Islamic Conversions Gain Ground in Britain

September 2, 2006

Author: Rashme Roshan Lall

Source: Times of India, the

Shoe-bomber Richard Reid; 7/7 bomber Germaine Lindsay; August 10’s Trans-Atlantic airline alleged conspirators Don Stewart-Whyte, Oliver Savant and Brian Young. All would fail the racial profiling test to screen potential terrorists; all are converts to Islam. So, is the new face of Islam in the UK increasingly white or at least non-Asian and non-typical?

"Yes and no," says Batool-al Toma, head of the New Muslim Project, set up 12 years ago in the English Midlands city of Leicester as Britain’s first organised one-stop shop for new converts to Islam.

Al-Toma, formerly Mary Geraghty, is a white Irishwoman who converted to Islam 25 years ago. She admits to TOI that "the numbers of white converts have been steadily rising, my work has increased and the sheer volume of people coming to me every week has risen in the last 12 years".

But she disputes the easy media shorthand that sees British Islam as increasingly white and dangerously reflected in Reid, Lindsay, Stewart-Whyte, Savant and Young. "Reid and Lindsay were not of a white background," she points out, "and the others are not typical of the white people who convert to Islam." More crucially, says al-Toma, the New Muslim Project is now busy creating a separate programme of induction for Hindu and Sikh converts to Islam.