An Update From IAA On The Nacer Amari Case
The recent news regarding Nacer Amari is regrettable. IAA, like many other organizations, supported Mr. Amari in his case to avoid deportation back to Tunisia. We wrote two letters of support after his situation was brought to our attention by other atheists and organizations.
Very early on, we decided not to support Nacer financially because we could not verify many parts of his story despite a great deal of effort to do so. We believed that other organizations must have been able to confirm the things we could not and therefore did not interfere with their efforts. These larger, well-established organizations were already working with him and providing thousands of dollars of funds and we felt that all of the background research we had done would have already been done by them. We felt they must have had more information than us and even expressed to Mr. Amari that he should trust the organizations that were already working with him rather than seeking out more help from us.
Still, we wrote our first letter of support because we felt that, even though we could not verify many parts of his story, his social media history was enough to have him face discrimination in Tunisia. We felt that he would benefit from being granted asylum in Denmark at that point. We also knew he had letters of support from bigger organizations and trusted they had gone through their own checks. The second support letter was sent after he had contacted our board members with claims of being suicidal. We also pleaded with him to get social support either from our trained volunteers or from licensed professionals in Denmark.
With the express permission of those who contact us for assistance, our Secular Underground Network (S.U.N) initiative attempts to vet all applicants to the best of our ability, to include conducting background checks and thorough social media sweeps by the private investigator we have on staff specifically for this purpose. Trying to help someone on the other side of the world who is in immediate danger will always pose some element of risk, especially in instances where we have to keep our cases’ identities completely confidential so as not to risk their lives. However, we try to mitigate that risk as much as possible before investing resources and energies into any case. This incident with Nacer Amari, however, has resulted in IAA strengthening its vetting process.
We would like to express our appreciation for the organizations in the atheist and humanist community who tried to help Nacer. We recognize the good intentions and we are sad to see your good intentions taken advantage of. We, too, feel shocked and used. We will not let this blip be a setback, however, as there are so many genuine atheists and apostates out there who still need our help and we intend on powering through so we can continue to help them.