Fewer asylum seekers claiming to have converted from Islam to Christianity are being granted asylum in Germany, as authorities become more cautious about fake conversions.
Until 2017, the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) granted 67.3 per cent of converts asylum, but that number has halved since then, with just 36.3 per cent of converts currently gaining refugee status, Die Welt reports.
In some areas, such as Berlin, the asylum acceptance rate for converts is even lower at just ten per cent.
Pastor Gottfried Martens spoke to the newspaper and acknowledged that there are people, who he refers to as “black sheep”, who do abuse conversion to have a better chance at getting asylum, but claimed those people were an exception rather than the majority.
German Police Chief Claims Asylum Seekers Using Christian Conversion to Avoid Deportation https://t.co/JmlHEbMSbP
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 8, 2017
Martens, who is a part of the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church, said that he puts candidates through months of weekly classes and holds an exam to test biblical knowledge to ensure converts are sincere about conversion. Martens claims to have baptised over 1,000 former Muslims.
German judges and BAMF, however, have taken the view that churches may be baptising migrants to allow them to stay in Germany and avoid deportation.
The suspicions are not new, as in 2017 Braunschweiger Criminal Police chief Ulf Küche expressed the same sentiment, pointing to a case in which a migrant had converted to Christianity after committing arson to avoid being deported.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 24, 2016
Many conversions may be legitimate, however, and those coming from countries such as Iran potentially face the death penalty for apostasy if they are deported to their country of origin.
Many others face abuse in asylum homes from Muslims angered by their conversion even in their new countries.
A former imam from Pakistan who converted to Christianity after coming to Germany told the tabloid Bild earlier this year that he faces death threats from people in his native country, some of which have come from his own family.
African Migrants Turned Church Into Base to Deal Heroin https://t.co/PzTGkHa1PC
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 13, 2019