More Muslim refugees are converting to Christianity in Europe.
The past few months have seen large numbers of Muslim immigrants all across Europe converting to Christianity. Refugees in Germany, Netherlands, France, and Denmark have been getting baptized in the thousands with mass adult baptisms having happened in places like a local swimming pool in Hamburg, Germany. This has been a controversial issue with many people and leaders questioning the motives behind the conversions. Clergy in those areas have, however, stated that Christianity as a religion should be open to all, with no one allowed to judge the other.
The speculations on why the trend has been on the rise have been quite a number. Personal testimonies from some of the converts have provided a different and touching perspective to the issue. Coming from nations like Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq, the refugees have claimed they always lived in fear and gone through hell with some having been raped and so on. Some have referred to Islam as a “religion of violence and fear.” Conversion to Christianity is punishable by death in some of the Islamic nations and they might face death if they go back.
Some claim to have converted after meeting very helpful Christians during their refugee journey who welcomed them with open arms. Seeing Christianity as a religion of love, a good number opted to convert.
There are some exemplary examples like Mohammad Eghtedarian who was converted and later ordained as a curate at Liverpool Cathedral. He states that the church helping refugees in the development of their faith and also in the application process for asylum has been a major contribution to the increased number of conversions from Islam to Christianity. Mohammad faced persecution in the city of Shiraz in Iran after he and some friends were attacked leaving a Bible study class. He was lucky to have escaped and travelled on trucks and by foot through six European nations.
Some of the opposition to the conversions has been based on the fact that people believe that some of the converts only convert to improve their chances of gaining asylum. Countries like Germany take into consideration the fate of refugees if they go back to their nations and for those who have become Christians, they may stand to face death or stoning under sharia law. This is the same case even for victims of rape. In Netherlands however, conversion may end up being a hindrance to asylum as some of the liberal state churches are opposed conversions.
Currently, there are an estimated 90,000 Christians in Islamic nations like Iran, though the numbers have been estimated to be as high as 500,000 by a number of international human rights organizations.
Whatever the motive being the conversions might be, refugees ought to be allowed freedom of religion and expression in whichever nation they are in.