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Churches under scrutiny over Clapham attack suspect's conversion

by Heather Preston

It's being reported that Abdul Ezedi, the suspect in the Clapham chemical attack converted to Christianity with a Baptist church.

A spokesperson for Baptists Together - a movement of more than 1800 local churches - said it "welcomes strangers fleeing war". Speaking to the Telegraph, the denomination declined to answer whether the 35 year old was a member, as he is still the subject of an ongoing police investigation.

Churches have come under fire after it emerged Ezedi was twice refused asylum before being granted leave to remain in the UK after a priest vouched for his conversion to Christianity. 

The home secretary James Cleverly has requested a review into his case after suggestions that human rights laws that ensure a person can’t be deported to a country where they would face religious persecution has created a ‘loophole’ in the asylum system.

The suspect remains at large.

Former Home Secretary Suella Braverman claims she became aware of churches “facilitating industrial-scale bogus asylum claims” for people who converted when she was in office.

The Bishop of Chelmsford has said it is the role of the Home Office, not of churches, to assess and vet asylum claims.

The Church of England faced heat for publishing clergy guidance on how to support asylum seekers.

Adam Baker from Christian charity Refugee Roots told Premier these headlines shouldn't change how church communities serve migrants: "These people come without the networks and support of family and friends and have experienced trauma. It is really important that we are there for them.

"The other systems and structures that deal with the legal matters are there for good reason.

"Whether someone is a refugee or asylum seeker or not isn't really significant for churches that want to be about justice and hospitality.

"It’s about treating people with dignity and respect."


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