'White women leading number of Britons converting to Islam'

Last Updated: Wed, Jan 05, 2011 11:10 hrs

As many as 100,000 Britons have converted to Islam since 2001, with White women leading the number embracing the religion, according to a latest research.

The Daily Star quoted the study by Kevin Brice, of Swansea University, as saying that a vast majority of those have also chosen to adopt the hijab, or headscarf, but tended to disagree with wearing niqab or full-face veils.

The study, carried out for the Faith Matters race diversity organisation, found 5,200 people converted to Islam in the UK last year.

"There are a lot of women who turn away from pressure imposed by Western society, to look or behave in a certain way. They prefer a more spiritual approach," the paper quoted Fiyaz Mughal, Director of Faith Matters, as saying.

Most of the converts were from London and university educated, the study added.

Some of the known converts include Tony Blair's sister-in-law Lauren Booth, CEO and Editor of Emel magazine, Sarah Joseph, and Samantha Lewthwaite, the wife of 7/7 suicide bomber Germaine Lindsay.

Joseph said that she followed her brother's footsteps and converted to Islam in 1988.

"It was particularly hard for my mum, who had been active in women's liberation and was worried about the role of women in Islam. But she realised we were fighting for the same issues and I have a fantastic relationship with my family now," she added.

The Daily Express quoted the survey of 122 converts, as saying that 56 percent were white British, with women making up 62 per cent of them, while the average age of conversion is 27 years.

"This is a group of normal people united in their adherence to a religion which they see as perfectly compatible with Western life. Converts are generally at ease living in the UK and do not feel that British people are hostile to Islam," the survey report said. (ANI)