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← Women & Islam: The rise and rise of the convert

Women & Islam: The rise and rise of the convert - Comments

Lapin Diabolique's Avatar Comment 1 by Lapin Diabolique

"....many of the British women who adopt Islam say they have a daily struggle to assimilate their new beliefs within a wider culture..."

Yes, that could be due to the fact that their new beliefs are idiotic, retrograde and flagrantly misogynistic.

I guess some people like to be treated badly, the safety of the jail cell and all that.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 13:10:16 UTC | #887838

PrayForMe's Avatar Comment 2 by PrayForMe

I think it's fair to say any woman who has chosen to join the most misogynistic religion on Earth was pretty confused in the first place.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 13:21:03 UTC | #887841

AsylumWarden's Avatar Comment 3 by AsylumWarden

Yet few find easy sanctuary within the established Muslim population, with the majority forming their closest bonds with fellow converts rather than born Muslims

Trying to add comments on the article, but not being allowed for some reason. Maybe they don't want me doing my bit of concious-raising by pointing out that no one is a 'born' Muslim. They're born neutral and indoctrinated into it.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 13:28:03 UTC | #887843

Marc Country's Avatar Comment 4 by Marc Country

What can you say?.. women love oppression. Thanks, God!

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 13:37:50 UTC | #887846

Marc Country's Avatar Comment 5 by Marc Country

Holy shit... I just figured out their devious plan, and it's brilliant.... lets flood Islam with white female converts... then, they build their own, egalitarian mosques, take over Mecca, and start fixing Sharia law. Suddenly, beardlessness becomes de rigeur, even for the men...

Brilliant!

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 13:39:09 UTC | #887847

Marc Country's Avatar Comment 6 by Marc Country

"More than three-quarters told researchers they had experienced high levels of confusion after conversion..."

Yes, believing tales of prophets on flying horses will do that...

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 13:40:58 UTC | #887848

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 7 by Richard Dawkins

Whenever I read an article like this, I end up shaking my head in bafflement. Why would anyone want to CONVERT to Islam? I can see why, having been born into it, you might be reluctant to leave, perhaps when you reflect on the penalty for doing to. But for a woman (especially a woman) voluntarily to JOIN such a revolting and misogynistic institution when she doesn't have to always suggests to me massive stupidity. And then I remember our own very intelligent Layla Nasreddin / Lisa Bauer and retreat again to sheer, head-shaking bafflement.

Richard

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 13:41:46 UTC | #887849

Byrneo's Avatar Comment 8 by Byrneo

Why? Why would any young woman want to convert to Islam?

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 13:43:50 UTC | #887850

kev_s's Avatar Comment 9 by kev_s

Maybe they all have a bad case of Toxoplasmosis.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 13:55:12 UTC | #887852

Greyman's Avatar Comment 10 by Greyman

Another finding revealed by the Leicester study was that despite Western portraits of Islam casting it as oppressive to women, a quarter of female converts were attracted to the religion precisely because of the status it affords them.

Some analysts have argued that dizzying social and cultural upheavals in Britain over the past decades have meant that far from adopting an alien way of life, some female Muslim converts are re-embracing certain aspects of mid-20th-century Britain, such as rigid gender demarcation, rather than feeling expected to juggle career and family.

Zah?  They’re converting to islam because it’s misogynistic?

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 13:56:58 UTC | #887853

SheerReason's Avatar Comment 11 by SheerReason

I just wanted to be the first to wish these women a speedy recovery!

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 14:02:10 UTC | #887854

PrayForMe's Avatar Comment 12 by PrayForMe

People who jump out if planes without parachutes feel a sense of acceleration, followed by terminal velocity and die shortly after.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 14:04:35 UTC | #887855

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 13 by aquilacane

More than three-quarters told researchers they had experienced high levels of confusion after conversion, due to the conflicting ways Islam was presented to them.

So, they just converted for the fuck off it and then set about finding out why, after. Why would you convert to a religion you were not 100% convinced of? What ever happened to faith? What of belief? Faith and belief in what? You don't even know. Convert, like it's a brand of cereal. They couldn't find reality if it was staring them in the face... oh shit, that's right.

A recent study of converts in Leicester, for example, found that 93 per cent of mosques in the region recognised they lacked services for new Muslims, yet only 7 per cent said they were making efforts to address the shortfall.

I guess, that's good news.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 14:09:42 UTC | #887857

Atheist Mike's Avatar Comment 14 by Atheist Mike

Well this is facepalm-worthy.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 14:14:51 UTC | #887859

Achamian's Avatar Comment 15 by Achamian

This story makes me ponder the same question everyone here is pondering: Why?

I read some of the personal stories at the end to try to understand the mindset. Here are some excerpts that I found pertinent:

"In the space of four or five months I went from going to raves to wearing a headscarf..."

"I used to have all the trappings of success, yet I felt an inner emptiness and somewhat dissatisfied in my life."

"I was a bit of a tearaway growing up – drinking, smoking, running away from home and being disrespectful to my parents."

"I'd say I'm still a bit of a party animal – but I'm also a Muslim."

There's no way to know how representative this sampling is, but all these women seem to be trying to find some sort of meaning in their lives. I think many people equate religion with 'meaning' and find it difficult to find it elsewhere. The factor pushing them towards Islam versus Christianity is probably falling for an Islamic man.

I think this gets to the core of why so many people find it hard to leave religion. I've never been religious and have always felt that defining my own meaning is both liberating and invigorating, but I can see how this could be downright terrifying if you're used to the safety of religious belief.

Edit: I'm an American, a life-long atheist, and male, so I'm sort of shooting in the dark for an explanation and I could be way off the mark... just thought I'd give my view.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 14:21:08 UTC | #887860

Layla's Avatar Comment 16 by Layla

Comment 10 by Greyman :

Another finding revealed by the Leicester study was that despite Western portraits of Islam casting it as oppressive to women, a quarter of female converts were attracted to the religion precisely because of the status it affords them.

Some analysts have argued that dizzying social and cultural upheavals in Britain over the past decades have meant that far from adopting an alien way of life, some female Muslim converts are re-embracing certain aspects of mid-20th-century Britain, such as rigid gender demarcation, rather than feeling expected to juggle career and family.

Zah?  They’re converting to islam because it’s misogynistic?

I actually think that could be the answer. Not that they're converting because it's misogynistic but that they're converting because of the old fashioned lifestyle and gender roles it promotes. Look again at what one of the converts was quoted as saying,

"Islam is also about dignity and respect for yourself and your femininity. Even in the dating game, Muslim men are very respectful. Women are cherished as mothers, too – as a Muslim woman you are not expected to do it all"

Our society has made strides towards equality but in the process it's put expectations on the female half to be all things at once. We now have to live up to what used to be the masculine role of breadwinner, aswell as still living up to the traditionally feminine role of taking responsibility for the home and children. To some extent this has also happened to men, but the expectation to live up fully to both roles seems to have been placed more strongly on women.

Perhaps these women are attracted because of the way Islam affords them respect in the traditional role without placing so many demands on them to be all things to all people. The worst aspects of Islam's sexism can be ignored, dismissed as cultural aberrations and the more tolerable ones put up with as the price paid perhaps.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 14:24:09 UTC | #887861

Sudipta Modak's Avatar Comment 17 by Sudipta Modak

These women should learn from Taslima Nasrin and Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 14:31:28 UTC | #887866

ZenDruid's Avatar Comment 18 by ZenDruid

I'd say most of them were seduced by some smooth-talking Wahhabi, but that's just a preliminary rectal extraction on my part.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 14:38:29 UTC | #887869

flamenco's Avatar Comment 19 by flamenco

It did come as a shock to my family, who are Christian. They've not rejected me, but they find it difficult to understand. I feel bad because I don't now attend weddings, funerals or christenings because they're often at pubs and clubs and I won't step inside.

Well how bad do you feel? Not bad enough to say you will attend these weddings, funerals etc despite being told you mustn't by your new wonderful religion.

Are you allowed to think for yourself?

Or would you prefer not to?

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 14:49:40 UTC | #887870

Dirty Kuffar's Avatar Comment 20 by Dirty Kuffar

Why on earth would supposedly educated women choose ignorance and serfdom over freedom and culture? - some sort of survey and psychological study should be done on this, together with an analysis of the best ways to put people off converting in the first place, and de-brainwashing them if they have. Or perhaps these women are just plain dim ?

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 15:08:28 UTC | #887877

kaiserkriss's Avatar Comment 21 by kaiserkriss

Having met a few female muslim converts myself, one common theme came across quickly- the lack of self esteem in every case. Layla makes a good point as well: the continued maintenance of traditional gender roles. No matter any religion is a mental disease or disorder and should be treated accordingly, rather than given a free pass. jcw

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 15:18:13 UTC | #887880

Sudipta Modak's Avatar Comment 22 by Sudipta Modak

Comment 18 by ZenDruid

I'd say most of them were seduced by some smooth-talking Wahhabi, but that's just a preliminary rectal extraction on my part.

Well, I saw the name of former Pakistani cricketer and current cricket commentator and political leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Imran Khan. He is a smooth talker.

Kristiane Backer, 45

Television presenter and author, London

I converted to Islam in 1995 after Imran Khan introduced me to the faith. At the time I was a presenter for MTV. I used to have all the trappings of success, yet I felt an inner emptiness and somewhat dissatisfied in my life.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 15:25:29 UTC | #887882

MAJORPAIN's Avatar Comment 23 by MAJORPAIN

My sister converted to Islam because she married a Muslim. That could account for some of it. As for the others...one word: lonliness. I think strong, independent people discount the overwhelming feeling of need and lonliness that our western culture has left a lot of people with. It is not so much stupidity, although maybe a bit of naivete to go along with the lonliness and neediness to belong to something.

I don't know the answer to this. I feel very greatful that I can afford to live on my own without the need of a man to take care of me. I also feel that I'm a very strong willed and independent person and many many of the women that I know are very needful of having someone, anyone in their lives at all times. It is something I don't understand so I think it may have less to do with religion than we think.

In general, maybe it is part of the allure of religion. There's an invisible being there with you, watching over you, giving you someone to talk to 24/7/365. I think atheists discount the need of a lot of our fellow human beings to have "someone" in their lives.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 15:26:29 UTC | #887883

Atheist Mike's Avatar Comment 24 by Atheist Mike

Western countries are becoming increasingly automatised, relying on strict bureaucracy more than ever and becoming culturally neutral and passive. In an environment like that it's not surprising that some (ignorant and impressionable) people choose to adopt some kind of exotic thinking to feel more excited or involved in life, be it through Indian guru scams or conversion to that sick religion called Islam. That coupled with the unreasonable respect we think we must have towards minorities to prevent racism must make it all the more attractive for thrill-seeking Westerners, after all, if you're going to invest in delusions it's always better if they're shielded from criticism. Which is hardly the case with these women' 'de facto hogwash source'; christianity, which is constantly criticised and made fun of in our societies.

I think it's either that or the 'alpha male' image that Islam must be projecting onto British women, muslims have after all been much more outspoken in Britain than any of us indigenous folks, for bad reasons mostly but they still have been. They constitute about 3% of our population and yet they're constantly in the news, I can easily imagine how it must appeal to impressionable women.

Maybe it's both, or maybe I'm just wrong. Still it's all rather worrying.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 15:26:40 UTC | #887884

Hellboy2's Avatar Comment 25 by Hellboy2

Sadly, I suspect most of these women are the type that when having received the umpteenth smack in the mouth or black eye, respond to the friend who tells them to get out with : 'But I love him and I know he loves me, really'.

No self respect whatsoever.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 15:34:02 UTC | #887885

pipsy's Avatar Comment 26 by pipsy

Another cover-up. Care in the community for mental illness.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 15:45:34 UTC | #887890

green and dying's Avatar Comment 27 by green and dying

I don't think they're necessarily stupid, they are probably just lonely people who want to be part of an exclusive club and maybe "find meaning". And they think there's nothing wrong with Islam as a belief system. As several of the people in this article said, everything bad associated with Islam must be "cultural" and not real Islam. That's probably because quite a lot of people think it's racist to think Islam has a worse set of values than Western ones.

Also being a convert to Islam in the West isn't really too much of a threat to women. The worst they'll be involved with would probably be wearing headscarves and praying separately from men. Everything else really requires an entire society to approve and to be set up around it, or at the very least an entire family.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 15:46:32 UTC | #887891

Bipedal Primate's Avatar Comment 28 by Bipedal Primate

Comment 7 by Richard Dawkins :

Whenever I read an article like this, I end up shaking my head in bafflement. Why would anyone want to CONVERT to Islam? I can see why, having been born into it, you might be reluctant to leave, perhaps when you reflect on the penalty for doing to. But for a woman (especially a woman) voluntarily to JOIN such a revolting and misogynistic institution when she doesn't have to always suggests to me massive stupidity. And then I remember our own very intelligent Layla Nasreddin / Lisa Bauer and retreat again to sheer, head-shaking bafflement.

Richard

We all have to belong somewhere. We all have to have a purpose in our lives. And Islam dishes out a purpose for each and all of it's followers. It's purpose that guides them. It's purpose that binds them.

Listen to Agent Smith's speech to Neo about purpose in part two of The Matrix Trilogy. It clarifies things. He's all about Islam, that Agent Smith. The entire Matrix Trilogy is about the islamization of our world, by the way. But as you know your way around postmodernism and cultural relativism, Professor Dawkins, I guess you've seen this already, right?

They don't all feel enslaved, you know, the Muslim women, they feel prudent. Valued. So much better than all the trashy sluts. And it feels safe to seek shelter in anonymity. Like Agent Smith. It's just too much for us with all these demands for success as an individual that we have to cope with here in western culture. Where better to seek refuge from such demands than the club which is open to any- and everyone? But once you're in, you can't get out. Oh, the safety in numbers. 'Freedom go to Hell', indeed.

Sorry, professor, but you can't beat Islam with reason. And if you can't beat them, well, we all know what follows after that one, don't we?

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 15:49:19 UTC | #887892

DoctorChristian's Avatar Comment 29 by DoctorChristian

I would be interested to see figures for how many muslim women ABANDON the religion, so that the net flow in or out could be measured. Is there a net inflow or a net outflow in the UK?

I know numerous muslim women and I'd say most of them are 'shaky' with respect to their religion, to varying degrees. The main complaint I hear is that they object to the controls that are imposed on them by muslim men.

One of my best friends is of Afghan origin, 28 years old, and is married to a religious maniac husband. However, she herself is TOTALLY atheist. She confides in me often about her lack of faith and her desire to break away from the culture of Islam as well as the religion. Not only that, she actively tries to talk her mother out of believing, and recently bought her a copy of 'The Magic of Reality'! (Her mother is apparently a religious fanatic too, but is 'softening' under the sustained assaults of her daughter).

I wonder how much of this internal subversion is going on within the muslim world, and how the resulting outflow of women from Islam compares to the (rather bizarre) inflow mentioned in the article? Would be interesting to know. I suspect from my own personal experiences that these female outflows are happening quite a lot.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 15:52:30 UTC | #887893

-TheCodeCrack-'s Avatar Comment 30 by -TheCodeCrack-

75% of converts are women?

Oh no, now everyone's going to think they're the dumber sex again...

Or the most easily controlled.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 15:54:14 UTC | #887894