Christian leaders working with asylum seekers and refugees say their job of welcoming the stranger continues regardless of the Church coming beneath fireplace within the wake of the Liverpool suicide bombing.
Media reviews have claimed that Dwelling Secretary Priti Patel desires to overtake the asylum system after it emerged that the Liverpool bomber was helped by Christians and confirmed inside Liverpool Cathedral in 2017, three years after a failed asylum bid.
The Telegraph claimed that there was a perception inside the Dwelling Workplace that changing to Christianity has grow to be “normal apply” amongst asylum seekers in search of a method “to sport the asylum system” as a result of they will say they have been persecuted in their very own international locations.
Social entrepreneur Dr Krish Kandiah, who has been serving to church buildings welcome refugees from Afghanistan and Hong Kong, mentioned the media reviews have been “not truthful” and that they “haven’t any bearing on the Church’s mission” to like God and love our neighbour.
“That neighbour is made in God’s picture and subsequently we now have a accountability to look after them,” he mentioned.
“We might by no means condone acts of terror or violence, however we should nonetheless present mercy and care with out discrimination.
On whether or not the Church ought to be extra questioning of conversion claims, he mentioned: “Jesus himself mentioned that not everybody who calls him Lord is a follower and he warned of large and slender gates and the tree being judged by its fruit, so we’re all inspired to examine whether or not we’re actually followers of Jesus and whether or not we actually have real religion in God.
“However for me to guage one other individual, there’s prohibition towards that and solely God can decide that.
“For us as Christians, subsequently, it goes again to what Jesus mentioned, to like our neighbour and love our enemies. We’re to like with out discrimination.
“In fact, we need to be sensible and good residents, and after we discover issues that look harmful or worrisome, then we have to report these to the correct authorities, however our first and first calling is to like our neighbour.”
Emily Holden, joint CEO of Welcome Church buildings, which has been equipping church buildings to work with refugees and asylum seekers, mentioned it was not unusual for brand spanking new arrivals to discover the Christian religion.
“Now we have a freedom within the UK to discover religion in a method that folks could not have in different international locations world wide and so when individuals arrive within the UK, they typically benefit from the freedom they’ve to search out out about religions totally different from the one they have been introduced up in,” she mentioned.
“However the Church’s mandate to welcome the stranger and to evangelise the Gospel to all nations continues to be there simply as a lot this week because it was final week.
“The Church nonetheless has that calling and must be proper on the centre of welcoming the stranger.”
The Church of England has defended its engagement with asylum seekers.
A spokesman mentioned “it’s not the function of clergy to determine the legitimacy of asylum claims and to evaluate safety implications”.
“We aren’t conscious of any proof to recommend a widespread correlation between conversion to Christianity, or some other religion, and abuse of the asylum system,” he mentioned.
A spokesman for Liverpool Cathedral mentioned that it had “developed strong processes for discerning whether or not somebody may be expressing a real dedication to religion”, together with common attendance and participation in a course on Christianity.
“We might anticipate somebody to be carefully related with the group for not less than two years earlier than we might contemplate supporting an utility,” he mentioned.
The Rev Canon Gareth Jones, Refugee Coordinator inside Chelmsford Diocese, which has helped to resettle 300 refugees from Syria and Afghanistan since 2015, mentioned he was pleased with the Church of England’s dedication to strolling alongside a few of the world’s most weak individuals.
“The Church nationally provides appreciable help to refugees and asylum seekers, typically choosing up the work statutory companies fail to do,” he mentioned.
“Tens of hundreds of Christians volunteer on a regular basis to stroll alongside displaced peoples, typically at nice price to themselves.”
He mentioned the Church would by no means provide baptism to somebody if it didn’t imagine their religion to be honest.
“While the Church will at all times need to assist be certain that refugees and asylum seekers are processed humanely and have entry to truthful justice, we aren’t in any method liable for assessing the veracity of asylum claims or the safety implications of people. That is the job of the Dwelling Workplace and Safety Companies,” he continued.
“The Church will at all times report those that search to abuse the system and trigger hurt to the related authority, and would by no means provide its most treasured and sacred reward of baptism to these it believes don’t actually want it or perceive the tasks of receiving it.”