An Iranian Christian asylum seeker received a rejection letter from the Home Office, which stated that Christianity was not a peaceful religion after the claimant said in his application that he had found “peace, forgiveness and kindness” in Christianity in contrast to the “violence and revenge” of his former faith.
An official at the Home Office replied and challenged his interpretation of Christianity, and quoted several passages from the Bible to refute his claim, including Matthew 10:34 where Jesus says, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword.”
The official also cited Revelation 2:22-23 and chapter 9:3-6, stating “Similarly, the book of Revelation is filled with imagery of revenge, destruction, death,and violence.”
The official added: “These examples are inconsistent with your claim that you converted to Christianity after discovering it is a ‘peaceful’ religion, as opposed to Islam which contains violence rage and revenge.”
The Home Office letter was met with widespread disbelief and consternation after excerpts were published to Twitter by the asylum seeker’s caseworker, Nathan Stevens.
Sir Edward Leigh MP brought up the matter in the House of Commons, as a result, the Home Secretary Sajid Javid ordered an “urgent investigation” into the content of the rejection letter sent by the Home Office.
The Home Secretary Sajid Javid ordered an “urgent investigation” into a letter sent to an Iranian Christian asylum seeker explaining that his application had been turned down because Christianity was not the peaceful religion he claimed it to be.
The claimant said in his application that he had found “peace, forgiveness and kindness” in Christianity in contrast to the “violence and revenge” of his former faith and the British Home Office said no, Christianity is not peaceful and as a result, you cannot remain in Britain.
Church of England Bishop the Rt Rev Paul Butler was among those who have expressed outrage about the letter, saying that the use of the Bible quotes represented “such a profound misunderstanding of the texts and practices of faith communities” and that the management structures and ethos of the Home Office needed “serious overhaul.”
“To use extracts from the Book of Revelation to argue that Christianity is a violent religion is like arguing that a Government report on the impact of climate change is advocating drought and flooding,” he said.
In the House of Commons, Tory MP Sir Edward Leigh questioned the Home Secretary on what was being done in response to the letter.
He asked Mr Javid whether he would acknowledge that “amongst his officials, they may be so worried about being accused of Islamophobia or anti-Semitism that they overcompensate by becoming Christian critical and they don’t understand that Christianity is the cornerstone of all our freedom.”
In his response, Mr Javid said an investigation was underway and that he would not rule out further action being taken.