A church in the UK with a growing congregation of Muslim refugees seeking conversion to Christianity is a “microcosm of what is happening across churches in Europe” says The Guardian.
Muslim refugees across western Europe are “converting in ever greater numbers and for a complex array of reasons” – because of persecution back home, they hope it might help asylum claims, but also because many just seek community and spiritual relief after fleeing conflict. Some go to church for food and shelter after being turned away by mosques.
Rev Sally Smith of St Mark’s Anglican church in Stoke, a city in the UK’s Midlands, says that it is possible that people can swap one set of religious beliefs for another. “With the mass movement from across the world we have got people of faith coming into a secular society [in the UK] and faith really matters to them,” she says. “And they are not too bothered …how that faith is expressed.”
Mohammad Eghtedarian, who became a Christian after fleeing Iran, and is now ordained as a minister in the Church of England said he doesn’t judge a Muslim’s motives for converting to Christianity and attending church. “The only thing I can do,” he says, “is see if people are still there a year later – and often they are.”