Tuesday, February 06, 2024

Church of England blasted as document reveals Clergy's tactics to help asylum 'grifters'

Fury at Church of England as role in Asylum merry-go-round revealed |  Politics | News | Express.co.uk

Tory MPs have blasted the Church of England after an official asylum advice document laid bare the clergy’s role in facilitating applications.

Senior politicians, including Nigel Farage, criticised the church after a paper, entitled “Supporting Asylum Seekers – Guidance for Church of England Clergy”, showed vicars have received advice on how to mount personal campaigns in the event of asylum claims being refused.

The official document also criticised the “political narrative about British identity, rights and values” as well as the “anti-immigration rhetoric… particularly evident in the run-up to the EU referendum” .

Tories have now rounded on the Church of England, with Henry Smith MP accusing the institution of embarking on a “naive, self-destructive path to national irrelevance”.

A new spotlight is being shone on the Church’s role in asylum applications, after the suspect allegedly involved in the Clapham chemical attack was revealed to have only been granted asylum after his third application, having got a priest to vouch he had converted to Christianity from Islam. 

The conversion meant it was too dangerous for suspect Abdul Ezedi to be deported to Afghanistan despite his previous conviction for sexual assault.

Since the manhunt for Mr Ezedi began, senior Tories have slammed the Church of England, with former immigration minister Robert Jenrick arguing “naive” vicars are helping asylum seekers game the system.

Tory MPs reacted with fury to the official guidance, with former minister David Jones warning: “The Church should understand that naivety is not a virtue, but a potentially lethal weakness”.

He told this paper: “A hard-nosed approach would be infinitely preferable.

“The Church should start by asking why lifelong adherents to other religions should suddenly decide to convert just at the moment when their removal from the UK is imminent. That’s what most sensible people would do.”

Nigel Farage said the Church of England should “reflect on their name and purpose”.

“The left-wing Archbishop is bad enough, but these revelations show a stunning naivety. The document seems to suggest that British identity, rights and values are a bad thing. They are exactly what the church should be endorsing.”

Red Wall MP Jonathan Gullis blasted the “dreadful leadership” of Justin Welby, which has “seen congregations decline and victims of child sexual abuse go for too long without justice”.

“Instead, ‘Woke Welby’ has enabled political activists within the clergy to help illegal economic migrants, predominantly young single men, secure the right to permanently remain in the UK with this so called ‘guidance’.

“What this proves to the British public is that lefty lawyers, Sir Keir Starmer, attention-seeking celebrities, and the Church of England are happy to leave our borders wide open - undermining our national security, and helping the smuggling gangs continue their disgusting trade of human life.”

Former Tory Chairman Lee Anderson asked: “I wonder how many of these newly converted Christians will turn up on a Sunday morning once their asylum claim has been approved.

“The Church of England is in my opinion encouraging people to lie about their faith in order to claim asylum. Fairly sure I've heard 'Thou shalt not lie' somewhere.”

Henry Smith added: “Criminals and those that are a security risk to the UK openly abuse our absurd asylum system. Too many innocent people end up paying a terrible price as a result and our society is gradually disfigured.” 

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph this weekend, Suella Braverman revealed how asylum seekers can secure the prized status with the help of the Church: “Attend Mass once a week for a few months, befriend the vicar, get your baptism date in the diary and, bingo, you’ll be signed off by a member of the clergy that you’re now a God-fearing Christian who will face certain persecution if removed to your Islamic country of origin”.

She added: “It has to stop. We must get wise to the problem. It is no wonder that the former dean of Liverpool Cathedral noted that he converted about 200 asylum seekers to Christianity over a four-year period – but he doesn’t recall baptising any Muslim who was already a British citizen.”

She emphasised her decision to set up a Taskforce in the Home Office during her time as Home Secretary “focused on rooting out the grifters enabling this sordid business”.

In the guidance, the Church attacks the “anti-immigration rhetoric of a number of media outlets”, accusing newspaper stories about refugees of being “used to support a broader political narrative about British identity, rights and values, as was particularly evident in the run up to the EU referendum”.

The Church’s briefing also advises clergymen on how to “mount a personal campaign” if an asylum case they’re involved in is rejected.

As with Mr Ezedi, it sets out: “If the person has converted to Christianity after a previous refusal, that may be the basis of a fresh claim”.

Priti Patel cited specific examples of Christian conversion being used to secure asylum status by dangerous individuals, such as Al Swealmeen who carried out the terror attack outside Liverpool Women's Hospital in 2022.

She said it is “no coincidence that religious leaders are constantly speaking out against any reforms and work introduced by us as The Church of England has also come under fire for its continued commentary on the Government’s wider migration policy, with the Archbishop of Canterbury recently speaking out against the Rwanda Bill in the House of Lords.

Mr Welby accused the Government of using the flagship legislation to outsource the country’s “legal and moral responsibilities”, leading to calls for Bishops to be removed from the Upper House entirely.