Abdul Ezedi and the twilight of the virtue-signallers

The case of the acid-attacking, sex-offending asylum seeker reveals the perils of phoney compassion.

Tom Slater

Tom Slater

Topics Politics UK

Want to read spiked ad-free? Become a spiked supporter.

The case of Abdul Ezedi just keeps getting worse and worse. In January, he went on the run after attacking a mother and her two young children with a corrosive substance in south London, inflicting life-changing injuries on the young family. It turned out he was an asylum seeker – as, it seems, were his victims. Then it turned out that Ezedi, an Afghan national who came to the UK illegally in 2016, had been granted asylum after two failed attempts, owing to a questionable conversion to Christianity. Then it turned out he had been granted asylum despite committing two sexual offences in the UK, one for sexual assault and another for exposure.

By the time his body had been fished out of the Thames – he apparently took his own life – Ezedi had become a symbol of the dangerous dysfunctions of our asylum system and the perils of credulous, ostentatious ‘compassion’. We had offered safe haven to a violent criminal, endangering the lives not only of UK-born citizens, but also those coming here to seek a better life. (His victims were reportedly staying in a refugee hotel when they were attacked.)

Now, Sky News has learned more of the details surrounding his ‘conversion’ to Christianity, which led a judge in Newcastle to grant him leave to remain in November 2020. The testimony of Reverend Roy Merrin, a local retired baptist minister, apparently clinched it. He vouched for the sincerity of Ezedi’s conversion. Images were provided of Ezedi’s baptism and him leafleting for the church. Merrin told the court he had previously supported four other asylum seekers at tribunals, all of whom were successful.

Most disturbing is a contract, nestled among the court documents, drawn up by Baptists Together, the organisation Ezedi’s former church belongs to. ‘This agreement is being put in place because of a conviction of sexual assault and exposure’, it reads. It placed conditions on Ezedi’s church attendance, showing he had agreed to ‘not enter the church without [his] male supporter being present’ and ‘will only come to church for Sunday service’. So, despite, it seems, full knowledge of Ezedi’s crimes and his failed asylum attempts, Merrin spoke up for his good Christian character, and a judge allowed him to stay. (As it turned out, not only did Ezedi remain a danger to women, he continued to live as a Muslim. He was spotted buying halal meat not long before his attack.)

Far be it from me to judge a reverend for believing he’d saved a soul, for believing in forgiveness and the capacity of even the most terrible people to turn their lives around. But why Ezedi’s asylum appeal, a matter of law and order and public safety, should hinge on his judgement – or that of any man of the cloth for that matter – is beyond me. Of course, he’s not the only one. Nor is it just the baptists who are at it. A former Anglican priest has described a ‘conveyor belt and veritable industry of asylum baptisms’ in the Church of England. In the wake of Ezedi’s crimes, some CofE guidance was uncovered, explaining how clergymen can ‘mount a personal campaign’ on behalf of failed asylum seekers. The document even took a swipe at the supposedly ‘anti-immigration rhetoric of a number of media outlets… particularly evident in the run-up to the EU referendum’.

The more you think about it, the more maddening it is that phoney conversions to Christianity have become the go-to cheat code for many failed asylum seekers. There’s the credulity – not just of church types but also of our legal system to these sudden ‘come to Jesus’ moments. Then there’s the nonsensical, almost circular logic of it all. Ezedi tried and failed to convince our asylum system he had to flee his native Afghanistan because he faced persecution on account of his ethnic group. When that didn’t work, he converted to Christianity and said sending him back would mean facing persecution on account of him being Christian. This obvious con was all that a judge needed to give a dangerous sex offender the right to carry on living among us.

This is hardly the first time a mix of legal dysfunction and structural credulousness has helped dangerous individuals to remain in the country. Emad al-Swealmeen, an Iraqi-born asylum seeker, also had two failed asylum claims and one phoney Christian conversion under his belt when he blew himself up outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital on Remembrance Sunday in 2021. An Islamic prayer mat was later found at his residence. He had also, reportedly, been attending a local mosque during Ramadan. A Sudanese ISIS propagandist and an Albanian crime lord are among the roll call of scumbags who have recently been granted leave to remain by our courts on ‘human rights’ grounds.

You do not have to be some hardline anti-asylum type to be enraged by this. Any sane person can agree that if you come to this country illegally and almost immediately begin sexually assaulting women you should be sent packing. And yet, in the wake of the south London acid attack, our political and media elites still couldn’t bring themselves to say this. Tory MP Caroline Nokes and Labour MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy were invited on to Newsnight to discuss Ezedi’s case. They both dismissed the idea it had anything to do with the asylum system, then held forth on the scourge of sexist ‘microaggressions’. You would think that Ezedi stood accused of calling his victim ‘darling’, rather than burning half her face off. ‘This is not really about asylum’, said Tory frontbencher Gillian Keegan a few days later, another one of parliament’s terminally dim ‘centrists’.

The Abdul Ezedi scandal has revealed just how little virtue there is among our virtue-signalling elites. Our rulers have become so cowardly, so narcissistic, so preoccupied with looking good rather than actually doing good, that they’ll happily make excuses for a system that has put ordinary people in grave danger. This isn’t about sticking up for asylum seekers. The cause of a generous – but sane – asylum system is being wrecked by these idiots, who have allowed asylum to become synonymous with offering safe haven to maniacs. No, this is about them, about them getting to bask in their own phoney moral superiority. And to hell with the consequences.

Tom Slater is editor of spiked. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Slater_

Picture by: Tribunals Judiciary.

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


Want to join the conversation?

Only spiked supporters and patrons, who donate regularly to us, can comment on our articles.

Join today