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Why aren`t Muslim women converting to Christianity?

20 January, 2006

By Ahmer Muzammil


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Majority of the Western media and the Pat Robertson`s of the world will have you believe that Islam is the most backward religion in the world. They will make a case that Islam is oppressive to women; it preaches hates towards anyone and everyone. They will blow fires out of their mouths how all Muslims men who are practicing are nothing but wife beaters. I have a simple question (don`t I always?), why is it that even after all this oppression we never hear of any Muslim women whether they are living in Islamic countries or even in the west converting to Christianity or Judaism, or Hinduism or any "ISM" for that matter. We will hear the Irshad Manji`s and Isra naumani`s trying to "INNOVATE" in Islam by pleading to us how lesbianism and Bastard children are a necessity and how this behavior should be welcomed & encouraged in Islam. But never will we hear even them saying that another religion is the answer. On the other hand despite of open prejudice and harassment to some degree, Islam is spreading in Europe and America like wild-fire.
  
  According to an article in a famous right-wing magazine named Christian Science Monitor, thousands of European and American men and women are converting (the word used should be reverting because we as Muslims believe that every human being is born in a state of submission to God, therefore revert instead of convert is a more appropriate term) to Islam every year. According to this article entitled "WHY EUROPEAN WOMEN ARE TURNING TO ISLAM", the ratio of women converting to Islam is much higher than the men. The article states that the reason for this higher ratio is not what is widely perceived which is that most women come within the folds of Islam because they marry a Muslim man. On this issue of women converting to Islam because of their Muslim husbands, professor at Birmingham University Dr. Haifa Jawad says "although in the past this was one of the most prevalent reason for the women to convert, now it`s mostly on the basis of their own faith and understanding".  Peter Ford
 the author of this article writes that according to researchers, the rationale for this mass conversion amongst women especially to Islam is the moral bankruptcy and the superficial nature of the society that surrounds them. I guess what he is saying is that Islam doesn`t put emphasis on the "HOTTNESS" of a woman, rather on her character. Because we don`t sometimes have a say in what we look like, nature dictates that for the most part, but we as normal human beings have total control of our behavior. Therefore we should be judged on what we have the power to alter.
  
  Karen Van-Newkirk a Dutch researcher who has written extensively on Dutch women`s inclination towards Islam, says that in Islam, men and women both have specific rights and responsibilities. She further explains that the gender roles are well defined in Muslim societies and women are not considered merely a sex-toy. She goes on to say that Islam gives women uncanny respect in the society especially in the roles of Mother, sister, daughter and wife.  Even today in this age of materialism I am a personal witness to families back home, where women in their 80`s who are completely unlettered obviously are not the bread-winners of the family, never have been, but they have the stature of the head of the house hold. My own grand-mother while she was alive (may Allah swt grant her Paradise) made all the important decisions of our extended family. Her approval was needed in marriages of her grand-children; she had the final say in almost everything that happened in the
 households of her 4 sons. It was funny that I as a 4 year old, favorite of my grandmother got away with anything and everything to the displeasure of my father, but he couldn`t do anything once my grandmother had laid the law (or lack thereof).
  
  In an earlier issue, Christian Science Monitor published an article by Christine Armario entitled "HISPANICS ARE FINDING ANSWERS IN ISLAM". In this article Ms. Armario makes a case that the reason Hispanic women are turning to Islam is the simple fact that they see respect and security for their gender. According to this article, in United States alone there are about 40,000 reverted Muslims of Hispanic origin. Every year in USA about 20,000 men and women revert back to Islam, out of which 6% are Hispanics. I am not making any of this up; this is a fact that was published in a right wing magazine. It is however ironic though that after all the persecutions and bad media and your Oriely`s and 700 club`s, Rush Limbaugh`s and Michael Savage`s, Islam is still thriving in the heart of America. Ouch! Spare a thought for the neo-cons, No wonder Dick Cheney keeps getting one Heart attack after another.
  
  Here`s a million dollar question though! All these western women with all their freedoms and mini skirts and open societies and whatever else that is the sign of a "FREE WOMAN", they are dumping all of that and are running towards "THE BIG, BAD, BACKWARD ISLAM" obviously with their free will (Unless Bush administration is Taliban in disguise). On the flip side we see a culture transforming in front of our eyes in Pakistan. I am baffled when I see slow dancing couples in an EID program. Can it get any more disrespectful? If this is not a mockery of our religious events, I don`t know what is? Please spare me the lectures on how times are changing and Islam needs to change with time. Having an educational and open discussion about how do we make our Islamic banking systems affective so we can be competitive in the economic world, or whether "Hijaab" includes the face covering or not, we should & must discuss these and many other issues openly and should accommodate common-sense. But
 if someone is going to plead the case of "Mixed Prayers" or how dancing whether classical or otherwise is some how part and parcel of our religion and Pakistani culture then you`ll get an earful from me and believe you me I am the voice of majority on these issues. It is quite astonishing that just because I am not comfortable watching a woman dance, some how it makes me less cultured and civilized. I shouldn`t automatically become a "TALIBAN" just because I am not able to appreciate the vulgarity in Fashion shows and supposed "Cultural Shows". Of all the people, I would think that "Liberals" would be a little more open-minded about my "Backward-ness".
  
  "THERE IS SOMETHING SPECIAL ABOUT ISLAM!" It`s a Cliché at this point among Muslims. If it`s so special then why do we see Muslims making a complete mockery of their religion? And why do us the "Silent Majority" stand idly and let them dictate what our values and morals should be. If our true Islamic culture and values are so repugnant, how do you explain this massive conversion to Islam in societies where there is no compulsion on them? These societies have all the "ART" that one can want, and still there is hunger for that spirituality that only Islam can provide. It`s high time that we the majority of Pakistanis instead of just being by-standers and let these "LIBERAL-BULLIES" shove their mental-illness down our throats in form of "ART", we need to reclaim our media from these Indians-wannabe`s.  I have always told my western colleagues and counterparts that please don`t judge my religion thru my actions (although that`s a natural recourse, therefore its incumbent upon Muslims
 everywhere to live Islam rather than just talk Islam). If you want to know what Islam is about then go to the source, which is Quran and the life and teachings of our beloved Prophet (May peace and blessings of Allah swt be on him). I find it amazing and it`s a lesson for the haters of Islam as well as the supposed "MULLAH`S", when asked by his companions who is the best amongst Muslims, my beloved prophet (May peace and blessings of Allah swt be on him) said "THE ONE WHO IS POLITE AND LOVING TOWARDS HIS WIFE", all the wife-beaters are duly warned!
  
End.

Reader Comments:

Farther the greener it looks.

To Ali Agha Khan, Mr. Khan author is not defending Pakistani culture, I don't understand what made you to think so. He is simply trying to say that instead of so much bigotry by the west against Islam and Muslim women yet people in the west and mainly women embrace Islam not by any force but simply understanding the true universal message of Islam., is that so confusing.. Not recognizing the fact shows your ignorance. There is nothing that stops you of acquiring knowledge in non western societies. As long as the knowledge doesn't make you the devils advocate. The knowledge of the west which you seem impressed by have also taught them how to con and steel from others in the disguise of human rights and freedom. Their Law and morale values have no sense in such times only the material value matters because that is the guarantee of their cultural sophistication.


Noorul Qureshi, Pakistan - 27 January, 2006

Yes I do live in a society that is lacking in everyway.

Your remark is pretty ill-logiced my friend. Yes I live in a non-muslim society and boy does it lack spirituality in everyway. If you check my local newpaper you will see very sicking articles. Sexual abuse of little children, rape of women, and other ill behavior. However like in every non spiritual society there are muslims, in my case I am an American muslim. My goal as a muslim is to show in my action and words the right examples of Islam. Just because I live in a society that is ill spirited does not mean that I too am part of it. Alhamdulillah. Inshallah Islam is the fastest growing in America, and this lack of spirituality will deminish. :-)

Afzal, United Kingdom - 27 January, 2006

Only a person living in an open society can judge.

I really do not understand how you folks that are supposedly talk while sitting in Pakistan can talk about open society. Have you see two Gay men kissing in Times Square? I think not. Please don't talk about open society when you don't even live in one. As for Mr. Fante, Christianity is not for people of all backgrounds. Christianity was built by the Romans to control people. That is why so many Catholics here in the USA are becomeing muslim. They have seen the truth of Islam. I can give u a list of 40 people that have converted in the Mosque I go to in the greater New York area.

Afzal, United Kingdom - 27 January, 2006

come out of your Muslim well and look around !

In the 20th century, the person with greatest spritual and moral strength was Gandhi and he was not a muslim. he was a staunch Hindu in personal life and a staunch secular in his political outlook.

Chan, United Kingdom - 27 January, 2006

Little knowledge is dangerous

Ronald Fante and Dude,

Hey, Fante You have quoted the verses out of context. That shows the difference btween people like you who hate Islam without knowing it and those who understand it embrace it and make it the way of their life. To Duede of mecedonia, you a jewish or a Hindu in both cases I don't even want to start with you.

Noor, United Kingdom - 27 January, 2006

Hey, Chan from India. it was Ghandi's loss. He was good humanbeing with a lttle drama. But why you are dragging Ghandhi into this, author has not claimed only muslims can be better individuals. Islam doesn't need your approval to influence people neither peole need your opnion to become muslim so don't stress yourself.

Noor, United Kingdom - 27 January, 2006

Chan from Inda, Ghandi was not a Muslim but staunch Hindu and another staunch Hindu took his life.

amin, Hungary - 27 January, 2006

well as you very rightly brought out , if someone enters my home I will not sit idle & watch. i will kill him. plz ask your MUJahiddin bhais to vaccate kashmir coz its someone else land. and don't involve hindus in it coz for your kind information there are no hindus living in kashmir. but since you are living in pakistan , the most honest of all nation , you might be oblivious of this fact.
I'm not anti muslim but hates when one defends something he/she should accept.

can you put a hand on your heart & say that minorities are treated equally well in pakistan? the answer is with you dear.

since 1989 your country has pushed lakhs of kashmiris youth into insurgency in the name of your holy religuion.

i believe islam is a great religion like all other religion. but i'm not willing to consider it superior to any since i don't deem it inferior to any either.Fair enough, i guess.
regards,
sudip verma

Sudip Verma, Hungary - 27 January, 2006

Embrace what?

Dear Humza ,
Do you know you have thoroughly confused me.
what should I embrace YOU or Islam. while I have no problem in doing the former, the latter is infeasible since I'm too happy with my faith. Don't feel shy to ask me for more. you can count on me ;-)
Bye & Plz take acre,
Regards,
Sudip Verma

sudip verma, Hungary - 27 January, 2006

Liberalism

1. I agree with Ronald Fante and disagree with Humza Khan. The Arabs(Muhammad-bin Kasim), the Turkish(Delhi sultans) and the central Asians like Chengiz Khan and the Moguls had intentionally attacked Hindu India to spread Islam and were not defending themselves. That is recorded history and CANNOT be denied.
2. Hindus, Christians and Buddhists of the world can visit each other's temples or Churches or even Dargahs of Sufi saints. Only a few of them like Puri temple or the Vatican are restricted. We need not CONVERT to follow good things of one another's religions. Millions of Hindus visit Dargahs every year and there is no need to mention that even children in US/Europe know about or respect Karma,Yoga, Gita, etc. The problem is only with Muslims because they cannot respect anything of any other religion or they cease to be Muslim and may be victimized by their Muslim society. However there are Muslim societies which are very liberal e.g. Indonesia and Malaysia. In Malaysia Muslims visit open houses by Indians on Diwali and by Christians on Christmas, while non-Muslims visit open houses by Muslims on Id (called Hari Raya in Malaysia). So perhaps it is a matter of being liberal, democratic and educated.


Dayal, Hungary - 29 January, 2006

What about marriages?

I do not think any Muslim lady is very happy with the probability that her husband would one day introduce her to the 2nd, 3rd or the 4th wife. Still they do not convert because they do not have the freedom or remain closed as so many have already argued. Of course all others in poor countries remain rather closed too including all Indians (Hindus/Muslims/others). No Muslim seems to follow Shariah that he can have 4 wives ONLY IF he can keep them happy, which implies consulting the earlier wife or wives before getting another one.

Dayal, Hungary - 29 January, 2006

Give me a break

Muslim woman don't convert because their families will murder them. You know that very well but don't mention it. I've been to the Middle-East several times and have seen women treated like animals.The sooner Islam comes into the modern world the better. Being hispanic and around my culture all my life I've never met anyone who's converted to Islam.



J, United Kingdom - 30 January, 2006

Kashmir/Jaffna/Balochistan

1. The freedom struggle in Kashmir is in the central valley from the Sunni Muslims and it does not include 40% non-Muslims of Kashmir including ousted Kashmiri Pandits, Buddhist region of Ladakh (5% Muslims), Hindu region of Jammu (20% Muslims) as well as Shia regions (e.g. Kargil) who favour India. Also there are Sufi and Sikh minorities. Also the influence of freedom struggle is lesser and lesser as you go away from Srinagar and quite a few people there are moderates. A few Sunni Muslims in central Kashmir valley are not Kashmir and they cannot force their opinions on others. Kashmir belongs to all Kashmiris and no sane entity in this world would discriminate among them on the basis of religion or ethnicity.

The facts about self-determination--
1. Kashmiris adopted a constitution in 1955 saying that the whole of Kashmir belongs to India forever and any change to this constitution will be null and void. Also Kashmiris voted in 1955 elections. When Lord Mountbatten had signed Kashmir's accession to India as first governor general of free India, he had noted that India should confirm it by constitution, election or plebiscite and India did the first two.
2. The British fairly returned power to those from whom they had taken it, the princes. The Kashmir Maharaja and his two advisers, one Hindu and one Muslim, decided to keep Kashmir independent, but the Pakistani attack in 1948 forced the Maharaja to sign the Instrument of accession of Kashmir to India.
3. The attacking country Pakistan did not withdraw from part of Kashmir violating UN Security council resolutions in 1948 before any plebiscite was to be done in the whole of Kashmir and India would have won any plebiscite that time easily because Kashmiris were accusing Pakistani army of many atrocities and civilian killings. Also Kashmiris cheered “Azad Hidustan Zindabad” when Indian Army pushed back Pakistani forces in 1948. They sang Sare Jahan se Acchha Hidostan Hamara that time. Some of them changed their mind in 1985 due to religion.
In my humble opinion, Kashmir or Balochistan or Tamil problem in Sri Lanka are all the same where some people unfairly accuse the majority or the govt.(e.g. Punjabis in Pakistan) without proper knowledge of the facts including things done for them. Even if there are problems, there can always be a positive solution rather than blaming others and discriminating among human being on unfair bases.

Dayal, Hungary - 30 January, 2006

Why aren`t muslim women converting to Christianity?

what a codswallop!
In Holland there is a recent law enacted against women wearing veil in public places. How can one say Islam is spreading fast amongst women in Holland or any where else in the world? It is as ridiculous as a mullah throwing a bomb and at the same time him proclaiming that Islam stands for peace!


Yasmin, Aruba - 30 January, 2006

Ok, I will not talk about common people who are converting to Islam. What about those who were preaching Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism. Yes, I am talking about priests and ministers. I wonder what made them to convert into Islam. In Europe and America even in Israel religious priests have converted into Islam. I believe they were not ignorant or less educated about their religion as priests and ministers of their churchs. And they were not ignorant of bad picture of Muslims and Islam created by bias media and information, either, yet, they were able to differentiate and understand the truth. By the way they all are very much active in spreading the message of Islam. So I would suggest to John, Fante, Dayal and others who are talking from their bottoms rather their minds, learn and educate yourself and accept the ground reality. Bias, hatred and jealousy will take you nowhere but to your embarrassment.


Noor, United Kingdom - 30 January, 2006

Rights of woman in Islam

Chan give it up, anyway, A Muslim woman knows there is no faith or religion on this earth which has given better status to a woman than Islam has. Islam is first religion who liberated woman from man`s domination. Islam protected her existence from those who thought having a daughter was a curse from their Gods. Islam let her free from clutches of priesthood as a nun and showed her the right path as how she could be close to almighty God as normal person, as a wife, a mother and a daughter. Islam gave her equal rights in inheritance, leadership, in accruing knowledge, Islam brought dignity and respect to her by describing her role as a wife, mother, sister and a daughter. Islam gave her wisdom and guide lines to respect her own body from those who just think of her as an object sex. And above all Islam make her a true believer . What your liberal world has done for a woman other than making her a commercial commodity. Her body an object for sex and other lustrous products. Your liberal world has even taken away her right as natural partnership between man and woman. So don`t consider muslim woman a foolish she knows what Islam has for her. Go do some study.


amin, Hungary - 31 January, 2006

Everyone has free will

There is free will in everyones life. They can do what they please. Women is Pakitan don't want to convert to Buddhism, just as there are millions of Hindu that don't know the vitrue to Islam and will not convert from their parents ways of Hinduism.

Afzal, United Kingdom - 31 January, 2006

Islam came to stop Idol worship.

Islam is a religion that condemns Idol worship in all manner and form. This would be the start of the friction. However there are extremist Hindus that have a problem with Islam. Take for instance the Gujraat riots in which hundreds of innocent muslims were killed. I don't think these muslims were trying to convert Hindus to Muslims. So please don't tell me that Hindus are innocent.

Afzal, Pakistan - 31 January, 2006

Hispanic Muslims

There are thousands of hispanic muslims living in the USA. This is not just in the States but also in South American countries. Countries such as Mexico, Colombia, Ecudor and Brazil. You probably don't realize it becuase their attire is probably different. Here is a site that can shed some light. http://www.hispanicmuslims.com/

Afzal, Pakistan - 31 January, 2006

By denying Right (ongoing)!

Muslim women- not converting to Christianity
On the assumption that Prophet Mohammed
Has returned as Jesus with his Christian wife
And daughter among other thing?This makes
Kingdom Queendom sheikdom oildom and UN
Books of law as religion.Consequently, the
Conflicts in mideast and strange bedfellows and
Partnership we are witnessing.Religion origin
came when little Girls were killed knowingly
being done with media news blackout.


B Mohammed, Canada - 01 February, 2006

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