France is home to the largest Muslim population in Europe. Around 5 million Muslims, mainly from North Africa reside there, representing 7.5% of the population. Many Christian believers have a passion to share the Gospel of Jesus with North Africans living in France and neighboring countries. Thousands are being exposed to the gospel every year and hundreds of young converts are benefiting from discipleship and training.
Attacks on a satirical newspaper and a kosher supermarket in Paris in January 2015 have shaken French society to its core. Many European Muslims are questioning their faith in the face of violence committed in the name of Islam. In addition, Islamic religious leaders are eager to display openness to inter-religious dialogue. There are 2,185 mosques in France, led by Imams or people acting as such. Most of them don’t know the beliefs of true Christians and have many misconceptions.
The JESUS Film was shown in the largest mosque in France in November 2014. 400 people met at an Islamic Cultural Center to watch the JESUS Film. This project began as the prayerful dream of three French grandmas who contacted the film team to help make their vision a reality. The response to the film showing was overwhelmingly positive, with many wanting ongoing interaction with the Christians. The Imam was enthusiastic about encouraging other Imams to organize showings in their mosques as well.
The local team is launching a project for French pastors to meet their local imams and offer them a gift of a Bible and a JESUS Film DVD (in various Arabic dialects). And 15 film showings at 15 mosques are planned over the next two years!
In addition to this exciting initiative, the local team has many important projects. During the month of December they have planned 50 Christmas parties in immigrant neighborhoods in partnership with local churches. To fight against the tide of youth being converted or radicalized by Islam, they are launching a special youth discipleship/mentoring program. The team hosts many events as well; weekly worship meetings, annual national gatherings of North African believers, and lively debates with imams and Islamic fundamentalists.