Asylum seekers, baptism and the church


The horrendous attack on a mother and her children by Abdul Ezedi, an Afghan asylum seeker, in Clapham earlier this year sparked a ferocious row. A string of politicians and right-wing media outlets accused churches of giving asylum seekers like Ezedi bogus baptisms after they had fraudulently converted to Christianity to boost their arguments to not be returned to their home countries. But is any of this actually happening? What is actually happening on parishes and congregations up and down Britain which do minister to asylum seekers? And why have Christians become the lightning rod for politicians’ anger over the asylum system in the first place?

• Guli Francis-Dehqani, the Bishop of Chelmsford
• Krish Kandiah, director of the Sanctuary Foundation
• Steve Tinning, public issues enabler for the Baptist Union
• Emily Shepherd, CEO of Welcome Churches
• Mike Coates, vicar of All Saints, Liverpool

Released on 6 May 2024

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