More than 3,500 Muslim refugees in Germany baptised into Christian faith

Migrant children from Syria in front of a Protestant church in Oberhausen, Germany, in November last year.Ina Fassbender/Reuters

More than 3,500 Muslim refugees have turned to Christ and been baptised in Germany in the last two years, a new survey reveals.

Churches report that many of the refugees being baptised had converted in their home countries such as Syria and Iraq, and especially Iran, but had lived in fear of being murdered if they disclosed their new faith.

As soon as they were able to flee and find safety in Germany, they were able to live openly in Christ and be baptised.

All Germany's 20 Protestant state Churches and the five largest free Churches were surveyed by the  German evangelical organisation Idea.

The survey found that most of those baptised are former Muslims from Iran, Iraq and Syria.

There were more than 2,500 baptisms in the Evangelical Free Churches and more than 1,000 in the Federation of Pentecostal Churches. There were 850 baptisms in the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church and 700 in the Union of Evangelical Free Churches, made up of Baptist and Brethren churches.

According to nine of 20 Protestant Churches, at least 1,000 refugees have been baptised since 2014.

Pastors were confident they could exclude baptisms for "purely opportunistic reasons", a spokesman for the W├╝rttemberg church told Idea.  

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of W├╝rttemberg recorded as many as 300 Muslims baptised into the Christian faith. The Evangelical Church of Westphalia recorded 200 refugees baptised in the last three years, with many from Iran. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Northern Germany reported "several hundred" baptised.

Some of them, such as from Iran, had previously been in contact with Christian house churches already in their homeland. Some churches have appointed special pastors to minister to the large numbers of Iranian refugees arriving in their parishes.

The Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau counted up to 200 baptised refugees since 2015: "It is thus not a mass phenomenon, but does happen," Idea was told by the Church.

No pastor baptises a Muslim refugee "lightly", Idea was told. All converts are questioned as to their motives and faith, although this is not remotely an "an inquisitorial conscience control".