ICC Note: More reports show the growing number of Muslim migrants turning to Christ, despite the persecution backlash from their communities. It seems the vast majority of those converting are from Iran and Afghanistan. So many have come to Christ that at the UK Liverpool Cathedral they are having Farsi worship services.
06/16/2016 Europe (Barnabasaid): For the last 20 years we have seen a growing turning to Christ among Muslims, particularly in countries which are experiencing shari’a enforcement and other aspects of islamisation. That wave of conversions is now hitting Europe as many converts from Islam flee to the West, while others who flee these oppressive regimes are coming to Christ after arriving in Europe.
Those who convert from Islam often face severe persecution, including arbitrary imprisonment and murder. While even those found to be actively exploring Christianity in countries such as Iran can face persecution forcing them to flee to the West. That is one of the reasons why not only are there many Christian refugees among migrants who have arrived in Europe, but also a growing number of conversions among refugees after their arrival.
Trinity Church in Steglitz, Berlin has seen its congregation grow from 150 to nearly 700 in the last two years and another Berlin church has seen its congregation grow by more than 300. In both cases much of the growth is from former Muslims who have come to Christ. While at the end of last month a church in Hamburg baptised more than 80 former Muslims from Iran and Afghanistan. Similarly, in the UK Liverpool Cathedral now hosts a Sunday afternoon worship service in Farsi. This is attended by between 100 and 140 people mainly refugees from Iran and Afghanistan and is led by the cathedral’s curate, himself a former Muslim who fled his native Iran to escape persecution. Meanwhile in the diocese of Bradford, the bishop, Toby Howarth estimates that a quarter of all the confirmations he conducted last year were of converts from Islam, mainly Iranian asylum seekers.
No-one should underestimate the difficulties faced by those who come to faith in countries such as Iran and Afghanistan or indeed any Muslim majority country. All four schools of shari’a in Sunni Islam as well as the main Shi’a school insist on the death penalty for any adult male who leaves Islam, the same applies to women, although one school allows life imprisonment for women instead. Whilst few countries actually carry out formal executions for apostasy, Christian converts are frequently imprisoned in Islamic countries such as Iran and accused of vague crimes such as “acting against the state”, with more than 300 Christians having been arrested on such charges by Iranian authorities since 2013.