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Britain’s broken asylum system is a danger to us all

The horrific alkali attack in south London has exposed failings at every level of our immigration system.

Rakib Ehsan

Rakib Ehsan
Columnist

Topics Politics UK

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The UK’s asylum system is utterly dysfunctional. Time and again, we see criminals, traffickers and terrorists slipping through the net. But even by Britain’s woefully lax security standards, the case of Abdul Ezedi has plumbed new depths.

Ezedi is the 35-year-old Afghan suspected of attacking a mother and her two young daughters with alkali in south London this week. This was a crime that should have been prevented. Indeed, there were multiple opportunities to stop Ezedi and to have him deported from the UK.

He first entered the UK in the back of a lorry in 2016. He then applied for asylum, but was rejected – twice. Yet he was still seemingly allowed to continue living here.

Then, in 2018, he was convicted of one charge of sexual assault and one of exposure. In 2020, he was discharged from his probation supervision. But he was not deported.

It is believed that in either 2021 or 2022 Ezedi was granted asylum by the authorities on his third attempt. This time, a priest vouched for him and claimed that he had converted to Christianity. This made it virtually impossible for Ezedi to be sent back to Afghanistan. His lawyers would be able to claim he would be at risk of persecution, as a member of a religious minority.

This week, Ezedi is alleged to have attacked a woman and her two daughters in Clapham, south London. The mother and her youngest child, who is three, will be left with life-changing injuries. Five police officers and four members of the public were also injured as they tried to help the victims.

This crime could only happen thanks to a systems-level failure. At every turn, the relevant authorities failed to do their duty to secure the UK’s border and protect the public. The fact that Ezedi was able to enter the UK illegally in a lorry tells an all-too-familiar story of lax security at the border. The fact that he was convicted of a sexual offence and not deported speaks to a casual disregard among those in power for the public’s safety. Just as worrying is how Ezedi was able to seemingly game the system and eventually gain asylum.

There is a disturbing trend emerging of asylum seekers opportunistically ‘converting’ to Christianity. While we can never be sure if these conversions are genuine or not, they often guarantee the success of an asylum claim on the grounds that the applicant is at risk of persecution in his or her home country. This is because many Muslim-majority countries routinely persecute Christians and punish apostasy with death.

Before Ezedi, there was Emad al-Swealmeen, an Iraqi terrorist. Like Ezedi, al-Swealmeen was rejected twice for asylum. He then ‘converted’ to Christianity, seemingly to bolster his next claim. In 2021, he detonated a bomb outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital on Remembrance Sunday, killing himself and injuring three others. Police later found an Islamic prayer mat and a copy of the Koran in al-Swealmeen’s home, suggesting that his conversion to Christianity was not necessarily sincere.

What both of these cases reveal is an asylum and migration system that has little regard for public safety. One cause of this is the UK’s onerous ‘human rights’ commitments. All too often, these favour the desires of foreign-born criminals to remain in Britain over the safety of the law-abiding majority. Last month, a known ISIS propagandist from Sudan managed to escape deportation on human-rights grounds. Similarly, the Home Office was prevented from expelling an Albanian crime lord, on the grounds that to do so would deprive him of his human right to a family life.

The UK’s asylum system is beyond broken. The British state is apparently open to granting asylum to a convicted sex offender on the questionable grounds that he had converted to Christianity. And yet it fails miserably when it comes to providing sanctuary for people who are actually in need of our protection. The same government that granted Ezedi asylum has outright refused to lend a helping hand to Christians who are known to be facing persecution or to Afghan soldiers who assisted the British Army during the war in Afghanistan.

More alarming still, in the aftermath of Ezedi’s alleged rampage in south London, our politicians have refused to even admit that his asylum status was relevant at all. It is as if they are determined not to learn any lessons from this horrific crime.

The Clapham attack was totally avoidable. The whole purpose of offering asylum is to stop people from coming to harm. Instead, we have a system that is so broken it is actively facilitating harm. We need to radically overhaul our asylum system and finally get a grip on our borders.

Rakib Ehsan is the author of Beyond Grievance: What the Left Gets Wrong about Ethnic Minorities, which is available to order on Amazon.

Picture by: YouTube.

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.

Topics Politics UK

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