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Sweden: Christian Churches support converts at risk of deportation. Demonstration in Stockholm on 16 January

On Wednesday, 16 January, the Christian Churches will gather in Filadelfiakyrkan at 6pm for a moment of prayer, and will then demonstrate in the centre of Stockholm to draw attention to the “systematic failures on the part of the Immigration Board with regard to the assessment of asylum applications lodged by converts”, the Council of Churches explains in a statement. “In recent years, many local Churches across the country have had contacts with asylum seekers and newcomers, often with a Muslim background, interested in the Christian faith”, the body explains from Stockholm. Many of them have converted or have expressed their desire to do so, but this “was not considered to be credible” by the authorities who have rejected conversion as a reason for being granted asylum in Sweden. The event on 16 January is seen as an opportunity to launch a debate on how “the credibility of converts is assessed” by the Immigration Board, so that more converts may have their reasons heard. The Churches have repeatedly spoken out on this issue, asking that more attention is paid in the assessment to the “threats” that converts whose asylum claims are rejected may face; their testimony and actions should weigh more than their ability to argue. The demonstration will be attended among others by Card. Anders Arborelius; by Archbishop Dioscoros Atas of the Syriac Orthodox Church; and by Archbishop Antje Jackelén of the Church of Sweden.

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