Many refugees in Switzerland are now turning to Christianity

The Church of Saint Leodegar in Lucerne, Switzerland | Wikimedia Commons/Andrew Bossi

Numerous refugees in Switzerland are now joining evangelical churches. The Counselling Center for Questions about Integration and Religion reported that many Afghans and Kurds have converted to Christianity in the last month.

Kathrin Anliker, the coordinator of the organization, said that refugees who experienced radicalism in their homelands are now open to changing their religion. She stated that some of those who were baptized in Switzerland were already Christians prior to moving but they were forced to hide their faith to avoid persecution.

There are suspicions that refugees are converting to Christianity in an effort to increase their chances of getting asylum. Lea Wertheimer, spokeperson of the State Office of Migration, insisted that conversion has no effect in its decision to grant asylum to a refugee.

"We check every case and decide if the person gets asylum or not based on the Swiss Asylum Law," Wertheimer said to Evangelical Focus.

Philippe Dätwyler, a minister of the Reformed Protestant Church in Zurich, said that many of the conversions happen in the Free Evengelical Churches. "The strong spirituality and the familiar atmosphere which are found in independent evangelical churches probably respond better to the needs of the new converts than the somehow detached state churches," he said.

Churches in Switzerland are now offering worship services for Iranians and Afghans.

There are also reports of conversions and services held just for refugees in other European countries.

In Germany, pastor Gottfried Martens said that his congregation grew from 150 to 700 people in just two years because of the converted refugees.

In Austria, there were 300 applications for adult baptisms to the Austrian Catholic Church during the first quarter of 2016. It was estimated that 70 percent of the applicants were refugees.

In Finland, a survey that covered 165 Lutheran churches revealed that there were a total of 117 baptisms of former Muslims. More specifically, 13 Pentecostal churches reported 108 conversions.

The Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool now holds a weekly Persian service for migrants from Iran, Afghanistan and others from central Asia.