As many commentators have observed in the shocking case of Abdul Shakoor Ezedi, a priest supported the asylum claim of a man who had not only been twice refused it but had subsequently been convicted of sexual assault and indecent exposure. His claim to be a Christian – apparently endorsed by a priest – got his third asylum application over the line. He has now perpetrated a sickening attack with a corrosive substance on a mother and her daughters in Clapham, leaving them with life-changing injuries.
If this sounds familiar, it echoes the story of Liverpool bomber Emad Al Swealmeen who had an asylum application refused only to convert to Christianity before blowing himself up outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital in November 2021. One of the Christian couple that took him before his act of terrorism said: “He was with us for eight months, and during that time we saw him really blossoming in regards to his Christian faith.”
At the time of the Al Swealmeen terrorist attack in November 2021, Sky News reported that “there have been reports of growing concern within the Home Office at the role of the Church of England in converting asylum seekers”. This begs the question what would have to happen for the Home Office’s concern to grow so much that it took action.
The couple that took in Al Swealmeen and the priest that vouched for Ezedi may have been motivated by Christian compassion and be guilty of nothing more than naïveté. But what about the bishops that have used their unelected positions in the House of Lords to defeat the Rwanda bill? The contribution of Sarah Mullally, the Bishop of London, was to exclaim: “All people are made in the image of God.” Bishops that should be paying attention to their flock in the capital have for some time allowed their compassion for non-Christians in more distant places to take priority. In the edition of the Spectator that went out on October 7th last year – and went to print before the Hamas pogroms of that date – Andrew Roberts pointed out that Christopher Chessun, the Bishop of Southwark “believes stopping the boats would ‘impoverish the U.K.’ and accuses Israel of pursuing ‘the permanent inequality and disenfranchisement of Palestinians’”. Chessun has spoken on a number of occasions in the Lords but on pretty much every occasion – even before October 7th – he did so about Gaza which has a Christian population of around 1,000.