UK Asylum Claims From Christian Converts Being Rejected If They Cannot Recite The Ten Commandments
UNITED KINGDOM (ANS - June 5, 2016) -- Christian converts coming to the United Kingdom in order to claim asylum are being turned back because officials are testing them on whether they can recite the Ten Commandments.
This shocking claim has been make by journalist, Harry Yorke, writing in Britain's The Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk), who says that refugees converting to Christianity from other faiths including Islam are having their applications turned down if the Home Office suspects their conversion was motivated by a desire to claim asylum.
He stated that asylum seekers coming to Britain must attend an asylum interview with assessors on arrival, where they are asked "basic knowledge questions" about their new faith.
"The caseworker overseeing the interview does not have to have a rigorous understanding of individual cases, and are required only to determine whether a claimants account is believable." Said Yorke.
"However, a report published by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Religious Freedom has accused officials of ignoring or failing to follow the guidance correctly."
In some instances, Yorke added, the report claims genuine converts are being turned down while other ‘bogus' Christians are able to learn and recite passages of "Bible trivia" in order to secure asylum in Britain.
Baroness Berridge, a member of the UK's All-Party Parliamentary Group, told the BBC that the current form of processing converts was unfair, adding that for some Christians the matter was a case of "life and death."
She said, "The problem with those questions is that if you are not genuine you can learn the answers. Caseworkers who are making decisions that can be life and death for people were not supported necessarily and trained properly to understand the lived reality of faith."
The Rev. Mark Miller, who advises the British Home Office about converts - like those in his congregation at Stockton Parish Church in the North East of England - said officials were failing to "understand" why people had converted to Christianity.
"Asylum assessors should be trying to understand why it is someone has left behind the faith of their family their faith of their upbringing, and chosen to follow another faith, said Miller, a former photographer and social worker.
"The guidelines say that this is a major decision that has been made and assessors should be understanding why this decision has come about."
The church's website (http://www.stocktonparishchurch.org.uk) says, "Our family is made up of 13 different nationalities including Iran and several African nations. Our services are conducted in English although we normally hear the Bible reading in both English and Farsi [the main language of Iran]."
Harry Yorke went on to say that there are currently no official figures showing the scale of asylum claims made on religious grounds, although the numbers are believed to be rising year-on-year.
"The vast majority are believed to be former Muslims, although increasing members of the Ahmadi Muslim Sect are coming to Britain in order to flee persecution in Pakistan," he said.
"Mass Christian conversions of migrants arriving in Germany from the Middle East and North Africa has prompted fears in Britain that many asylum claimants may be attempting to deceived the authorities by falsely converting."
Mohammed, an Iranian asylum seeker currently placed in Yorkshire, is locked in discussions with the Home Office after his claim was rejected following his interview with officials.
Baptized in Greece while making his way to central Europe, Mohammed's application was turned down because he could not name all the Ten Commandments from memory.
"One question they asked me was very strange - what color was the cover of the Bible," he added.
"I knew there were different colors. The one I had was red. They asked me questions I was not able to answer - for example, what are the Ten Commandments. I could not name them all from memory."
Mohammed added that the authorities had a "real challenge on their hands," adding: "If you've come to faith in an underground house church, where you've been able to borrow a New Testament for a week and have encountered the risen Lord Jesus, you're not going to know when the date of Pentecost is.
"They should be trying to understand the difference between head knowledge and heart knowledge."
Note: I wonder how many of you could recite the Ten Commandments from memory without having access to a Bible?
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