Former Home Secretary Suella Braverman has accused the church for "facilitating industrial-scale bogus asylum claims", as the manhunt for Clapham alkaline attack suspect Abdul Ezedi entered into a fourth day.
It’s been reported that Ezedi, who’s originally from Afghanistan, arrived in the UK by lorry in 2016, with his asylum application refused twice by the Home Office, then approved in 2020 or 2021 when he said he had converted to Christianity and would be in danger if he returned to Afghanistan.
Ezedi was also convicted of "sexual assault/exposure" in 2018.
A judge at Newcastle Crown Court handed him a suspended prison sentence and an unpaid work order.
Braverman claims churches "are well-known within the migrant communities and, upon arrival in the UK, migrants are directed to these churches as a one-stop shop to bolster their asylum case.
"Attend Mass once a week for a few months, befriend the vicar, get your baptism date in the diary and, bingo, you’ll be signed off by a member of the clergy that you’re now a God-fearing Christian who will face certain persecution if removed to your Islamic country of origin.
"It has to stop. We must get wise to the problem. It is no wonder that the former dean of Liverpool Cathedral noted that he converted about 200 asylum seekers to Christianity over a four-year period – but he doesn’t recall baptising any Muslim who was already a British citizen."
Separately, Dame Priti, also a former home secretary, accused church leaders of “political activism” in their approach to asylum seekers, claiming that religious institutions supported cases “without merit”
A Church House spokesperson said on Friday: “This [attack] is clearly a shocking and distressing incident, and our thoughts and prayers are with all of those affected by it.
“It is the role of the Home Office, and not the Church, to vet asylum-seekers and judge the merits of their individual cases.”
It is not clear how or by whom Ezedi's Christian faith was verfied.
According to the Metro, the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, where Ezedi lives, says it has found no trace of the referee.
Braverman also blamed the government for failing to "exclude the vague and evolving rules" in International Law, inclduing in "the Refugee Convention, the European Convention on Human Rights or the Human Rights Act."
She claimed the UK has ceded border control to "a foreign court, and activist judges and lawyers."