WINNIPEG (Canada), Jan 21, 2016:
A Malaysian student whose family allegedly disowned him after learning he was a gay and had left the Muslim faith is now seeking refugee status in Canada.
Hazim Ismail’s story has caught the attention of the Malaysian media after the story was highlighted in a GoFundMe campaign in Winnipeg, according to a CBC News
The campaign which kicked off last month was to collect funds for Hazim to complete his studies at the University of Winnipeg.
“I had reached out to the media with my friends,” said Hazim. “They thought it would help my GoFundMe when my family cut off financial support.”
The GoFundMe campaign raised CAD$5,630 (RM17,000) in two months, according to the report in CBC News.
“It was surprising,” said Ismail of the support he had received from the community.
“Maybe I have a poor sense of self, but it was really touching, and some of the messages were so nice and encouraging and gave me power to keep going and trying.”
However, his story took off on different path in Malaysia when its media picked up the story.
“I had one reporter from Malaysia, he asked me to reveal the names of the people in Malaysia who came out to me in private,” he said. “That is just wrong on so many levels.
“People have just been, ‘You have to repent, you will not be safe.’ There was a poll about me: ‘What is going to happen to Hazim?’ And one of the options was, ‘You can run but you can’t hide.'”
The online poll published by Says
, a Malaysian social news network, asked readers if they thought Hazim would become a spokesman for the LGBT community; be ostracised; “run but not hide;” or be given a second chance. Nearly 5,000 people voted in that poll, the CBC News
Hazim, the report further said, had engaged the services of a human rights lawyer and was getting ready for his refugee status hearing in April.