Man who converted to new religion loses appeal on asylum refusal

After visa expired, Muslim converted to branch of Islam that is sometimes persecuted

Dismissing his case, Mr Justice Richard Humphreys ruled the commissioner and tribunal were within their jurisdiction to make the findings they had

Dismissing his case, Mr Justice Richard Humphreys ruled the commissioner and tribunal were within their jurisdiction to make the findings they had

 

A man who converted from one branch of Islam to another and then claimed he would be persecuted if sent back to Bangladesh has lost a High Court challenge to being refused asylum.

The 32-year-old man, who was brought up as a Sunni Muslim, arrived in Ireland in 2006 on a student visa which expired in 2010. He then applied for asylum.

The application was rejected by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner on the basis his claim he had converted from Sunni to Ahmadiyya Islam was not credible. A Refugee Appeals Tribunal agreed.

Ahmadiyyas are a minority branch of Islam who, because they are considered by some in the Sunni or Shia majority branches to be heretics, suffer persecution and violence. During his interview for asylum, the man said he had not converted so as to apply for asylum.

‘Speculative attempt’

The commissioner was concerned he had not applied for asylum until May 2010, a month after his arrest for being an illegal alien and almost four years after arriving here. The commissioner believed the conversion was to an extent done for opportunistic reasons.

The man said he converted in 2009 although his asylum application stated it was in 2010.

After his asylum application was refused, he applied for subsidiary protection. When that was also refused, he sought judicial review.

Dismissing his case, Mr Justice Richard Humphreys ruled the commissioner and tribunal were within their jurisdiction to make the findings they had.

This application seemed essentially to be a speculative attempt to suggest the tribunal could have been more favourable to him and that was not a substantial ground for judicial review of a decision, the judge held.