The UK Home Office has refused asylum to an Iranian Christian convert by quoting Bible passages from the book of Revelation — the final book of the Bible — which it claims prove Christianity isn't a peaceful religion.
The Iranian national, who claimed asylum in 2016, was told the passages were "inconsistent" with his claim to have converted to Christianity after discovering it was a "peaceful" faith — the passages, the Home Office says, are "filled with imagery of revenge, destruction, death and violence".
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
"These examples are inconsistent with your claim you converted to Christianity after discovering it is a ‘peaceful' religion, as opposed to Islam which contains violence, rage and revenge," the department added.
Figures released in 2018 reveal an increase in the number of incorrect asylum refusals, with successful appeals against Home Office decisions up five per cent since 2015-16, now standing at 45 percent of all of those that go to tribunal — and the Home Office in turn loses around 75 percent of all cases it appeals.
Whatever your views on faith, how can a government official arbitrarily pick bits out of a holy book and then use them to trash someone’s heartfelt reason for coming to a personal decision to follow another faith?— Nathan Stevens (@nathestevens) March 19, 2019
Legal expert Conor James McKinney, deputy editor of website Free Movement, told The Independent the case was yet another example of the Home Office "[coming] up with any reason they can to refuse asylum".
"You can see from the text of the letter that the writer is trying to pick holes in the asylum seeker's account of their conversion to Christianity and using the Bible verses as a tool to do that…This looks like a particularly creative example, but not necessarily a systemic outbreak of anti-Christian sentiment in the department," he said.
"They appear willing to distort any aspect of reality in order to turn down a claim. This case demonstrates the shocking illiteracy of Christianity within the Home Office. But the distortion of logic and reckless approach to asylum seeker's lives is a common feature. We routinely encounter cases where asylum has been refused on spurious grounds. Some of these cases require more legal knowledge to recognise than this bizarre misquoting of the bible. As this instance gains public attention, we need to remember it reflects a systematic problem and a deeper mindset of disbelief within the Home Office, and is not just an anomaly that can be explained away," she said.