Islamic Voice
Jamadi Ul Akhir 1422
September 2001
Volume 15-09 No:177

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FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT


British Women Attracted to Islam

British Women Attracted to Islam

P. K. Abdul Ghafour

09Why.jpgThe role of women in Islam and Muslim society has come under greater scrutiny in the context of the United Nations conference on population held in Cairo.

Lot of rhetoric and pontification about the so-called suppression of women in Muslim societies went on. To add “drama and sensationalism” to the subject America’s Cable News Network television repeatedly showed circumcision of girls in Egypt apparently to exaggerate disfigurement of women.

And then the British Broadcasting Corporation adding its mite to “the debate” by running a series on women. Taslima Nasreen, the renegade and disgraced Bangladeshi writer, was quoted in Newsroom programme as though she is an authority on the role of women in Islam.

But the fact is Western women are disgusted with the so-called free society where the woman is in reality treated as an object of lust and depravation, a kind of modern day comfort women.

The woman in the West has turned her back on these false values and is turning more and more toward Islam where she is accorded the best respect and security a human being can expect to get. It must be baffling to the Westerners brought up on a steady diet of anti-Muslim hysteria.

The Sunday Times of London in the past has come out with a report about such a revolt by women against the values prevailing in Britain. “British women seek new morality in Islam,” says the heading in its inside-page report written by its religious affairs correspondent Lesley Thomas. According to the report, it is not case of a handful of British women who are becoming Muslims, not scores of them or hundreds of them.

“Thousands of British women are,” begins the report, “becoming Muslims in a trend that has baffled feminists and caused concern to Christians.”

According to the Association for British Muslims, the rate of conversion to Islam is increasing as a “lot of them find it gives them a refuge.” But these are not ordinary women; battered wives or those “lured” by moneyed or jet-set potentates.

Let us continue with Lesley Thomas report: “Of an estimated 10,000 British converts to Islam over the past decade, most are single, educated women. Doctors, college lecturers and lawyers have converted to the religion that is traditionally seen as being oppressive to women.”

Bushra, 31, an Irish Catholic before she acquired this Muslim name, is typical of the “new breed of converts” who are attracted by the “security and moral standards in Islam.”

She says: “ You know exactly where you stand and what your rights are. Catholics have a lot of trouble dealing with the fact that you can’t have sex before marriage. But in Islam it’s simple- you don’t even mix with men that you’re not married to.” Bushra whose Christian name was Moira Ni’ Cholmain is now married to a Muslim.

Mashuq ibn Ali, director of the Center for Islamic studies at the University of Wales, says of the conversion trend: “it has been particularly surprising that British women who come from the professional and middle classes are becoming Muslims, especially in the light of the feminist movement, and the negative mage that Islam often has in the West.”

Some British converts, the paper says, have called for legislation to protect white Muslims from religious discrimination. Bashira Rosser-Owen, 43, who became a Muslim when she was 20, said: “if you are black you can use race relations laws, but white Muslims can’t really do anything. I was turned down for a job because of my beliefs.” (Courtesy: Arab News)

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