John Boctor, a Coptic Orthodox Christian, was living in Eygpt when his friend and boss, also a Coptic Christian, married a Muslim woman, who then converted to Christianity. The couple was threatened by Muslim fundamentalists, for whom such a conversion is a capital crime, and when the police offered no help they went into hiding. Boctor then "began receiving telephone threats from people who demanded to know [his friends'] whereabouts and threatened to cut his throat if he did not tell them.... One night on his way home from work Boctor was attacked by three men. His assailants called him an 'infidel,' tore his crucifix necklace from his neck, beat him, accused him of 'covering up for an infidel and a prostitute,' and told him they would kill him if he made a report to any 'human rights committees.'" He moved to his uncle's house, but they tracked him down, beat him again, and promised to kill him next time if he wouldn't tell where the couple was hiding. Boctor fled to the U.S.
Believe it or not, a federal immigration judge ruled that Boctor wasn't being persecuted because of his religion and therefore could be deported back to Egypt. Last week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit wrote in Boctor v. Gonzales that the judge's ruling "completely ignores the factual context" and "is not supported by substantial evidence and must be reversed," which I take to be judicial-speak for "preposterous nonsense that would be funny if someone's life weren't at stake."