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Weekend Roundup: Islam Through The Eyes Of Western Converts

By in Huffington Post on June 16, 2017

By Nathan Gardels

To discover the other within ourselves, for empathy to turn the soul, is a mark of common humanity. Religious converts who take the full journey to another faith offer insights and wisdom from the inside, out beyond what can be gained from the outside looking in.

This week, we publish two profiles in the latest of a remarkable series for The WorldPost by Islamic scholar Akbar Ahmed on Western converts to Islam. The first profile is of Tim Winter, a Londoner who joined the faith back in 1979, long before the present paroxysm of Islamophobia that identifies Islam with terrorism. Winter recounts the experience of previous converts in Great Britain, going back to the Victorian age, and takes a critical look at the disconnect between the preoccupations of Muslim leaders in the West today and the needs of their flock. To bridge the gap between both of his identities, Winter dedicates his days to preparing the next generation of Muslim thinkers to be better equipped to engage with British society as dean of the Cambridge Muslim College. He hopes to showcase what he already believes to be true ― Muslims are an important contribution to what makes Europe great and will only continue to be so. “The moral resources in Islamic tradition are limitless,” Ahmed quotes Winter as saying, “in terms of love for neighbor, love for the other, solid family values and respecting the old ― all these things that Europe is starting to lose are present in the ethical teachings of Islam.”

Ahmed also profiles 58-year-old Annette Bellaoui, who converted to Islam nearly two decades ago. The Dane proudly wears the hijab and through her “Missing Voices” program, tries to challenge “the media-enhanced idea” of Muslim women as “poor benighted creatures who sit at […]    

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