Muslims Converting to Christianity 'To Avoid Being Deported' C of E Warning over Hundreds of Asylum Seekers

Daily Mail (London), June 13, 2016 | Go to article overview

Muslims Converting to Christianity 'To Avoid Being Deported' C of E Warning over Hundreds of Asylum Seekers


Byline: Ian Drury Home Affairs Correspondent

HUNDREDS of Muslim asylum seekers are converting to Christianity to avoid being deported, say senior Church of England clerics.

Some of the arrivals, who are mainly from Iran, are said to be asking for baptisms to exploit a loophole in the immigration system.

Once converted, they argue that their new faith would expose them to persecution - including torture and possible execution - if they were to be returned home. Church leaders confirmed a spike in the number of Muslims who wanted to convert to a new religion and said baptism can 'significantly enhance' an asylum seeker's prospects of being given sanctuary.

The Very Rev Peter Wilcox, Dean of Liverpool, said his cathedral had baptised about 200 refugees in the past four years.

He likened the situation to one where parents baptise their children to boost their chance of getting a place at a church school. He told the Sunday Times: 'Mixed motives are not unheard of.

'God alone knows the person's heart and we try to be consistent about that and not to set the bar at one height for middleclass aspiring parents seeking the best for the education of their children and the bar at another height for converts from Islam looking for asylum.

'Refuse Jemima baptism and she goes to school somewhere else. Refuse Mohammed baptism and he gets deported.' Mr Wilcox said: 'Holding a baptism certificate significantly enhances the strength of their claim for asylum.

'Once you are a baptised Christian it is really not conceivable that you would be deported to a Muslim country.' Immigration judges would take into account a priest's covering letter giving more information about the asylum seeker's participation in Christian worship and service.

Prospective converts in Liverpool have to attend a five-week baptism course and are expected to attend services, said Mr Wilcox. …

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