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Moment Clapham chemical attacker Abdul Ezedi is given Muslim burial despite claiming to have converted to Christianity – as Home Office faces ‘serious questions’ on how convicted sex offender was allowed to remain in UK

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Clapham chemical attacker Abdul Ezedi was given a Muslim funeral and burial despite claiming to have converted to Christianity.

A video showing the 35-year-old Afghan national being laid to rest aired on the BBC last night.

His funeral was allegedly held at a mosque in west London before he was given a Muslim burial at a ceremony in east London on March 11.  

Ezedi was subject to a nationwide manhunt after he allegedly poured chemicals on his former partner and her children in January. His body was later found in the Thames.

Explosive new details about Ezedi’s case – including his failure to correctly answer questions about Christianity and his ‘safeguarding contract’ – were disclosed yesterday after the Mail led a media fight to shed light on the case. 

The 35-year-old Afghan national had twice been refused asylum by the Home Office, and was considered so dangerous by the Baptist Church that it drew up a ‘safeguarding contract’ for the safety of parishioners over his sex assault and exposure convictions.

Today, MPs criticised both the Government and the church for the way Ezedi’s case was handled.

Labour said the Government had serious questions to answer over how Ezedi was able to remain in the UK. 

Clapham chemical attacker Abdul Ezedi was given a Muslim funeral and burial, despite claiming to have converted to Christianity

Clapham chemical attacker Abdul Ezedi was given a Muslim funeral and burial, despite claiming to have converted to Christianity

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said Home Secretary James Cleverly needed to explain why the sex offender was able to remain in the country two years after his first asylum claim was rejected.

Ms Cooper said: ‘The latest disturbing revelations about the Abdul Ezedi case raise some serious and urgent questions for the Home Office.

‘The Home Secretary must explain why his department failed to remove Ezedi from the UK in the two years after his first asylum claim was rejected – particularly after he was convicted of sexual offences.’

Ezedi was found to have ‘not been honest in several aspects of his account’ by the asylum judge who heard his appeal to stay in the UK.

In spite of his concerns, Judge William O’Hanlon allowed Ezedi’s appeal on asylum and human rights grounds, overturning the Home Office’s decision not to grant him leave to remain.

Tory Tim Loughton said more guidance was needed for church ministers who were ‘taken in’ by individuals like Ezedi

A video showing the 35-year-old Afghan national being laid to rest aired on the BBC last night. His funeral was allegedly held at a mosque in west London before he was given a Muslim burial at a ceremony in east London on March 11

A video showing the 35-year-old Afghan national being laid to rest aired on the BBC last night. His funeral was allegedly held at a mosque in west London before he was given a Muslim burial at a ceremony in east London on March 11

He said: ‘The tribunal overturned his refusal, despite the evidence it was all a bit of a scam, largely based on the evidence of a Baptist minister.

Abdul Ezedi timeline 

2016

Ezedi, an Afghan refugee, arrived illegally in Britain on the back of a lorry.

He had two applications for asylum rejected.

2018

Two years after his asylum was rejected, Ezedi, still living in Britain, was convicted of a sexual assault/exposure offence at Newcastle Crown Court.

He pleaded guilty to one charge of sexual assault and one of exposure, the CPS confirmed.

He was sentenced on January 9, 2018, to a nine-week jail term suspended for two years for the sexual assault.

For the exposure he was given 36 weeks’ imprisonment to be served consecutively, which was also suspended for two years.

2020 

Ezedi finished his unpaid work order and was discharged from probation supervision.

It is understood Ezedi was granted asylum on a subsequent appeal – despite his criminal history – after getting a priest to vouch that he had converted to Christianity.

He said he was ‘wholly committed’ to his new religion.

January 31, 2024

Ezedi is suspected of attacking his former girlfriend and her two daughters, aged three and eight, with an unknown alkaline substance.

Both the mother and her three-year-old suffered ‘life-changing injuries’.

The elder child is said to have suffered bruising and burn-like injuries.

The suspect later appeared at a Tesco store on Caledonian Road, Islington, dressed in a black hoodie and blue T-shirt. 

He was last seen on CCTV leaning over London’s Chelsea Bridge.

His disappearance sparked a huge manhunt.

February 19

A body was pulled out of the Thames. 

February 23

The body was confirmed to be Ezedi’s and his cause of death was determined to have been drowning. 

‘These shocking revelations confirm what many of us have been saying for some time. 

‘There are too many migrants who are playing the Christianity card to try and scam the system.

‘There’s clearly a big disconnect between the home office procedures which found him out – that he didn’t have a genuine case – and then the tribunal system which thought it knew better and upheld his appeal.

‘That was largely based on the testimony of a Baptist minister who baptised him but who also had concerns about his sex offences.

‘But in spite of that they still decided he should be able to stay in the country.

‘Clearly the system isn’t working and clearly too many people are gaming the system and there are too many priests within the churches who seem to be taken in by people like Ezedi.

‘They all need more robust guidance than what they have presently.’

Lee Anderson, the former Tory deputy chairman who now represents Reform UK, called for an investigation into the minister who supported Ezedi. 

He said: ‘There’s been failings by the church and actually the appeals panel are at fault as well.

‘The good news is if you enter this country illegally then go on to commit horrific sex crimes you can bank on a church and the whole asylum process to come down on your side and grant you asylum.

‘The church are knowingly going to a tribunal, knowing full well this man is a sex offender.

Despite requesting he sign the seven-point document barring him from entering the church alone, a Baptist minister still advocated on Ezedi’s behalf. 

Images show him being baptised and handing out Christian leaflets in Newcastle.

It comes just weeks after the Home Affairs select committee held a special evidence session over claims asylum seekers were submitting dodgy claims, aided by church ministers.

The committee heard evidence from one Baptist minister he would be brought male asylum seekers ‘in batches’ every couple of weeks for baptism, something he refused to do.

Home Office sources have warned the reputation of Christian churches could be damaged if they are viewed as undermining the integrity of the asylum system. 

Ezedi’s immigration tribunal documents have demonstrated the extraordinary lengths he went to as part of his bid to remain in the UK.

A seven-point ‘safeguarding contract’ drawn up between Ezedi and the Baptist Church banned him from being alone in the church, in Jarrow, Tyne and Wear.

Ezedi also submitted photos of his baptism at the church in Jarrow as well as images which he claimed showed him evangelising in Newcastle city centre.

Clapham chemical attacker Abdul Ezedi is baptised at a church in Jarrow

Clapham chemical attacker Abdul Ezedi is baptised at a church in Jarrow

Ezedi hands out Christian leaflets to shoppers in Newcastle. He was twice refused permission to remain in the UK

Ezedi hands out Christian leaflets to shoppers in Newcastle. He was twice refused permission to remain in the UK 

Photos show the asylum seeker handing out leaflets near the Monument in Newcastle

Photos show the asylum seeker handing out leaflets near the Monument in Newcastle 

Ezedi walks around Hay's Galleria on the South Bank in London

Ezedi walks around Hay’s Galleria on the South Bank in London 

But the documents revealed his inability to answer basic questions on Christianity – Ezedi claimed the Old Testament was about ‘Jesus Christ’, while ‘Jacob’ was one of the 12 disciples.

Claims he had been shot by the Taliban and that he was a Shia Muslim were also debunked in the asylum process.

Ezedi arrived in the UK in January 2016, but his initial asylum claim was rejected by the Home Office, as was an appeal in 2017.

In January 2018, he was placed on the sex offender register for 10 years and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work after pleading guilty to charges of sexual assault and exposure.

Just over a year later, in March 2019, he made an appeal over his asylum claim with the First-tier Tribunal’s Immigration and Asylum Chamber, arguing he feared persecution because of his religion.

A judge accepted this and allowed his appeal in November 2020, despite doubts about his conversion being ‘genuine and long-lasting’ from the Home Office.

Science minister Andrew Griffith said the incident demonstrated the need for the Government’s Rwanda bill, which would help prevent future cases.

The Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill is currently caught in a legislative tussle between the House of Commons and House of Lords over concerns about human rights and judicial oversight.

Mr Griffith told Sky News: ‘We can’t run an asylum system based on credulous clerics and lefty lawyers. That is why we are fundamentally reforming it.’

‘We are a couple of busloads of peers away in terms of the votes to be able to get [the Bill] through the House of Lords and then that will create the system that we want, that would have prevented this tragic case.’

A Home Office spokesperson said: ‘All asylum claims are carefully considered on their individual merits in accordance with the Immigration Rules. This means that religious conversions do not guarantee a grant of asylum.

Ezedi arrived in Britain in the back of a lorry in 2016 and had twice been refused asylum by 2018

Ezedi arrived in Britain in the back of a lorry in 2016 and had twice been refused asylum by 2018

A reference from a Baptist chapel in the North East, where Ezedi was living, was crucial in persuading an immigration tribunal that he had converted from Islam to Christianity. He's pictured out shopping in Newcastle

A reference from a Baptist chapel in the North East, where Ezedi was living, was crucial in persuading an immigration tribunal that he had converted from Islam to Christianity. He’s pictured out shopping in Newcastle 

‘We have engaged with a wide range of stakeholders to help us to improve our policy guidance, training for asylum decision-makers, and to ensure we approach claims involving religious conversion in the appropriate way.’

A spokesperson for the Baptist Union of Great Britain said: ‘Baptists Together did not corporately support or sponsor Abdul Ezedi’s asylum application.

‘A personal letter of support commenting solely on Abdul Ezedi’s observed faith journey was written by a retired Baptist Minister.

‘The safeguarding contract was a separate issue and was agreed between the church and Abdul Ezedi with guidance from local and regional safeguarding leads using our national template document of the time.’



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