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Friday, May 05, 2006

6M African Muslims convert to Xtianity annually

A fascinating translation of an interview at Al-Jazeerah in 2003 (original Arabic no longer on the site.) (Hat tip American Thinker via Iris.)

It looks like the "fastest growing religion" may have been overstating the case, and there is panic in the Muslim world as to the huge number of African Muslims converting to Christianity.
Maher Abdallah:
Dear viewers, peace of Allah be upon you, greetings and welcome to a new episode of the program Islamic Law and Life.

Our topic this evening will be Christianization in the Dark Continent ... Africa. For after Islam was the religion of the majority, the great majority of that continent, the number of Muslims now is no greater than a third of the population. This is taking into consideration, of course, that a large portion of this group are Arab Muslims. No doubt that the missions of evangelization and Christianization played a great role in this demographic shift of Muslims in the continent.

To discuss this topic, it is my pleasure to introduce today a man who is an expert on the issue of evangelization and Christianization in Africa, even though he will concentrate on the issue of Christianization first and foremost…. Sheikh Ahmad Al Katani; the president of The Companions Lighthouse for the Science of Islamic Law in Libya, which is an institution specializing in graduating imams and Islamic preachers.

Sheikh Ahmad, welcome to you on the program.

Ahmad Al Katani:
Greeting to you.

Maher Abdallah:
If we start by inquiring about your strict stance against the Christian missions in Africa, don’t the followers of every religion have the right to seek new converts, exactly as you train and graduate young Muslims to propagate Islam?

Ahmad Al Katani:

I seek refuge in Allah the Seer, the Knower, from the stoned devil. In the name of Allah the Merciful the Beneficent. Thanks to Allah the One, the Only, the Permanent One, who did not give birth nor was born, to whom no one was equal. I bear witness that there is no God but Allah who has no partners, and I bear witness that our master Muhammed – Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him - is his messenger and seal of prophets; Allah prayers be upon him and his brothers the prophets and messengers and their families.

The question that you pose is a result of not comprehending the difference between the concept of Christianization and the concept of evangelism.

The concept of evangelism: is inviting the non-Christians to the Christian or Nazarene religion, and this is the right of every Christian and the right of every believer to call others to his faith. However, we are talking about a different matter; which is Christianization. Christianization means the following: preparing plans, and executing these plans and evolving these plans to change Muslims into Christians by taking advantage of the ignorance and poverty (of the people) and whatever necessitates from similar circumstances.

So, we are faced with the issue of taking advantage of circumstances, taking advantage of humanitarian needs, taking advantage of the lack of education for example, that these people (missionaries) use to take Muslims out of their religion.

Maher Abdallah:
Fine. This is a big and dangerous phrase. Taking advantage of poverty, of ignorance, of lack of education, of some need is something that a Muslim can also be accused of. So if you don’t back up what you say with examples, with references, your words remain in the air without much weight to them.

Ahmad Al Katani:

The reality is that these words say a lot less than they should. As we said in the beginning, everyone has the right to invite others to his religion; this is what is known as evangelism (or proselytizing). As for Christianization, no one has the right to take Muslims out of their religion, and you asked for references and the references are too numerous.

Islam used to represent, as you previously mentioned, Africa’s main religion and there were 30 African languages that used to be written in Arabic script. The number of Muslims in Africa has diminished to 316 million, half of whom are Arabs in North Africa. So in the section of Africa that we are talking about, the non Arab section, the number of Muslims does not exceed 150 million people. When we realize that the entire population of Africa is one billion people, we see that the number of Muslims has diminished greatly from what it was in the beginning of the last century. On the other hand, the number of Catholics has increased from one million in 1902 to 329 million 882 thousand (329,882,000). Let us round off that number to 330 million in the year 2000.

As to how that happened, well there are now 1.5 million churches whose congregations account for 46 million people. In every hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity. Everyday, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity. Every year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity. These numbers are very large indeed …..

It is a long transcript including questions from callers. One Christian caller was lectured as to how Christianity is more bloodthirsty than Islam.