Islam in the West
By Hassan Kamanpoori
15th, December 2013
Islamophobia designed to distort the image of Islam is sometimes turned on its head. A case in point is the story of Swiss politician Daniel Streich, known for his campaign to ban minarets, who has reverted to Islam. During the minarets campaign, Streich started reading the Quran in order to find ammunition with which to attack Islam. The Quran had a deep impact on him, and Streich began to agree with and acknowledged the proclamations of the Quran. Streich embraced Islam in 2008 and left the Swiss People’s Party in 2009 calling its campaign against Islam as witch hunt. Deeply opposed to the minaret ban, Streich now promotes religious tolerance and he is hoping to build Switzerland’s fifth mosque and the most beautiful in Europe. Streich, who now regularly recites Quran and offers his prayers five times a day, says he has found the truth of life in Islam. “Islam offers me logical answers to important life questions, which, in the end, I never found in any other faith,” he says.
In a 2009 referendum 42.5 per cent of the Swiss voters voted in favour of the minarets and 57.5 per cent supported the ban on the construction of minarets, while the Muslim population in Switzerland is only six per cent. This means 42.5 per cent of Swiss people supported Switzerland’s six per cent Muslims. In other words, the minarets controversy attracted the Swiss people towards Islam. The entire modus operandi of Islamophobia proponents to create a distorted image of Islam has been turned on its head. Another case in point is the story of Dr Garry Miller, a very important Christian missionary who reverted to Islam. He too decided to read the Quran to find anything that he might use while inviting Muslims to Christianity. He expected the Quran to be an old book from the Arabian desert because it was written 14 centuries ago.
Dr Miller discovered that the Quran has what no other scripture in the world has. He expected to find some stories about the hard time that Prophet (PBUH) had, like the death of his wife Khadija or the death of his sons and daughters. But he did not find anything like that. On the contrary, Dr Miller found a full chapter named “Mary” which is full of respect for Mary. He found that the name of Jesus is in the Quran 25 times while “Mohammad” is mentioned only four times. Dr Miller’s surprise was its peak when he read verse number 30 in Surat “Al-Anbiya”: “Do not the Unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together (as one unit of Creation), before We clove them asunder? We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?” Dr Miller says: “This verse is exactly the subject of the scientific research that won the Noble Prize in 1973 and was about the theory of the Great Explosion”.
According to this theory, the universe was the result of a great explosion that led to the formation of the universe with its skies and planets.
In her book Women embracing Islam: Gender and conversion in the West, published by the University of Texas Press, Karin Nieuwkerk, says “many Westerners believe Islam restricts and subordinates women in both private and public life. Yet a surprising number of women in Western Europe and America are converting to Islam”. According to a recent survey conducted by an inter-faith group called Faith Matters, the number of British converts to Islam recently passed the 100,000 mark, and there are as many as 5,000 new conversions nationwide each year. Although immigration is the biggest factor in the rise of Islam in Britain, it is also true that hundreds of Britons are converting to Islam every month. The survey revealed that nearly two thirds of the converts are women, more than 70 per cent are white and the average age at conversion is just 27.