Sweden under fire for giving Bible quizzes to Christian asylum seekers

Sweden's Migration Agency has come under fire after local media reported that it is requiring Christian asylum seekers to take Bible knowledge quizzes.

(REUTERS / Jessica Gow / TT NEWS AGENCY)Syrian children Nor, Saleh and Hajaj Fatema sleep outside the Swedish Migration Board in Marsta, outside Stockholm, Sweden, in this January 8, 2016 file photo.

Speaking to Swedish SVT broadcaster, Attorney Serpil Güngör, who represents asylum seekers, slammed the Bible quizzes as a terrible idea because the questions are "not relevant and are far too complicated." He also said he had to interrupt these questions several times, RT relays.

Some of the questions included in the Bible quiz ask about the number of parts in the New Testament, and another asks about the Holy Trinity. There is also a question about the difference between Orthodox and Protestant Churches, according to SVT.

The idea to give Bible quizzes to Christian asylum seekers has drawn weak support from some officials of the Church of Sweden. A deacon who spoke under condition of anonymity said the Migration Board's quiz does not test a person's faith, but only the knowledge of Christianity.

In response to the backlash, Migration Agency deputy legal director Carl Bexelius defended the Bible quizzes. He said the idea is a reasonable one and that Christians do not need to study for it.

"It is a reasonable demand that the asylum applicant should show some knowledge of the Bible – this should come naturally, and isn't something you need to study," said Bexelius.

SVT notes that some of the asylum seekers embraced Christianity back in their home country and only left because of the persecution they experienced there. There are also others who really wanted to leave Islam. Since the start of this year, more than 7,000 have applied for asylum in Sweden.

Meanwhile, Swedish Migration Agency general director Mikael Ribbenvik said unaccompanied minor refugees have a hard time reaching Sweden because they usually lack proper identification. He previously said it is difficult to pass through border controls in Europe if one does not have ID, The Local reports.

Sweden has seen the largest drop in the number of unaccompanied child asylum seekers among all the EU Member States in 2016, based on figures from EU statistical office Eurostat. Unaccompanied minors in Sweden made up 3 percent of asylum applicants the EU last year.