UK’s Asylum Policy: How to Handle Refugees Who Claim to be Christian Converts

February 27, 2024

In a recent article for Religion Unplugged, RFI’s Paul Marshall examines the UK’s surging illegal immigration crisis, which is “now further complicated by allegations that many coming from Muslim-majority countries are falsely claiming to be converts to Christianity.” Marshall argues that while these fraud allegations should not be dismissed, the underlying asylum claims must still be taken seriously. He writes:

Certainly, not all claimed conversions are genuine, and there are very different rates between those and those not facing deportation. But there are three grounds not to be too skeptical.

First, rates of conversions such as the 40 out of 300 on the Dorset barge, are not unusual, especially in close circumstances.

Also, there is a danger that genuine claimants may be rejected because U.K. asylum officers are often ill-equipped to deal with religious issues. In cases in which I have been involved, some officers have engaged in a Bible and theology quiz, which obviously has some validity, but 90% of the Christians in England, including some clergy and maybe a few bishops, could not answer their questions on Christology and soteriology.

And we must always remember the danger to which genuine converts, and those held to be blasphemers or heretics, are subject. Among the usual suspects, this year Iran has intensified its arrests of converts, as has Mauritania, as does Sudan. In Afghanistan, the Taliban hunts down converts. In perhaps unexpected countries there is also great danger, such as Libya and Uganda.

No doubt there are those who falsely claim conversion from Islam to claim asylum, and some churches may be too credulous. But such conversions are occurring and such genuine converts face violence, imprisonment and even death if returned back to many countries.

Read the full article: “UK’s Asylum Policy: How to Handle Refugees Who Claim to be Christian Converts.”