It came as quite a shock when we learned that many of our universities had moved into the lucrative trade of selling visas to foreign nationals, with a bit of higher education attached as a legacy sideline.
Now there is a new question hanging in the air: is nothing sacred? For we are having to get our heads around the idea of churches apparently participating in the immigration racket too. It seems that something of a ‘pray to stay’ ruse has been in operation for people from non-Christian backgrounds who have illegally gate-crashed into Britain.
The Telegraph reports that about 40 of the 300 residents of the Bibby Stockholm barge in Dorset are already attending local churches with a view to being accepted into the Christian faith, while Sky News reported on Saturday that last weekend 20 asylum seekers had been baptised near RAF Wethersfield in Essex.
And while clergy seem happy to believe that these conversions amount to a joyful triumph in their efforts to spread the word of Jesus Christ, those of us who have long followed the travails of the British asylum system have our doubts.
The case of suspected chemical attacker and convicted sex offender Abdul Ezedi, which hit the headlines last week, was the second prominent example of a seemingly bogus conversion from Islam to Christianity being used by a dangerous foreign national.
The first was Liverpool bomber Emad al-Swealmeen, who mercifully succeeded only in blowing himself up rather than the maternity unit he targeted on Remembrance Sunday, 2021. A Quran and an Islamic prayer mat were found at the flat of that ‘Christian convert’.
In the case of Ezedi, his local halal butchers in Newcastle have been testifying what a good Muslim he continued to be, despite his apparent defection to the Christian faith some years ago.