The 25-year-old grandson of one of the founders of Hamas converted to Christianity and came out as gay after fleeing his home and family and escaping to Canada. Now, he's living in New York City, where he says that he is "fantasizing" about his version of the American dream.
It's been an uphill battle for John Calvin — who changed his name to protect himself — after he left home at age 14 and later sought a new life in North America, leaving behind family members who are part of the Palestinian terror group.
According to Vice, Calvin's grandfather was Said Bilal, a Muslim Brotherhood leader who co-founded Hamas, and five of his uncles were considered senior members.
Calvin hit a snag last year when Canada rejected his refugee application, saying that he is considered a member of Hamas after being born into it, and that he, at the age of 14, had the mental capability to understand his family's actions, CNN Money reported.
He said at the time that deportation would have mean death at the hands of his family back home.
"Please help me, I don’t want to die," Calvin wrote in an op-ed published by the Times of Israel last year, as TheBlaze reported.
That's when Calvin decided to flee to America, fearing what would happen if he were sent back to his family in the West Bank. An U.S. immigration judge rejected an asylum application, but reportedly used an admission from Calvin's father — who said that the family reserves the right to retaliate against the young man if he returns — to offer a deferred removal under the U.N. Convention against torture, the outlet reported.
"I decided the best course of action was to flee home and come to the U.S. rather than be deported and sent to my death," he said. "[The judge] does believe, evidently, that I will be under threat of torture and death, and thus I should be granted protection under the convention against torture."
As for his version of the American dream, Calvin is optimistic. He's looking for a job and thinking about his future.
"I'd go to law school, become a lawyer and then it gets a little cliché," he told CNN Money. "A husband and two kids, and I guess happily ever after."
In his op-ed last year, Calvin described how he ended up finding Christianity, writing, "My moment arrived in an Israeli jail, after I was arrested for illegally crossing the border, escaping from yet another argument with my family and the violence of my father. I was looking for answers to questions when and where I least expected them."
Read more about his story here.
(H/T: CNN Money)
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