When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God. (Lev. 19:33-34, NIV)
I recently ran across a book that will be of interest to a select audience. It’s a 132-page paperback titled Mapping Migration: Mapping Churches’ Responses Europe Study by Darrell Jackson and Alessia Passarelli. It was put together by Nova Research Centre at the UK’s Redcliffe College. and published in 2008 by the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe of the World Council of Churches. The following might find it to be a goldmine:
• Pastors and church leaders in Europe who want to show the love of Christ to recent immigrants
• Church planters in Europe who want to find specific immigrant groups and follow their movement
• People who are curious about attitudes toward immigrants
• Those following church responses to U.S. public policy about immigration in this country, looking at European parallels.
The book provides immigration and emigration figures for 47 European countries. For each country it lists several facts, such as the top five places migrants came from. In Germany, for example, most immigrants come from Turkey, followed by Italy, FYR, Greece and Poland. In Ukraine, most come from the Russian Federation.
The book factors in faith issues wherever they can be found. It notes that an estimated 24 million migrants were in the European Union at the end of 2003. Among those 48% belonged to Christian churches, 31% were Muslims and the remaining 21% belonged to other religions. It also cites this 2001 “Attitudes Toward Neighbours” survey which was conducted in 35 countries, giving the response by each country:
Which of the following would you NOT like to have as neighbours?
– Somebody of a foreign ethnicity
– A Muslim
– An immigrant or foreign worker
– A Jew
– A Roma [from northern India]
How would you respond? How would your congregation respond? The most accepting of new neighbors was Iceland, followed by Sweden, Netherlands, Denmark, Latvia and Germany. The least accepting was Hungary.