Thousands Of British Elite Embrace Islam: Study
- From: "We are Muslims and we are extremely proud of it." <born_to_be_muslim@xxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed, 23 May 2012 10:53:45 -0700 (PDT)
Thousands Of British Elite Embrace Islam: Study
LONDON, February 26 (IslamOnline.net) – Jonathan Birt, the son of Lord
Birt and Emma Clark, the granddaughter of former liberal prime
minister Herbert Asquith, are only two of 14,000 mostly-elite white
Britons having reverted to Islam.
In the first authoritative study of the phenomenon, carried by the
Sunday Times on February 22, some of the country’s top landowners,
celebrities and the offspring of senior Establishment figures have
embraced the Muslim faith after being disillusioned with western
The new study by Yahya (formerly Jonathan) Birt, son of Lord Birt,
former director-general of the BBC, provides the first reliable data
on the sensitive subject of the movement of Christians into Islam.
He uses a breakdown of the latest census figures to conclude that
there are now 14,200 white reverts in Britain.
Speaking publicly for the first time about his faith this weekend,
Birt argued that an inspirational figure, similar to the American
revert Malcolm X for Afro-Caribbeans, would first have to emerge if
the next stage, a mass conversion among white Britons, were to
“You need great transitional figures to translate something alien
(like Islam) into the vernacular,” Birt, whose doctorate at Oxford
University is on young British Muslims, was quoted by the Times.
“The image of Islam projected by political Islamic movements is not
very attractive,” he said.
Initially, Birt said he had no coherent reasons for reverting, but “in
the longer term I think it was the overall profundity, balance and
coherence and spirituality of the Muslim way of life which convinced
me,” he said.
Meanwhile, it emerged this weekend that Emma Clark, the great-
granddaughter of a British prime minister has reverted.
Emma, whose ancestor, the Liberal prime minister Herbert Asquith, took
Britain into the first world war, said: “We’re all the rage, I hope
it’s not a passing fashion.”
Clark, who helped design an Islamic garden for the Prince of Wales at
Highgrove, his Gloucestershire home, is now helping create a similar
garden for a mosque in Woking, Surrey, on the site of a car park, said
the British newspaper.
Furthermore, fresh evidence came this weekend that Islam has received
formal acceptance at the heart of the Establishment.
The Queen has approved new arrangements to allow Muslim staff at
Buckingham Palace time off to attend Friday prayers at a mosque.
A member of staff in the finance department is the first to take
advantage of it, said the British paper.
Others have come to Islam through love or marriage.
Kristiane Backer, a former girlfriend of the cricketer Imran Khan,
said she was introduced to the religion through love but reverted
after her break-up.
She has shrunk from speaking publicly about her religion before
because of fears it might affect her work prospects.
“Imran sowed the seeds, but when (the relationship) finished (the
faith) took on a momentum of its own,” she said.
Drawn to Sufi mysticism, Baker said that white reverts had to overcome
prejudice both from those born into Islam and from non-believers.
“In the mosque women come up and say to me, ‘You have hair showing:
you must cover up completely.’ I say, ‘Mind your own hair, you’re here
to think about God’ ”.
Many reverts have been inspired by the writings of Charles Le Gai
Eaton, a former Foreign Office diplomat, it added.
“I have received letters from people who are put off by the wishy-
washy standards of contemporary Christianity and they are looking for
a religion which does not compromise too much with the modern world,”
said Eaton, author of Islam and the Destiny of Man.
Some prominent reverts are even more wary, said the Times.
The Earl of Yarborough, 40, who owns a 28,000-acre estate in
Lincolnshire, declined to discuss anything about his faith.
“I have nothing to say to you,” said Yarborough, who has apparently
taken the name Abdul Mateen.
Muslim leaders are harnessing modern campaigning methods to promote
their faith. Groups have sprung up on the internet publishing “trophy
lists” of white reverts.
The state-funded school in London founded by Yusuf Islam, formerly the
singer Cat Stevens, has turned to Premiership footballers to provide
role models, said the Times.
Sources close to the school say reverts including Nicolas Anelka, the
Manchester City striker, and Omer “Freddie” Kanoute, of Tottenham
Hotspur, have made visits.
The trend is being encouraged by Muslim leaders who are convinced that
the conversion of prominent society figures will help protect a
community stigmatized by “terrorism and fundamentalism“.
The Muslim Council of Britain has co-opted Joe Ahmed-Dobson, son of
Frank Dobson, the former health secretary, to chair its regeneration
“The community has been unfairly targeted and these developments
encourage it in a time of difficulty,” said Zaki Badawi, chairman of
the Imams and Mosques Council.
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