We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more The Oxford History of Islam - The Globalization of Islam - Conversion - Oxford Islamic Studies Online
Select Translation What is This? Selections include: The Koran Interpreted, a translation by A.J. Arberry, first published 1955; The Qur'an, translated by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem, published 2004; or side-by-side comparison view
Chapter: verse lookup What is This? Select one or both translations, then enter a chapter and verse number in the boxes, and click "Go."
:
  • Previous Result
  • Results
  • Highlight On / Off
  • Look It Up What is This? Highlight any word or phrase, then click the button to begin a new search.
  • Next Result

The Globalization of Islam >
Conversion

One of the surprising byproducts of the 9/11 attacks is the spike in the number of converts to Islam apparently generated as a consequence of interest in the religion that had captured the headlines. Books that lay collecting dust on shelves in bookstore began to sell out as did English translations of the Qur’an. Arguably, 9/11 has been a boon for Islam in the United States despite the fact that it has unleashed assaults and attacks on Muslim individuals and Islamic institutions. Muslim organizations would not have been able to mount a similar campaign even if they had allocated a billion dollars for it.

Interviews with coverts reveal that their conversion provided them with a foundation in theological and moral values simplifying their understanding of the Godhead, as many generally focus on the difficulty of understanding the trinity. Other converts value the morality that Islam promotes, in particular the concept of modesty and the rejection of what is considered as the promiscuous American society. For many conversion is due to intermarriage where the non-Muslim is not necessarily a devout follower of his/her faith to a feeling of wanting to please the Muslim partner who would face social sanctions for marrying outside the faith. Despite the increasing number of studies on conversion, it is clear that it is difficult to generalize as religious conversion addresses a deeply personal and spiritual quest that is irrevocably intertwined with identity and sentiments of self-worth.

Long identified by Westerners as in need of transformation to fit the ever-changing norms and values of the West, the role of Muslim women in Islam once again became the focus of special attention by the American government, the World Bank, the United Nations and human rights organizations and a plethora of women’s organizations, loudly condemning misogyny, female genital cutting, lack of education and female oppression in Islamic countries, the role of Muslim woman appears to appeal to the converts. Female converts are among the Islamic community’s most vocal in asserting their pride in living, dressing, and being seen by the rest of society as Muslim women.

British converts to Islam have doubled over a decade with some estimates that as many as 5,000 conversions occur each year. It was reported in 2011 that there were around 100,000 converts to Islam in the UK and that 66% of them were women. Germany and France report figures around 4,000 conversions each year. The increase in conversion in Europe is generally ascribed to Islam’s increased visibility and media presence. Furthermore, European societies have become more secular and open to other religions. The most notable example is evident in the UK, where Queen Elizabeth II is known as the “Defender of the Faith,” Prince Charles I, the next in line to the throne, has stated that he will take the title “Defender of the faiths.” The UK also had a centuries old blasphemy law which protected the tenets and beliefs of the Church of England. Controversy understandably surrounded this law, with some Muslim leaders calling for it to be extended to include all religions and some secular organizations pushing for its complete abolishment. In May 2008, the laws were abolished through an Act of Parliament.

Also of note is the growth in the number of Hispanics who are converting to Islam, which is perceived by many Latinas as a religion that gives women rights and liberties. Beyond its code of morals, Islam’s historical scientific, scholarly, and cultural achievements have become a source of pride to people who feel they participate in a world-view that is sophisticated on both an intellectual and theological level.

  • Previous Result
  • Results
  • Highlight On / Off
  • Look It Up What is This? Highlight any word or phrase, then click the button to begin a new search.
  • Next Result
Oxford University Press

© 2019. All Rights Reserved. Cookie Policy | Privacy Policy | Legal Notice