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Unprecedented numbers of British people, nearly all of

them women, are converting to Islam at a time of deep

divisions within the Anglican and Catholic churches.

The rate of conversions has prompted predictions that

Islam will rapidly become an important religious force in
this country.[1] "Within the next 20 years the number of
British converts will equal or overtake the immigrant
Muslim community that brought the faith here", says Rose
Kendrick, a religious education teacher at a Hull
comprehensive and the author of a textbook guide to the
Koran. She says: "Islam is as much a world faith as is
Roman Catholicism. No one nationality claims it as its
own". Islam is also spreading fast on the continent and in

The surge in conversions to Islam has taken place despite

the negative image of the faith in the Western press.
Indeed, the pace of conversions has accelerated since
publicity over the Salman Rushdie affair, the Gulf War[2]
and the plight of the Muslims in Bosnia. It is even more
ironic that most British converts should be women, given
the widespread view in the west that Islam treats women
poorly. In the United States, women converts outnumber
men by four to one, and in Britain make up the bulk of the
estimated 10, 000 to 20, 000 converts, forming part of a
Muslim community of 1 to 1.5 million. Many of Britain's
"New Muslims" are from middle-class backgrounds. They
include Matthew Wilkinson, a former head boy of Eton who
went on to Cambridge, and a son and daughter of Lord
Justice Scott, the judge heading the arms-to-Iraq enquiry.

A small-scale survey by the Islamic Foundation in Leicester

suggests that most converts are aged 30 to 50. Younger
Muslims point to many conversions among students and
highlight the intellectual thrust of Islam. "Muhammad"
said, "The light of Islam will rise in the West" and I think
that is what is happening in our day" says Aliya Haeri, an
American-born psychologist who converted 15 years ago.
She is a consultant to the Zahra Trust, a charity publishing
spiritual literature and is one of Britain's prominent Islamic
speakers. She adds: "Western converts are coming to
Islam with fresh eyes, without all the habits of the East,
avoiding much of what is culturally wrong. The purest
tradition is finding itself strongest in the West."[3]

Some say the conversions are prompted by the rise of

comparative religious education. The British media,
offering what Muslims describe as a relentless bad press
on all things Islamic, is also said to have helped.
Westerners despairing of their own society - rising in
crime, family breakdown, drugs and alcoholism [4] - have
come to admire the discipline and security of Islam. Many
converts are former Christians disillusioned by the
uncertainty of the church and unhappy with the concept of
the Trinity and deification of Jesus.

Quest of the Convert – Why Change?

Other converts describe a search for a religious identity.

Many had previously been practising Christians but found
intellectual satisfaction in Islam. "I was a theology student
and it was the academic argument that led to my
conversion." Rose Kendrick, a religious education teacher
and author, said she objected to the concept of the
original sin: "Under Islam, the sins of the fathers aren't
visited on the sons. The idea that God is not always
forgiving is blasphemous to Muslims.

Maimuna, 39, was raised as a High Anglican and

confirmed at 15 at the peak of her religious devotion. "I
was entranced by the ritual of the High Church and
thought about taking the veil." Her crisis came when a
prayer was not answered. She slammed the door on
visiting vicars but travelled to convents for discussions
with nuns. "My belief came back stronger, but not for the
Church, the institution or the dogma." She researched
every Christian denomination, plus Judaism, Buddhism and
Krishna Consciousness, before turning to Islam.

Many converts from Christianity reject the ecclesiastical

hierarchy emphasising Muslims' direct relationship with
God. They sense a lack of leadership in the Church of
England and are suspicious of its apparent flexibility.
"Muslims don't keep shifting their goal-posts," says Huda
Khattab, 28, author of The Muslim Woman's Handbook,
published this year by Ta-Ha. She converted ten years ago
while studying Arabic at university. "Christianity changes,
like the way some have said pre-marital sex is okay if its
with the person you're going to marry. It seems so wishy-
washy. Islam was constant about sex, about praying five
times a day. The prayer makes you conscious of God all
the time. You're continually touching base.


1 This is one of the reasons why there is an onslaught of

bad press against Islam and the Muslims. Whoever
considers Islam carefully with its principle belief Tawheed
(the Uniqueness of Allaah, His and His sole right to
subservience, worship and legislation), the sum total of its
injunctions, formulated by Allaah (which are harmonic and
define the true nature, position, rights and responsibilities
of both sexes), and its justice in every sphere of life
(social, economical and political) for all categories of
people - wives, husbands, children, orphans, women, the
poor and indigent, the poverty-stricken - will realise why it
poses a threat to the leading elite of the western
civilisations ( i.e. those who benefit most from the unfair
and unjust forms by which the people are governed). It is
in the hands of such people that the control of peoples
beliefs and ideas lie (via television, Magazines, Films,
Education) and naturally this advantage is used to
maintain the existing status quo. Muslims are not
governed by and enslaved the false beliefs and ideas of
humans, they are enslaved to and governed by Allaah
alone. This is the essence of Islam - That enslavement is
to none but to Allaah alone and everything besides Him is
undeserving of worship and subservience.

2 It is now an established fact that around 5,000 of the US

Troops who were stationed in Saudi Arabia became
Muslims during and shortly after the Gulf War.

3 Much of the alleged oppression of women is due to

localised culture which is based on a superstition that is
more akin to Hinduism. It is, however, portrayed as being
Islamic in origin which in turn seriously affects the
'independence of thought' of those who do not bother to
pursue the matter in an objective manner - which includes
most people.

4 One of the biggest industries in the West is that of

entertainment and amusement. This is essential to
maintain the false idea of progress, that what comes next
is better and worth enduring for. Peoples minds are
preoccupied with their own pleasures and other pursuits
while others are being murdered, slaughtered, women
raped, innocent babies and children butchered with axes
and knives, innocent by-standers in robberies and
muggings killed, the aged battered to death by
adolescents, thousands dying of drug abuse, thousands of
innocent lives destroyed by the consumption of alcohol,
drunkards beating their women and children... the list is
endless. The entertainment industry is one of the effective
tools in the 'normalisation of the thought process', the
'desensitisation of the humanistic concern', and the
intensification of the 'my pleasure and gratification is what
is most important' syndrome.

The Times (London) - Tuesday, 9th November 1993 -Home-news Page

Lucy Berrington finds the Muslim Faith is winning Western admirers
despite hostile media coverage