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Muslim Converts in UK Energize Community But Face Obstacles

Lauren Booth, a prominent British Muslim convert. Photo from laurenbooth.co.uk

by Trevor Grundy
from ENI News

Muslim converts in the United Kingdom — a small but growing number — often bring new energy to their faith communities, but also report facing obstacles to acceptance.

“Converts are a bridge between non-Muslim, mainly white, communities and Muslim communities who are mainly from sub-continent communities,” said Fiyaz Mughal, founder and director of London-based Faith Matters, an inter-faith organization, in an interview with ENInews.

However, converts also told researchers last year that they felt cast adrift after their acceptance of Islam. Although mosques were delighted to welcome new members, they often failed to provide support when their new co-religionists faced hostility from family and friends, they said.

The study, by Kevin Brice of Swansea University in Wales, said there were about 100,000 converts to Islam in the U.K. in the 2000-2010 decade, up from 60,000 in the 1990s.

The report, called “A minority within a minority: a report on converts to Islam in the United Kingdom,” was sponsored by Faith Matters, which is supported by the British government and faith groups. There are about 1.8 million Muslims in the U.K., out of a total population of 62.5 million.

British converts to Islam — “muhtedis” in Arabic — can serve as a bridge over which Muslims and non-Muslims can meet and exchange ideas, said Mughal.

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