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LEICESTER, United Kingdom - Church leaders are lambasting a letter from a UK government department questioning the religious beliefs of an Iranian Christian asylum seeker.
Asylum caseworker Nathan Stevens published the letter received by the Iranian national - a convert to Christianity from Islam who applied for asylum in Britain in 2016.
Applicant - Home - Office - Government - Department
The applicant told the Home Office - the UK government department that deals with immigration and border security - that the one reason he converted to Christianity was because the religion was more peaceful than Islam.
In the letter rejecting asylum, the Home Office pulled several verses from the Bible which it said showed that Christianity wasn’t peaceful, including verses from Exodus, Leviticus, and the Book of Revelation.
Examples - Claim - Christianity - Religion - Islam
“These examples are inconsistent with your claim that you converted to Christianity after discovering it is a ‘peaceful religion’ as opposed to Islam, which contained violence and rage,” the letter reads.
To claim asylum in the UK, you must have a “well-founded fear” of persecution on account of ethnicity, religion, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.
Apostasy - Capital - Offense - Iran - Islam
Apostasy is a capital offense in Iran, and those who leave Islam face the death penalty.
A 2016 report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief faulted the Home Office for its handling of asylum claims by Christian converts from Muslim-majority countries, and the next year the Home Office pledged to begin new training procedures for staff.
Statement - Home - Office - Letter - Accordance
According to a statement released by the Home Office, the most recent letter “is not in accordance with our policy approach to claims based on religious persecution,” and that the department is working to “improve our policy guidance and training provided to asylum decision-makers so that we approach claims involving religious conversion in the appropriate way.”
Sarah Teather, the director of the Jesuit Refugee Service UK , said...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Crux
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