Saturday, 4 February 2017

FactCheck: Do 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity every year in Africa?

The internet is full of claims like,
Six Million African Muslims Convert to Christianity Each Year.
Africa: 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity every single year.

Are these claims true? On what basis are these claims made? Are these claims backed by facts? In this post, I will try to answer all these questions and examine the factual accuracy of these claims.

The origin of this claim is the opinions expressed by Ahmad al-Katani in an interview with Al-Jazeera television in 2000. He claimed that every day, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity and every year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity. The transcript of the full interview in Arabic can be found here.

The claim is based entirely on his opinions. It has no factual basis. According to existing data from Pew Research Center, Islam will gain more followers in Africa in the coming decades. Pew reports:

Religious switching is expected to change the religious landscape of sub-Saharan Africa in future decades only modestly. (For information on the impact of religious switching on the demographic projections in this report, see Chapter 1.) The Muslim share of sub-Saharan Africa’s 2050 population is expected to be 0.3 percentage points higher than it would be if projected religious switching were not taken into account. By contrast, the projection for the Christian share of the region in 2050 is 0.3 percentage points lower than if religious switching were not included in the projections.

Islam's net gain due to conversion will be 0.3%. Christianity's net gain is in negative (-0.3%) which means Christianity will loss followers due to religious switching. The data clearly proves that 6 million Muslims don't convert to Christianity every year and thereby the claim is false.