West African immigrant who took sanctuary in Ann Arbor Friends Meeting House granted new level of freedom

Mohamed Soumah took sanctuary for 944 days

Man who took sanctuary in Ann Arbor place of worship granted freedom

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Mohamed Soumah took sanctuary at the Ann Arbor Friends Meeting House for 944 days.

Those days have finally come to an end for the West African immigrant as he was granted a new level of freedom.

He was given an order of supervision, which requires him to check in virtually or on a periodic basis but allows him to leave the sanctuary without fear of immediate deportation.

“During these two and a half years, you treated me like a human being, like family,” Soumah said to a group of supporters.

The Ann Arbor Friends Meeting House is part of the Washtenaw Congressional Sanctuary has been Soumah’s home throughout his immigration battle. He had a lot of support every step of the way.

“We really admire his courage, and we were there for him. Mohamed is a blessing to us,” Sheila Johnson of the Ann Arbor Friends Meeting house said.

The group worked with Soumah to make sure he received the proper medical treatment as he fights severe kidney disease that forced him to have dialysis treatment three times a week. He was only allowed to leave the building to receive those treatments.

“We organized a group of clergy who would wear their vestments, who would drive with Mohamed, stay in the waiting room and drive him home,” Rev. Dr. Deborah Dean–Ware said.

“I’ve been sick for almost 16 years,” Soumah said.

Soumah and his supporters are optimistic about the future and what’s to come, especially now that he no longer has to fear deportation.

“I’m very very relieved. I’m not looking over my shoulder,” Soumah said.

Soumah said he’s going to fully focus on his health now.

The Ann Arbor Friends Meeting House will remain his home.

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About the Authors:

Victor Williams joined Local 4 News in October of 2019 after working for WOIO in Cleveland, OH, WLOX News in Biloxi, MS, and WBBJ in Jackson, TN. Victor developed a love for journalism after realizing he was a great speaker and writer at an early age.

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