and compassion. In these set of exceptional circumstances I believe grace and compassion should prevail.”
After Mrs Mhango left her violent and abusive husband, the pair no longer had the right to stay in the UK.
Precious, aged 10, and her mother lost an immigration appeal at the High Court in London and were ordered to return to Malawi in July 2010.
The family, who were staying in Cranhill in Glasgow, hope to appeal against the deportation ruling, but could now be removed at any time.
The Guild, staunch campaigners against injustices such as human trafficking and domestic abuse, have added their support to the battle to keep the two Malawian asylum seekers in Scotland.