Muslim refugees convert to Christianity in Austria

(Reuters/Ahmed Jadalla)Displaced Iraqis who fled from Islamic State militants in Mosul, pray at a school acting as a refugee camp in Erbil, September 6, 2014.

The number of Muslim migrants in Austria who want to convert to Christianity has increased massively in recent months; however, most of these migrants, who are refugees from conflict-torn countries like Iran, Syria, and Afghanistan, are in danger of violence from radical Muslims who consider the converts as apostates.

According to Kurier, only 33 percent of the people converting into the Catholic faith in 2015 were Muslims. However, that percentage has increased to over 83 percent this year. The Archdiocese in Vienna is already handling about five to ten adult baptism requests per week.

Friederike Dostal of the Austrian Bishops' Conference estimates that the number of adult baptisms is only expected to rise even more as the whole process of conversion, termed as "Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults" (RCIA), takes up to a year to complete.

Individuals who want to convert into the Catholic faith in Austria must undergo RCIA, in which they are first taught about the religion and the different sacraments and rituals before being officially baptized on the following Easter.

However, reports indicate that the refugees who left their Islamic faith are in potential danger of violence from radical Muslims. It is indicated in the Sharia law that Muslims who convert to another religion are considered "apostates" and should be put to death.

Austrian churches are regularly warned of death threats aimed at their new parishioners.

"In Austria it was once very safe for converts, but that has changed due to the strong migration movement. In refugee quarters it can also be dangerous," said Dostal, as quoted by Breitbart. Aside from being part the Bishops' Conference, Dostal also handles the adult baptisms at St. Stephan's cathedral in Vienna.

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