Church of England accused of facilitating bogus asylum claims after dozens of applicants ‘convert’ to Christianity to exploit human rights loophole

By Thomas Brooke
6 Min Read

Asylum seekers are exploiting loopholes in human rights legislation by “converting” to Christianity to prevent being deported back to their home countries — a move facilitated by the Church of England, prominent U.K. politicians have claimed.

Former Home Secretary Suella Braverman shone a light on what she described as churches around the country aiding “bogus asylum claims” on an “industrial scale” by providing corroborating evidence for Muslim asylum seekers who were confirmed by the Church of England to support their asylum applications.

“Attend mass once a week for a few months, befriend the vicar, get your baptism date in the diary, and, bingo, you’ll be signed off by a member of the clergy that you’re now a God-fearing Christian who will face certain persecution if removed to your Islamic country of origin,” Braverman wrote in a Telegraph article published on Saturday.

“It has to stop,” she added.

Such asylum scams have risen to the top of the political debate in Britain following last week’s heinous attack in London by Afghan “refugee,” Abdul Ezed, for whom a manhunt remains underway after dousing a woman and her two young daughters with a corrosive substance and injuring nine other people in the process.

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Ezed arrived in the U.K. on the back of a lorry back in 2016 from Afghanistan and had two asylum applications refused before being successful on his third attempt after ‘converting’ to Christianity from Islam and using human rights laws to claim he would not be safe back in his home country were he to be deported.

A Church spokesperson released a statement claiming the institution did not know “which Christian church received him nor which Christian minister gave him a reference,” adding that it is “the role of the Home Office, and not the church, to vet asylum seekers and judge the merits of their individual cases.”

Ezed, however, isn’t the first notable case to exploit such a loophole.

Another former home secretary, Dame Priti Patel, highlighted the case of Emad Jamil Al Swealmeen, the Jordanian national who moved to Britain and claimed asylum after being confirmed at Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral in 2017.

Four years later, he blew himself up using a homemade ball-bearing suicide vest in a taxi outside the Liverpool Women’s Hospital’s neonatal unit on Remembrance Sunday.

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“It is right that these cases are scrutinized and that there is a degree of honesty in establishments, including the Church of England as to what their motivations were,” Dame Priti said.

She claimed that religious leaders within the Church of England are “constantly speaking out against any reforms and work introduced by Conservatives in this area,” accusing the increasingly left-wing institution of “political activism.”

This allegation is evidenced by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby’s vocal opposition to the U.K. government’s asylum policy to send applicants to the African nation of Rwanda for processing. Welby has teamed up with fellow opponents of the policy in the House of Lords, Britain’s upper parliamentary chamber, to table amendments designed to frustrate its passing through parliament.

The archbishop has claimed the policy is “leading the nation down a damaging path,” sparking a response by Home Secretary James Cleverly who recently warned: “There is nothing honorable, there is nothing righteous, about removing one of the tools to break criminality.”

The Church of England has even published guidance to its clergy on how they can assist asylum seekers with their applications that specifically states that if an applicant “has converted to Christianity after a previous refusal, that may be the basis of a fresh claim.”

It continues to provide criteria required for a second claim to be successful, including the submission of “convincing evidence” such as “testimony from a church leader” or “other testimony confirming their faith or conversion.”

Conservative broadcaster Nigel Farage recently drew attention to the guide and accused the Church of England of being “complicit in the Clapham acid attack.”

The “Pray to Stay” scam appears to be increasing in popularity. A Sky News report over the weekend revealed that almost two dozen asylum seekers currently residing at RAF Wethersfield, a military base-turned-asylum center in southeast England, had been baptized by local vicars in the last week alone.

The loophole was enshrined into European case law in 2022 when the European Court of Human Rights ruled that an asylum seeker who converted from Islam to Christianity and became a member of the Salvation Army could not be deported from Switzerland to Pakistan due to fear of persecution, despite the Swiss authorities rejecting his asylum application.

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