Christianity

Christian churches thrive in European countries with Islam on the rise

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Christianity is finding new outlets to survive and thrive in European countries where Islam in on the rise.

In Denmark, churches are opening after dark to attract late-night worshippers.

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"One of the night churches, in the western Jutland town of Holstebro, opens from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays -- a time when Danes are conceivably more likely to be found in bars or cafes," reported The Local (Denmark's news in English).

This allows worshippers an alternative to traditional Sunday service. More than a couple of dozen Danish towns have churches catering to the after-dark crowd.

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Will this move help Danish churches continue on in their faith mission -- and not fall to the spread of Islam across European nations?

"In many European countries, including France, Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, concerns about growing Muslim communities have led to calls for restrictions on immigration," the Pew Research Center noted in July 2016. The nonpartisan group also wrote, "Recent killings in Paris as well as the arrival of hundreds of thousands of mostly Muslim refugees in Europe have drawn renewed attention to the continent's Muslim population."

This growing Muslim population has not gone without notice.

In London since 2001, 500 church buildings have been converted into private homes, according to the Gatestone Institute, an international policy council and think tank.

"Thanks to a steady decline in religion and the high costs of maintaining these historic buildings, a rising number of churches are being given new lives that may have horrified their founders," Business Insider noted in 2015.

Some closed-down churches have even been converted into bars.

"Given the current trends, Christianity in England is becoming a relic, while Islam will be the religion of the future," Italian journalist and author Guilio Meotti wrote this month in a blog post for the Gatestone Institute.

London has seen 423 new mosques "built on the sad ruins of English Christianity," Guilio also wrote. He cited examples of London church buildings that have been converted into Islamic mosques.

"Not only buildings are converted, but also people," noted Guilio. "The number of converts to Islam has doubled; often they embrace radical Islam, as with Khalid Masood, the terrorist who struck Westminster."

The rise of Islamic immigration in Europe is certainly not a new point. A political campaign page on Facebook shared a video that may have been produced more than a decade ago. The video noted that many mosques in Great Britain were former churches -- and added that transcripts from an "Islamic strategy conference" in Chicago among 24 Islamic organizations showed "plans to evangelize America through journalism, politics, education, and more."