Sweden Introduces Bible Test for ‘Christian’ Refugees

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By Kieran Corcoran | 6:58 am, May 16, 2017

The Swedish government has started quizzing refugees on aspects of Christianity to root out people who are lying about their religion.

Authorities in the Scandinavian country are now asking questions on aspects of the Bible and issues of doctrine in major churches when they apply for asylum.

The tests were introduced by the Swedish Migration Agency amid concerns that migrants could be faking religious conviction to bolster claims that they would be persecuted in their country of origin.

According to TT, a Swedish news agency, some asylum seekers were asked how many books the New Testament is divided into, while others have been asked to explain the difference between the Orthodox and Protestant churches.

Failing the questions would not automatically ruin an applicant’s asylum claim, but is one of a number of factors which could affect the outcome.

Lawyers and church officials in Sweden have complained that the process is unfair, and that technical religious knowledge and faith are not necessarily the same.

The test also includes more general sections on Christianity, such as an opportunity to explain how applicants converted, or to describe how their faith manifests itself in their daily lives.

An asylum lawyer, Serpil Güngör, told a Swedish TV station that he has sat in on some interviews, and that the questions were “far too complicated” and often “not relevant”.

However, migration agency officials defended their stance, pointing out that the answers are one part of a more thorough process.

Sweden has struggled with the effects of the recent migrant influx prompted by unrest in Syria and the wider Middle East.

Along with Germany, the Scandinavian country is seen as one of the most welcoming for refugees, many of whom trek from one end of Europe to the other to reach it.

However, high-profile crimes and increasing local tensions have caused many Swedes to temper their welcome somewhat.