LONDON — In the Olympics, teams representing different countries compete for medals and national pride -- but outside the main stadium in London there is another competition where the stakes are higher.
The competition is for people’s souls.
Christian groups like Amana Trust are handing out Bibles and spreading the Christian word of God. Robin Fenwick, a volunteer from Canada, says they came to the Olympics because, to use an analogy, if you want to go fishing you have to go where the fish are.
“You could use that expression. We're coming to find the lost souls and for Christians who would like to know more about this Bible,” Fenwick said.
Christianity has long been the dominant religion in Great Britain but this year at the Olympics a group of Muslims led by Sayful Islam is hoping to change the status quo.
“We are here representing Team Islam. The best team. The winning team. The only team that will succeed in this life and the next life,” he said.
Both groups are giving out literature and trying to convert Olympic fans as they enter the stadium. When asked if there is a direct competition going on, Fenwick diplomatically denied it.
“No, we are not competing with anyone. Just out here sharing the love of God, giving out the word of the God to those who would like to receive it,” he said.
Perhaps because his Muslim group is often surrounded by Christians trying to shout over them, Sayful Islam was more confrontational in his response.
“There is no competition because, when the truth comes, falsehood always vanishes and is destroyed. So what you can see is yes, there may be a lot of noisy Christians around but it's the Muslims that have the truth and it's the Muslims that bring the message of God,” he said.
While there may be loud exchanges, Muslims and Christians are co-existing peacefully outside the Olympic park. And as long as they don't block foot traffic to the stadium, they are free to communicate their beliefs to anyone who will listen.