Christian Pastor Slams Germany's 'Kangaroo Court' Hearings Into Migrant Conversions

Germany is rejecting applications for asylum from Iranian and Afghan converts to Christianity following "kangaroo court" hearings, according to a Berlin pastor.

In a letter to supporters of his ministry sent before Christmas and reported by World Watch Monitor, Rev Gottfried Martens, who has baptised more than 1,000 former Muslims accused the "almost exclusively Muslim translators" in the hearings of deliberately falsely translating the converts' responses to jeopardise their applications.

In a damning indictment of the working of the Ministry for Immigration and Refugees (BAMF), he said: "Almost all congregational members and candidates for baptism are having their hearings scheduled well-nigh simultaneously, and yet the only qualification of those charged with hearing their cases has often added up to no more than a three-week course; many are manifestly clueless about the situation of Christians in Iran and Afghanistan, and worse yet they are utterly clueless concerning questions relating to the Christian faith.

"But all of this does not prevent them from assuming the role of self-appointed experts, whose questions 'unmask' the supposedly deceitful Iranian asylum applicants one after another, even when those hearing the cases don't even know the difference between the Creed and the Our Father."

He said applicants were asked questions such as the names of the two sons in the parable of the Prodigal Son, or what Martin Luther died of.

"In this way Christians who learned the first elements of the Christian faith in their house church in Iran are well and truly hung out to dry," he said. "Many hearings are more like kangaroo courts in which our congregational members and candidates for baptism have absolutely no chance of presenting what is important to them. And then they must repeatedly undergo being mocked and laughed at when they relate how it is important to them that Jesus Christ died for their sins on the Cross."

He also referred to attacks on Christian asylum seekers by radical Muslims, and criticised the Catholic Church and the Protestant EKD Church, which had opposed housing Christian and Muslim refugees separately because doing so might suggest religions could not coexist peacefully.

A spokesman for Christian charity Open Doors in Germany said: "These Christians have either fled from their home countries because of their newfound faith and the persecution they had to face because of it, or have come to believe in Jesus Christ after fleeing to Germany.

"Sending them back to their countries of origin is completely irresponsible in view of the situation for Christian converts in places like Iran or Afghanistan, because it is truly a matter of life and death. Open Doors demands an immediate revision of the policy of the BAMF in view of their dealing with converts."

The UK's treatment of converts to Christianity was similarly criticised in a parliamentary report last June that found investigators lacked religious literacy and used "Bible trivia" questions from crib sheets to assess the genuineness of someone's faith.