The refugee crisis played into the hands of the Catholic Church in Austria: the country recorded a significant number of Muslims who converted to Christianity
Three quarters of the 750 baptized adults in 2017 are immigrants from Muslim countries, DW reports citing the agency dpa and the official spokesman for the Archdiocese of Vienna.
Only in the Austrian capital, 260 people representing 15 different nations have been baptized.
Fredericke Dostal, who is responsible for the baptism of adults in the archdiocese, says the claim that migrants change their religion in order to increase the chances of getting an asylum are groundless.
“Since the Catholic Church in Austria does not want to receive pseudo-Christians, we are very strict in selection of candidates and authorization of the rite of baptism,” she noted.
Preparation for baptism takes at least one year, which includes regular visits to religious classes and church services, following the Christian norms of life and participation in charitable events.
According to Eurostat, in 2016, 1.2 million asylum seekers arrived in Europe. In the same 2016 Austria took the fifth place in Europe, having accepted 39,860 migrants. Germany, Italy, France and Greece were ahead. Most of the refugees who settled in Austria in the previous year were Afghans. According to the Austrian online edition OE24, the top three also included immigrants from Syria and Iraq.