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Pro-Palestinian Jewish Author Facing Indian Deportation for Muslim Extremist Ties

Author Susan Nathan is facing deportation

Author Susan Nathan is facing deportation
Photo Credit: Olof Palme Centre

British-born Jewish author Susuan Nathan, who is staying in Kozhikode, in the South-Indian state of Kerala, is about to be expelled from the country for her ties with Islamic extremist groups, the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported Monday.

Nathan came to India for medical treatment. In September she asked Indian authorities for permission to live in India for five more years in order to finish her literary work and to complete treatment. She says her condition, post traumatic stress disorder, destroyed her family.

The Kerala government informed the High court in Kochi that Nathan had “close connections” with Islamic extremist groups like the banned Students Islamic Movement of India  (SIMI) and National Development Front (NDF).

SIMI was banned in India under US pressure after 9/11. The ban was lifted by an Indian court in 2008, and reinstated after 24 hours.

NDF is regarded as a militant and extremist Muslim organization. It is operating in Kerala to improve the conditions of poor Muslims and other minorities in that state.

At age 50, Susan Nathan fulfilled a lifelong dream by immigrating to Israel from England in 1999. She took a job with “Mahapach” (Turnabout), an organization that went into deprived areas, both Jewish and Arab, to tutor young people. Soon she became a vociferous advocate of Palestinian rights.

In 2003 she moved from Tel Aviv to the Arab village of Tamra in northern Israel, where she wrote “The Other Side of Israel,” about the “historical, political and cultural currents of the Middle Eastern conflict.” The book has been translated into nine languages, including Malayalam, the dialect of Kerala.

Over the past decade, Nathan has been an outspoken pro-Palestinian advocate, appearing in Sweden and the US in forums such as the Swedish Human Rights festival and the Stockholm Olof Palme Centre, as well as forums sponsored by the Arab American Association. Nathan writes extensively for the Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet on issues related to Israel.

The Malaysian news agency Bernama reported that the 62-year-old Nathan was recently ordered by the Kozhikode District to leave the country, after her visa had expired. She was staying in a house in Kozhikode that had allegedly been arranged for her by Abu Backer, the former Vice President of the banned SIMI.

Nathan is challenging her deportation in the Kerala High court.

The Indian Express reports that a Division bench, comprised of two justices, has reserved orders on the petition.

In an interview with Niranjalli Varma of doolnews.com, Nathan sounded calm about her current predicament:

“What is going on now is nothing when compared to what I have faced in my life, be it in South Africa or Israel. This is nothing. This is like Winnie the Pooh’s tea party. There was no problem in extending my visa and there is no problem in extending my visa again. There is some kind of concoction from the side of the police.”

Varma inquired: “Have you been under any sort of pressure or stress from any political or religious group?”

Nathan responded: “No, not at all. All I would say is that a very eminent Professor of Psychiatry who works in Belgium has written to my lawyer stating that I am suffering from very severe post traumatic stress disorder. Which means that I don’t sleep at night, I become very nervous or afraid when I see a police car on the streets, I become hyper vigilant of people who visit my home, I am over suspicious of people and my response to very innocent questions could be at times aggressive and  defensive.

“That is what post traumatic stress disorder does. It affects your concentration, it would take considerable amount of time before I overcome it and I need specialist care here. I don’t want to talk more about that. But I would like to say it destroyed my family, it destroyed my children.”

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