Muslim Refugees in Germany Embrace Christianity to Feel Loved and Free, Pastor Says

A migrant and her children walk in front of tents in a refugee camp in Celle, Lower-Saxony, Germany on Oct. 15, 2015.Reuters

More and more refugees from the Middle East in Germany are turning their backs on Islam and embracing Christianity because of their desire to feel loved and free, a pastor guiding the migrants through their conversions shared.

According to a report by Agence France Presse (AFP) published by The Local, Christian leaders in Germany have observed a "notable, though not huge, trend upward" in the number of Muslim migrants from countries like Iraq and Syria who are converting to Christianity. Nearly 900,000 asylum seekers arrived in the European country last year.

Felix Goldinger, a Catholic priest in Speyer, southwestern Germany, attested to this, saying in his area alone, an increasing number of refugees are seeking to get baptised.

"In our diocese, there are several groups of refugees who are preparing for baptism, and there are more and more requests... I am currently handling a group of 20 people but I do not know how many will go through until baptism," Goldinger told AFP.

The Church leader shared that throughout the process of conversion, the migrants are asked to reexamine their original religion, Islam, and the reasons why they want to change it.

"We are obviously pleased that people want to be baptised, but it is very important for us that they are sure of their decision," Goldinger said.

He further said that while the refugees have different reasons in converting to Christianity, most of them "see Christianity as a religion of love and respect for life."

This view of Christianity was developed among the migrants after they witnessed firsthand how Islam had encouraged some of their countrymen to commit acts of terror.

Saeed, a 31-year-old aeronautical engineer from Afghanistan, for instance, shared how reading the Holy Bible "helped in times of trouble."

Some of the migrants from the Middle East, meanwhile, find freedom in Christianity, after being repressed for so many years in their own countries.

Farida, a refugee in Germany, for instance shared how she came across Christianity while she "was looking for a church" and wanted to choose her religion "in complete freedom."

Pastor Matthias Linke, who presides over ceremonies of Christian conversion in Germany, said freedom has become "a very important reason to become a Christian" among refugees in the Middle East.

"There is a strong desire to decide for themselves, in a free and personal way, the direction of their lives," Linke told AFP.