Minister: Asylum-seekers should wait with baptisms
The culture and church minister, Bertel Haarder, has urged Danish priests not to baptise asylum-seekers and refugees before their asylum cases have been processed, amid concerns they are doing so to purely strengthen their argument to stay in Denmark.
The news comes hot on the heels of revelations yesterday that at least 110 asylum-seekers and refugees had converted to Christianity in Denmark between December 2015 and February 2016.
“It’s for their own good and to spare them from being accused of doing it in order to get asylum,” Haarder said. “It’s a case I will bring up with the bishops and at the upcoming bishops’ council.”
According to figures from the Church of Denmark, upwards of 300 asylum-seekers are currently taking part in preparations for a Christian baptism.
Last year, the refugee council Flygtningenævnet processed 55 cases in which the applicant stated that they risked persecution in their homelands because they were apostates.
Of those 55 cases, 42 were granted residence in Denmark. Some 31 had initially been rejected, but after converting to Christianity, their cases were reprocessed.