The continuing uproar in the Muslim community over a Danish cartoon strip did not appear to make any sense. However the theory with respect to jealous competition between religious groups may help us understand the dispute by providing the missing information. When groups compete for members among same group of prospects or obtain members from the other via conversion, there usually is a reaction. This reaction may be experienced in same area as the success or in another area.
There was a period of time when certain products could only be purchased in certain regional markets. When the product was offered outside the regional market, competition was stiff as the product in the invaded market responded aggressively to the new product. The same may be true for religious groups as it is for Dunkin Donuts and Krispy Kreme Donuts.
For a long time, Muslims only lived in Muslims countries. Recently we see the growth of Islam in many countries which in the past had not experienced the Muslim presence. The response in this instance was natural. Religious groups which had not previously had a missionary presence in Muslim countries increased their outreach programs. We can argue which came first but the result is the same. As religious diversity increases in the Western countries, someone is bound to ask the question why there is no religious diversity in the Muslim countries and what can be done.
Proselytizing of Muslims is forbidden in most of the Islamic world. The Islamic world is truly obsessed with conversions. Conversion from Islam to Christianity is considered an act of apostasy that merits death. At least 7 Islamic countries apply the death penalty to those who convert from Islam: Sudan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Mauritania.
There is a problem with conversion numbers which should be stated. In the Islamic world, government issued identity cards state the religion of the cardholder. It is very difficult if not impossible to change the religion on the card from Islam to Christianity. Therefore these numbers are disputed.
The following chart is based upon the article by Joel Rosenberg of the Joshua Fund. It provides some remarkable statistics regarding the number of Muslims in these countries compared to earlier point in time:
. . . .1,000,000+
. . . . 2008
. . . .5,000,000+
“In December 2001, Sheikh Ahmad al Qataani, a leading Saudi cleric, appeared on a live interview on Aljazeera satellite television to confirm that, sure enough, Muslims were turning to Jesus in alarming numbers. ‘In every hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity,’ Al Qataani warned. ‘Every day, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity. Every year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity.’ Stunned, the interviewer interrupted the cleric. ‘Hold on! Let me clarify. Do we have six million converting from Islam to Christianity?’ Al Qataani repeated his assertion. ‘Every year,’ the cleric confirmed, adding, ‘a tragedy has happened.’” Joel Rosenberg at the Joshua Fund
THE BIG (UNTOLD) STORY IN THE MIDDLE EAST: Muslims converting to faith in Jesus Christ in record numbers — 2008 Update by Joel Rosenberg at the Joshua Fund
Christianity is expanding all across the Third World becoming a truly global religion. In the recent past, the various religious groups constituting Christianity have refrained from evangelizing in countries with an Islamic majority and being quiet about the reality of conversions in Christian countries. The conversion of Magdi Allam, who was baptized by Pope Benedict XVI at Easter, is the confirmation that the policy of restraint has changed.
The impetus for the Vatican policy change may be the recent announcement by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano that Islam has surpassed Roman Catholicism as the world's largest religion, the Vatican newspaper said Sunday. The article noted that Catholics accounted for 17.4 percent of the world population while Muslims were at 19.2 percent. The figures on Muslims were put together by Muslim countries and then provided to the United Nations. When considering all Christians and not just Catholics, Christians make up 33 percent of the world population.
Jealous competition is about to turn violent.
Gospel of Luke