Rod Liddle Rod Liddle

Do asylum-seekers really want to convert to Christianity?


Slightly bored last Thursday afternoon, I converted to Islam to see what it was like. All I had to do was intone the Shahada – ‘La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammadun Rasul Allah’ – and then have a nice shower with some Head and Shoulders to wash away the deluded Christian filth that had hitherto cloaked my physical being, the musty detritus of a decadent creed. I have to say, once converted, it didn’t feel terribly different inside but on the plus side I was immediately offered several senior posts with the BBC and the Arts Council which I may or may not take up.

The people in these NGOs are content to see more and more migrants lose their lives

Bored again on Friday, I decided to renounce Islam, which I did by reciting the Shahada backwards: ‘hallA lusaR nudammahuM, hallA alli ahali aL’ and having another shower – at which point a small shaitan with glowing red depthless eyes materialised by the sideboard and told me to ‘Stop taking the piss, sunshine.’ Theoretically I am dead meat, as Sharia law insists that the punishment for apostasy should be execution, which fact the shaitan kindly explained to me. It is not the most easily forgiving of religions, which is perhaps its greatest strength. When, on that Thursday, I renounced Christianity all that happened was a kind of hologram of Justin Welby briefly flickered in front of me and said: ‘Ah well, no use crying over spilt milk. Jesus won’t mind, so long as you still carry out your waste recycling diligently and don’t mis-gender anyone. Have a nice day.’

Meanwhile, on the good ship Bibby Stockholm, the Muslim asylum-seekers are queuing up to convert to Christianity. At least 40 migrants have made the metaphysical journey from Muhammed (pbuh) to Jesus Christ (and him, too, although not as much, obvs, if you are a Muslim), the consequence perhaps of having watched Welby talking on TV and understandably having been smitten by the power of his word, the intellect, the consistency of thought and so on. Or maybe the process was more epiphanous and their bodies really were somehow suddenly suffused with the spirit of our Lord and saviour, as well as his offer of regular welfare benefits, child support and a council flat. You may have heard a church elder, David Rees, boasting about the conversion rate in an interview with an almost dumbstruck Ed Stourton on the BBC Sunday programme. Dave said there was absolutely no doubt in his mind that these young men were entirely genuine in their wish to be accepted into the body of the church and heaven forfend anyone saying otherwise. He added: ‘Obviously, we need to make sure that they believe in the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit and repent of their sins and also they want to start a new life in the church. So those are the sort of questions that we ask them, and they have to give a public testimony, at their baptism, which they did in their native language, and it was translated into English. There were no qualms at all about the content of that testimony, which was clear and conclusive about their faith in Jesus Christ.’

‘Chin up, Methuselah – the state pension can’t be far off.’

Dave was convinced because he had a translator who had been to Iran, he said. This left me open to ponder several possible explanations for this remarkable exhibition of credulousness. There are three possible scenarios. The first is that Dave really is thicker than a large slab of Osmium, a man deprived of almost all the normal human critical faculties. The second is that Dave is basically doing the same gig as the aluminium siding salesman in Barry Levinson’s rather lovely film Tin Men and that he does not really care if his clients actually buy into the whole Holy Trinity shebang, because he’s basically just working on commission.

The third is that Dave and the rest of these idiots, including the one who decided that the Afghan asylum-seeker Abdul Shokoor Ezedi would make a model Christian, is motivated by a fashionable loathing of the Conservative party and indeed anybody else who thinks that immigration, legal or illegal, needs to be controlled. Let everyone in, it’s what Jesus, as well as Jeremy Corbyn, would have wanted. Having met quite a few people from the evangelical Alpha course – members of which carried out these ‘conversions’ – I am reasonably convinced that the answer is scenario number one. But maybe scenario number one with a certain whiff of scenario number three in there as well.

The reason these migrants are lining up to embrace the Church of England and thus in the future – theoretically, at least – spending every Sunday listening to some mithering halfwit spewing out hand-wringing tendentious progressive bollocks with no relevance to the Bible whatsoever – is that they have been told by the real enemies within, the ‘refugee’ NGOs, that this will greatly improve their chances of securing asylum. The people in these NGOs are the same people who are perfectly content to see more and more migrants lose their lives in fantastically dangerous cross-Channel journeys in an inner tube, because at least some will make it to Dover and that will cause trouble for the Tories. The people who think that borders should be entirely open, being not possessed of the intellectual capacity to understand what would happen if they really were.

Much like the lawyers and the same NGOs who oppose sending illegal asylum-seekers to Rwanda – or, let’s be clear, anywhere else – for processing and thus contribute towards the deaths of more migrants as they mass to cross the Channel. These people are entirely devoid of moral or rational agency – and yet we allow them to thwart, quite brazenly, the government’s attempts to solve this crisis. Me? I would remove the charitable status from any NGO which was found to have encouraged migrants to claim asylum. But maybe that’s just the vestigial tail of a more resolute religion still wagging in my brain.


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