Are Muslim ‘Officials’ Denying Persecuted Christians Refuge in Europe?

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The same Germany that took in over a million Muslim migrants in 2015, and ten thousand non-vetted Afghans in 2021—all people who, by definition, could not be experiencing religious persecution back home as they themselves were Muslim—has refused asylum to a Muslim convert to Christianity, even though one of his relatives was tortured and murdered for the same “crime” of apostasy in his native Iran.

Going under the pseudonym of “Hassan” to protect his identity, the 44-year-old applied for asylum in Germany in 2018.  The authorities rejected his testimony on their belief that no one would convert to Christianity after seeing and experiencing what happens to converts in Iran.  In this, they were referring to Hassan’s brother-in-law, whom Hassan said introduced him to Christianity, and was later arrested and killed in prison for participating in a house church.  German authorities concluded that it was “not particularly likely” that Hassan would become—certainly not remain—a Christian after such an event, as the murder would have a “deterrent effect” on any other would-be converts, namely Hassan.

After Germany closed its doors to him, Hassan took his case to the European Court of Human Rights; it, too, recently denied his appeal. The apostate from Islam is now set to be deported back to the Islamic Republic of Iran, an act that seems the equivalent of sentencing him to death, or at the very least, abandoning him to persecution and imprisonment.

Before German authorities rejected his request for asylum, Hassan had offered the following testimonial to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees:

My wife’s brother had become a different person by becoming a Christian. We wanted to see if we would get this feeling when we became Christians….  I had had many problems in Iran…I had many [religious] questions, but I was not allowed to ask them. When I asked questions, I was beaten at school. This led me to want to know which God I was facing. One day my brother-in-law said to me and my wife that he had good news. There is a treasure, there is a living God, Jesus Christ, we are His children and not His slaves…He said there is a free salvation available.

As mentioned, his brother-in-law would go on to be imprisoned for his house church activities, and finally murdered for his faith in jail.

The Islamic Republic of Iran, it’s worth noting, is one of the worst nations to persecute Christians—especially Muslim converts.  As one human rights group explained back in 2017:

A great many Iranians have been coming to Christ and it’s something which the authorities are clearly very unhappy about. So there are periodic arrests, detentions, [and] imprisonments. There have been a lot of charges lately which are suggesting an even greater clampdown—sentences of 10-15 years in some cases for Christians. And usually, the authorities will suggest that this [is] the result of undermining the state or seeking to collaborate against the state and will use more political charges than say apostasy or blasphemy laws.

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Despite this oppressive climate, and rather than be “dissuaded” by the murder of his brother-in-law, Hassan, his wife and children all went on to embrace Christ.  Before long, suspicious Iranian security forces stormed and plundered their home of their books, computer, passports, and Bible.  Hassan and his family responded by fleeing Iran, eventually reaching Germany.

“In Germany I share the gospel, I organize prayer circles here in the accommodation,” he said. “I want to be a good example, to win the others to faith in Jesus Christ. My greatest goal would be for my children to be able to find Christ in freedom, and to do good.”

Here we come to a critically important though overlooked question: why did the German authorities find Hassan’s testimony—that he became Christian despite knowing the dire consequences—unintelligible in the first place?  The simple answer is that, as atheists/materialists, German authorities simply could not believe that anyone would risk their lives just to be Christian.

As Lidia Rieder of ADF, which is assisting Hassan, observes,

There are national and international guidelines for asylum applications based on religious grounds….  Unfortunately, this guidance is being used very selectively by the German decision-makers. They do not understand that maintaining a religious belief when persecuted can be appealing to others and not just a deterrent as seen from the history of Christianity.

There could, however, be another reason that “this guidance is being used very selectively by the German decision-makers”: these decision-makers could themselves be Muslims who are avenging themselves and Islam on these Christ-loving apostates.

For starters, we already know that this exact scenario has played out before.  Back in December 2019, CBN News reported:

Christian Syrian refugees … have been blocked from getting help from the United Nations Refugee Agency, the UNHCR, by Muslim UN officials in Jordan.  One of the refugees, Hasan, a Syrian convert to Christianity, told us in a phone call that Muslim UN camp officials “knew that we were Muslims and became Christians and they dealt with us with persecution and mockery. They didn’t let us into the office. They ignored our request.” Hasan and his family are now in hiding, afraid that they will be arrested by Jordanian police, or even killed. Converting to Christianity is a serious crime in Jordan.

Similarly, according to Timothy, another Muslim convert to Christianity, “All of the United Nations officials [apparently in Jordan], most of them, 99 percent, they are Muslims, and they were treating us as enemies.”

Addressing this issue, Paul Diamond, a British human rights lawyer, once said:

You have this absurd situation where the scheme is set up to help Syrian refugees and the people most in need, Christians who have been “genocided,” they can’t even get into the U.N. camps to get the food. If you enter and say I am a Christian or convert, the Muslim U.N. guards will block you [from] getting in and laugh at you and mock you and even threaten you…. [saying]  “You shouldn’t have converted. You’re an idiot for converting. You get what you get,” words to that effect.

Notable here is that those (Muslim) authorities who deny refuge to Christians habitually mock them and engage in sarcasm—which may well be what the German authorities who denied Hassan were doing when they denied him asylum by essentially saying that no sane person would ever become Christian in light of the consequences.

There are, in fact, many other examples of “Western decision makers” employing sarcasm and mockery in their decisions to deny asylum to persecuted converts.  Consider just the United Kingdom’s Home Office, which runs its immigration program.  It ridiculed an Iranian female asylum seeker in her rejection letter by writing, “You affirmed in your AIR [Asylum Interview Record] that Jesus is your saviour, but then claimed that he would not be able to save you from the Iranian regime. It is therefore considered that you have no conviction in your faith and your belief in Jesus is half-hearted.”

Discussing her experiences, the rejected woman first explained her plight: “In my country if someone converts to Christianity their punishment is death or execution.”  Concerning the asylum process, she said that whenever she responded to her Home Office interviewer, “he was either chuckling or maybe just kind of mocking when he was talking to me….  [H]e asked me why Jesus didn’t help you from the Iranian regime or Iranian authorities.”

Similarly, in his rejection letter from the UK’s Home Office, one Iranian man was told that several biblical passages were “inconsistent” with his claim to have converted to Christianity after discovering it was a “peaceful” faith.  The letter went so far as to cite biblical passages—from Exodus, Leviticus, Matthew, and Revelation—to argue that the Bible is violent, before concluding: “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.”

In short, it seems that some Muslims in the West have gained the power and authority to do what they do in the Muslim world—discriminate against if not send Christians and apostates off to their deaths.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views the Virginia Christian Alliance

About the Author

Raymond Ibrahim
RAYMOND IBRAHIM is a widely published author, public speaker, and Middle East and Islam specialist.  His books include Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West (Da Capo, 2018), Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (Regnery, 2013), and The Al Qaeda Reader (Doubleday, 2007). Ibrahim’s writings, translations, and observations have appeared in a variety of publications, including the New York Times Syndicate, CNN, LA Times, Fox News, Financial Times, Jerusalem Post, United Press International, USA Today, Washington Post, Washington Times, and Weekly Standard; scholarly journals, including the Almanac of Islamism, Chronicle of Higher Education, Hoover Institution’s Strategika, Jane’s Islamic Affairs Analyst, Middle East Quarterly, and Middle East Review of International Affairs; and popular websites, including American Thinker, Bloomberg, Breitbart, Christian Post, Daily Caller, FrontPage Magazine, NewsMax, National Review Online, PJ Media, and World Magazine. He has contributed chapters to several anthologies and has been translated into dozens of languages.