At least 80 migrants in Hamburg have converted to Christianity from Islam in a mass baptism, but some question their motives. In German Father’s Day is celebrated every year, not on the same date but rather on the Thursday 40 days after Easter. Father’s Day means more to Germans than simply celebrating their fathers but also for many religious Germans it is celebrating the Christian father on Ascension day. This year saw 80 men and women from Afghanistan and Iran baptized and taking their first communion Stern reports.
“Today is a great day for us,” said Mahshad, one of the new converts. Mahshad came with her husband Amir to Germany from the Islamic Republic of Iran where converting to Christianity is illegal and can result at best in social exclusion and at worst, the death penalty. The pair currently live outside of Hamburg in an asylum home and were invited to Germany by a Persian-Christian organization called “Alpha and Omega” who helped them apply for asylum in Germany.
The couple are not unique among migrants converting to Christianity. Breitbart Londonhas reported many cases of migrants becoming Christians after they reach Europe like “Christopher” in Vienna who came to Europe from Afghanistan and said that he had wanted to convert for years but was afraid of the consequences.
However, Migrant converts like Christopher are finding that becoming Christians in Europe may not spare them from reprisal from Muslims. Christopher told an Austrian paper that he feared walking around in Muslim dominated neighbourhoods in Vienna and said his conversion, even in Europe could potentially be a “death sentence.”
Migrants who have converted and live in asylum homes are also under constant pressure, bullying, threats and intimidation from Muslims. Many Christians have had to flee asylum homes because of threats or acts of violence toward them. Some have even suggested that the situation for Christians is so dangerous that European governments should consider segregating them from Muslims.
At the mass baptism not everyone was pleased about the migrant’s conversion. One elderly woman witnessing the event said: “That’s ridiculous, who are they trying to fool here?” casting doubt on the sincerity of the converts. For many migrants, asylum approval is not guaranteed, especially from countries considered safe like Iran or Afghanistan. Converts to Christianity, because of the harsh punishments for doing so in the Middle East, are often approved by the German government for asylum.
Pastor Babajan who conducted the baptisms said he has strict guidelines to make sure those being baptized are legitimate. He said: “If I have the impression that someone does not believe from the heart, then I do not baptize him,” and acknowledged he had come across migrants who wanted baptism simply for asylum reasons but maintained, “whoever does not believe will not baptized.”
New convert Mahshad expressed her worries about living at the asylum home along with her former co-religionists. She said she and her partner have to pretend they are going to the gym when they go to a Sunday service and “it has been shown that we can not openly profess Christianity ourselves in Germany. Here the Muslims are stronger than the Christians. It is this Islam we fled.”