Credibility assessment of religious conversion in the asylum process: A theological analysis

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Abstract

In Finland a rising number of asylum seekers from Islamic countries are converting to Christianity. As religious persecution is a ground for refugee status, the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) must determine whether a change of religion poses a threat to the asylum seeker in their home country. But how can the conversion of an asylum seeker be, in fact, verified? In this article, I analyse –from a theological perspective–the view of Christianity that guides Migri’s credibility assessment of conversion in the asylum process. The focus lies in persons from Islamic countries converting to Christianity during their asylum process. The material consists of 48 application rulings, concentrating on the 20 negative decisions. The analysis focuses on the concepts of faith and the Church, as these central concepts of Christianity are highly relevant for the credibility assessment. I contrast Migri’s understanding of these concepts with illustrations of how they have been understood in theology. Thus, a clearer picture of Migri’s view on the Christian religion emerges, showing that Migri views it primarily as an inward orientation. As Migri does not acknowledge other manifestations of religious identity as authentic, it is possible that not all those in need of protection are identified.
Translated title of the contributionTrovördighetsbedömning av religiös konvertering i asylprocessen.: En teologisk analys.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages28
JournalStudia Theologica
Volume76
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • conversion
  • asylum determinations
  • credibility
  • christianity
  • Finland
  • credibility assessment

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