An Iranian man has been refused asylum because on his application he stated he converted from Islam to the “peaceful religion of Christianity, according to The Independent.
In the Iranian national’s rejection letter, The Home Office quoted excerpts from Revelations and claimed the last book of the Bible is “filled with revenge, destruction, death and violence.” Furthermore concluding that “These examples are inconsistent with your claim that you converted to Christianity after discovering it is a ‘peaceful’ religion, as opposed to Islam which contains violence, rage and revenge.”
When The Independent contacted the spokesperson for the Home Office, they stated the letter was “not in accordance” with policy approach to claims based on religious persecution, and that they would be looking into improving training provided to those who make decisions on religious conversion.
Full statement from Home Office to The Independent:
“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 All-Party Parliamentary Group 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.”
The asylum seeker’s caseworker, Nathan Stevens tweeted:
“I’ve seen a lot over the years, but even I was genuinely shocked to read this unbelievably offensive diatribe being used to justify a refusal of asylum.
“Whatever your views on faith, how can a government official arbitrarily pick bits out of a holy book and then use them to trash someone’s heartfelt reason for coming to a personal decision to follow another faith?”
Stevens also tweeted out a separate refusal by the Home Office, showing yet another outrageous decision on their behalf:
“A comment from another refusal:”You affirmed in your AIR that Jesus is your saviour, but then claimed that He would not be able to save you from the Iranian regime. It is therefore considered that you have no conviction in your faith and your belief in Jesus is half-hearted.”
Appeals have increased against the Home Office refusing asylum decisions 5% since 2015-2016 according to The Independent, with the current stats sitting at 45% for all that go to tribunal.
Chief executive of the National Secular Society deems it “wholly inappropriate” for the Home Office to use “theological justifications for refusing asylum applications,” adding, “Decisions on the merits of an asylum appeal should be based on an assessment of the facts at hand – and not on the state’s interpretation of any given religion. It’s not the role of the Home Office to play theologian.”