Culture & Religion
January Fri 07, 2011
The U.K.'s Daily Mail reports on a study conducted by the British inter-faith organization Faith Matters that sets the number of Islamic converts in Britain at 100,000. In just the last twelve months 5,200 men and women in Great Britain have embraced Islam by publicly reciting the shahada (from the Arabic verb "he witnessed")- "There is no god but God, and Muhammad is his messenger." Public recitation of the shahada is one of the five pillars of Islam. A good analogy is that the shahada is to Muslims what baptism is to Christians.
Last year in London alone 1,400 people converted to Islam. The average Londoner converting Islam last year was a white woman aged 27 years. According to a second study, conducted by Kevin Brice of Swansea University in Wales, the main reasons cited by converts for turning to Islam were drunkenness, "lack of morality and sexual permissiveness," along with "unrestrained consumerism." Perhaps the highest profile recent convert to Islam in the U.K. is Lauren Booth, the sister-in-law of former prime minister Tony Blair, who himself converted to Catholicism after he left office. Unlike her brother-in-law, who shortly after becoming Catholic proceeded to lecture the church on sexual morality, using the tired trope of urging us to get with the times, Ms. Booth seems a humble adherent to her new faith. Since she converted in Iran, she presumably identifies as a Shi'ite Muslim, whereas the most of her fellow U.K. converts are Sunni.
For a long time now sociologists have been able to demonstrate that when it comes to religion the higher the level of commitment, at least up to a point, the more attractive it is at drawing and keeping people. This is one reason why watered down forms of Christianity that takes its cue from society stands no chance of being sustainable.
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