SHARING OUR FAITH
[A] WHY IS ISLAM SO ATTRACTIVE?
- Today (according to Muslim figures) 5,000 of the Muslims in the UK are British converts with between 100-200 new converts each year! Muslims also claim there are 20,000 British converts to Islam (the majority = women married to Muslim men), with 3-4 converts joining per day. Most are converted in Universities, the largest number among Afro-Caribbean, who join Sufi groups.
- Islamic missionary thrust of the Muslim institutions (Da'wah). They use:
- exhibitions (i.e. the major Islamic cultural exhibition in London)
- public debates (i.e. Ahmad Deedat-polemical debates, ridiculing Christianity)
- literature (produced by the Islamic Foundation, highly anti-Christian)
- meetings by University student organizations inviting speakers from Muslim world.
- The Islamic Council of Europe, based in London, has become "the key to Islam's missionary strategy", reaching out to convert nominal Christians and non-Christian immigrants.
Twelve most common reasons for conversion to Islam (in the U.S.):
- Islam's Social Laws (complete guide to life: women, protection, Shariah)
- The Unity of God (Tawhid vs. trinity)
- Brotherhood (religion for 3rd world, Christianity = white = Racism, i.e. S.Africa)
- The Morality of Islam (purity vs. the decadence and decline of Christianity)
- The Qur'an's beauty and applicability (pleasing to the ear, holy, miracle of Muhammad)
- The Simplicity of Islamic teaching (caters to strict cultures, flexible)
- The Testimony of Other Muslims (teachers, Pirs, and Sufi leaders)
- Islam's Rationality (easy to explain, no mysticism or mystery)
- The Practices of Islam (polygamy, prayers and religiosity)
- Its Superiority to all other Religions (latest universal religion, last revelation)
- The Theology found in the Qur'an (peace, piety, no sin, allows inquiry?)
- Islam's Spirituality (Places Allah high, distant, not personal and so not human)
- Post-Colonial independence, brings about enaction of Islamic Shariah.
- Resurgence of Islamic Fundamentalism due to decadence of West.
- Racist bias equated with Christianity (New "Afrocentristic History" in USA)
- Restrictive freedom of religion in Muslim lands. Allegiance to a social-political-religious way of life & penalties. Harsh reprisals taught in Islamic Law for apostasy (i.e. Salman Rushdie).
- Oil wealth (70% world total), much spent on the spread of Islam.
- Khomeini's revolution in Iran gave Islamic pride.
- Success of Muslim vs. Christian Debates, using Bible as basis for debates.
- mis-understanding by Christians of Islam, mis communication-2% missionaries
Kose's, Gerholm's and Poston's reasons:
Other common reasons for conversion to Islam gathered from Ali Kose, a Turkish writer who reported on British converts, Thomas Gerholm's on Europeans, and Larry Poston's work in the U.S.
- Disillusionment with the West. Disgust with Western policies toward Islamic nations and third world countries,
- Concerns over racism, and seeing Islam as more multiracial, or multicultural
- Dissatisfaction with previous religious experiences and ideology. 94 % came from Christian backgrounds, 73% C.of E., 17% Catholic
- Mysticism, and the appeal of Sufism.
- Personal contact with Muslim friends, and their life style. The appeal of Islam as a complete way of like, rules set to help you, standards, not left to worry what to choose- the appeal of the moral and ethical standard.
- Experiences with Islam. Converts test it out, and feel peace; a good emotional experience or a satisfying intellectual experience as it is often more of the head than the heart.
- Through marriage many women convert (yet some statistics = 70% male converts)
- Appeals to some women as they are more respected as Muslim women.
- Supernatural encounters with Islam, dreams, visions
Well known converts: Martin Ling, Gai Eaton, Abdul Hakim Winter, Sarah Malik, Yusef Islam (formerly Cat Stevens), Marmaduke Pickthall.
- Carol L. Anway, Daughters of Another Path, experiences of American Women choosing Islam. Yawna Pub. 1996
- Thomas Gerholm and Yngve (sic) George Litham (eds), The New Islamic Presence in Europe, Mansell, London, 1988
- Ali Kose, Conversion to Islam: A study of native British Converts, Kegan Paul, London and New York, 1996
- Larry Poston, Islamic Da'wah in the West: Muslim missionary activity and the dynamics of conversion to Islam. OUP 1992