Joel News: Christians reach out to Muslims in 40 cities
Joel News International has just featured an interview from Mahabba Network's director, Gordon Hickson, on our work of helping Christians engage with Muslims.
Joel News offers a weekly high-quality selection of the most inspiring stories on the advance of God's Kingdom in six continents.
We are currently presented with one of the greatest opportunities of our time: to unveil Jesus to Muslim people in the Western world and bring them to Christ.
The number of people identifying themselves as Muslim in the UK has grown by almost 70% in ten years, from 1.6 million in 2001 to 2.7 million in 2011. It is estimated to grow to 5.5 million by 2020. Across Europe, there are already 47 million Muslims. By the year 2030, there will be 58 million Muslims in Europe, 8% of the population. Islam has found a home in Europe.
To seize this opportunity a new network called ‘Mahabba' (‘love’ in Arabic) is developing in the UK, networking both agencies and churches, and proving to be a catalyst to unity and prayer. Its emphasis is on motivating and mobilizing ‘ordinary’ Christians rather than just ‘specialists’ to reach their Muslim neighbours and help them grow in Christ.
A Turkish imam’s daughter has inspired many by personally leading over 100 Muslims to Christ.
Director Gordon Hickson on the Mahabba Network reports the first fruits. “In Oxford, it took two years to break through in prayer, but then about 40 Muslim people came to Christ over the next five years, especially among the Iranian fellowship. They were joined by an imam sheikh from Uganda who was an expert in Sharia law: he had a radical conversion experience, and now spends hours witnessing to Arabic speaking Muslims studying in Oxford. A Turkish imam’s daughter came to Christ outside of Oxford and has inspired many by personally leading over 100 Muslims to Christ.”
Most of the networks are witnessing Muslims coming to Christ. In Manchester, in just a few days, a young man from Pakistan walked into the cathedral asking to convert; a Saudi woman walked into a church and asked to become a Christian; and a Somali man shared with his Christian friend that he wanted to become a Christian.
The goal is to have 75 Mahabba networks across the UK in 2019.
Local Mahabba prayer groups have now been launched in over 40 cities across the UK, as well as spreading across to France, Belgium, Norway, Austria, and even South Africa. They have been asked to help establish groups in India and Korea. One couple has moved across to Chicago (home to over 400,000 Muslims) and another to help set up in Australia. The goal over the next two years is to have 75 Mahabba groups across the UK, with strong relational networks with others across Europe and other Western nations.