News by email Donate


Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

Abdul Ezedi banner.png
Met Police
Screenshot 2024-02-02 090425.png thumb.png
Met Police
World News

Clapham attacker granted asylum despite getting Bible questions wrong, new files show

by Heather Preston

There are fresh concerns over the Christian conversion claim of Abdul Shokoor Ezedi. It comes after new documents reveal he was granted asylum despite a lack of knowledge of the Christian faith and restrictions on his church attendance following a sexual assault conviction.

The perpetrator of the Clapham chemical attack was found dead in the river Thames in February concluding a manhunt initiated after he was accused of assaulting a mother and her children in January.

Ezedi, an Afghan asylum seeker, was granted UK asylum in 2020 on the grounds of conversion to Christianity. Photos documenting his 2018 baptism at Grange Road Baptist Church – which he had attended since 2016, contributed to the evidence in his asylum application. However, recently revealed documents have raised further concerns over the validity of his conversion case.

Ezedi was convicted of sexual assault in 2018. Following his conviction, the church stipulated for safeguarding purposes that he would only be able to attend church services if accompanied by another male.

In an August 2018 statement, made eight months after Ezedi's conviction, his former minister Rev Roy Merrin reaffirmed his support for the asylum application saying Ezedi had "established a good relationship with the other church members”, keen to share his faith with others and “always willing to help”.

Baptists Together - the Christian denomination the church is a part of, has stated that it did not corporately support or sponsor Abdul Ezedi’s asylum application. The denomination released the following statement in response to enquiries on Ezendi, prior to the release of the tribunal files:

"A personal letter of support commenting solely on Abdul Ezedi’s observed faith journey was written by a retired Baptist Minister. The safeguarding contract was a separate issue and was agreed between the church and Abdul Ezedi with guidance from local and regional safeguarding leads using our national template document of the time. This was to show the church had sufficiently risk assessed Abdul Ezedi's attendance at church, ensuring the safety of the congregation and considering if it was appropriate for him to attend.

"The Home Office and court tribunals make the decision on asylum applications and have access to full criminal records data to enable them to do this."

The released papers from the First Tier Tribunal also revealed Ezedi’s failure to answer fundamental questions relating to the Christian faith during his application process, stating that the Old Testament was about Jesus Christ and that one of the Apostles was Jacob. When asked what God created on the third day, Ezedi answered “Good Friday and Easter Sunday and Resurrection Day.”

Despite his criminal record and apparent lack of knowledge on Christianity, a judge accepted Ezedi’s claim of conversion to Christianity during his asylum appeal.

It's understood the home secretary's summoned church leaders for a meeting with the Home Office to discuss the case.

Ezedi received a Muslim burial at the request of his family and his funeral was conducted by a west London mosque.

A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Support Us
Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email