All-party religious freedom group blames a ‘lack of understanding of religion and belief’ for the wrong people being rejected
The all-party parliamentary group on international religious freedom said asylum claims being made by Christians were being dealt with unfairly by officials.
They blamed a “lack of understanding of religion and belief” for the wrong people being rejected and said some people could be deported when they were at genuine risk of persecution.
One Iranian asylum seeker – who had converted to Christianity had his claim was rejected following his asylum interview.
“One question they asked me was very strange: what colour was the cover of the Bible,” he told the BBC.
“I knew there were different colours. The one I had was red. They asked me questions I was not able to answer – for example, what are the Ten Commandments. I could not name them all from memory.”
Baroness Berridge, who lead the all-party group’s inquiry, said that non-Christians could learn such Bible trivia while genuine converts might be rejected.
“The problem with those questions is that if you are not genuine you can learn the answers, and if you are genuine, you may not know the answers,” she said. “When the system did move on to ask about the lived reality of people’s faith, we then found that caseworkers, who are making decisions which can be life or death for people, were not properly supported and trained properly.”
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