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Lordquinton

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Member since: Fri Sep 26, 2008, 09:18 PM
Number of posts: 7,869

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At a Berlin church, Muslim refugees converting in droves


An Iranian asylum-seeker wearing a Christian shirt waits to be baptized in the Trinity Church in Berlin, Aug. 30, 2015. He is one of hundreds of mostly Iranian and Afghan asylum seekers who have converted to Christianity at the evangelical Trinity Church in the leafy Berlin neighborhood. Most say true belief prompted their embrace of Christianity, but there’s no overlooking the fact that the decision will also greatly boost their chances of winning asylum by allowing them to claim they would face persecution if sent home. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)



Mohammed is now Martin — no longer Muslim, but Christian. Zonoobi, a carpenter from the Iranian city of Shiraz, arrived in Germany with his wife and two children five months ago. He is one of hundreds of mostly Iranian and Afghan asylum seekers who have converted to Christianity at the evangelical Trinity Church in a leafy Berlin neighborhood.

Like Zonoobi, most say true belief prompted their embrace of Christianity. But there's no overlooking the fact that the decision will also greatly boost their chances of winning asylum by allowing them to claim they would face persecution if sent home.

Martens recognizes that some convert in order to improve their chances of staying in Germany — but for the pastor motivation is unimportant. Many, he said, are so taken by the Christian message that it changes their lives. And he estimates that only about 10 percent of converts do not return to church after christening.

Being Christian alone does not help an applicant, and Chancellor Angela Merkel went out of her way this week to reiterate that Islam "belongs in Germany." But in Afghanistan and Iran, for example, conversion to Christianity by a Muslim could be punished by death or imprisonment, and it is therefore unlikely that Germany would deport converted Iranian and Afghan refugees back home.


There's always a catch.

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/0550c14ba3024c06820218f79bc6cf07/berlin-church-muslim-refugees-converting-droves
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