The UK Home Office has refused asylum to an Iranian man who had converted to Christianity after he discovered it was a “peaceful” faith.
The asylum request stated, “In Islam there is violence, rage and revenge. In Christianity in the contrary it is talking about peace, forgiveness and kindness.”
But the UK Home Office disagreed. The rejection letter stated that passages in the Bible were inconsistent with his reason for conversion, claiming it is, “filled with imagery of revenge, destruction, death and violence”
The letter cited passages from Leviticus and Revelation:
You will pursue your enemies, and they will fall by the sword before you. 8 Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you.
I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. 23 I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.
Officials claimed, “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.”
Excerpt from a home office reasons for refusal letter for a convert to Christianity. 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. pic.twitter.com/R1wA1HMNwH
— Nathan Stevens (@nathestevens) March 19, 2019
According to Open Doors USA, “Converts from Islam to Christianity bear the brunt of Christian persecution, especially by the government and, to a lesser extent, by their families and society. The government sees them as an attempt by Western countries to undermine Islam and the Islamic regime of Iran.
“Leaders of groups of Christian converts have been arrested, prosecuted and have received long prison sentences for ‘crimes against the national security.’ The historical communities of Armenian and Assyrian Christians are recognized and protected by the state but are treated as second-class citizens and are not allowed contact with Muslim background Christians. They are also not allowed to conduct church services in the national language.”
After an intense backlash over the outrageous decision, the Home Office agreed to withdraw their refusal:
Important news on the Iranian Christian conversion case I have been working on: the Home Office have agreed to withdraw their refusal and to reconsider our client’s asylum application, offering us a chance to submit further representations. A good start, but more change is needed
— Nathan Stevens (@nathestevens) March 22, 2019