While there have been many Muslims who have arrived in Finland in recent years, there is also another phenomenon, and that is that so many Muslims are renouncing Islam for Christ. The numbers are so much so that the churches are having difficulty keeping track of the numbers according to a recent report:
Finland has reportedly seen a flood of conversions from Islam to Christianity, with hundreds of asylum seekers from the Middle East turning to the Christian faith, officials in the Evangelical Lutheran community said.
Evangelical Lutheran parishes have begun establishing confirmation classes for Muslim immigrants who want to become Christians. Exact figures on the number of recent Muslim converts aren’t available since such records aren’t kept – but conservative estimates on the number suggest several hundred in recent years within the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church, according to the Finnish news source Yle Uutiset.
Converts hail from Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq. As many as 20 Afghani men are enrolled in ‘pre-confirmation’ teaching on the Christian faith at the Tainionkoski parish centre in Imatra, Eastern Finland. Students are assisted by a New Testament in the Dari language, the variety of Persian spoken in Afghanistan. A Dari interpreter is also on hand via Skype to support the teaching given in English.
‘I haven’t been baptised yet, but I’m looking forward to it and I’m sure I will be a good Christian,’ said one convert, Aliraza Hussaini.
Conversion from Islam is a divisive move however, one not readily accepted by many traditional Muslim families; some say that after conversion they are seen as ‘infidels’ in ‘exile’ by family in their home countries.
‘I haven’t been in contact with my family in Afghanistan for a very long time. If they find out I’ve converted, it would mean trouble for me,’ said another convert, Golamir Hossaini.
Many of the Imatra confirmation students reportedly cited a disillusionment with the Islamic faith, and say they will probably never return to Afghanistan. (source)
Make no mistake, there are many Muslims in Finland who have not converted and there is much work to be done. Nevertheless, God’s mercy is on those who fear Him in every generation, and to those who seek Him with pure intentions and desire to follow Him, He will find them where they are, for God’s mercy is nothing less than the gift of His grace.