Converts Swell The Growth of Islam
November 26, 2031
LONDON – Have you noticed the increase in women wearing the Muslim headscarf and perhaps even the face veil, and that many of those wearing a veil over their face show pale skin and blue eyes in its eyeslit? Your eyes were not deceiving you. According to the latest statistics you will likely be seeing more of it.
The latest census figures show the number of Muslims currently living in the U.K. is at 8.2 million. This represents over 12% of the total population of Britain and an increase from just shy of 8% a decade ago. A significant portion of the growth has been from British converts to Islam. Their number has increased from 100,000 twenty years ago to over two and a quarter million today. This figure means that one out of every three British Muslims today is a convert and their number is growing.
The growth of converts to Islam in the West has been an important topic in recent years. As identification with Christianity has declined in Europe and the United States a growing share of the population have identified as Muslim or non-religious. The growth of the Muslim populations in the West had previously been the result of immigration and high birthrates. However, as Muslim birthrates have fallen more into line with the rest of society in Britain the surge in growth has increasing come from converts.
Demographics specialist Stephen Laswell has spent a decade studying the conversion of British citizens to Islam. “It is an undeniable trend that non-Muslims in Britain are increasingly turning to Islam. Twenty years ago there was only a trickle of this happening with roughly 5,000 converts a year. Every year the number converting has climbed to the point where last year over one hundred thousand converted,” Laswell said.
When asked why the rate of conversions have increased Laswell said, “In the past converts found the experience of changing their faith to be challenging. Often they had trouble fitting in with their local muslim community. With more converts who come from a similar background to bond with, recent converts are having an easier time adjusting. The presence of a larger convert community seems to be self sustaining.”
While some converts found fitting in with Muslim communities from other nationalities difficult, others have found that it helped with their transition.
Marianne Hopkins, a twenty-three year old caucasian woman, clearly displays her religion “I went to school in an area with a majority of foreign descent. I learned about Islam from my Muslim female classmates who all wore the hijab. After graduation I converted and at the following Eid two of my friends and former classmates started to wear the niqab. I had only started wearing hijab when converting, but at the next Eid I had studied Islam more thoroughly to be convinced that niqab is better, and I have worn it since.”
When contacted for this article, Dr. Ibrahim Azzam with the Muslim Research Group was able to confirm that wearing the hijab and niqab are things many female converts embrace.
“Women converts, probably because they are new to the religion and excited to explore it, nearly all wear hijab and a good many of them wear the niqab. This has actually led to a resurgence of the niqab as the converts inspire others to begin wearing it,” Dr. Azzam said.
When asked the reason for so many conversions Dr. Azzam explained, “The unfortunate fact of today is that Christianity in modern day Britain is not what it use to be. There has been such a relaxation in the practice of the faith. As a result, even most of the people who identify themselves as Christians are in fact non-religious. With this vacuum of faith many people find the clear and stringent tenets of Islam to have a great appeal.”
With the rate of conversion increasing, the idea that Britain may one day be a Muslim majority country where most women wear the headscarf does not seem an impossibility. “Demographics are always tricky and it is always risky to speculate. For instance, twenty years ago people would not have predicted that the birthrate of Muslims would have declined to the European average, nor would they have anticipated that the number of converts to Islam would exponentially increase,” Laswell explained.
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