Immigrants convert to Christianity to fast-track integrationI usually think it's good news if people leave Islam. But how can we be sure all of these people are genuine?
Immigrants convert to Christianity to fast-track integration
Many new residents in Denmark find that changing an address and speaking the language is not enough to become a part of the nation. Since the year 2000, at least 660 people have converted to Christianity, almost half of them former Muslims. Daily newspaper Kristeligt Dagblad reported that the newcomers are especially motivated by the expectation that their conversion to Christianity will ensure faster process for their asylum applications, help them find a job, and integrate into Danish society. Mogens S. Mogensen, lector in theology at the universities of Copenhagen and Aarhus, said in his book on the converts that the words ‘Muslim’ and ‘Islam’ carried negative associations in the public discourse. ‘It is a major problem that there are Danes and priests who speak in such a way that Muslims get the impression that being a Muslim disqualifies them from becoming a real Dane,’ Mogensen said. Malik Hussein, chairman of the Multicultural Association, said he agreed with Mogensen. ‘I think many people don’t know what they are converting for, but find it easier to tell their colleagues that they are Christian rather than explain why they don’t eat pork,’ he said. Arne Kappelgaard, reverend at Kingos Church in Copenhagen’s Nørrebro quarter, has baptised 12 converts: a Buddhist, a Hindu, and ten Muslims. He said conversion for many of them was not as much as matter of choosing Christianity as denouncing their old faith. ‘Many of them turned away from Islam, for example, a long time ago and seek something else,’ he said. ‘Many Iranians are not comfortable with the version of their religion that they have experienced in their homeland, and some seem to find what they’re searching for in Christianity. But the conversions are the results of many different life stories.’