Revelations From Darlington

asylum seekers crossing the channel

A Church of England priest claims that he “got batches of asylum-seekers asking for conversion to Christianity.” A BM Northern report on yet another asylum scam.

The Reverend Matthew Firth, described in the mainstream media as the former priest for St. Cuthbert’s church, Darlington in County Durham, was featured in a full page article in the ‘Daily Mail’ on March 13th 2024. The article and interview with Reverend Firth were based on testimony that he provided to MP’s on March 12th 2024, as part of evidence given by Reverend Firth to the home affairs select committee on illegal immigration and the asylum system.

The clergyman gave revealing statements on ‘asylum seekers’ turning up for mass conversion to Christianity in order to gain leave to remain in the UK. The reality was that most of these requests came from Muslim men who had been turned down on their first request for asylum. The groups of young men were brought to his church by the same individual, a man he described to the select committee as “a fixer’.

The Reverend Firth’s evidence was damning, he would be approached at his church by intermediaries, “to baptise six or seven young males at a time.” The ‘Daily Mail’ articles quoted him as stating that “asylum seekers would arrive in sizeable cohorts to request conversion, but disappeared after he insisted on active participation in church life.”

He further stated that, “Week in week out, significant groups of mainly Iranians and Syrians, young male asylum seekers, were being brought to me in sizeable cohorts. Six or seven at a time, brought to me by people saying, ‘these people need baptism’. Every two or three weeks there would be a batch.” The situation became so intense that Reverend Firth put a pause on religious conversion baptisms in 2018 and maintained that position until he left the church in 2020.

The Clapham chemical attacker Abdul Ezedi had ‘converted’ to Christianity after this third asylum application had been turned down by the Home Office. At the time of his religious conversion Ezedi was living in a district of Newcastle and was making a show of attending a local church. However, given his recent convictions as a sex offender, the rules on safeguarding meant that whenever Ezedi attended church, he was provided with an escorting member of the church to ensure that he posed no risk to any women or children in the congregation.

The level of media interest in Abdul Ezedi case has exposed the asylum system to scrutiny and it was admitted by the Home Office that Ezedi had been refused permission to remain in the UK but had appealed to the First Tier Tribunal and claimed that having converted to Christianity, he would face religious persecution in Afghanistan and so was granted asylum.

After the Clapham attack, the Home Office admitted that civil servants were not entirely convinced by Ezedi’s conversion but yielded to the reality that he was supported by human rights lawyers and immigrant welfare lawyers, together with representatives of the Baptist Church, who vouched for the sincerity of Ezedi’s conversion to Christianity.

Obviously the Ezedi appeals would have continued along an expensive and drawn-out series of further appeals, which no doubt influenced the Home Office decision to grant asylum. Abdul Ezedi committed suicide by drowning in the River Thames, but what the mainstream media have not generally reported on is the fact that Ezedi was given a Muslim burial in London, not a Christian funeral and cremation.

It should come as no surprise to regular readers of BM Northern Region articles that a number of left-wing MP’s have disputed the statements made by Reverend Firth and are challenging the figures he quoted in a rejection of his evidence, the MP’s stated that “only 15 potential asylum seekers had been baptised in Durham in the past ten years.” But Revered Firth said in response, “there was a difference in the number of people brought to me requesting baptisms and the number of baptisms that happened.”

It should equally come as no surprise that the Diocese of Durham has rejected that the claims by Reverend Matthew Firth, and the Church of England says that his claims are unfounded and that their records show that since 2014, only seven baptisms performed by Reverend Firth “may have been asylum seekers.”

Reverend Matthew Firth left the Church of England in 2020 and is now serving as a vicar in the Free Church of England. But then, given the Church of England’s recent pronouncements and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby’s overtly ‘woke’ statements in support of immigrants/ asylum-seekers/refugees, I think that the BM Northern region prefers to believe the sworn testimony of Reverend Firth.


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