In some states of Nigeria, the northern ones, where around the turn of the century they declared shari’a law for Muslims in a dozen provinces a few years ago, they are cutting the numbers of religious police. In Kano province their budget has been cut by a third, and they no longer patrol the (‘Christian’-run) bars and betting shops, hauling off Muslims. Economist, ‘Nigeria’s vice cops feel squeezed’, April 13 2019
In Saudi Arabia, controversial crown prince has greatly restricted the powers of the religious police, forcing them to work office hours only and only produce written reports rather than taking direct action. One newspaper reported in 2018, ‘many restaurants in Riyadh are now seen humming with music and mixed-gender crowds, a scene unimaginable until two years ago.’ https://www.straitstimes.com/world/middle-east/saudi-religious-polices-decline-under-spotlight[
In Egypt, the Economistreported in Nov 2017, how a young puritanical preacher in the town of Mansoura used to have a congregation that overflowed the mosque into the nearby street (and that was not unusual). ‘Now he barely half-fills the mosque,’ and complains, ‘we’re in decline.’ This, according to the newspaper, ‘is true in many places in the Arab World’.
New figures count around ten million new Christians from an Islamic background.
A recent academic paper by Duane Millar and Patrick Johnstone (disclaimer: Patrick is a colleague of mine) has tried to put numbers on this recent, but widely-observed phenomenon. Indonesia leads the way with a well-established Christian movement that has lasted since the 1960s.
More recently, Christ-followers from an Islamic background have started to appear in large numbers in parts of Africa, in South Asia and Iran and some Western countries. The study claims that even Saudi Arabia, home of Islam, is home to 60,000 Islamic-heritage followers of Christ.
The study dovetails with a recent book by Southern Baptist researcher David Garrett A Wind in the House of Islam, that counts no mass movements to Christ at all in the Islamic world’s first 1000 years, two in the mid-twentieth century, a further 11 in the final decade of the twentieth century, and 69 more since then. Proof, as Garrett claims, that ‘something is happening.’
Here is Millar and Johnstone’s list of the countries that have 10,000 or more or more followers of Christ with an Islamic background. Their figures are based on 2010, and will have increased in most cases since.
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