Muslims disillusioned by the violence and unrest in the Middle East are embracing Christianity at an unprecedented rate after experiencing the love of Christ and hearing the truth of the Gospel.
The Guardian reveals that over the past few months, an astounding number of Muslim refugees in Europe are converting to Christianity according to churches, which have conducted mass baptisms in some places.
“I’ve been looking all my life for peace and happiness, but in Islam, I have not found it,” Shima, an Iranian refugee, told Stern magazine. “To be a Christian means happiness to me.”
“In Islam, we always lived in fear. Fear God, fear of sin, fear of punishment. However, Christ is a God of love,” another Iranian refugee, Solmaz, told the German daily, according to RT.
Last year alone some 1.8 million asylum-seekers entered the European Union, fleeing war and poverty in Middle-Eastern countries, according to data from the European Union border agency Frontex. Around 1.1 million refugees came to Germany in 2015.
In Austria, there have been at least 300 applications for adult christenings in the first three months of 2016 alone, with up to 70 percent of those said to be refugees, the Guardian reported.
Berlin’s Trinity church saw its congregation grow from 150 to almost 700, the newspaper said, and in Hamburg, more than 80 Muslim refugees from Iran and Afghanistan converted to Christianity and were baptized last week alone.
RT, which conducted interviews with several converts, said that “among the most popular reasons behind the conversion is faith in a new religion, triggered by ‘lack of freedom’ in Islam, and gratitude to Christians offering help to refugees fleeing war-torn countries.”
“I’ve been spat on, told that I’ve betrayed Islam. But through what I’ve learned, I can forgive them,” one man who was recently baptized a Christian told the news outlet in Hamburg.
“Since I became a Christian I fear no one,” a young woman added.
While some have suggested the mass conversions are simply a ploy to claim asylum, RT notes that living in a mostly Muslim community can be incredibly difficult for a Christian refugee.
“You can see clearly that conversions are not really taken into consideration as an advantage for accepting an asylum case. We have even seen many cases where Christians have been sent back even if they were Christians already before they came to Europe. The risk is too great for most of them to convert. Traditionally this is punished, at least expulsion from the family up to beatings and even killings against family members who convert,” geopolitical analyst and consultant Rainer Rothfuss told the outlet.
Persecution watchdog Open Doors USA also released a report detailing how Christian refugees are being psychologically abused, physically mistreated and denied food at Muslim-dominated camps in Germany
Open Doors’ study, based on interviews with 231 Christian refugees conducted between February and April, found that at least 86 Christians reported to have been physically assaulted by Muslim refugees or shelter security staff, and another 70 had received death threats for their faith.
Open Doors, which has been calling for the international community to offer more help for minority refugees, said it is “alarming” that German authorities are doing little to protect Christians.
“Despite increased reports about this problem by the media, charities, human rights organizations, church leaders and Christian organizations, German authorities and politicians have hardly ever launched an investigation,” the watchdog group said.
“Instead, we believe that incidents are deliberately downplayed and even covered up. During confidential discussions with researchers from Open Doors, it has become known that even in police stations, religiously motivated attacks on Christian refugees are not documented as such,” it added.