More Than 53 Million Muslims in Europe


Soest, October 21 (idea) ­ More than 53 million Muslims are currently living
in Europe; 14 million of them reside in the European Union (EU). These
figures were released by the Central Institute – Islam Archives in Soest,
Germany, in October.

The number of Muslims has increased by 800,000 over the last two years, as
the institute¹s director, Salim Abdullah, explained to the evangelical news
agency ³idea². Among the 25 EU states France has the highest number of
Muslims ­ 5.5 million ­ followed by Germany (3.2 million), the United
Kingdom (1.5 million) and Italy (1 million).

Taking into account the whole continent, Russia has 25 million Muslims and
the European part of Turkey 5.9 million. The Muslim population in Germany
is mostly made up of Turkish migrants. But the number of Muslims holding a
German passport has risen to almost one million.

Muslim worship in Germany is on the rise. Approximately 200,000 take part in
daily prayers and 493,000 in Friday prayers at mosques and prayer houses ­
an increase of more than ten percent over last year¹s figures. Islam in
Germany is a ³young religion², according to the institute. 850,000 Muslims
are minors. One in five Muslim adolescents worships regularly.

The number of converts to Islam has reached a new high in Germany. According
to the institute more than 1.100 persons changed their religion to Islam
between 2004 and 2005. Approximately 60 percent of the converts were women.
Most of them converted because they married a Muslim.

But the reverse is also true: More and more Muslims in Germany become
Christians. Most of them are Iranians in exile, who left their country
after the Islamic revolution of 1979. Iranian converts estimate that each
year approximately 60 Muslims are baptized in Germany.

The Islam-Institute believes that altogether more than 100.000 Iranian
Shiites have converted to the Christian faith since the Islamic revolution.
Most of them live in the United States.


Evangelical news agency idea. Wolfgang Polzer

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