Star-crossed lovers arrive in New York City after fleeing family vendettas in Afghanistan

What a story about two young people in love! They are defying their families to be together and start a family, even if it means leaving everything they know behind.

Zakia and Mohammad Ali, a young Afghan couple from different sects, eloped against the wishes of their families. They arrived in New York City earlier this month with their 17-month old daughter Ruqia on a 90-day visa granted by the American Embassy in Kabul. 

Zakia and Mohammad Ali’s families have relentlessly pursued the couple. Her family is Tajik and Sunni, his is Hazara and Shiite. To each, their union represents a dishonor worthy of murder.

The organization:

The couple plan to apply for asylum with the help of Women for Afghan Women (WAW), a grassroots, human rights organization dedicated to securing and protecting the rights of disenfranchised Afghan women and girls in Afghanistan and New York.  When Mohammad Ali was detained by the police in Kabul after his in-laws accused him of kidnapping Zakia, Women for Afghan Women sheltered Zakia in their safe houses and their lawyers helped win Mohammad Ali’s release.