My descent into Islam did not happen in a vacuum or without context. There were many variables and extenuating circumstances that occurred before I became a Muslim. There are many factors that have affected me, from my childhood, early adolescence, and my life as an adult woman. It’s a similar experience for many converts. Many people think those who convert to Islam must be un-intelligent to join such an oppressive ideology and faith . But the female converts I have known have usually had an abusive upbringing or childhood...
Part One: Background
My descent into Islam did not happen in a vacuum or without context. There were many variables and extenuating circumstances that occurred before I became a Muslim. There are many factors that have affected me, from my childhood, early adolescence, and my life as an adult woman. It’s a similar experience for many converts. Many people think those who convert to Islam must be un-intelligent to join such an oppressive ideology and faith . But the female converts I have known have usually had an abusive upbringing or childhood.
I have not known any male converts,as women and men are forbidden friendships under Islam.
I came from a back ground of severe abuse as a child; psychological, sexual, and physical. I have known women who are also survivors of child sex abuse, and who went on to convert to Islam. They had come from horrendous backgrounds, full of horrific abuse. I’m not suggesting this is the case for all converts, but it is the case with many I have met.
Some convert to Islam because they feel disillusioned with their own religious faith, or are looking for a different path of spirituality. I noticed also that some converts had a propensity towards dogmatism. I often felt uncomfortable with other Muslim convert women, because they were very controlling. They would often try to control other converts, and preach the details of how to be a good Muslim.
I think some join Islam because it also gives them power and control over the sexuality of other women. Women were often overly focused and consumed with each other’s Islamic dress and sexuality.
I must tell my own story ,and my own experience and not dwell too much on why others convert. But I do think it is important to try to understand why women are persuaded to embrace Islam. It is detrimental to their well being, and many enter a world they did not realise they were entering.
The main reason that Muslims desire to live in our Western cultures is to do dawah; proselytizing and spreading the ideology of Islam. Being aware of this , we can educate young women about the dangers of Islam. The religion is often sugar-coated,and women are not told the truth about the reality and true meanings of the Quran and the hadith.
Muslims teach other Muslims to provide non Muslims with a version of Islam that they can handle - a sanitised version. Their belief is that after we convert, slowly our hearts will be open to the ‘truth’ of Islam.
One needs to understand the different contexts that can make a person vulnerable to this religion. If we understand why some people are more vulnerable than others, then we can prevent their descent into Islam and save girls from being influenced by this cult.
I call it a cult because that is what Islam truly is. Some say it is not a religion, but it does contain strong dogmatic rulings and spiritual practices. However, Islam is not only a religion, it is a political ideology and all-encompassing way of life. Most alarming of all, leaving or criticising Islam carries the penalty of death.
A true religion or authentic spirituality I believe is about compassion and love. People are free in their choice to leave or join an authentic religion. If a religion is real and true, it never needs to be forced on anyone. Therefore I see Islam as a dangerous cult,that controls the people in it by using fear and tyranny.
Because of my childhood of severe abuse, I was very vulnerable before I came to know about Islam. I was isolated, I was a struggling single mother and college student. When one feels isolated and alone, they are more prone to be drawn into a cult or religion that presents itself as a warm family,and gives a person a sense of belonging .
The reality is very different.
Next week: Fear and loathing of self
Written by Sara Slater