Birmingham, England, has a population of over one million. Of the more than 230,000 Muslims who live in the city, most come from Pakistan. The others come from countries such as Bangladesh, Iran and Somalia. Muslims not only dominate the streets of many neighborhoods, but they also advertize quite intensely about their religion, for example in the city center.
Many Muslim families remain strongly attached to their traditions, even if they have lived in England for a long time. Parents still arrange the marriages of their children, and often a spouse from their country of origin is sought for a son or daughter. Other families remain tied to their Muslim roots, but try to maintain a more British way of life and are especially anxious about material progress.
Many took a hard hit during the economic crisis. Poverty among immigrants and the difficulty of integrating into British society remain challenges. Young and old alike struggle just to find a job. As a consequence,
Islamist groups are gaining popularity, and family violence and crime is increasing in Muslim neighborhoods.
Feeling taken over
Many communities have long watched as their neighborhood became visibly “taken over” by Muslim immigrants. Some believers have begun to understand life’s missionary challenge to reach the Muslims in their community. Willem’s church builds relationships by holding vacation activities for kids and having special meeting rooms for men or women. Others have developed hospitality ministries and services to aid vulnerable neighbors, such as homework clubs or language courses for women. Some churches have offered courses to help Christians learn how to share their faith with Muslim neighbors and friends while the opportunity literally lies at their doorstep.
Pray for the Church to reach out, for Muslims to encounter the love and compassion of Jesus, and for many Muslims to find Jesus this Ramadan.