Curiosity About Islam Leads to Conversions for Some Taiwanese Women

July 11, 2004

Source: Taipei Times

On July 11, 2004 the Taipei Times reported, "It was a list of questions that brought Huda to the Taipei Grand Mosque. 'Why can't they eat pork? Why must women cover up? And why, if men can take four wives, can't women take four husbands?' After enrolling in a six-week course on the fundamentals of Islam she found her answers, and she found religion. 'When I first heard about the course, I told myself, "This is your time to learn something new." I discovered how to live my life according to the Koran, and now I feel very peaceful,' she said. While stories of suicide attacks and beheadings permeate news coverage from Afghanistan and the Middle East, Taipei Grand Mosque Imam Ma Shiao-chi said the number of people visiting the mosque with questions about Islam has increased. 'The news always highlights the bad things. About 90 percent of the news is negative. They hear stories about people getting their heads cut off and think Islam is a bad religion. They know very few things about Islam. They want to know what makes people do these things,' he said. Most of those going to the mosque are women, he said. Whether they were born into a non-practicing Muslim family, converted for marriage, or, like Huda, are simply curious to learn more about the religion, the women Ma meets want to better understand the role of women in Islam. Perhaps they have no intentions of converting, Ma said, but at least they take the time to dispel a few stereotypes about the religion."