Many migrants who have recently converted to Christianity say they fear retaliation from Muslims in Europe. Speculating that conversion may soon be punishable by the notorious death sentence, these migrants pointed out the shocking number of Muslims from countries like Afghanistan and Syria who have renounced their faith in Islam and turned towards Christianity at various Austrian churches. Reportedly, the Archdiocese of the Austrian capital of Vienna has failed to match pace with the increasing number of requests, as it continues to receive five to ten such applications every week.
This year alone, as many as 83 percent of all recorded adult baptisms into the Catholic faith were carried out on Muslims as compared to only 33 percent last year. The numbers are likely to grow even more next year, considering the process for adult conversion to Catholicism typically takes up to a year to complete. The process, also known as the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, teaches willing converts everything they need to know about the faith and its various rituals, before they are finally baptized over the following Easter.
Muslims who renounce their faith often risk facing violent abuse and in the worst-case, even death.
A former Muslim who migrated to Austria and now identifies as Christopher, told Atheist Republic, “This could be my death sentence.”
Christopher, who moved to Austria in 2012, requested that his new identity be used so neither he nor his family has to face any kind of retaliation from the country’s minority Muslim community. Radical Muslims consider conversion as apostasy and Sharia law states its appropriate penalty as the death sentence.
When asked, the Catholic Church in Austria said it is completely aware of what measures radical Muslims can take against converts if they were to find out that they previously adhered to Islam. The church also said that its parishioners have been threatened regularly, which is why many of them are now reluctant to speak with outsiders.
“In Austria it was once very safe for converts, but that has changed due to the strong migration movement. In refugee quarters it can also be dangerous,” said Friederike Dostal, who heads adult baptisms at St. Stephan’s Cathedral in Vienna.
Christopher was one of the few converts that agreed to share his story. According to the native Afghani, Christianity intrigued him since before he decided to seek refuge in Austria.
“A friend brought me a Bible from Pakistan. I read it in secret and only at home. But I read it every day,” he admitted.
Even though on paper, Afghanistan guarantees the freedom of religion and religious expression to its citizens, in practice, it fails to implement those freedoms in most parts of the country, where stringent Sharia law continues to govern locals.
The fear of retaliation however does not discourage Christopher from practicing his newly found faith.
“Christianity is the true religion,” he said, “There is no turning back for me.”
Earlier this year, media reports stated how Christians were being physically abused by Muslims in migrant homes across Europe. The abuse was so prevalent that many municipalities had to consider separate accommodation for Christians and other religious minorities to prevent them from hurting one another. According to those reports, security guards of Arab and Turkish heritage hired by Germany to protect migrants were guilty of having turned a blind eye while Christian refugees under their protection were physically abused by fellow migrants. According to some witnesses, the security guards participated in the fights as well.
Over the past one year, a sudden surge of migrants in Germany teamed with the country’s severe shortage of manpower has led to the government hiring private security. Understandably, this policy emerged as a convenient source of income for migrants, who due to current circumstances have been sought for their cultural knowledge and language skills.
“My impression is that now anyone who has a particular muscle circumference and speaks Arabic, will be hired,” said a Catholic priest in Berlin.
However, it was not long before this win-win policy in Germany backfired. Helpless refugees started to find themselves at the mercy of fellow migrants, who had also fled their homelands but had been designated uniforms and authority by the German government.
According to local news reports, Christian after Christian recalled horrifying experiences at the hands of Muslim security guards in German refugee camps after somehow managing to escape similar physical abuse in their autocratic Islamist homelands.
One particular news article quoted the emergency report of a Christian refugee who had escaped from Iran but was targeted by security guards of “Arab and Turkish” descent upon reaching Germany. Monocular hematoma, skull contusion, blunt abdominal trauma and right stump chest trauma were among the damages he physically suffered at the hands of his appointed protectors, according to that report.
Speaking to the same reporter, a second victim confided, “[The guards] accused me of insulting Islam, beat me to the ground and kicked me.”
This victim claimed that he along with 13 other Christians at the German refugee camp, who together constituted a clear minority, suffered physical abuse on a daily basis at the hands of Muslim migrants.
Photo Credits: Mashable.com