Norway’s liberal government has given permission for an Islamic group to convert two historic Christian churches into mosques and granted them $110,000 in taxpayer funds to carry out the work.
The leader of the centrist Norwegian Christian People’s Party, Kjell Ingolf Ropstad, approved a grant for 1 million kroner to transform the 100-year-old Christian churches in Skien and Stavanger into mosques.
The Islamic Cultural Center (ICC) organization already has several Islamic schools linked to mosques in Drammen, Oslo, and Mjøndalen where children can stay overnight, Aftenposten reports.
This isn’t the first time Ropstad has issued large sums of money to the Islamist group, which has a total of 3,775 registered members, on behalf of the Norwegian government.
The Islamic Cultural Center previously received nearly $78,000 of taxpayer funds to convert a former Baptist church in Stavanger into a mosque.
Ropstad also handed the group another $22,000 to convert “The Way” prayer house in Skien to a mosque.
Søndre Nordstrand Muslim Center has also been awarded nearly $33,500 under the same type of grant.
Norway has seen a large increase in the number of converted Muslims over recent years.
Last year, a researcher at Oslo University’s Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages said the number had risen to at least 3,000.
Norway’s leading Verdens Gang newspaper reported that the number of Norwegians choosing to become Muslim since the 1990s is increasing.
The report said the number of converted Muslims in the country during 1990s was around 500 while this number has reached around 3,000 in 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.”
Solva Nabila Sexelin, a 42-year old Norwegian, said she decided to convert to Islam after being inspired by the Muslim asylum seekers she was helping out.