Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang reports approximately 3,000 Norwegians convert to Islam in recent years
The number of converted Muslims in Norway increased to at least 3,000 in the recent years, a researcher at Oslo University’s Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages said.
Norway’s leading Verdens Gang newspaper reported that the number of Norwegians choosing to become Muslim since 1990s have increased.
The report said the number of converted Muslims in the country during 1990s were around 500 while this number has reached around 3,000 in the recent years.
Noting that previously Norwegian women used to convert to Islam as a result of marrying Muslim men, Vogt said: “This trend has now changed drastically. Now, women are choosing Islam after reading and researching about Islam.”
Monica Salmouk, a converted Muslim, told the newspaper that she chose Islam 4 years ago after researching and reading number of books about the religion.
Salmouk said she visited the Islamic Cultural Center (ICC) mosque in Greenland, Oslo and chose to adopt Islam as her religion.
Solva Nabila Sexelin, a 42-year old Norwegian, also said she decided to convert to Islam after being inspired by the Muslim asylum seekers which she has been helping out.
Islam in Norway
Islam is a minority religion in Norway. It is the second largest religion after Christianity. Government statistics from the CIA registered 121,095 members of Islamic congregations in Norway, roughly 2.3% of the population, according to a 2011 registration.
The Pew Research Center estimated that 3.7% of Norwegians were Muslim in 2010 and 5.7% in 2016. About 55% of the Muslim community live in the counties of Oslo and Akershus.
Estimates about Muslims in Norway varied between 120,000 in 2005 and 163,000 in 2009. The vast majority of the community has an immigrant background, with Norwegians of Pakistani descent being the most visible and well-known group.
The population of Muslims in the country hasn’t been noticeable until the latter half of the 20th century, however. Immigration from Muslim countries to Norway began late compared to other western-European countries and didn’t gather pace until the late 1960s.
The first mosque in Norway was the Islamic Cultural Centre, which opened in Oslo in 1974. The initiative for the mosque came from Pakistanis who were helped by the Islamic Cultural Centre which had already opened in Copenhagen, Denmark.