UK rejects asylum for Iranian Muslim who converted to Christianity, saying that Christianity isn’t a peaceful religion

UPDATE: Reader Chris called my attention to a video about this asylum situation. A video featuring the woman’s letter, which includes excerpts from the UK’s letter of refusal and an interview with the refugee’s lawyer, is on Channel 4 and can be seen here.

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This has been reported in several British papers, but one went behind a paywall and so I’ll give a screenshot of the free Torygraph article.  I’ve written before about how Asia Bibi (Aasiya Noreen), a Pakistani Christian who was imprisoned for blasphemy and then freed, was apparently denied asylum in the UK because it would incite unrest in “certain quarters of the population” (read: Muslims). She was offered asylum in France, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Australia, but her whereabouts at present are unknown.

If the UK really did that, and the evidence is that it did, it bespeaks a disgusting cowardice on the part of the British government. In the case below the cowardice is redoubled, though, as there’s no doubt that what is reported is true (click on screenshot):

An excerpt:

The Church of England has attacked the Home Office for using Bible quotes to argue that Christianity is not a peaceful religion in a bid to reject an asylum seeker.

The Iranian national, who has not been identified, claimed asylum in 2016 but his application was rejected after government officials said his conversion from Islam was “inconsistent” with his claim that Christianity is a peaceful religion.

In order to reiterate the point, the Home Office wrote a lengthy and “unbelievably offensive” refusal letter referencing six Bible passages and claiming that the book of Revelation is filled with “images of revenge, destruction, death and violence”.

The Home Office rejection, below the quoted verses concludes: “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.”

This is absolutely unbelievable, but it’s been verified by several sources. It seems as if the Home Office is merely confecting an excuse to keep a Muslim apostate out of the country, as they tried to do with Asia Bibi. They are more afraid of unrest from Muslims than they are committed to upholding democratic principles, which include accepting refugees from persecution.

An unwelcome sidelight of this mess is that now Christian pastors are arguing with the government, asserting vehemently that the Bible is NOT violent. (By the way, you don’t have to cite Revelation to show that; just cite Deuteronomy or any number of Old Testament passages).

The Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, who leads for the Bishops in the House of Lords on matters relating to immigration, asylum and refugees, likened the refusal letter to a government report on climate change advocating global warming.

“I am extremely concerned that a Government department could determine the future of another human being based on such a profound misunderstanding of the texts and practices of faith communities,” he said.

But really, who cares? Yes, the Bible is violent but, by and large, Christianity has been defanged while Islam has not, even in the UK. The UK should step up and stop refusing asylum to religious refugees from Islamic countries.

h/t: Chris

104 Comments

  1. Posted March 24, 2019 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    This Government has form. Not long ago, it refused asylum to someone from Pakistan who declared himself a humanist, after cross questioning him and discovering that he didn’t know who Plato was.

    No, Plato was not a humanist. And I wonder how the Home Office official would have fared if he had been asked questions about philosophical movements in South Asia 2,300 years ago

    • Posted March 24, 2019 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      I remember that one. I wonder what’s going in that department? Are they under the cosh of Islamists, or are they pursuing some weird ideological agenda of their own?

    • Posted March 25, 2019 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      I can see someone thinking that the applicant meant they were a scholar of the humanities – the other sense of humanist. Of course, that would make the immigration officer or whoever an ignorant fool, but …

  2. DW
    Posted March 24, 2019 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    > It seems as if the Home Office is merely confecting an excuse to keep a Muslim apostate out of the country

    I would say it is equally likely that the Home Office’s immgration dept is staffed by Islamaphiles who really believe it. The UK’s civil service is fully in the grip of the regressive ideology.

    I’ve seen plenty of people of that persuasion that honestly believe that Christianity is a violent, oppressive religion, while Islam is “peace”. So when someone says “I converted from Islam to Christianity because Christianity is peaceful”, it doesn’t compute.

    In reality, of course, both religions have major problems, it’s just that we largely managed to de-fang Christianity in the West. But for the purposes of asylum, the simple fact is that many Islamic countries, like Iran, kill apostates, so sending him back to Iran would be a death sentence.

    • Posted March 24, 2019 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      The UK’s civil service is fully in the grip of the regressive ideology.

      This is completely false. I have friends and family who are civil servants and I work with civil servants on a daily basis. I see no evidence that it is in the grip of a regressive ideology.

    • Posted March 24, 2019 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      Christianity defanged itself. The Peace of Westphalia market the moment when most Christians realized mutual tolerance was a better solution than internecine war for managing theological differences. It’s possible that Christianity deranged itself a bit too much, leading to the extreme pacifism of the Quakers that has since spread into modern secular society.

      • Steve Bracker
        Posted March 24, 2019 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

        Christianity defanged itself? In the sense that most of the folks negotiating the Peace of Westphalia were nominally Christian, I suppose so. But during the various negotiations, there were delegations and envoys from many governments and also from churches. What did the churchmen have to say? For one, from the wikipedia article on the Peace of Westphalia:
        “The Holy See was very displeased at the settlement, with Pope Innocent X calling it “null, void, invalid, iniquitous, unjust, damnable, reprobate, inane, empty of meaning and effect for all time” in the bull Zelo Domus Dei.” This sounds more like the Peace being imposed on Christianity by rulers fed up with all the slaughter. There may be a lesson for us here. Religious self-defanging is probably rare.

        As for Quaker pacifism spreading into modern secular society: My mother was a Quaker and lived her whole life in a country that was at war or fomenting war somewhere in the world for almost every year of her long life. She would have been quite astounded to discover that Quakerism had infused the USA with excessive pacifism.

        • Posted March 25, 2019 at 12:22 am | Permalink

          Yet, the Christian signatories went ahead and signed, and subsequent popes have chosen to adapt themselves to the outcome, and these days peach a pacifist doctrine.

  3. rickflick
    Posted March 24, 2019 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    It sounds very much like a Sokal-level hoax. When does this bus stop. I want to get off.

  4. FB
    Posted March 24, 2019 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    I think the Iranian guy is right. The Bible contains many violent passages, but the central message of Christianity and the example of Jesus are not: love your neighbours, present the other cheek, love your enemies, give everything to the poor, etc. Like other “good” religions and philosophies -Stoicism, Buddhism, and others- it tries to teach how to deal peacefully with suffering: embrace it, be unselfish and compassionate. The message of the Qur’an is virtually the opposite: conquer, own slaves, hate the unbelievers, etc.

    • Posted March 24, 2019 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      Yep. The New Testament has Mark 12:17; the koran and haditha have verse after verse exhorting the use of military force, violence, mutilation, murder, and enslavement to conquer the world for Islam.

    • Posted March 25, 2019 at 6:05 am | Permalink

      Only in the most passive-aggressive way possible. The New Testament makes it clear all that “love thy neighbour” business only applies to other Christians. They tolerate everyone else for no more moral reason than because they’ll get theirs come Judgement Day. It’s exactly the sort of smug “I’m holier than thou” attitude that you see around modern talk of “Rapture”.

      The central message of Christianity is the usual end-of-the-world in-group out-group nonsense, coupled with the nonsensical scapegoat logic of the Crucifixion. Ethical exemplar, it ain’t.

      • Posted March 25, 2019 at 11:03 am | Permalink

        The New Testament makes it clear all that “love thy neighbour” business only applies to other Christians.

        In which passages?

        The central message of Christianity is the usual end-of-the-world in-group out-group nonsense….

        The central message of Christianity: belief in Christ’s sacrifice is all that is needed for anyone to enjoy eternal life.

        All religions are bad, but enough of this false equivalency nonsense. Islam’s holy scripture far outstrips all competitors in brutality, sadism & misogyny. Among the major religions, Islam is unique in granting itself the right to conquer the world by force.

        • max blancke
          Posted March 25, 2019 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

          I don’t think you should just go by scriptures. If you gave ten groups of people with no religious background bibles, and told them to form religions based on those books, I am confident that they would come up with ten completely different practices.
          What matters is current behavior of the adherents. A month ago, the severed heads of 50 young women were found in some trash bins. Guess the religion of the people who did it.

          • Posted March 26, 2019 at 8:54 am | Permalink

            And in which holy book can one find exhortations to the severing of heads?

  5. mfdempsey1946
    Posted March 24, 2019 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    In “The Bridge On The River Kwai,” a British officer, surveying the ridiculous destruction around him, staggers away into the jungle shouting to himself, “Madness! Madness!”

    Time to take up that outcry again…

    • Christopher
      Posted March 24, 2019 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      Agreed. If “nothing in biology makes sense EXCEPT in the light of evolution”, then one could honestly say that nothing in UK politics makes sense, ESPECIALLY in the light of Brexit. Something has gone terribly wrong in the minds of UK politicians, hell, all of UK politics, voters included and no one can honestly say they understand what is going on or why. How else can one explain a Tory government with a Home Office run by a Pakistani raised Muslim who married a Christian and has said that is the only religion practiced in his household, but who claims not to practice any religion and is therefore attacked my both Muslims and anti-Muslims. And let’s not get started on the Labour leader, the organic fair trade wool-brained Jeremy “Jam and Jerusalem but no jews” Corbyn…

      Of course I can say the same in light of tRump and US politics, with an East Coast big city elitist Republican draft-dodger attacking a dead former POW Vietnam war hero and not losing the support of the flag-waving, pro-war “thank you for your service” electorate. We’ve entered Bizarro World, the Twilight Zone, or whatever you wish to call it. Up is Down, Left is Right, Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria!

      • Posted March 24, 2019 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

        Brexit = the realization that something is profoundly wrong in U.K. politics, and that the E.U. is one of the factors hindering the U.K. from sorting itself out.

        • Alexander
          Posted March 24, 2019 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

          “the E.U. is one of the factors hindering the U.K. from sorting itself out.”

          I don’t agree with the above. But you are right with your first point. Because the UK has essentially two parties, everything is reduced to pure party politics, whereby the extremists in these parties high jack these parties on both sides. This is also true in the US. In Europe you have several parties voting policy, whereby party politics is less relevant. You have a socialist party, you have a communist party, you have a centralist party, you have a green party, you have right-wing party, and you have an extremist-right wing party, etc. So, for example for the right wing, the extremists are in a small party, and thus these extremist cannot high-jack the conservative party. (high-jacking = threatening to leave and weaken the party)

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted March 24, 2019 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      Dang, now you’ve given me a Sunday earworm of Sir Alec Guinness and the lads whistling the “Colonel Bogey March.” 🙂

  6. BJ
    Posted March 24, 2019 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    This is so disgusting and cowardly on so many levels that I honestly cannot think of any words to express my rage. I just can’t.

  7. Posted March 24, 2019 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    I can’t help thinking that Christianity is not quite the same as the Bible. There is little in the Gospels that could be considered violent. Revelations is another matter I suppose.

    But end of the day Christianity and Islam should be evaluated by the recent history of actions of their prospective followers.

    If we were to evaluate Judaism on Deuteronomy then we would be in a sad shape also.

    Having said that it would be interesting to understand the complete set of pressures on the Government before making any pronouncements.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted March 24, 2019 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      “There is little in the Gospels that could be considered violent.”

      If you overlook the snuff porn that is The Passion, I spoze.

      • Posted March 24, 2019 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

        That was those dirty Pharisees and Romans.

        • GBJames
          Posted March 25, 2019 at 6:49 am | Permalink

          And Mel Gibson.

          • Posted March 25, 2019 at 10:26 am | Permalink

            Yes, and Mel Gibson.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted March 25, 2019 at 9:02 am | Permalink

          We’ve also got the Slaughter of the Innocents (thanks, Herod), the beheading of John the Baptist (Herod, again), the be-ear-ing of the Caiaphas’s servant in Gethsemane by Simon Peter. And, as for Jesus himself, he did go postal on a fig tree, and also ran the be-daemon-ed pigs off a cliff into a lake to drown. 🙂

          • Posted March 25, 2019 at 10:28 am | Permalink

            But my point remains … these are things not part of main stream Christianity. Herod did it, so should we.

  8. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted March 24, 2019 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    They can’t even keep dates, it is a week early.
    If I’m not mistaken the UK still is an officially Christian nation, the Queen being head of the Church of England and all that.
    Now it would be positive to get rid of that situation, but one should keep in mind that about everything you hate in Christianity, Islam excels in witha little star. Particularly where belligerence, hegemonism, patriarchy, homophobia, misogyny, etc. is concerned.
    This must be a hoax.

  9. Posted March 24, 2019 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    After a pretty intensive search, I could not confirm this story anywhere. If someone else can, please post a link. I looked because I find the story so unbelievable. I’m going to wait and see.

    • Posted March 24, 2019 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      Okay, Daily Mail reports it too. Sounds weird.

      • JezGrove
        Posted March 24, 2019 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

        The Daily Mail has made up so much stuff, including quotes from people concerning events that never happened, that Wikipedia has banned its use as a reliable source.

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted March 24, 2019 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      The Times has it, but behind a paywall. They cite a Home Office spokesman as saying “This letter is not in accordance with our policy approach to claims based on religious persecution, including conversions to a particular faith. We continue to work closely with key partners…so that we approach claims involving religious persecution in the appropriate way”.

      Translated into English, I think this means that this is yet another responsibility that has been subcontracted to a private sector company that is too cheapskate to train its staff properly.

      I am glad to say that many others apart from the CofE have condemned this stupid decision (which I am sure will be rescinded), including the National Secular Society, which has rightly said that Government officials should not pretend to be theologians.

      • Posted March 24, 2019 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

        Thanks. More theater of the absurd to lighten my Sunday morning.

    • JezGrove
      Posted March 24, 2019 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      The Independent had the story three days ago: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/home-office-christian-convert-asylum-refused-bible-not-peaceful-a8832026.html

    • dd
      Posted March 24, 2019 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

      https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/03/21/church-attacks-home-office-saying-christianity-not-peaceful/

      “Church attacks Home Office for saying Christianity ‘not peaceful’ to reject asylum seeker “

  10. GBJames
    Posted March 24, 2019 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Religion Poisons Everything, indeed.

  11. max blancke
    Posted March 24, 2019 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    If there are any UK Liberals here, I would love to get an explanation of what you think the long-term results of appeasement of Islam will lead.
    The best case I can envision is the urban areas becoming like Peshawar or Islamabad. A less optimistic projection is Aleppo, which used to be one of the capitals of Christendom. I am not a Christian, but I have noticed that people like us tend to thrive in progressive cultures with Christian moral foundations.

    Anyway, the current strategy seems unfathomable to me. All I can think is that perhaps the pro-Islamic people subscribe to the “magic dirt” theory, and believe that just by “walking on England’s mountains green”, The millions of people from cultures hostile to ours will spontaneously stop despising us, and adopt our morality and work ethic.

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted March 24, 2019 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      I am a UK liberal (small ‘l’). Have you ever been to the UK, or read anything serious about my country? Nobody is “appeasing” Islam (whatever that is intended to mean). But we believe that people are entitled to practice whatever religion they like, within the law – and, before you say anything to the contrary, the laws are the laws of the UK and not Shariah.

      Your picture of UK cities becoming like Islamabad or Peshawar is absurd and offensive. There are some areas of some UK towns and cities that have substantial Muslim populations. None of them is notably more violent, crime-ridden or intolerant than anywhere else.

      In the long term, I expect almost all of our Muslim communities will settle down to be responsible British citizens, as have done the many waves of immigrants before them. To suggest anything else is unthinking and irresponsible.

      • Jim Danielson
        Posted March 24, 2019 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

        “In the long term, I expect almost all of our Muslim communities will settle down to be responsible British citizens…”

        Rotherham child rape gangs.

        https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/12/09/grooming-gangs-muslim-men-failed-integrate-british-society/

        “When David Cameron spoke of the failings of multiculturalism in 2011 he was attacked from all sides,” Ms Adil continued. “What these critics failed to see was the numerous self-segregated northern towns, the plethora of organisations that preached problematic attitudes towards women and other faiths, and the hundreds of young men and women being radicalised right here on British soil.”

        • Steve Pollard
          Posted March 24, 2019 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

          Yup. And the issue has been identified, and is being dealt with – maybe not as efficiently or consistently as we would like, but slowly and piecemeal, as we should expect in a society that is based on consensus, education and persuasion.

          • Jim Danielson
            Posted March 24, 2019 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

            So to put it another way, they are working on the problems of insular religious groups.

            It remains to be seen if they will succeed. I hope they do but history shows success in the past has been rather uneven. Otherwise Protestants wouldn’t exist. That caused a bit of tiff.

      • max blancke
        Posted March 24, 2019 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

        I have visited the UK at least a dozen times. I am no expert on British culture or the legal system there, and make no claims to that effect.
        By appeasement, I mean that decisions such as the subject of this post, are seemingly made with the aim of not wanting to upset the Islamic population, who have a very narrow view on apostasy.
        Or when the parents of an abused child are threatened with legal action, because the abusers are part of a population that must never be implicated in such things.

        Or these:
        “One victim, Mohammed Monzur Rahman, said he was left partially blind and with a dislocated shoulder after being attacked by a mob in Cannon Street Road, Shadwell, for smoking during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan last year.”
        “Tower Hamlets’ gay community has become a particular target of extremists. Homophobic crimes in the borough have risen by 80 per cent since 2007/8”
        “The founder of the school, Mufti Zubair Dudha, belongs to the orthodox Deobandi sect, which is thought to control half of all mosques and madrasas in the UK. Dudha has warned Muslims not to adopt British customs, and told them they should be prepared to “expend … even life” to create a world organized “according to Allah’s just order.”
        “Maximum security Belmarsh prison is ‘like a jihadi training camp,’ says former inmate”
        “A Labour MP has been criticised for sharing a Twitter post telling Rotherham sex abuse victims to ‘shut their mouths for the good of diversity’.”

        “In the long term, I expect almost all of our Muslim communities will settle down to be responsible British citizens”.
        Which is likely true, but it will not be the same Britain.

      • max blancke
        Posted March 24, 2019 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

        “will settle down to be responsible British citizens, as have done the many waves of immigrants before them.”

        I replied earlier, but I can’t get past this one statement in your reply.
        I keep being reminded of the Jutes, the Angles, and the Saxons. And of Course the Normans.
        Those people did settle down to become responsible British citizens, but not without serious repercussions to the previous occupants.
        The name of Britain itself was given to the Island by a group of people who did not choose to adapt to the local customs and mores. Globally, large migrating populations have more often displaced or annihilated resident populations than been absorbed into the existing culture. There are usually remnants that linger, like old place names or bits of the old language. But Islamic people have historically been less sentimental about holding on to such things than we have been.

      • Ken Phelps
        Posted March 24, 2019 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

        I think that the ability of ideological communities to remain both electronically connected across the world, and sequestered in information bubbles, has rendered any historical norms regarding assimilation woefully irrelevant.

        • max blancke
          Posted March 25, 2019 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

          That is a very good point.
          In addition, when you see interviews with people from recent waves of immigrants, there are some big differences from previous ones.

          It used to be that people from poor, violent, and dysfunctional countries would immigrate to more prosperous and safe countries with with a sense of humility. When you move to a place because you desire something they have, but view the current inhabitants with contempt, that is not traditional, mutually beneficial immigration. It is more like colonization.

          I don’t think we have very much historical data on situations where you arrive in a country, and immediately start receiving benefits. That would seem to attract a different sort of people than those who emigrate with the expectation that they will have to not only learn a new language and customs, but likely have to work very hard to survive, just on the off chance that they might end up with a better life than would be possible in the old country.

      • Alexander
        Posted March 24, 2019 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

        ” before you say anything to the contrary, the laws are the laws of the UK and not Shariah.”
        ?
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muslim_Arbitration_Tribunal

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted March 24, 2019 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      “… progressive cultures with Christian moral foundations.”

      I’d call those instead “western secular moral foundations,” dating back at least to the days of the debate between Socrates and Euthyphro.

      Let us not forget that “Christian moral foundations” gave us bloody European religious wars measured in decades, Torquemada and the Spanish Inquisition, and witch burnings, among its other lengthy parade of horribles.

      • max blancke
        Posted March 24, 2019 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        Point taken and agreed. Maybe “evolved from Christian foundations”. Or perhaps that is also incorrect.

    • Posted March 24, 2019 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      One might gain the impression from your request that you associate Islamic
      appeasement with liberalism. Please don’t.

      The Woke don’t represent liberalism.

    • JezGrove
      Posted March 24, 2019 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      I self-identify as a liberal Brit, and have visited both Peshawar and Islamabad (back in the dying days of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, shortly after the death of General Zia-ul-Huq). I was never met with anything but kindness whilst travelling and hitchhiking in Pakistan and, as always, the people who had least to share were the most generous with their hospitality. The very vast majority of the people I met were Muslims, albeit of different strands including Ahmadis. None of them had a problem with my atheism, although they found the concept very alien and like religionists everywhere struggled to conceive of a morality not based on belief in a god.

      • max blancke
        Posted March 24, 2019 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        I have traveled there as well, although more recently. I also found that the people were very welcoming. Honestly, the same goes for most places. Several times, while working in war torn and impoverished countries, I have been invited into people’s homes and offered not only friendship, but heartfelt hospitality.

        But cultures are different, and have different priorities, even if they are super nice people. Acceptance of LGBT people is one obvious difference. Islamic populations have very different ideas than we do about the treatment of Jews, Hindus, and Women.

  12. Posted March 24, 2019 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    It seems, unfortunately, that people should stop seeking asylum in the UK.

    • JezGrove
      Posted March 24, 2019 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      The way it’s going, British Remainers are likely to be leaving the UK and seeking asylum in Europe…

  13. Posted March 24, 2019 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Given what Steve Pollard says above about the article in the Times, it sounds likely that the person who rejected the claim did so in contravention of official policy. It could be that that person is a Muslim or an Islam apologist but it could equally be that the person is simply anti-religion or anti-Christian specifically.

    I’m not going to rush to a judgement about why this has happened just yet, but the fact is it shouldn’t have happened. The only thing that matters when judging asylum claims, as far as I’m concerned, is whether the person will be put in danger by returning them to their country of origin.

    • Posted March 24, 2019 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      I agree.

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted March 24, 2019 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      I agree too; and we will see what happens. Your last sentence is to the point. I hope and believe we really do have an asylum policy that is defensible in human rights terms; the problem is the training (and, frankly, the intellectual capacity) of those who have to interpret it!

    • Posted March 25, 2019 at 3:12 am | Permalink

      Remember, they did turn down Asia Bibi, too, and if she did get asylum, it’s almost certainly not in the UK

      • Posted March 25, 2019 at 7:16 am | Permalink

        The circumstances are not the same though. This story is about a formal asylum application made by somebody in 2016. Asia Bibi has not yet attempted to claim asylum in the UK formally as far as I am aware.

        Furthermore, the reasons given for rejected this claim and any future claim by Asia Bibi are different. This one just looks like some bureaucrat getting beyond themselves for whatever reason.

        Both decisions are, in my opinion, wrong, but I don’t see any evidence of any coordinated policy to appease Muslims in the Home Office.

  14. macha
    Posted March 24, 2019 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    As a Brit, I’m sorry to say that Britain is now a completely disfunctional state – child poverty, food banks, incumbent administration lurching far right, opposition playing student politics. The list goes on.

    This

    sums it up perfectly (warning: sweary)

    • Robert Ladley
      Posted March 24, 2019 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      I have always thought that those who go into party politics end up as dirty rotten double dealing lying self seeking, another word for illegitimate . And then there is the good old House of Lords, full of unelected cronies and churchmen for goodness sake!
      Technically we could have voted in the “Brexit” referendum but having deliberately decided to emigrate elsewhere felt it innaprpriate as our reasons for leaving were and remain despair with successive administrations who completely ignore the will of the electorate. Looking at this current parliamentary fiasco our worst fears are confirmed. The UK Government cannot govern.
      What happens next is anyone’s guess.
      Funny video though.

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted March 24, 2019 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      We certainly have our problems, including those you mention. But “dysfunctional” is a very big and sweeping word. On the whole, my country works OK: at least as well as any other Western democracy. Our unemployment rate is the lowest since records began nearly 50 years ago:

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47622415

      The critics have said that a lot of this is down to the insecure, gig economy. They may be right. But Brits still seem to be getting happier – more so than the US, for instance:

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-47637378

      Our politicians are certainly screwing a lot of things up at the moment. But the UK is much more than its politicians; and people who bandy around words like “dysfunctional” do us a serious injustice.

    • Posted March 24, 2019 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      I like it. Especially “It (Brexit) hasn’t solved any of our problems; it has exposed them.” Very informative.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 25, 2019 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      Magnificent! Jonathan Pie in excellent form.

      cr

  15. macha
    Posted March 24, 2019 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    probably shouldn’t have embedded the vid – sorry

  16. Posted March 24, 2019 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    No evidence of conspiracy or cordination.

    • Posted March 24, 2019 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      I don’t need no stinkin’ evidence.

  17. Christopher
    Posted March 24, 2019 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    The BBC just reported that the Mueller report did not find tRump/Russia collusion. Ceiling Cat help us. We’re probably gonna get screwed even harder by that comb over cretin now.

    • Posted March 24, 2019 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      The “Russia collusion” narrative was an obvious fake conspiracy theory from the start. Media tried to keep it alive, and managed to fool many naive and loyal readers, but that’s why you have to be wary of the media. There’s no such thing as a newspaper or news broadcaster that doesn’t have an agenda.

      • Posted March 24, 2019 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

        I prefer the word basis rather than agenda. But I agree that some may have an agenda.
        I have found no evidence after investigation of agenda but will admit there may be some.

        • Posted March 24, 2019 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

          Bias not basis

        • Posted March 24, 2019 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

          Let’s put it this way: newspapers are not great investments if money alone, rather than influence or leverage, is one’s objective. It’s natural for powerful people to want to propagate their world-view and shape the world according to their tastes. It would be downright astonishing if they didn’t try.

  18. Posted March 24, 2019 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    What flavours are we allowing in today? what! peaceful?
    Jeeze i dunno about that, sounds a bit wimpy to me… can’t have that, [entry denied]
    NEXT!

  19. Posted March 24, 2019 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    The Bible contains violence, but Christians do not understand the stories of violence in the old Testament as models to follow. On the contrary, they see passages in the New Testament enjoining restraint, love and forgiveness as overriding any apparent implicit endorsement of violence in the Old Testament. Also, it’s quite ridiculous to suggest that the Book of Revelations endorses violence. It’s a kind of science fiction, describing how the author imagines the world will end. Horror is piled upon horror, but there is no suggestion anywhere that Christians ought to join the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in spreading pestilence, war, famine and death around the world.
    Anyone suggesting that this book (or any book of the New Testament enjoying Christians to be violent, never mind actually kill people, is either extraordinarily stupid, or extraordinarily dishonest.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 24, 2019 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      “there is no suggestion anywhere that Christians ought to join the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in spreading pestilence, war, famine and death around the world.”

      … except for certain American fundamentalist sects that think the End Days are coming and global warming is just fine, thank you very much…

      cr

    • Posted March 25, 2019 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      For Christianity, the OT serves primarily as a source of (almost cryptic) prophesy about Christ, and has since the ascendency of the sect in Rome 1700 years ago. Many atheists, extrapolating to all christians the beliefs of a few fundamentalists, miss this critical point.

    • Posted March 25, 2019 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      But they do, or some do: the rules for (say) stoning homosexuals are in the OT.

      (IMO, “liberal christians” should jettison the OT, but …)

      • Posted March 26, 2019 at 3:16 am | Permalink

        Christianity is not based on the Old Testament, though. It’s based on the New Testament. That’s why it’s called the New Testament. It’s a new contract that replaces the old one. The OT is largely just background to Christians. So, the Ten Commandments are obeyed because Jesus said so, but the laws of Leviticus are generally not, because they’re not endorsed in the New Testament. Christians don’t stone homosexuals, and, indeed, for about a thousand years, the Catholic church opposed the use of the death penalty in any form for any crime.

        • alexander
          Posted March 26, 2019 at 4:02 am | Permalink

          “for about a thousand years, the Catholic church opposed the use of the death penalty in any form for any crime.”

          About ten years ago, I asked Opus Dei if they opposed capital punishment, and they said no. Five years later I asked them again, and they said that the Catholic Church had changed its mind. Over most of its life, the catholic church has burned or tortured to death numerous people, not only for crimes, but for ideas. Think of Giordano Bruno, and the catholic church refuses to be sorry. In my own family, a catholic bishop arrested in 1942 a women and her two daughters, aged 14 and 16, and ordered her execution by firing squad in front of her two daughters, just for her ideas.

          • rickflick
            Posted March 26, 2019 at 8:20 am | Permalink

            I’ve been reading “The Pope’s Bankers” which itemizes the Vatican’s culpability for aiding and abetting the Nazi’s during WWII. Some priests were actually military officers responsible for mass murder in Eastern Europe. Bitter.

          • Posted March 27, 2019 at 2:52 am | Permalink

            During the Renaissance and Reformation, yes. Before the late Middle ages, not so much.

            • Alexander
              Posted March 27, 2019 at 3:12 am | Permalink

              However during the first centuries of our era, yes. Christians were quite barbaric.

        • GBJames
          Posted March 26, 2019 at 7:43 am | Permalink

          “It’s a new contract that replaces the old one.”

          I love it when all powerful beings change their minds and demand replacement contracts.

          You can’t make this shit up. Well… you can, I guess.

        • Posted March 26, 2019 at 11:36 am | Permalink

          Some Christians *do* advocate for the death penalty for homosexuals, though, and make use of Leviticus to do so.

          To pick another example – the controversy (or part of it) in Galileo/Bruno’s cases concerned Joshua.

          If someoene rejects these as not part of their Christianity, ok, but then – get rid of the books!

          • Posted March 27, 2019 at 2:56 am | Permalink

            Once Protestantism was invented, all bets were off. Anyone could make up their own religion inspired by their own eccentric reading of their own random selection of books and passages.

        • Filippo
          Posted March 27, 2019 at 10:44 am | Permalink

          ” . . . for about a thousand years, the Catholic church opposed the use of the death penalty in any form for any crime.”

          I take it that that thousand year period had ended by the time of the Church’s immolation murder of Giordano Bruno.

  20. RossR
    Posted March 24, 2019 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    That Times’ article also cited the case of a second Muslim convert to Christianity, who had apparently claimed to have accepted Jesus Christ as his Saviour and also that he would be killed as an apostate if returned to his homeland.
    His rejection letter allegedly claimed that his Christian faith was inconsistent, because if he really trusted in Jesus as his Saviour he would not be afraid of returning home.
    That seems to me even more arbitrary and contrived.

  21. Posted March 24, 2019 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    OT. The UK clearly needs an election before more damage can be done. May appears incompetent, and Corbyn would be a disaster. Why aren’t the Liberals rushing into the vacuum?

  22. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted March 24, 2019 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    I’d want to know more about the asylum seeker’s background, I think. If this was like one of those conversions in jail I’d be suspicious too. (Commit murder, get sent to jail, find Jesus, Hallelujah!, apply for parole)

    As for Xtianity being peaceful, well, mostly, except for the numerous exceptions. But then Muslims are peaceful, well, mostly, except for the numerous exceptions.

    In different circumstances, if some bishop had stood up and said ‘Christianity is a religion of peace’ this page would have been full of comments debunking that and rubbishing the Church of England. But because some Home Office hireling (or contractor?) did exactly that, everybody instantly defends Xtianity. Remarkable.

    I think the decision should be based on the guy’s history and circumstances, irrespective if religion. However IF his main or only argument is his conversion to Xtianity ‘because it’s peaceful’ then I suppose the nature of Xtianity is relevant.

    I do agree that the further Xtianity diverges from the Bible, the less objectionable it gets (which is why I don’t regard the C of E with the same obloquy as PCC – usually – does).

    Actually you could say the same about Islam.

    cr

    • rickflick
      Posted March 24, 2019 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

      I feel your pain.

  23. JezGrove
    Posted March 24, 2019 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Bizarrely, during my trip (possibly in Sehwan Sharif, which for various reasons was one of the most memorable places I visited) the manager of a hostel made a big deal of introducing me to a long-haired effeminate guy, whom I presumed was either gay or trans. I had absolutely no idea why the encounter had been arranged, and the whole thing was strange and embarrassing all round. I had completely forgotten about it until now, and all these years later, I still can’t explain it. Nevertheless, in 1988 it was apparently possible to be “out”, at least to some extent, in Pakistan. I daresay things have got worse in many ways since then, sadly.

    • JezGrove
      Posted March 24, 2019 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

      Oops, not sure what happened there – it was intended as a reply to max blancke in discussion #11 above!

    • max blancke
      Posted March 24, 2019 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the reply.
      I look at images from that part of the world in the 60s and 70s, and the change is stark and unsettling. When I was there, things had already taken a strong turn for the worst.
      It certainly is a good illustration of the fact that human progress is not always a linear progression from darkness to light.

      • rickflick
        Posted March 24, 2019 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

        That seems to describe the weirdness rather well I think. There is a continuity in human nature which is at odds with societal norms and understanding. Humanity has not changed from very early days. The complexity and variety has not been completely accommodated by cultures historically. As the modern era of intensive communication and information flow encompasses the globe, each culture is called upon to deal with the reality of human complexity in it’s own way.

  24. Rasmo Carenna
    Posted March 25, 2019 at 2:39 am | Permalink

    For me, the outrageous thing is not the statement that Christianity is (or may be) violent, but the fact that it reeks of inconsistency. Can you imagine that same argument being used against a Muslim asylum seeker: “no, sorry, Islam is a violent religion, you stay out”. There would have been an uproar. In the UK, some police resources are being used to monitor social media so that “islamophobic” tweets make you liable to a bad encounter with law enforcement officials, and yet it is ok to close the door to someone who, as an apostate, could very well be killed in his peacefully muslim country. It’s all surreal.

    • Filippo
      Posted March 25, 2019 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      ‘ . . . “islamophobic” tweets make you liable to a bad encounter with law enforcement officials . . . .”

      As opposed to islamofascist tweets, I gather.

  25. Posted April 18, 2019 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    My wife and I used to work with asylum seekers in a UNHCR camp in Eastern Europe, and we had a case with an Iranian convert to Christianity who had fled because he experienced violence and punitive treatment in Iran as a result of his conversion. His appeal was denied by the UNHRC because they said that the constitution of Iran guarantees religious freedom. I’m not sure if they felt their hands were tied or if they just didn’t care that this guy faced real threats on his life, but we were disappointed with the system.

  26. Posted April 25, 2019 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Interdenominational Assembly of Churches.


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