NEW YORK TIMES | Mar. 21, 2019
LONDON — Britain’s immigration department has been condemned for citing violent Bible passages as the basis to reject an asylum claim by an Iranian national who said he had converted to Christianity because it was a “peaceful” religion.
The Home Office — which is responsible for handling immigration, security and law and order — used verses from the books of Leviticus, Exodus and Revelation in an attempt to argue that Christianity was hardly “peaceful.” The asylum seeker’s application was denied on Tuesday, according to the man’s legal representative, who shared details on social media.
The case drew a rebuke from the Church of England, and immigration advocates denounced the decision as another example of the Home Office’s harsh methods.
The man, who has not been identified and had converted from Islam, filed the claim in 2016, the immigration caseworker and legal representative, Nathan Stevens, wrote on Twitter. It was not clear whether the man had made his conversion a basis for his claim.
But the Home Office used extensive quotes from the Bible, such as “You will pursue your enemies, and they will fall by the sword before you,” from Leviticus, as evidence against the asylum seeker’s claim about Christianity.
“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,” read a rejection letter Mr. Stevens shared excerpts from online.
The immigration caseworker said he was stunned by the contents of the letter.