Sweden joins United Kingdom in denying refuge to persecuted Christians
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May 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Sweden’s hostility to Christians seeking asylum from the Middle East is a matter of life and death, according to an alarming new report from a Swedish Christian organization.
Jacob Rudenstrand, deputy general secretary of the Swedish Evangelical Alliance, writes at The Stream that a recent review of 619 asylum cases involving Christian converts from Afghanistan found that 70 percent were rejected because their professions of Christianity were considered phony, despite the fact that those who leave Islam are risking their lives if they remain in their homeland.
Further, Christians seeking asylum are routinely subjected to theology “pop quizzes” to determine whether they are true Christians, on topics such as the Trinity, the sacraments, and various Christian denominations, as well as “some complex questions that not even experienced pastors have been able to answer.” Failing the test means deportation.
Worse, Rudenstrand says, is that the government often disregards churches and pastors who vouch for refugees’ faith. “Does the church report that the asylum seeker has been a faithful churchgoer?” he writes. “Been discipled? Been active in Sunday school or small groups? Confessed Jesus as Lord? Been baptized? It doesn’t matter.”
He adds that an asylum seeker’s prospects depend greatly on which political party controls the jurisdiction in which he or she applies. Judges appointed by the Sweden Democrats party rule against Christian converts 93 percent of the time, whereas judges appointed by the Left Party only reject 15 percent of converts’ applications.
“We are a secular government authority that [has] to test whether or not the belief is genuine. The job of the church, and the free church, is whether or not people should be part of the congregation,” Migration Agency chief legal officer Fredrik Beijer claims.
“Early next year the UN will review Sweden’s human rights record in the Universal Periodic Review,” Rudenstrand concludes. “For a country that prides itself for being a humanitarian superpower, the threat against Christians — especially those with a Muslim background — remains a blindspot.”
Other European countries have shown similar hostility to Christian converts from Muslim countries. In March, the United Kingdom’s Home Office initially refused an Iranian Christian’s asylum application because he claimed to have converted because Christianity was “about peace, forgiveness and kindness,” which a Home Office official who found his stated motive “inconsistent” with passages from Leviticus, Matthew, Exodus, and Revelations.
Christians native to Sweden fare little better in terms of religious liberty. Priests who refuse to perform same-sex “marriages” have been told to find other lines of work, schools have been forbidden from holding Bible lessons and pre-meal prayers, and the government has attempted to force midwives to participate in abortions.