Home Office refuses asylum and questions man's understanding of 'peaceful Christianity'

Thu 21 Mar 2019
By Premier Journalist

A letter refusing asylum to an Iranian claiming conversion to Christianity has appeared filled with Biblical quotes.

Nathan Stevens who describes himself as an Immigration case worker has posted excerpts from the Home Office letter on twitter.

It contains quotes from Leviticus, Matthew, Exodus and Revelation.

It's alleged the asylum seeker had described Christianity as a religion of peace in contrast to Islam as a religion of violence and so the letter contains Biblical extracts randomly quoted to demonstrate that the Christian Bible contains examples of violence.

Nathan Stevens describes himself on Twitter as: "genuinely shocked to read this unbelievably offensive diatribe being used to justify a refusal of asylum."

A Home Office spokesperson said:

"This letter is not in accordance with our policy approach to claims based on religious persecution, including conversions to a particular faith.

"We continue to work closely with key partners, including the APPG on International Freedom of Religion and a range of faith groups, to improve our policy guidance and training provided to asylum decision-makers so that we approach claims involving religious conversion in the appropriate way."

It has emerged previously that asylum seekers claiming to have converted to Christianity have been asked questions at interview such as naming the Ten Commandments or the date of Pentecost.

Christian converts face persecution in countries such as Iran and Pakistan and so conversion to Christianity, whether genuine or not, is often claimed by asylum seekers as a reason for granting them asylum.

The Church of England's Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler said:
“I am extremely concerned that a Government department could determine the future of another human being based on such a profound misunderstanding of the texts and practices of faith communities. To use extracts from the Book of Revelation to argue that Christianity is a violent religion is like arguing that a Government report on the impact of Climate Change is advocating drought and flooding.
“It is good that the Home Office has recognised that this decision is inconsistent with its policies and that its staff need better training, but the fact that these comments were made at all suggests that the problem goes deeper than a lack of religious literacy among individual civil servants and indicates that the management structures and ethos of the Home Office, when dealing with cases with a religious dimension, need serious overhaul."  

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