A new report reveals that the questions that Britain’s Home Office asks Christian and Christian convert asylum-seekers to assess their applications are akin to Bible trivia quizzes, resulting in “wrong decisions and expensive appeals.”
Can you name the twelve apostles? When is Pentecost? How many books are there in the Bible? Who betrayed Jesus to the Romans? These are some of the questions the Home Office asks during assessment interviews, according to the report of an enquiry that was set up to ascertain the quality of the assessment of religion-based asylum claims in the country and the impact of the asylum procedure on the fairness and quality of decision-making.
“Whilst they may seem reasonable, this report reveals that such questions, often referred to as ‘Bible trivia,’ are a very poor way of assessing a conversion asylum claim and result in wrong decisions and expensive appeals,” said the report called “Fleeing Persecution: Asylum Claims in the U.K. on Religious Freedom Grounds.” “This is too simplistic a way to judge if an individual is, for example, a genuine convert. Furthermore, anecdotal evidence has shown that some people are learning as much as they can so they can be prepared for the Home Office interview.”
The study in the U.K., where law says that religious persecution constitutes grounds for asylum, calls the assessment process “complex and challenging due to the inherently internal and personal nature of religion and belief.”
The report was submitted to the All Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief and the Asylum Advocacy Group – both informal groups of members of both Houses.