04-06-2006, 06:17 PM
The religious landscape is rapidly changing. Before World War II, there were very few Muslims in Western Europe. Today France has an estimated 5,907,971; Germany, 3,042,158; and the United Kingdom, 1,176,603. We should note that Germany is somewhat a special case. With German reunification, Muslim immigration slowed considerably while the non-religious element is growing very rapidly.Reply
The Muslim population of Western Europe is somewhat equal to the Muslim immigrant population in North America. This rapidly expanding new religious reality in Europe and North America offers huge challenges for the dwindling churches of Europe and the self-serving churches of North America, as well as for Islam making a new home for itself on these continents.
For Islam, it is a new experience under democratic circumstances to try to weld many ethnic groups and nationalities into one religious community. For Christians, it is the challenge of relating in a Christ-like way to a deeply religious people who were before known only from a great distance. Added to the mix in the United States are the two and a half million African-American Muslims whose history is quite unique and distinct from that of the immigrant Muslims.
So far there are few Europeans, British, Canadians, or Americans (other than African-Americans) who have converted to Islam. Leading the way are women who marry Muslims and then become Muslims themselves. But, a strong infrastructure is being built, including the building of expensive mosques in major cities and near many college campuses.
Besides a strong and steady emigration out of troubled Muslim lands (Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Bosnia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Libya, Pakistan, Palestine, and Somalia), Muslim families tend to have more children than do Christian families. This growth is particularly evident in Africa and Asia, but also affects the numbers elsewhere. These factors together give an impression of rapid growth and generate the idea that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. Pray that Christians in the West would receive the Muslims with love rather than fear.
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