Of terrorists and Islamophobes: a Christian terrorist?

Nov 18, 2021 by

by Tim Dieppe, Christian Concern:

Following the release of the name of the suicide bomber in Liverpool, the headlines of several major newspapers blasted out that he was a Christian convert. This is quite a novelty – a Christian terrorist. Will we see more attacks by Christian terrorists now? Is it likely that he was motivated by Christianity to carry out his attack?

The bomber, named Emad Al Swealmeen, arrived in the UK in 2014 and claimed asylum. His original claim for asylum was rejected because officials believed he was Jordanian, and not Syrian as he stated. He was sectioned seven years ago after trying to kill himself by jumping off an overpass while wearing a knife.

After his asylum claim was rejected, he turned up at the cathedral in Liverpool saying he wanted to convert to Christianity. He attended an Alpha course and was confirmed as a Christian in the cathedral in March 2017. A Christian couple who befriended him, and even took him into their home, were certainly persuaded of the genuineness of his faith at the time. Mr Hitchott is reported to have said: “He was very quiet but deeply moved by faith in Jesus. I used to pray every day for half an hour in the dining room with him. I don’t think he was pretending about his faith.”

A fake conversion?

Associates, however, said that they believed Al Swealmeen was only interested in converting to Christianity because he believed it would help with his asylum claim. He had made a new asylum claim in 2017. Converts to Christianity can claim that they will be persecuted if they are forced to return to Islamic countries. This is known to aid asylum claims if the authorities believe that the conversion is genuine.

It has emerged that questions have been raised about migrants faking conversions at Liverpool cathedral. Hundreds of Muslims have converted to Christianity after a five-week baptism course. Even people involved in the process have recognised that not all of these conversions are genuine. The Rev. Peter Wilcox, a former Dean of Liverpool, is reported to have said “I can’t think of a single example of somebody who already had British citizenship converting here with us from Islam to Christianity.” Mr Hitchott, who befriended Al Swealmeen, has told an immigration hearing that he was aware that many asylum seekers “pretend to have found Jesus in order to support a false claim for asylum.”

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