Pastor expressed concern over asylum seekers posing as Christians to boost chances of staying in Britain

The Church of England faces questions about asylum seekers such as the Liverpool bomber lying about conversion to Christianity so that they can get refugee status.

Interior Minister Priti Patel said she was appalled by what she branded as the “carousel” of failed asylum seekers exploiting a “malfunctioning” system.

Human smugglers are reportedly pushing migrants to convert to Christianity to improve their chances of gaining British citizenship.

The gangs reportedly use social media websites to block services for religious conversion.

Poppy Day bomber Emad Al Swealmeen was baptized in 2015 in Liverpool Cathedral and went on to be confirmed in 2017 after his application for asylum was rejected in 2014.

But the cathedral “lost contact” with him the following year – with the bishop who performed his confirmation service saying yesterday that he has “no specific recollection” of Al Swealmeen.

Father Mohammed Eghtedarian, a cleric at the cathedral, confessed in 2016 “many people” lied about their intentions after it also emerged that the Church of England had baptized hundreds of asylum seekers under a scheme called “pray to stay”.

Swealmeen reportedly appealed several times after his asylum application was rejected and had a legal challenge outstanding when he blew himself up on Sunday.

Malcolm Hitchcott, who with his wife Elizabeth accepted him for almost a year, said: “British asylum seekers have never been convinced that he is Syrian and he was denied asylum in 2014.

“He had his case rejected because he was a department because of some mental health incident where he brandished a knife at people from an overpass.”

Mr Hitchcott, a former lay minister at Liverpool Cathedral, had previously expressed concern about asylum seekers pretending to convert to bolster their visas.

But he believes Almeni was genuine and “endlessly and passionately talking about Jesus.”

A spokesman for the Church of England said it was not the role of the clergy to “establish the legitimacy of asylum claims and assess security implications”.

They added: “We are not aware of any evidence to suggest a widespread correlation between conversion to Christianity, or any other belief, and abuse of the asylum system.”

A Liverpool Cathedral spokesman said the church had developed “strong processes” to ascertain whether someone was not authentic when they committed themselves to Christianity.

A cleric at Liverpool Cathedral has previously expressed concerns about asylum seekers cynically posing as Christians to bolster their chances of receiving refugee status. Poppy Day bomber Emad Al Swealmeen (pictured right) was baptized in 2015 at the cathedral and went on to be confirmed in 2017

There is no reason to suggest that Al Swealmeen’s conversion from Islam was not original, and sources stressed that his baptism was not a factor in his repeated asylum claims.

However, an anti-extremist think tank last night called for an investigation into the ‘Liverpool Cathedral converted cluster’.

Rev Eghtedarian said in 2016: “People are desperate for a better life and sometimes they will lie for it – that’s understandable.

– There are a lot of people who abuse the system … I’m not ashamed to say that. But is it the fault of man or the fault of the system? And who are they cheating on? The Home Office, me as a priest, or God? ‘

The Church of England last night faced questions about asylum seekers such as the Liverpool bomber lying about conversion to Christianity so they could get refugee status.  Above: Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

The Church of England last night faced questions about asylum seekers such as the Liverpool bomber lying about conversion to Christianity so they could get refugee status. Above: Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

The Home Office has previously said that conversion to Christianity does not automatically result in a successful asylum application.

The Church of England said baptism is “open to all”.

But Sam Ashworth-Hayes, of the anti-extremist Henry Jackson Society, said: “We know people are willing to lie to gain asylum up to and including false religious conversions.

‘This is prompted by the asylum system, which is not doing enough to eradicate falsehoods.’

At the time of Al-Swealmeen’s baptism, Liverpool Cathedral was in the midst of a successful drive to both boost its congregation and embrace prospective converts.

More than 130 new converts of Iranian origin alone were baptized, with a total of 200 asylum seekers converting there between 2012 and 2016.

The Home Office has previously said that conversion to Christianity does not automatically result in a successful asylum application.  The Church of England has said that baptism is

The Home Office has previously said that conversion to Christianity does not automatically result in a successful asylum application. The Church of England said baptism is “open to all”. Emad Al Swealmeen (pictured)

Liverpool was then a dissemination center for asylum seekers, with volunteers helping to mentor newcomers and help them access charitable facilities and food banks.

In 2016 the Very Rev Peter Wilcox, then Dean of Liverpool and now Bishop of Sheffield, admitted that some had “mixed motives”, adding: “After you are baptized a Christian, it is really unthinkable that you would be deported to an Islamic country. ‘

At the end of that year, Church Commissioners agreed to £ 1 million funding to launch the scheme of the Anglican Cathedral’s “multiplication congregations” across the diocese.

And Liverpool Cathedral’s weekly average attendance also rose to 702, from 438 in 2013.

Insiders emphasized that the two-year “examination process” of Christian conversion was “rigorous” and designed to eliminate opportunists.

Those seeking asylum continue to be challenged “strongly” about their trust by the Home Office to verify that it is genuine.

Al Swealmeen completed the evangelical Alpha course on Christianity at Liverpool Cathedral and after his conversion reportedly spoke passionately about Jesus.

Retired Lt. Col. Malcolm Hitchcott, 77, who accepted Al Swealmeen after he converted, said: “When he came to live with us, it was a very good opportunity to give him a genuine spiritual appraisal.”

Al-Swealmeen – who weeks later changed his name by voting to Enzo Almeni – was “very well grounded in the scriptures”, prayed at least half an hour a day and attended the Sunday worship service each week in the cathedral, he added. .

The current Dean of Liverpool Cathedral last night suggested Al Swealmeen’s belief was genuine, saying two years is a “long time” to attend church just for asylum reasons.

The Very Revolutionary Sue Jones added: “We cannot have responsibility for everyone. What we are proposing here is a safe space for asylum seekers. ‘

Bishop Cyril Ashton, who led Al Swealmeen’s confirmation service, said: “The church takes confirmation seriously … It seems that, unfortunately, the bomber has chosen a different path for his life.”

The cathedral is being treated as a potential target by counter-terrorism police. Its memorial service took place a mile from Liverpool Women’s Hospital at 11am on Sunday.

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