British Muslim Converts: Choosing Alternative Lives by Kate Zebiri

By Kate Zebiri

The one exploration of this particular workforce in British society, this well-argued and strong publication investigates the interesting contribution that Western converts to Islam are making to a particular tackle Islamic suggestion and discourse. proficient through interviews with British converts in addition to released and web fabric, Zebiri asks even if converts may perhaps act as much-needed mediators within the turning out to be divide among Islam and the West.

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67–8 and 52. , p. 53. 107 Al-Qwidi, ‘Understanding the Stages of Conversion to Islam’, pp. 117–21. 108 Adnan, New Muslims in Britain, p. 11; al-Qwidi, ‘Understanding the Stages of Conversion to Islam’, p. 123. 111 Almost half of my sample had come from a working-class background, even if some of these aspired to middle-class status in their own adult lives. Such findings reflect the diversification of social class among converts in recent decades.

93 Winter, ‘Conversion as Nostalgia’, p. 102. 94 Much higher figures have been suggested for France, where intermarriage and conversion seem to be more common, and the US, which of course has a higher population than Britain. In the late 1980s Gerholm estimated the number of French converts to be between 50,000 and 200,000 (‘Three European Intellectuals’, p. 264), while Haddad cites a 2003 newspaper report which estimates that 30,000 Americans convert each year (‘The Quest for Peace in Submission’, p.

32 Jacobson, Islam in Transition, p. 103. 33 Fulat, ‘Recognise our Role in Society’. qxd 8/31/07 26 2:58 PM Page 26 British Muslim Converts Feelings of national belonging are secondary to religious identity for many Muslims. 40 Most Muslims, especially the younger generation, have no problem with identifying themselves as both ‘Muslim’ and ‘British’. ’ is a non-issue, explaining:‘There are two distinct identities involved here: one is a religious 34 Research carried out in early 2006 for the Channel 4 Dispatches documentary What Muslims Want (broadcast 7 August 2006) found that 82% of Muslims felt ‘strongly British’, and an ICM poll conducted for the Daily Telegraph (19 February 2006) found that 91% felt loyal to Britain.

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