Protecting Converts against Deportation to Countries where Christians are persecuted
Survey on the Situation of 6,516 Converts in Germany, published by Open Doors Deutschland e.V.
1) Christian converts are the group most severely affected by persecution of Christians worldwide. With their fleeing to Germany, many converts try to escape exactly this persecution and need special protection.
2) This study deals with people who seek protection in Germany and have left the Islamic faith for the Christian one. These new Christians will be related to as “converts” in the following pages. The study focuses on converts possessing a clerical affidavit concerning the authenticity of their faith and their involvement in church life.
3) 179 churches from several denominations and from all federal states representing 6,516 converts participated in the study. According to our estimates, this makes up to 15–30 % of refugee converts.
4) Time frame: The survey was conducted in two parts a. Pilot study: 7/16–8/8/2019 b. Main study: 8/9–9/20/2019
5) The acceptance rate for converts is only slightly higher than that of the general refugee population. The particular vulnerability of converts is hardly reflected in the decisions on asylum applications.
6) The protection rate for converts by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) has fallen considerably since July 2017, in sharper decline than the general acceptance rate. This is a further indicator of the ignorance to the situation and vulnerability on the ground in the respective countries of origin.
7) In many cases, especially in the last two years, converts seeking protection have only been granted protection by administrative courts (AC).
8) There is no consistent legal practice concerning the fate of converts in Germany. The protection rates of the federal states differ significantly from one another.
9) Churches reported about numerous hearings and negotiations which, according to their observations, did not respect due process.
10) Many pastors and volunteers were shocked by the high volume of converts who have not been granted asylum and are in a state of uncertainty. The churches are even more concerned about converts that have already been deported to countries with severe Christian persecution. The same is true for those who might have feigned faith in Christ.
11) The vast majority of the congregations conduct thorough baptism classes for those interested in the Christian faith. The participation of converts in church life is reliable and very high.
12) According to pastors 88 % of the converts in their care are authentic, 86 % display this in their participation in parish life. However, the BAMF only granted protection status to 37.6 % of the test population in the period 2018–2019.
13) Even if there are individual “outliers” among the converts (and also communities that baptize hastily), a blanket condemnation of all converts is unacceptable. Those accusing converts of strategic motives undertake a discriminatory misjudgment and neglect the extremely dangerous repercussions on converts.
14) The submission of a clerical affidavit and baptism certificates (amongst others), has consistently had a negative effect on the decisions of the BAMF. 15) It is disturbing that employees of the BAMF and the AC ignore the findings of experts when making decisions and judgments.