Few efforts at Christian evangelization have been directed toward the burgeoning Muslim populations of Europe, but that may now be changing, according to an article in Charisma magazine (February).
The traditional low response rate of Muslims to Christian missionary efforts (partly due to government restrictions on proselytizing in Islamic nations) seems also to be true of Muslim immigrants in European cities. Most churches, even those in areas with large Muslim populations such as France and England, have made few efforts in evangelizing European Muslims due to the difficulties of gaining access and acceptance in these ethnic communities, writes Tomas Dixon.
Because most European Muslims believe Christianity is strictly for Westerners, the small but growing number of churches having any success in this area use “national workers” (or fellow immigrants) rather than European or American missionaries. Most of the pastors and evangelists to European Muslims have had confrontations with Islam in their native lands hand have fled because of restrictions and Islamic law. In London, exiled Egyptian pastor Sameh Mety’s congregation gathers Iraqi, Egyptian, Palestinian, Lebanese and other believers in a congregation where the worship songs and culture are distinctly Arabic in tone.
Most of these churches’ success comes through “making friends and networking families” rather than through mass evangelism efforts, according to one Turkish pasor of a new church. The pastors and evangelists featured in the Charisma article tend to have a strongly negative view of Islam. Mety says that “Islam is not just `another’ religion in Europe. The Western church is so ignorant. Many think that Islam is peaceful. It is not!”