UK Converts to Islam Seemingly on the Rise
by Enza Ferreri
Apparently Islam is on the rise in the UK not only because of the increasing number of Muslim immigrants and their progenies, but also due to the natives who convert to Islam either spontaneously or in order to marry Muslims.
A source says that the number of Britons converting to Islam has doubled between 2001 and 2011, and these are more women than men.
A January 2011 study by Kevin Brice of Swansea University, on behalf of the organization Faith Matters, calculated that the number of converts to Islam in the UK in 2001 was just over 60,000 and it may have risen to 100,000 in 2010.
Mathematics does not seem to be the strong point of these people, because 100,000 is not double of 60,000, but there is worse: an otherwise decent and interesting article appeared in The Spectator calls it a rise “by two-thirds”.
Only 55% of the converts in 2001, however, were white British. In 2010, the percentage of white British among the 122 converts surveyed was about the same, at 56%. Women were 62% of respondents of all ethnic groups. The average age at conversion was 27 and a half.
The report estimates that 5,200 people converted to Islam in the UK in 2010.
In November 2011, The Independent came up with an even higher percentage of women converts, although on what basis is not clear: “It emerged that of the 5,200 Britons who converted to Islam last year, more than half are white and 75 per cent of them women”.
A reliable estimate of the number of converts to Islam is difficult, admitted director of Faith Matters Fiyaz Mughal, who added: “This report is the best intellectual ‘guestimate’ using census numbers, local authority data and polling from mosques”.
The problem is that, if you look at the website of Faith Matters, the association that commissioned the report, you immediately encounter well-known terms used by Islamic apologists like “Islamophobia” and “hatred”. Advertised on its home page there is a disproportionate number of books negatively portraying the English Defence League, but I haven’t seen one on Islamic extremism and violence.
Fiyaz Mughal and its creation Faith Matters also work for the TELL MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Violence) project, “to ensure that anti-Muslim incidents and attacks in the UK are mapped, measured and recorded, and support provided for victims.” They seem to be much more concerned about the relatively few (if any) episodes of violence against Muslims than the extremely more numerous acts of violence by Muslims.
So, despite Faith Matters’ self-description as “a not for profit organisation founded in 2005 which works to reduce extremism and interfaith and intra-faith tensions and we develop platforms for discourse and interaction between Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Jewish and Hindu communities across the globe. We have offices in the United Kingdom, Pakistan and the Middle East (Jerusalem)”, I am a bit suspicious about the figures on converts to Islam in the survey paid for by it.
It is interesting to note, as well, that even according to these figures almost half of all new converts are not white British, so the problem of immigration, gone out of the door, comes back by the window.
About the reasons why anybody – in their right mind, I’m tempted to add – should decide to convert to Islam, many people surveyed pointed to certainties, boundaries and well-defined status.
The Spectator article mentioned above, written by a Catholic woman, says:
But above all, I like the moral certainties. I don”t mind the dogma one bit. I would rather dogma and impossible ideals than confusion and compromise. In that sense, I do identify with those who choose Islam over the way of no faith, or a seemingly uncertain faith, like the woolly old C of E.
I am convinced that, while individuals can be atheist, societies for various reasons – which I’ll explain in another post – cannot.
So, the more the West distances itself from Christianity, the more likely it will end up in the arms (pun half intended) of Islam.
Enza Ferreri is an Italian-born, London-based author and journalist. She has been a London correspondent for several Italian magazines and newspapers, including Panorama, L’Espresso, La Repubblica.