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

kriton's Avatar Jump to comment 69 by kriton

But that still doesn't explain why they turn to islam, rather than just doing things their own way. Keen on being a traditional, family-oriented stay-at-home housewife? Well why not just do that? There's nothing stopping you. Dislike revealing clothes and wish to dress in what you think is a modest manner? That, also, is not illegal. Or even uncommon. There are plenty of people who wear cardigans and trousers and sensible shoes, and doing so does not make one in the least conspicuous or sexualised. Tired of consumer culture? Take to reading books or something...

Perhaps they feel so tired of parts of current culture that they want to reject it in some more radical way? Not only not taking part in it, but also in a way displaying a middle finger to it? Sometimes being against something can be enough to bond people together.

Also, I guess if you wanted to opt out of consumer culture, people around you would often ask you why you are acting different. You might be alone in what you do. 40 years ago, these women would perhaps have become communists and lived in a collective. Now religion offers a reason you can give to people.

If you are not part of some ideological system, you may have doubts and feel anxious about your choice; "what's the point of my little demonstration, maybe I should just join consumer society again". But in a religious (or political) movement you have people around you telling you that you are doing the right thing.

I read in a book about cults (think it was Steven Hassans "Combating Cult Mind Control") that cults sometimes bring people in through "love-bombing", where new recruits get a lot of positive attention. This feels great and may be a new experience to many. But after a while, this positive treatment becomes conditional on following the rules and doing things for the cult. Just like with a drug, you want that love-bombing again, and you will go to great lengths to get it. Maybe a bit like in behaviorism experiments...

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 21:26:40 UTC | #887983