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Why Would a Woman Convert to Islam?

A high-profile conversion begs the question: what are these women seeking that they could not find under liberty?

by
Herbert London

Bio

November 28, 2010 - 12:00 am
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Women in the West may deplore the pressure to act like men by drinking to excess and engaging in casual sex. But despite the pressure, one is free to make choices, a condition Islam rejects. However, it is precisely being the prisoner of action that appeals to many women. They don’t have to choose; the religion does it for them. It is the escape route from their vision of a broken society.

While it is easy to appreciate the search for meaning in societies that are culturally barren, the conversion to Islam is comparable to the move from anarchy to totalitarianism. In the 1920s and 1930s, Germany adopted the free and easy moral stance of the Weimar Republic. Life was “a bowl of cherries, don’t take it serious, it’s too mysterious.” The breakdown of moral order led to a period in which people sought stability in the form of Nazi dictatorship.

In a similar way, the moral dissolution of the West has many seeking an axis on which to rely — moral compass points. It may well be that the poles in this compass are static and harsh, but at least the limits of behavior are defined. Some poor souls unable “to find themselves” seek refuge in self-selected slavery. They are prisoners of their own vision. The West they see is morally bankrupt; Islam may be violent and harsh, but it does prescribe moral parameters.

Of course, the question that remains is why Christianity doesn’t provide the moral guidelines so many women are seeking. As I see it, Christianity’s unwillingness to assert the limits of behavior — a loss of confidence, if you will — has given Islam the upper hand with women who are suggestible and vulnerable to propaganda. Some might contend these converts have gone from the frying pan into the fire, but as they see it, Islam has offered meaning in lives without it and has provided strictures for lives that have only known license.

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Herbert London is president of Hudson Institute and professor emeritus of New York University. He is the author of Decade of Denial (Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2001) and America's Secular Challenge (Encounter Books).
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