Christian Asylum Seekers
Christian Persecution

The Home Office's shameful treatment of Christian asylum seekers

 

A few years ago we had a popular children’s song at my church that started like this:

You won’t get to heaven on the back of a camel,
And you won’t get to heaven on a sheep.
You won’t get to heaven in a double-decker bus,
And you won’t get to heaven in a jeep.

Eventually we’d get to the chorus:

There’s only one way (one way) you can get to heaven, oh yeah.
There’s only one way (one way) and that’s through God’s son Jesus,
He’s the only way!

Well, according to the BBC, for some in the Home Office, Jesus is no longer good enough either. You’re now only a real Christian if you can recite all of the 10 Commandments, and (bizarrely) know what colour a Bible cover is.

This would be rather amusing if it wasn’t so serious. We’re talking about refugees and asylum seekers who have fled their countries to avoid persecution because of their religious beliefs. They have arrived here under the assumption that we are a compassionate, Christian country, and will finally provide a safe haven where they will be free from the fear of intimidation, physical violence or worse. Instead, they find themselves being asked trivial questions on random Bible knowledge, and many are having their applications rejected because they can’t provide correct answers to many questions which would confound quite a few native British Christians.

How much anguish and trauma must it inflict on someone who has risked everything to reject the religion of their family and community in order to follow Jesus, to arrive in the UK and be told by a paper-pushing official that their faith is bogus?

These utterly depressing findings come from a new report from the All Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief. Sadly, though, the BBC only paints part of the picture.

The levels of ignorance displayed by some Home Office officials toward Christian asylum seekers is nothing short of appalling. Admittedly, the assessment of religious persecution is likely to be complex and demanding: the report’s authors find that there is already sufficient, sound and nuanced guidance formulated by the Home Office to assist in assessing applications, but too often it is ignored or poorly implemented. Knowledge of churches and liturgies is sometimes based on a quick survey of churches’ websites, which may have limited information. In one case, the official had not realised that an Anglican Church can also be an Evangelical one, and thus found the applicant’s testimony inconsistent as it did not match the church’s public information on its website.

There is little appreciation of the difficulties faced particularly by Christian converts from a Muslim background, including high levels of hostility or very limited access to Bible texts. For one such woman, to have had her application rejected partly because she did not know how many books there are in the New Testament is a gross injustice.

In another case, an appeal judge remarked on an Indian woman’s ignorance of the Friday abstinence rules in Roman Catholicism in relation to refraining from meat consumption. He concluded that she was not a Christian as this practice was ‘general knowledge’. This was despite a Roman Catholic priest providing a statement explaining that many Indian Catholics frequently eat meat on a Friday.

It is not only Christians who are at the mercy of subjective and ill-informed opinions: a woman from Sudan, who had claimed asylum in the UK on the basis of her atheism, was told: “..as there was no evidence about atheism in Sudan, it could be concluded that there are no atheists and that therefore she could not possible have been persecuted for this reason.”

Further problems are encountered through interpreters. Muslim Arabic interpreters have been known to be critical of an individual’s decision to leave Islam. In some cases, the interpreter has lacked the necessary religious vocabulary. One solicitor gives this example:

Mohammad was an active house church leader in Iran. His case was refused because the Home Office did not believe he was a Christian. He lost his first appeal because of mistranslation of Christian terminology at the hearing. During the tribunal hearing, the judge asked him to state the name of the last book of the Bible. Mohammad responded Mokashefe, which is the Farsi word for Revelation; the Muslim interpreter repeated the same word to the Judge. The judge in his decision stated that the last book of the Bible was not Mokashefe but rather the book of Revelation. Mohammad also did not have any lawyer and therefore could not answer all the judge’s questions promptly as he was under a lot of pressure. He won his case at the Upper Tribunal though after instructing a lawyer, having a witness and having a different interpreter.

We have no idea how widespread these failures are because, astonishingly, the Home Office does not keep any statistics on these matters. It is little wonder, then, that the report’s primary recommendation is that the Home Office should “keep a record of the number of asylum claims made on the basis of religious persecution as well as the acceptance vs. rejection rate of such cases so as to assess the true scale of such claims and how sensitively such claims are being dealt with”.

There is good reason to believe that religion is little more than a dirty word for too many government officials, despite freedom of belief being a key human right. Only last month the All Party Parliamentary Group on Religious Education agreed that widespread religious illiteracy among civil servants and policy-makers in government is a major problem. Before that, in January, it was reported that there is a widespread culture within the civil service which treats speaking about faith as “not the done thing”. With such unwillingness even to discuss religious matters, is it any wonder that we find attitudes towards asylum seekers result in some being told to return home and keep their faith to themselves and not to engage in public expressions of their belief?

The Home Office regards it as unacceptable to tell the same to applicants who are LGBT. In fact, the Home Office works closely with LGBT groups to provide a dedicated training module to decision-makers on LGBT cases, and how to assess claims made on the basis of sexual orientation correctly and sensitively. There is now a ‘second pair of eyes’ test in place for LGBT claims, meaning that all LGBT decisions are reviewed by a technical specialist who usually supervises decision makers – before being issued to the applicant. This system works well, and yet the report finds that despite offers from religious advocacy groups going back at least 10 years, no moves have been made to put an equivalent process in place for Christians.

Religious freedom is not a trivial matter. According to the internationally respected Pew Research Centre, more than a quarter of countries have high levels of religious hostility towards some groups, and some 5.5 billion people live with religious restrictions imposed upon them. And of these, Christians are the group most likely to suffer. We may be shielded from the worst horrors of religious persecution in our cosy corner of the world, but that does not excuse the treatment of the relatively small numbers who do make it to our shores. Is it really too much to ask the Home Office to open its eyes and start treating Christian asylum seekers with the (dare we say Christian) decency and fairness that they deserve?

  • Anton

    Satan works through dupes far more than through satanists.

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    No doubt directives from Madame Mim aka Mrs May, the international Islamic scholar.

  • Ivan M

    The Catholic Indian woman is a fake. There are about 30 million or more Christians in India. While there may be localized problems in some parts of India, there are no problems in the rest of it. Certainly not enough to claim asylum on that basis. Well done to the FO. The Catholic and Protestant churches in India dispose of sufficient resources and influence to take care of a case like this “Indian Catholic”.

  • sarky

    This has very little to do with ignorance amongst officials, but everything to do with floods of people claiming to be christian, as they think it enhances their application.
    I think you will find that some basic questioning is required to try and sort the wheat from the chaff at an early stage, thus saving tax payers thousands. For genuine people there is the appeals process during which they should easily be able to prove their faith.

    • Anton

      I wish that were so, but asking what colour the Bible covers are?

      • sarky

        What do you suggest then?

        I think you will appreciate it’s incredibly difficult.

        • Anton

          Yes it’s difficult; it’s hard enough for Christians to define a Christian, let alone for civil servants. But I am suspicious that double standards are being applied to the detriment of my Christian brothers and sisters.

          • sarky

            See my reply to Clive.

    • CliveM

      I’m not sure the article disagrees with you. I think what is is highlighting is the way it goes about doing this is deeply flawed and unfair and that the persons charged with implementing the policy are badly trained and in some cases prejudiced against the claimants.

      • sarky

        Prejudiced?? Anyone with any knowledge of the asylum system will tell you, that although far from perfect, there are far too many safeguards in place to allow prejudice to creep in. There is also the appeals process.
        I think you’re allowing a bit of Christian paranoia to creep in.

        • CliveM

          I’m talking about the reliability of the Muslim interpreters employed. I’d be interested in the background to Gillans quote and what it’s based on. I don’t find it hard to believe however.

          • sarky

            There is no such thing as a ‘Muslim interpreter’, as there is no such language as Muslim. However, all translators are screened and if found to be giving false/misleading information are struck off. Like I’ve said, one conversation doesn’t make a case and there would have to be a conspiracy amongst translators, all agreeing to mis translate the same information, for this story to have any truth.

          • CliveM

            Ok I missed a word, but I suspect you knew what I meant. ” Muslim Arabic interpreters ” happy now?

            So from your understanding the process is operating properly and consistently? What’s your evidence?

          • The Explorer

            “There is no such thing as a ‘Muslim interpreter'”. Yes there is: in at least two ways

            1. You can be an interpreter of a language, as in an interpreter of Arabic who is also a Muslim. There could equally be an interpreter of Arabic who happened to be a Christian, or an atheist.

            2. You can be an interpreter of a religion. I, for instance, am a Christian interpreter of Islam, just as you are an atheist interpreter of Christianity.

  • Jon Sorensen

    “According to the internationally respected Pew Research Centre, more than a quarter of countries have high levels of religious hostility towards some groups, and some 5.5 billion people live with religious restrictions imposed upon them. And of these, Christians are the group most likely to suffer”

    what a non-sense study. According to study Christians are harassed in 102 countries where atheist in less than 38 countries (page 16). Unlike Christianity atheism is illegal in many countries and punishable by death or jail, and I bet you can’t find a Muslim or an African country where atheist can have a official or open group. Way more than 38 countries…

    Yet again Christians false propaganda…

    • Anton

      I bet you can’t find a Muslim or an African country where atheist can have a official or open group.

      South Africa?

      • Jon Sorensen

        You missed the point.. 🙁

        How ever read read Leo Igwe’s article

        http://saharareporters.com/2015/12/11/atheism-and-challenge-deconversion-black-south-africa-leo-igwe

        “In fact the challenges which atheists in South Africa and in other parts of the region face today have more to do with the misconceptions of local believers, the intolerance and hatred of African fanatics, the hostile actions and antagonistic reactions of family and community members, and the deployment of state power and authority by home grown theocrats.”

        • Anton

          Where does he specify any bad thing that has been done to him by Christians because they know he is atheist?

          It’s certainly an interesting testimony: Thamsanqa’s interest in church activities started to wane when he joined a local youth group involved in the fight against apartheid…
          in 1987 I became conscious of the apartheid system and joined the ranks of the youth who were determined to fight the oppression… I became so involved in the so-called black on black violence, that in 1988 my mom had to send me packing…

      • CliveM

        Muslim majority countries, Kazakhstan, Kirgizistan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Albania, Kosovo.

        In addition officially Morroco allows freedom of non belief. Turkey also. Although in both countries I’d be careful where I said this and to whom. But that’s the same for Christianity.

    • Royinsouthwest

      There is a joke about someone being asked in Northern Ireland during “the Troubles” if he was a Protestant or a Catholic. “I’m an atheist” he replied, only to be asked “are you a Protestant atheist or a catholic atheist?”

      OK, it’s not a very funny joke and I don’t suppose that there are many people in the Islamic world telling a joke where the punchline is “are you a Sunni atheist or a Shia Atheist?” Atheists, like all infidels, have few rights in many muslim countries. But how do you practise atheism?

      • Jon Sorensen

        “But how do you practise atheism?”

        Just declaring that you are an atheist get you to jail in Saudis and killed in many other countries. No need to practice anything…

        • Anton

          So does declaring you are a Christian there. Complain on a Muslim blog!

        • Christina Summers

          Are they being forced to declare?

          • Jon Sorensen

            Of course not. As long as people don’t know they will not harass you about it. Once people know they will jail you. Standard persecution with fear, just like Christians do…

      • IrishNeanderthal

        The version I heard was “are you a Protestant Jew or a Catholic Jew”.

        Then on telly a comedian from NI told of a young Jew who was grabbed from behind.

        “Are ye a Protestant or a Catholic”?

        “Oh no, I’m a Jew!”

        “Well I must be the luckiest Arab in Belfast!”

    • Pubcrawler

      “Unlike Christianity atheism is illegal in many countries and punishable by death or jail,”

      Compare, say, North Korea.

      • Jon Sorensen

        Funny that you did not pick any Muslim country or an African county. You had so many to choose from….

        • Pubcrawler

          No, I chose one directly in contradiction to the assertion contained in the first words of the sentence I quoted. It’s called being relevant.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Non-sense. What are these “many countries” where Christianity is punishable by death or jail?

          • Pubcrawler

            They tend to end in ‘-istan’.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Let me know already. I can’t wait…

          • Pubcrawler

            I’m not paid to be your researcher. Get yourself another lackey with time on his hands.

          • Jon Sorensen

            As usual when I ask Christians to provide evidence for their(!) nonsense claim they panic and run away. So typical…

          • CliveM

            So Jon tell us which Muslim majority countries where it’s safe to be a Christian but not an atheist?

          • Jon Sorensen

            I didn’t claim that. I think in all 44 Muslim majority countries Christians and atheists groups get harassed. If you agree with that statement then you understand why that study is nonsense.

          • CliveM

            What you said was:

            “Unlike Christianity atheism is illegal in many countries and punishable by death or jail” (cut and pasted)

            Ok which countries is it safe to be a Christian but not an atheist?

            Because the implication of your statement is that it is safe to be a Christian everywhere, but not an atheist.

            I would agree that there are places in the world where it’s unsafe to be an atheist, but it’s also true for being a Christian.

            Which bit is propaganda?

            And even if the report has miscounted the number of unsafe Muslim countries (not that I agree it is) why does that make the main thrust of the report nonsense?

            Does it say atheists aren’t persecuted? Back up your claims with evidence.

          • Jon Sorensen

            I didn’t say “safe” you did. But in every Muslim country it is safer to be a Christian than atheist.

            “Which bit is propaganda?”
            That in less than 38 countries atheist groups get harassed.

            “Does it say atheists aren’t persecuted?”
            Read the page 16 as I pointed out. That is the evidence. “harassed”

            “And even if the report has miscounted the number of unsafe Muslim countries (not that I agree it is)”
            Can you name couple of majority Muslim countries where atheist groups don’t get harassed or worse if you disagree. Or are you just making it up?

            Here is the list: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_by_country

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            ‘I didn’t say “safe” you did. But in every Muslim country it is safer to be a Christian than atheist.’

            Do you have any evidence to support that?

            I’m not saying that you are wrong I just have never heard such a claim before and I would like to know what you base it on.

          • Albert

            I don’t see any point in arguing about who is more persecuted. But if Jon Sorensen wishes to argue the case, perhaps he should answer whether, in living memory Christians have been more persecuted by atheists or atheists more persecuted by Christians.

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            I’m not arguing about who is more persecuted. I just wanted to know if he has any evidence to support his assertion.

            Your point about whether Christians have been more persecuted by atheists or vice versa is a good one. However is it not rather getting into the territory of arguing about who is more persecuted?

          • Albert

            I agree, it’s not a good area. But since Sorensen wishes to play this game, one might as well point out where it leads.

          • The Explorer

            Historically, Christians and Jews had three choices: convert to Islam, die, or become a dhimmi. Infidels, such as Hindus, had a simpler choice: convert to Islam, or die. Atheists, presumably, would have been in the same category as infidels.

            Today, as I understand it, things are rather more tolerant in Muslim-controlled countries. All those who do not acknowledge Allah have the status of dhimmis. Hindus, Christians, atheists etc all face a long-term future in Hell, and a short-term future paying the submission tax.

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            “Today, as I understand it, things are rather more tolerant in Muslim-controlled countries”
            My impression as well, as I said to Albert I just wanted to know if there was any evidence behind his assertion.

            “and a short-term future paying the submission tax”
            Is that still applied nowadays? If so, any idea how common it is?

          • Jon Sorensen

            It’s based on most Muslim countries tolerating “people of the book” but jailing atheists. In Saudis you don’t go to jail just being a Christian, but you do go just being an atheist. Jailed atheists are the evidence, but you don’t accept that because they are atheists.

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            You don’t seem to understand what evidence is nor what a convincing argument is.

            You said “in every Muslim country it is safer to be a Christian than atheist”. To make a convincing argument supported by real evidence, you need to list all of the countries that you are talking about and for each and every one you need to link to a reliable source that shows that it is safer to be a Christian than an atheist in that country.

            You just saying something is not evidence. And even if you had supplied evidence about Saudi Arabia that does not say anything about any other Muslim country.

            “Jailed atheists are the evidence”

            Even if you had supplied a list of countries and information on people in those countries who had been jailed, or worse, for atheism, that still would not show that in every one of those countries “it is safer to be a Christian than atheist”.

          • Jon Sorensen

            “To make a convincing argument supported by real evidence, you need to
            list all of the countries that you are talking about and for each and every one you need to link to a reliable source that shows that it is safer to be a Christian than an atheist in that country.”

            Even the study quoted in the article does not provide the country list or evidence list. Funny how you believe that and don’t demand them or the author of the article above to provide the list and evidence. Christians are so biased to believe what they want to believe and make demands that they themselves don’t follow.

            “Even if you had supplied a list of countries and information on people
            in those countries who had been jailed, or worse, for atheism, that
            still would not show that in every one of those countries”
            I know. Nothing would convince you I guess.

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            Very last, and quick, comment.

            I never said that I believed the report. I have not been in dialogue with the author of that report. I have been in dialogue with the person who wrote “But in every Muslim country it is safer to be a Christian than atheist” and it is that single statement that I have asked you to substantiate.

            If your belief in that statement was based on evidence then you would produce that evidence. Rather you keep on saying that everyone knows this, throwing in the odd anecdote and saying that anyone who disagrees with you does so solely because of Christian bias.

            Finally, in your last paragraph you have again cut the context to try and twist my words. Doing this convinces no-one and makes you look rather pathetic.

          • Jon Sorensen

            “I never said that I believed the report”
            And you are proud not to fact check pro-Christians reports.

            It is still bizarre if you think it is safer to be an atheist that a Christian in Muslim countries. Weird.

            “If your belief in that statement was based on evidence then you would produce that evidence.”
            You would believe it anyways and don’t want to understand how life is in Muslim countries.

            “Finally, in your last paragraph you have again cut the context to try and twist my words”
            I directly quoted you, and that is twisting your words. Weird.

          • CliveM

            “I didn’t say safe you did”

            Read again my question, bearing in mind your comment.

            “That in less than 38 countries atheist groups get harassed.”

            I assume you mean Muslim countries? You say there are 44 Muslim majority countries. See my extended list to Anton below, of Muslim majority Countries where it’s safe to be an atheist.

            This means that 38 is probably overstating it.

            However to answer your specific request of two, Albania and Turkmenistan.

            Now how about answering my questions? I note you’ve neatly avoided doing so or provided any evidence.

            In addition prove that in every Muslim country it is safer to be a Christian then an atheist.

          • Jon Sorensen

            In Turkmenistan the Government requires all public schools and institutes of higher learning to hold regular instruction on the Ruhnama. So atheists are force to read religious book. Albania might be free of atheist harassment but I’m not sure as fact are hard to find.

            Which question I’m not answering. Being safe?
            The study was about harassment. For example in the US atheists organisations get harassed and discriminated all the time by Christians. It’s a lot safer to be a Christians in Muslim countries than being an atheist ans atheism is illegal and punishable by death in many Muslims countries.

          • CliveM

            And with this whole response, the vacuousness of your position is revealed. A Leopard doesn’t change its spots it would seem. You still shift position when your point is refuted and you still refuse to answer the question and provide the evidence.

          • Jon Sorensen

            You seem to getting all angry now. I haven’t changed my position. Let me know which position you think I changed.

          • CliveM

            This is the last time I’m engaging with you. You continually adopt a position, make a claim and when its refuted by concrete examples, claim it’s not what you said or meant and then adopt a new requirement, whilst pretending it’s what you said all along.

            You did this previously and you continue to do this now. I’m not angry, I’m irritated.

            Just so you understand fully I will use this thread as an illustration of the points.

            To summarise, you started by quoting the study and claiming it was a nonsense. You say it stated that Christians are harassed in 102 countries, but atheists less than 38. You said that unlike Christianity, atheism is illegal in many countries. You finished by saying “I bet you can’t find a Muslim or an African country where atheist can have a official or open group. Way more than 38 countries”

            You were unable to refute the point about the 102.

            It was pointed out that S. Africa, was safe. But suddenly that wasn’t what you meant.

            You then said “unlike Christianity atheism is illegal in many countries and punishable by death or jail”

            Pubcrawler pointed out North Korea. But again you shifted your requirement.

            You then said what are the “‘many countries’ where Christianity is punishable by death or jail”. PC gave you a list. But that wasn’t acceptable, because you claim Atheists are also punished in these countries. Who said they weren’t? What relevance does that have to your request? None. But again you’re shifting the argument, when the evidence is presented.

            You also asked for two Muslim Countries where it’s safe to be an atheist. I supplied two and pointed you to a list I supplied to Anton. Again you shift the argument. Turkmenistan wasn’t applicable apparently because everyone has to study the Ruhmana!! Although what that has to do with your requirement I identify two Muslim countries where it’s safe to be an atheist, you don’t make clear.

            You then launched into a completely irrelevant point about atheists being hassled by Christian groups in the US. Poor dears and completely irrelevant to your original post. It is safe and legal to be an atheist in the US. No ifs, no ands, no buts. But what you have managed to do, is completely trivialise the discussion. This isn’t about actions that occasionally irritate, but actions that are coordinated on a major scale, that lead to significant disadvantage, threat, death or imprisonment.

            You also attempted to hide behind the fact you never used the word safe! Really desperate stuff. If you ask for countries where people can be openly atheist and not be imprisoned or put to death, what relevance does this have? In what way does the word ‘safe’ not apply or describe you’re requirement? Except you are again shifting your argument.

            Anyway I’ve finished with this.

          • Jon Sorensen

            “You were unable to refute the point about the 102”
            I never claimed that it is not true, nor did I try to refute it.

            “It was pointed out that S. Africa, was safe. But suddenly that wasn’t what you meant.”
            OK I agree that S. Africa is safe for atheists, but I pointed the link showing how atheists get harassed in S. Africa by Christians and should should be in the country list where atheist get harassed. Like every country in Africa.

            When I said ““unlike Christianity atheism is illegal in many countries and punishable by death or jail”
            pointing out North Korea does not refute that how ever much you cry about it. Read my claim again.

            “‘many countries’ where Christianity is punishable by death or jail”. PC gave you a list. But that wasn’t acceptable”
            Because in those countries including Columbia it is not illegal to be a Christian, maybe N. Korea is a single exeption. So again no matter how much you cry being a Christian is not a crime unlike being an atheist.

            Yes Turkmenistan is safe for atheist lives, but they get harassed. Turkmenistan should be in Pewforum list.

            “You then launched into a completely irrelevant point about atheists being hassled by Christian groups in the US.”
            Nonsense. The US should be in pewforum list as Christians harass atheist groups.

            ” It is…legal to be an atheist in the US”
            But they have laws that atheist can’t hold office when Christians can. Imagine that being other way around. LOL.

            “This isn’t about actions that occasionally irritate, but actions that are coordinated on a major scale, that lead to significant disadvantage, threat, death or imprisonment.”
            No. I pointed out the Pewforum report was about harassment, page 16.

            You also attempted to hide behind the fact you never used the word safe!
            I did use it. No hiding there. Let me repeat it for you. It is safe to be a Christian in Saudi-Arabia and Islamic countries. It is not safe to be an atheist in in Saudi-Arabia and Islamic countries.

          • Dreadnaught

            The USA: where the President can be black and from a Muslim father but an openly atheist President? – no way.

          • CliveM

            ??? Didn’t realise that the US was a Muslim majority country.

          • Dreadnaught

            Ok my silly mistaken reading – but a valid point non the less I think.

          • CliveM

            There is nothing in the EU Constitution that’s says he can’t. He won’t be in prisoned for doing so. He may lose some votes (I presume) but his life won’t be in danger and he won’t have to flee the country.

          • Pubcrawler

            Actually, I have better (paid) things to do than argue the toss with you.

            Here:

            http://www.sharondalecc.org/fire/countries_where_christianity_is_illegal.pdf

          • Jon Sorensen

            So you post in the Internet that you have better things to do that post in the Internet. That is almost funnier than your list.

            In Columbia 92% are Christians, but in your list they are persecuted. LOL. Most of the countries in the list are Muslim majority countries where it is more dangerous to be an atheist. For example Atheism is prohibited in Saudi Arabia and can come with a death penalty, if one is charged as an atheist. Or check what happens in Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen to atheists.

          • Pubcrawler

            “So you post in the Internet that you have better things to do that post in the Internet”

            Don’t be a fatuous pillock. Are you online 24/7?

          • Jon Sorensen

            Yet another angry Christian… 🙂

          • CliveM

            “Fatuous pillock” you’re being excessively charitable today!

    • Christina Summers

      If you are rejecting a study produced by a world-renowned research institute, the least you should do is provide evidence to support your assertion. Just using words like “nonsense”, “I bet you” and “propaganda” isn’t good enough and is simply driven by your personal views and positioning, not fact.

      • Jon Sorensen

        According to wikipedia there are 44 Muslim majority countries. Running an openly atheist organisation there is impossible (edit: without being harassed)

        There are almost 50 subsaharan countries. In all of them you will be harassed running an openly atheist Group. Read Leo Igwe or listen to his lectures.

        It is obvious there are more than 38 countries. But I doubt this fact changes your mind.

        • The Explorer

          Atheists seem to think that if you’re a Christian you have to defend religion in general. Why? I believe Christianity to be true, and I believe there to be some truth in other religions, but where they differ from Christianity I believe them to be false. I would not seek to defend Baal or Kali worship; and although there are virtues in Islam that I respect, I reject it for its incompatibility with Christianity.

          • Jon Sorensen

            “Atheists seem to think that if you’re a Christian you have to defend religion in general. Why?”

            Because when you make laws to protect Christianity (tax breaks, tax laws, blasphemy laws, religious exemptions, religious school or program funding) they also protect all religions, but not non-religious organisation or people.

          • The Explorer

            Yes, that’s a very good point. The Act of Toleration was exactly that: it tolerated dissenters, Jews etc, but there was no nonsense about equality. I forget the exact details, but there were restrictions on what rank a Catholic could rise to in the Army. Catholics could not attend university. (That was why the poet Pope never went to Oxbridge, despite his intellect.)

            That sort of thing has died since the onset of a multi-faith society; even though we still have, theoretically, an established church. All faiths enjoying equal rights is now the ideal.

            It’s the point made by Dawkins in ‘The God Delusion’. Christianity, especially in its unbelieving liberal version, is relatively benign. But it provides cover for Islam. So in order to get rid of Islam, you have to get rid of Christianity as well.

          • Jon Sorensen

            I don’t support the idea to get rid of religion. It’s their behaviour that is worrying as beliefs often lead to actions…

          • Royinsouthwest

            That sort of thing has died since the onset of a multi-faith society;

            It died long before that. I don’t know why people often say “Catholics could not attend university” as if they were singled out. Do you think that non-Conformists could attend university?

          • The Explorer

            No. And look at the persecution of Bunyan. Things changed in the Nineteenth Century. I was giving selective examples, rather than attempting a comprehensive picture. And, Judaism apart, other faiths were not really an issue until the Twentieth Century.

        • Christina Summers

          I’m sure you may be right, Mr. Sorensen. What I am concerned with is your dismissal of this article with words like “nonsense” and “propaganda” without evidence that it is, in fact, nonsense and propaganda.

          What makes up or changes my mind is not the issue here and you are not really in a position to decide that.

          I wish you well.

          • Jon Sorensen

            I provide you evidence. 44 Muslims countries.

            Funny how you clam “without evidence that it is”

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            You may have listed 44 Muslim majority countries but that is not evidence that in every one of those countries “atheism is illegal … and punishable by death or jail”.

            If you are right and you want to convince people then you need to show evidence that atheists are persecuted in all of those 44 countries.

            Saying “I bet you can’t find a Muslim or an African country where atheist can
            have a official or open group” sounds remarkably like you have not actually looked at this subject but are just assuming that all countries that are African or Muslim majority persecute atheists.

            You are making the assertion about the persecution of atheists, it is up to you to support that assertion, not up to anyone else to disprove it.

          • Jon Sorensen

            “If you are right and you want to convince people then you need to show evidence that atheists are persecuted in all of those 44 countries.”
            You are not being honest now.

            “sounds remarkably like you have not actually looked at this subject but are just assuming that all countries that are African or Muslim majority persecute atheists.”
            You are wrong. And the study claims harassment not persecution. Atheist jailed and flocked in Muslim countries just being atheist are the evidence, but of course Christians close their eyes and minds aobut it. Christians don’t care about atheists.

            There Are 13 Countries Where Atheism Is Punishable by Death:

            http://www.thewire.com/global/2013/12/13-countries-where-atheism-punishable-death/355961/

            Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

            But of course you don’t accept this as “evidence” but keep on asking more evidence as atheist lives don’t matter to you…

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            “You are not being honest now.”
            You are being very rude. I was explaining how a logical argument works. If you are saying something is true for every member of a group then to make a convincing argument you need to prove that what you are saying is true for each member of of that group in turn. That is the way that logic works. You may not like it but being rude does not invalidate that.

            “Atheist jailed and flocked in Muslim countries just being atheist are the evidence”
            But you have not supplied any evidence of people having been jailed and flogged just for being atheists. Do you really expect anyone to just take your word for it?

            “but of course Christians close their eyes and minds aobut it. Christians don’t care about atheists”
            And you base that on what precisely? Christians care about all people. But if you want me to care about an issue you need to show me that the problem exists and what the scale of the issue is.

            “There Are 13 Countries Where Atheism Is Punishable by Death”
            But you said “Running an openly atheist organisation [in any one of 44 Muslim countries] is impossible [without harassment]”, so that piece you linked does not say this about the other 31 countries. It also does not say that even in those countries anyone had been jailed, flogged or executed for being an atheist. Just because a country has such a law does not mean that it is used. The first few comments explain this.

            If you had simply said that in some countries atheism is illegal and could even be punished by death then noone would have disagreed with you.

            But making absolutist statements (about all Muslim countries) will inevitably cause people to ask if this is true and for you to supply evidence.

            “but keep on asking more evidence as atheist lives don’t matter to you…”

            All lives matter to me because I am a Christian. And I have never asked for more evidence because you have never supplied any evidence at all that an atheist has been convicted just for atheism, and certainly not in all of the 44 countries that you are thinking of

          • Jon Sorensen

            “You are being very rude.”
            I’m pretty sure you know how Muslims treat atheists, so don’t play dumb or explain how logic works. If you are not sure just put an “I’m an atheist” T-shirt on and go to near your local mosque.

            “But you have not supplied any evidence of people having been jailed and flogged just for being atheists.”
            Really? Even US congress talked about Raif Badawi for example. Just look outside Christian web sites.

            “And you base that on what precisely?”
            Everyone who reads non-Christian news knows about Raif Badawi

            “But making absolutist statements (about all Muslim countries) will inevitably cause people to ask if this is true and for you to supply evidence.”
            Evidence is so easy to find, Try to read BBC
            http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-35492525
            http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-28010234
            http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-35983979
            http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-34357047
            But Christians will not believe this anyways, but keep on asking for evidence…

            “certainly not in all of the 44 countries that you are thinking of”
            You are so keen to ask for evidence, so please provide evidence for your absolute statement.

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            As you are clearly not interested in a coherent informative discussion, this will be my last comment.

            If anyone is playing dumb it is you, as you constantly address points other than the ones that I have made. And, sadly, I do need to explain how logic works as, despite my best efforts you have not grasped it.

            For example, I said that you had not supplied any evidence of people having been jailed and flogged just for being atheists. This does not mean that no evidence exists, it means that you have not supplied that evidence. Rather than taking what I wrote to mean what I wrote, you assume it means that no evidence exists. A total failure in logic.

            Another example, you say “Evidence is so easy to find, Try to read BBC” and then list four links. You made the statement that “Running an openly atheist organisation [in any one of 44 Muslim countries] is impossible [without harassment]”, so it is up to you to support that statement, not up to your readers to go looking for supporting evidence. And your four links cover four countries (one of them the UK), so rather short of 44.

            You have also, rather shoddily IMO, taken my comments out of context. That is rather dishonest and worse than failing in logic.

            From
            JS: but of course Christians close their eyes and minds aobut it. Christians don’t care about atheists
            JBDG: And you base that on what precisely?
            you took “And you base that on what precisely?” and replied by talking about Raif Badawi, implying that I knew about him and was deliberately dismissing his position.

            And from
            JBDG: you have never supplied any evidence at all that an atheist has
            been convicted just for atheism, and certainly not in all of the 44
            countries that you are thinking of
            you took “certainly not in all of the 44 countries that you are thinking of” and accused me of making an unsupported absolute statement, when the full context is clear that I was actually pointing out that is is you that has done this.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Funny how you can’t see your own bias even when point out to you. You don’t ask any evidence for the article, but only demand evidence for counter argument which does not fit your world view. Then you keep on avoiding the issues while repeating “logic” what you don’t apply to your own behaviour.
            If you were concerned about non-Christians you would know about high profile cases from BBC and all Western media like Raif Badawi’s case.

    • Uncle Brian

      If you’re really sure you’ve found mistakes in the Pew Forum report, you ought to tell them about it. Gillan provided a hyperlink. In case you didn’t spot it, here’s the link again:

      http://www.pewforum.org/files/2015/02/Restrictions2015_fullReport.pdf

      If you’re not sure who is the right person at Pew Forum to address your email to, you might try Alan Cooperman, the Director of Religion Research.

      http://www.pewresearch.org/staff/alan-cooperman/

      Good luck, Jon! Let us know how you get on.

      • Jon Sorensen

        Thanks. I send them a request to publish those 38 countries. I’ll let you know if I get an answer.

        I really want to know which of the 44 Muslim majority countries don’t harass atheists.

        • The Explorer

          Visit each of them, declare yourself an atheist, and you’ll find out. (Of course, if you pick one of the wrong ones initially, you may not get to visit the others.)

          • Jon Sorensen

            I think you outlined the problem. I have visited quite a few of them, but you don’t need to visit them to know the situation.

  • Royinsouthwest

    The official who asked what colour the cover of the Bible is has probably not even glanced at a Bible since the days when the Authorised Version was the only translation widely used in most British churches. I haven’t the faintest idea what colours the covers are of the most common versions in Arabic, Swahili, Malay, Chinese, etc. etc. Do the officials in the Home Office know what colours they are.

    Many years ago, when I was in my late teens, I decided to memorise the Ten Commandments. It was not something that was encouraged by my church; I decided to do so of my own free will. However I am not certain I could remember them all in the correct order today and I don’t think that matters. The promise of the Old Testament, and its fulfilment in the New, is that God would write them in our hearts. How many Home Office officials know that?

    Knowing the Ten Commandments does not make anyone a Christian. Trying to obey them does not either. Politicians and civil servants are probably aware that repentance is important in Christianity but many of them probably think that repentance is all about feeling guilty. What do they know about grace, faith, salvation, the significance of Christ’s death and God’s love?

    I don’t want to pour scorn on legitimate claims by gays and lesbians to political asylum but are they required to prove their sexuality. Without meaning to be vulgar it would be possible for them to do so. Heterosexuals falsely claiming to be gay or lesbian in order to get asylum would be utterly repelled by the idea.

    This whole business demonstrates two things.

    1. The complete ignorance of many in the government and civil service of what Christianity is about.

    2. The way the organs of the state have been captured by various PC groups – and I’m not talking about Microsoft!

    • Pubcrawler

      “The official who asked what colour the cover of the Bible is has probably not even glanced at a Bible”

      You could have ended that sentence there.

    • IrishNeanderthal

      If you were an immigration official, how would you regard the members of various denominations from the Middle East who are finding it necessary to get away from ISIS?

      • Royinsouthwest

        The key part of the answer is implicit in my comment above. I would ask them about the life of Christ and the significance of his death. I would follow that up by asking them if they could mention a few other people from the New and from the Old Testament and to explain what they know about them and finally I would ask them about their own church, or, if they were not and never had been regular church attenders I would just ask them to explain briefly why they were Christian.

        I would not have a list of boxes to tick, nor would the asylum seekers have to get a particular number of correct answers to pass. Simply by encouraging them to talk via open rather than closed questions I think it would be possible to assess whether or not they had a basic knowledge of Christianity.

        Differences between denominations would not matter because most would be in broad agreement on the points covered in the first paragraph. There would be little point in asking people about the fine details of doctrinal disputes, e.g. between Calvinists and Arminians, or the equivalent sources of controversy in eastern churches, though if they were well informed about such matters that would be reasonably convincing! If they did claim to belong to a particular denomination they could be encouraged to talk about that for a couple of minutes or so.

      • Old Nick

        Saying you are a Christian should not be enough in itself. Oriental Orthodox and Catholic Christians belong to quite specific churches and should be able to state clearly enough which one (which ‘milet’) it is that they adhere to. It would be likely, one would suspect, for a Christian claiming to be Syrian Orthodox to know the name of the current Patriarch of Antioch, or for a member of one of the two current branches of the Church of the East (the Assyrians) to know the name of the relevant Catholicos. Such enquiries about the milet could be supplemented by simple questions about the liturgy. It is, after all. not an individual’s faith that needs to be tested (as it would be by questions about the meaning of the Atonement), but his membership of a specific milet (religious allegiance), because it is that sort of membership which marks him out as being vulnerable to serious persecution. If this seems arcane and Ottoman, bear in mind that under the Ba’athist régime westerners applying for a visa to visit Iraq still had to provide their baptism certificate – and it was until recently (maybe still is) necessary to state your religion (the word is ‘milet’ – your religious community) on forms in Turkey.

  • CliveM

    Should have said, welcome back Gillan.

    • Uncle Brian

      Yes, Gillan, it’s good to hear from you again after such a long time. In this article you are raising a very pertinent and worrying question, and I hope the Home Office will have the gumption to recognise its shortcomings and mend its ways as a result.

  • I doubt if I could recite the ten commandments in spite of them being painted on the wall of the parish church above the altar. But I’m fully aware of the content, and that is what is important.
    As for the colour of the Bible’s cover, my copy of the Authorised Version has a black, embossed cover, but the ones at church with some new translation have green, plain covers.

    • dannybhoy

      The colour of the Bible’s covers is totally irrelevant. It is what’s written inside that matters.

      • CliveM

        Hi DB

        I think everyone agrees with that :0)

        • dannybhoy

          What about my belated second sentence?
          ;0)

          • CliveM

            Belated is the word!!

          • dannybhoy

            Sorry about that Clive baby…

      • Dreadnaught

        Either that or Muslims lying trough their crooked teeth as encouraged in the Koran.

        • dannybhoy

          It’s a possibility. I still say the kindest and best way of showing compassion in this situation would have been for the West to establish safe, secure and well equipped refugee camps near the areas affected.
          They could have guaranteed security with Western military forces couldn’t they? Why did they feel the best way was to invite them into the heart of Christian, tolerant, liberal nations?

          • Royinsouthwest

            That is what John Major, for all his faults, did when he was prime minister. He persuaded President Bush, the father and not the son, that a “no-fly” zone should be established over Kurdish areas in Iraq after the 1st Gulf War. That was sufficient to prevent Saddam Hussein from continuing his attacks on the Kurds.

          • Inspector General

            Ask the Turkish authorities about the Kurds, Roy. it is not good. One recalls when it emerged that numbers of them were gassed by Saddam, they were the darlings of the BBC for a time, until it emerged they were just as brutal as any other Arab in the region….

          • Old Nick

            Kurds are not Arabs. The various dialects of Kurdish, like Farsi, are Indo-European.

          • Inspector General

            From a Christian point of view, it’s rather academic what they are….

          • Old Nick

            You are wrong; it makes a considerable difference. A substantial number of Assyrian Christians is at present being sheltered by the Kurds in Erbil (Arbela). A mastery of the facts should precede the putting of finger to keyboard.

          • Dreadnaught

            Never mind ‘its a possibility’ its right there is in the Koran what they call taqiyya; meaning its not offensive to Allah to lie to achieve Islamic aims. You can’t allow sentimentality to cloud reality. The world is in turmoil because of what Muslims see as soft-hearted Christian values: no its tough on them not to have approached our embassies or indeed attended Churches in the land from which they are coming before they left.
            Have you forgotten the lives we lost ‘stabilising’ Afghanistan and the vast amounts we are still pitching out with no strings attached to such countries? – I haven’t

          • dannybhoy

            What I was alluding to is that as a nation we are virtually unable to do anything about it anyway.
            As we saw last night Nigel Farage came under attack from those who see him as a racist; when what he is actually pointing out (and I agree) is that immigration is (deliberately) out of control, and we need to get it back under control.
            That is only common sense, and yet some people equate any attempt to control immigration with racism. Not only that, anyone connected with national security knows that we have plenty of home grown and imported terrorists waiting for an opportunity..
            It’s too late now to bolt the stable door.

          • Inspector General

            One annoyed black audience ‘womyn’ with a chip on her shoulder does not a racist of Mr Farage make. You should know better at your age, Danny – naughty boy!

          • dannybhoy

            “from those who see him as a racist” Inspector. Read it again.

          • Inspector General

            One is prepared to kiss your bald head to make up, Danny.

          • Pubcrawler
          • Inspector General

            A place womyn you think?

          • Pubcrawler

            Not in this sense, I’ll warrant

            https://youtu.be/OKnXtigFj0o

          • Inspector General

            So thoughtful of you, Crawler…

          • Inspector General

            Just read your link. A black racist thing. And grim looking at that!

          • Pubcrawler

            You might think so, Inspector; I couldn’t possibly comment.

          • Inspector General

            Poor thing doesn’t know she’s been born. Perhaps a year in South Africa for her….with those lovely dark skinned masculine types…

          • Pubcrawler

            Well, she’s declared that she’ll quit the UK if we vote for Brexit, so…

          • Inspector General

            Oh God. No! Not that…

          • Inspector General

            The Inspector has had second thoughts. Seeing things from her point of view, you understand. It can’t be easy being a black skinned racist in a white country so if she chooses to leave, perhaps it’s for the best. It just remains for you man here to wish her all the best in her rather segregated outlook on life…

          • Inspector General

            There will be no attempt by the Inspector to court her favours. She’s damn ugly, but that is very much a black woman thing…

          • IrishNeanderthal

            I disagree with the last phrase.

            I find a lot of dark ladies very attractive, but that one slips completely through the net.

          • IrishNeanderthal

            Giving airtime to such people is hand-feeding the mouth that bites you.

          • Dreadnaught

            ‘Rascist’ has now become the clarion call of generations of people who have become so accustomed to being ashamed of being ethnically white they reach for it before they themselves are accused of being racist.
            Listening to all the crap about Mohammad Ali, the one-time boxer, being a champion of equality rights omits referring to his Nation of Islam time when he was overtly racist against Whites and interracial integration.
            I dosen’t fit the agenda to point to racism being world wide and not directed at anyone else but Whites.

          • HedgehogFive

            He had his own way of spreading Islam:

            Muhammad Ali’s tangled love life leaves troubled legacy

      • I just wonder how many churchgoers could recite the ten commandments. Probably ‘converts’ could as they’d have been briefed as to what they should know! I suspect that Muslims are claiming to be Christians in order not to be deported as they would be killed. Once they have their asylum granted, they can revert to type.

        • dannybhoy

          “I suspect that Muslims are claiming to be Christians in order not to be deported as they would be killed. Once they have their asylum granted, they can revert to type.”
          Yes that is a real possibility, just as we used to witness the phenomenon of “Rice Christians”, Chinese who ‘converted’ in order to get fed..
          The real problem is that because we are no longer a homogeneous society, we just don’t know where people’s sympathies lie; even people in positions of power and influence.

          • Watchman

            Some Muslims pretend to be Christians so that they can become President of the United States.

    • Old Nick

      The problem with naming the Ten Commandments being a test is the confusion caused by the two different ways of numbering them. It is a(nother) sign of the aforementioned religious illiteracy that officials do not realise this.

      • Inspector General

        Thou shall not have any other god but Political Correctness

        • Old Nick

          And the greatest of these is Charity

          • Inspector General

            Your other response was deleted by the powers that be. Understandable considering the caustic approach you shamelessly adopted. By the way, in future, don’t annoy the Inspector, you elderly fool…

          • Old Nick

            Actually I deleted it myself (though I am glad it reached you) – in the interests of charity, you understand. As for foolishness, these words might ring a bell : Ἰουδαίοις μὲν σκάνδαλον ἔθνεσιν δὲ μωρίαν. I am under no illusions about the character of Islam, but I very much doubt if the Oriental Orthodox churches would have survived even to the extent that they have if they had adopted your childish haha very funny vindictive posture you propose.

      • My test for immigrants would be to get them to burn a copy of the Koran!

        • Old Nick

          There is surely no need to be insulting.

          • Inspector General

            Pte Rigby had his head cut off, as recommended by the Koran. How’s that for insulting….

        • Anton

          Drink alcohol? Eat a ham sandwich?

  • len

    Good to see you back Gillan.
    What is a real Christian?. Even’ Christians’ cannot agree on that but simply to trust in Jesus Christ for salvation should suffice?.
    A Bible can be virtually any colour and I suspect some Muslims know the ten commandments?.

  • Pounce

    Are Christians persecuted around the world….Yes
    Are Muslims persecuted around the world actually yes and to a far larger scale than the above, ironically their tormentors, killers, abusers are….Muslims. This explains why so many millions have taken the long walk to Europe. Now the fact remains that Europe has become selective in admitting people, which explains why everybody is either from Syria,Gay, a child ,has British relatives or…..Christians,

    Lets be honest here, not everybody who states one of the above is telling the truth, which is why we have a border force in which to vet those seeking a new life in the uk.

    Pounce a former Muslim but who has been CoE for over 40 years.

    • Pubcrawler

      Ah Pounce, someone I recognise from BiasedBBC. Welcome!

  • dannybhoy

    It’s all about belonging and tribal loyalty, mate.
    The West is now in terminal decline because it no longer cherishes and defends the cultural and religious values that made it great. In the West all that matters now is personal happiness, personal fulfilment, personal freedom and obligatory support for trendy causes.
    That’s where we are.
    When the President of the United States can insist that a minority of seriously screwed up and confused people have the right to choose which toilet they use, we are well on our way down the toilet…

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/obama-administration-to-decree-transgender-access-for-public-school-bathrooms/
    It may be that the Islamisation of Europe is God’s judgement on us.

  • Albert

    In another case, an appeal judge remarked on an Indian woman’s ignorance of the Friday abstinence rules in Roman Catholicism in relation to refraining from meat consumption. He concluded that she was not a Christian as this practice was ‘general knowledge’. This was despite a Roman Catholic priest providing a statement explaining that many Indian Catholics frequently eat meat on a Friday.

    The appeal judge is simply wrong. The requirement to abstain from meat varies from country to country according to the decision of the local bishops’ conference.

    Why is it that judges in this country are so bad?

    • CliveM

      I was listening to Law in Action on R4 yesterday, in 20 years they’ll all be replaced by clever computer programs.

      Good riddance and cheaper too.

    • CliveM

      Also interestingly, it doesn’t actually say the woman is a Roman Catholic! Just that’s she’s a Christian.

    • dannybhoy

      Perhaps if you could find out who the judge(s)/panelists are that would clarify things.

    • Eustace

      I fail to understand why a judge should be presumed to possess universal knowledge.

      In our adversarial justice system, the task of informing the court about the relevant facts of a case falls not to the judge, but rather to counsel.

      If this particular judge made a decision based on insufficient or erroneous information about one Christian church among many and its customs, the fault lies not with him so much as with the defendant’s lawyer, who should have been capable of making his case and calling expert witnesses to instruct the court on how the Roman religion works.

      But it’s easier to blame the judge, isn’t it? It also perpetuates the myth of Christians as innocent victims of hostile authority. It’s so much easier to pose as a martyr if you paint those in power as ignorant and evil. “Persecution” is not persecution when it arises from the incompetence of a lawyer who didn’t know how to present his case in a convincing manner.

      • Albert

        I fail to understand why a judge should be presumed to possess universal knowledge.

        No one said that he should. The suggestion is that the judge should not base his judgement on false evidence. If a judge is this ignorant of what can be expected of a Catholic, then he is too ignorant to try the case.

        In our adversarial justice system, the task of informing the court about the relevant facts of a case falls not to the judge, but rather to counsel.

        That rather depends on when the judge made this comment. If it arose before he gave his judgement, then it could have been corrected. If it arose afterwards then it was too late.

        If this particular judge made a decision based on insufficient or erroneous information about one Christian church among many and its customs, the fault lies not with him so much as with the defendant’s lawyer, who should have been capable of making his case and calling expert witnesses to instruct the court on how the Roman religion works.

        Which is exactly what the OP points out the defendant’s lawyer did do:

        In another case, an appeal judge remarked on an Indian woman’s ignorance of the Friday abstinence rules in Roman Catholicism in relation to refraining from meat consumption. He concluded that she was not a Christian as this practice was ‘general knowledge’. This was despite a Roman Catholic priest providing a statement explaining that many Indian Catholics frequently eat meat on a Friday.

        Moreover, who is providing the defendant with a lawyer? It’s unlikely that this has happened except via legal aid. And if the state can’t be bothered to provide a judge who knows what the case is about, how confident are we that the state provided lawyer will be.

        But it’s easier to blame the judge, isn’t it?

        It’s not just easier, but right. He should know that his school boy knowledge of religion is not enough for him to judge such cases – especially as he has the correct information provided to him in the court. Apparently, he thinks he knows more about Catholicism than a Catholic priest.

        Moreover, the case here is about the fact that the state is ignorantly setting the bar at the wrong place, possibly failing to provide adequate legal representation and judging these matters on silly and false things.

        It also perpetuates the myth of Christians as innocent victims of hostile authority. It’s so much easier to pose as a martyr if you paint those in power as ignorant and evil. “Persecution” is not persecution when it arises from the incompetence of a lawyer who didn’t know how to present his case in a convincing manner.

        I am sad that you trivialise innocent people’s sufferings in this way and that you do so, rather like the judge in the case, without apparently hearing the evidence first. I say again: the lawyer was probably provided by the state, which if he was incompetent is the state’s fault, but in this case, the lawyer did his job, but the judge was incompetent.

        It’s so much easier to trivialise the situation, rather than face the reality of the problem of this issue, isn’t it?

  • IanCad

    Well, Hello Stranger. Good to know you’re still above ground.
    This is tragic. Our land, covered with symbols of our faith, turns away those who seek refuge from persecution. If there is justice we should pay a heavy price.
    We are a post-Christian country; our heritage is for nought, our duty neglected, our guilt increased on a daily basis.
    It is a symptom of our shame that this outrage continues. Where are those students who agitate for the welcoming of those of foreign faiths and none? Why no great speeches in the HOL? Plenty of churchmen there.
    To the non-believer all religions are the same and all ridiculously primitive. It must be those types who infest the Home Office.
    Dear Lord! How far we have fallen.

  • Inspector General

    Our darling migrants! Or should that be ‘dignified asylum seekers’ – This lifted from Pink New today…
    —————————————————————————————————————————
    According to the Global Post, thousands of migrants heading to Northern Europe have been forced to stay in Greece because of temporary border controls to limit the flow of people.

    Germany and Sweden are the most popular final destination for many refugees but their systems are under strain with the sudden influx of people.

    Many migrants see no escape from their current situation because they are considered economic migrants, rather than refugees. This is especially true for people from Afghanistan.

    Abdullah [not his real name] is an Afghanistan migrant stranded in Greece. He arrived in Athens with just 20 cents and within a week he was selling sex in Pedion Tou Areos, the main public park in Athens, to survive.

    He said: “I got angry. I had just arrived, and I had to do this just to get some money.”

    Abdullah stayed in the park, which he described as dirty, for seven hours before deciding to have sex with one of the many men who had approached him for 20 euros.

    “I didn’t have any money. You can sell drugs, sell sex or work for smugglers to find customers. There was no other way for me.” He added. “We had only one hope, that the border was open, and now it’s closed. I don’t have money to go anywhere. I don’t know what to do.”
    ——————————–
    These people with their unpleasant culture, dangerous religion and criminal ways will destroy us and our civilization unless they are all sent back with no exceptions. Just as Rome was overwhelmed and collapsed in the 5th century – here we are now with history repeating itself. We can’t even let so called Christians in, otherwise they’ll ALL be Christian converts (until it’s safe enough for them to go back to ‘there is no god but Allah’, you’ll find)…

    • dannybhoy

      To be fair IG there are young Europeans willing to do the same thing! The real issue is that our leaders have failed in their duty to us (security) and because military force ranks well below human rights, Europe finds itself facing all kinds of problems.

      • Inspector General

        Abdullah ‘got angry’. He’s really going to fit in when he’s approached to ‘do something about the infidel living amongst us in our new land’

  • Uncle Brian

    Mohammad was an active house church leader in Iran. His case was refused because the Home Office did not believe he was a Christian. … The judge asked him to state the name of the last book of the Bible. Mohammad responded Mokashefe, which is the Farsi word for Revelation; the Muslim interpreter repeated the same word to the Judge. The judge in his decision stated that the last book of the Bible was not Mokashefe but rather the book of Revelation.

    If they haven’t started doing it already, the Home Office and the law courts hearing these cases need to supply their interpreters with a list of the books of the Bible showing the corresponding names in Arabic, Farsi, Urdu and so on. After all, if the interpreter is a Muslim, it is not reasonable to expect him to be fully familiar with the contents of the Bible. That way there will be no excuse for interpreters and civil servants alike who misunderstand—or pretend to misunderstand—the applicant’s answers.

  • Shadrach Fire

    My dear fellow table diner. A certain person at that table had a rather macabre interest in methods of execution, I trust he does not get selected as part part of this Asylum Vetting process. Who knows what might happen to these poor dear soles.
    When does any Asylum Seeker benefit from any dignity except that which they hold in their own hearts where no man can violate they beliefs, hopes and desires.
    Bless you and pray you continue with this precious work.

    • Dreadnaught

      Cobblers!

      • Shadrach Fire

        To the Pope.

  • DanJ0

    Should I ever need to claim asylum, I should be alright if the test is this easy!

    • DanJ0

      And I have a backup sex tape if that fails …

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-24479812

      • Inspector General

        Thought you might…

      • The Explorer

        Just don’t take it with you if you visit a strict Muslim country.

        • Inspector General

          {HOWL!}

          You do realise DanJ0 is a man of lavender who wouldn’t be caught dead in a strict muslim country – well, unless he went there, that is…

          • DanJ0

            I have already refused to work in Saudi and Qatar. Not that I’d be at any risk, unless someone made a groundless allegation, but I refused on the grounds of conscientious objection. Both countries are based on a Wahhabist interpretation of Islam, although Qatar doesn’t have the same association with a cleric class as Saudi. Who wants to work in a country where the rule of law is a bit suspect, and the law itself is derived from a religion? I’m also disinclined to work in the USA too as, from afar, I find its justice system a disgrace and the ethos of some of its states very suspect.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Lord preserve me….I never thought I would ever agree with Danjo on anything. However I absolutely support this comment. I have found myself in the same position of refusing to work or even visit the above mentioned countries. The USA justice system with regard to black Americans is appalling. Some of them are seeking asylum in Canada on the grounds of persecution in America.

          • Inspector General

            Principles are fine things to have, so good show. Think you’re being rather hard on the USA though. It has to deal with people who would have no trouble cutting your throat for the contents of your wallet. Big drug problem, you see…

    • IrishNeanderthal

      The way things are going, you might find yourself (in the manner of a cartoon by H.M.Bateman)

      The Man Who claimed asylum in an asylum.

  • Darter Noster

    “and (bizarrely) know what colour a Bible cover is.”

    My Latin Bible is green, my Ancient Greek Bible is blue and my NRSV is red. My grandma had several Bibles, most of which were black. The King James Version she gave me as a Christening gift was red. Am I missing something here…?

    • Pubcrawler

      Yes: a white one. Then you’ve pretty much got the set.

      • Darter Noster

        I could play top trumps with them :oD

        • dannybhoy

          Or the other version, -The Last Trump!

          • Pubcrawler

            Bravo! 😀

  • The Explorer

    The problem of identifying genuine believers is an old one. When the French king wanted to winkle out the Cathars, he charged the Dominicans with the task of drawing up a set of appropriate questions. That was the origin of the Inquisition.