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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.

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