In Sweden, the conversion of an asylum seeker deemed doubtful

How can you prove the sincerity of your faith when it is questioned? Mustafa left Kabul in 2015. Coming from a very religious family with ties to fundamentalists, he was threatened by those close to him for having distanced himself from Islam and rejecting a “Vengeful god, who punishes rather than forgives”. Arrived in Sweden on October 23, 2015, he was placed in a center for asylum seekers, where Church volunteers gave language lessons.

One day, he was offered a Bible. Mustafa joined a prayer group and then enrolled in Sunday school. On December 12, 2018, he was baptized in the Pentecostal Church in Vrigstad, a village in the province of Småland, southern Sweden. Two weeks earlier, her first asylum claim had been rejected on appeal. He filed another, this time highlighting his conversion, which amounts to a death warrant, if returned to Afghanistan.

“If Mustafa’s faith is not genuine, then the same can be said for me. »David Hjelmqvist, pastor

In an email sent to Pastor David Hjelmqvist, the “Big brother and extra father” of Mustafa, the Swedish National Migration Board (Migrationsverket) recognizes that“A convert exposes himself to a real and perceptible risk of being subjected to the death penalty and persecution” in Afghanistan. But, in order not to be sent back to his country of origin, his conversion must still be “Deemed authentic”. According to the administrative immigration court, which confirmed on appeal, on May 19, the decision of immigration officials, Mustafa’s was not. His argument? He was baptized just two weeks after his first asylum claim was rejected.

“From the start, Migrationsverket has never believed a single word of mine”, Mustafa blows. Even his age has been changed: when he said he was 16 and a half, immigration officials listed the day of his arrival as his 18th birthday. When he succeeded in bringing in his tazkira (Afghan identity card), a few months later, Migrationsverket refused to make the correction, arguing that it had undoubtedly been tampered with.

Its story is far from unique

In Jönköping, David Hjelmqvist does not take offense: “If Mustafa’s faith is not genuine, then the same can be said for me. “ He denounces a “Legal disaster”. Several pastors testified on behalf of the young Afghan. In his certificate, the priest who baptized him assures that “To pretend and play the Christian does not hold in the long term, we realize it”. With its “Fifty years of experience”, he maintains that Musfata is a “100% genuine Christian”. An opinion shared by one of the three jurors responsible for examining his appeal and who voted against his dismissal, ruling that Migrationsverket was lost “In technicality and semantics” when Mustafa’s story was “Clear and consistent”.

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