German Pastor Fined for Sheltering Iranian Refugee in Church

                         (Stefan Schork)

Reverend Stefan Schörk of The United Methodist has been fined for granting an Iranian man asylum in his church in Pegnitz, Germany, in January 2021. He got fined for “aiding and abetting unauthorized residence.” 

Schörk said he is displeased with the judgment but he trusts that it would create an avenue for changes relating to church asylum in Bavaria state. In the judgment of the Bayreuth District Court on November 8, the pastor was fined 1, 500 euros and sentenced to two years probation. The courts said that only the state can grant asylum status in Germany. However, he has the intention to appeal the judgment.

While defending his action, UM News reported that Schörk said that the Iranian man “urgently needed” asylum due to “an official failure.” 

It was decided that the Iranian immigrant would be deported to Greece, where he had first claimed asylum. The deportation would have separated him from family members already living in Germany.

“When I look someone in the eye who tells me about their suffering, then I have to act. That is my faith that I try to live. I preach about love for my enemies and my neighbour every Sunday. So my words must also be in show my deeds,” the pastor told newsmen.

Reports have it that in Germany, there have been series of legal cases linked to church officials who have attempted to accommodate refugees in their churches.

The German authorities have stated that churches should not have a special status or legal exemption to asylum laws or hinder with processing deportation orders.

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