An Iranian Christian was denied asylum in Great Britain after a government official in the Home Office used the Bible to argue that Christianity was violent, denying the refugee’s request.
The man wrote in his request he had converted to Christianity because it is a peaceful faith. However, the Independent reports Britain’s Home Office’s refusal letter cited several biblical passages, including the book of Revelation, to say the Bible was “inconsistent” with his claim.
The man’s caseworker tweeted he’d never seen anything like this used to refuse asylum.
Immigration caseworker Nathan Stevens said, “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?”
The refusal letter points to several biblical passages, saying, “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.”
Sarah Teather, director of the Jesuit Refugee Service in the UK, said, “This is a particularly outrageous example of the reckless and facetious approach of the Home Office to determining life and death asylum cases – 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. Here at JRS, 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,” she continued.
Britain’s Home Office now says the case of the Iranian Christian did not follow proper procedure and the asylum request is reportedly being reconsidered.
Still, Teather says there are deeper, underlying problems with the way the government has been treating religious asylum seekers.
“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.