West Bank church stands with unjustly incarcerated parishioner Layan Nasir

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Layan Nasir
The story of Layan Nasir’s baptism as an infant to her detention as a university student reveals the arbitrariness of the Israeli occupation.

By Fadi Diab | Mondoweiss  | Aug 23, 2021

Layan and other students are accused of belonging to an “unlawful association” at Birzeit University. The “unlawful association” is a union of students acting per the rules of their university and the Palestinian Ministry of Higher Education.

Layan Nasir, a parishioner at St. Peter’s Anglican/Episcopal Church in Birzeit, Palestine, is a 21-year-old Nutrition and Dietetics student at Birzeit University. A remarkable young woman with a calm demeanor, tender spirit, and incredible potential, Layan was raised in a devout Anglican family to live her faith in the midst of the whatever challenges may come in life.

The story of Layan’s baptism as an infant embodies the Palestinian experience of faith under colonial domination. On the day of her baptism, Israeli forces blocked the road between Ramallah and Birzeit, a short 12 kilometers away. The Anglican priest in Ramallah, Fr. Samir Esaid, serving the community in Birzeit, was stopped at the checkpoint and denied passage. He explained the situation to the soldiers to no avail. So, Fr. Esaid called the Catholic priest in Birzeit, Fr. Eyad Twal. Layan and her brother were baptized in an Anglican church by a Catholic priest.

Layan’s baptism was the first of many experiences defined in part by the Israeli occupation. A month ago, a dozen military vehicles raided Layan’s home at 5:30 a.m. Lulu, her mother, woke up to seven Israeli soldiers inside her home. They had come for her daughter, Layan. Lulu demanded a written arrest order, but the soldiers did not present one. The soldiers said Layan would be taken to Ofer Incarceration Center for interrogation and could be picked up in two hours. Lulu woke Layan, who was dazed and terrified and needed to dress. Two female soldiers came into Layan’s bedroom while she dressed. Layan was arrested. The family later learned from an attorney she is detained until the military prosecutor presents the indictment list.

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