Posts Tagged ‘culture’

It is imperative to point out that the growth of Islam is not only attributed to high birth rates but due to conversions as well. A case in point is that in America alone, according to St. Petersburg Times, “Every year, about 20,000 people in the United States convert to Islam, in addition to those who convert in prison . . . of these converts, there are more women than men, the majority of them young and unmarried . . .”[1]The NBC News has also reported the same yearly figure of converts. According to New York Times, “An estimated 25 percent of American Muslims are converts.”[2]And this is bloodcurdling figure.

Let’s take Europe, for instance, as a case study. We will witness sources asserting that Islam will become a dominant religion in Europe. According to The Washington Quarterly:

. . . Muslims will comprise at least 20 percent of Europe’s population by 2050. Some even predict that one-fourth of France’s population could be Muslim by 2025 and that, if trends continue, Muslims could outnumber non-Muslims in France and perhaps in all of western Europe by mid-century.[3]

Patrick Buchanan is an American political commentator, author, syndicated columnist, politician and broadcaster. He had also served as a senior advisor to President Richard Nixon, President Gerald Ford, and President Ronald Reagan.  In a speech delivered on 7 December 2001, Buchanan said: “Don’t count Islam out. It is the fastest growing faith in Europe and has surpassed Catholicism worldwide. And as Christianity expires in the West and the churches empty out, the mosques are going up.”[4]A 1999 United Nations’ survey showed that between 1989 and 1998, Europe’s Muslim population grew by more than 100 percent.[5]Currently, Muslims comprise of about 10 % of Europe’s population while others predict that Muslims will make up 10% of Europe’s population by 2025.[6]Funny enough, Amsterdam and Rotterdam are expected to be the first large majority-Muslim cities in about 2015.[7]In an article entitled “In Europe, skylines reflect the rise of Islam” which appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, Isabelle de Pommereau states: “Across Europe, the Continent’s fastest-growing religion (i.e. Islam) is establishing its public presence after decades in basements and courtyards, changing not only the architectural look of cities, but also their social fabrics.”[8]  Discussing the major trends reshaping the global context, William Van Wishard illustrates that “the Catholic Church is facing the distinct possibility that in coming years, Islam will be the largest European faith.”[9] There are three major factors that are and will be making Europe become a Muslim majority continent: 1) Immigration; 2) Muslim High birth rate; and 3) conversions to Islam.

We are interested with the third factor because it is conversions to Islam that will hasten Bernard Lewis’* famous prediction that Europe will be Islamic by century’s end.[10]In 2005, The Christian Science Monitor stated: “Although there are no precise figures, observers who monitor Europe’s Muslim population estimate that several thousand men and women convert each year.”[11] The Muslims already in Europe will also convert the non-Muslim Europeans to Islam. Either the Muslims will directly engage in proselytizing efforts to win European souls or the Europeans will just convert due to “I converted to Islam because I was impressed by the behaviors of Muslims” argument or the European will convert to Islam to marry a Muslim. Perhaps, this (conversion) factor was inclusive in the Gadhafi speech: “We have 50 million Muslims in Europe. There are signs that Allah will grant Islam victory in Europe – without swords, without guns, without conquests. The 50 million Muslims of Europe will turn it into a Muslim continent within a few decades.”[12]

In Europe, Islam is the second largest religion.[13]From life experiences, even from school performances, we know that a student who used to get D grade can move to C grade then B grade. With continual hard work and determination, the student can attain grade A.  Hence, it won’t be mysterious for Islam to surpass Christianity (and all other religions) in Europe. If Islam is currently the second largest religion in Europe, chances are that it is going to be the largest religion in Europe. In an interview, Ingmar Karlsson, Sweden’s consul general in İstanbul, who is a Doctor of Divinity honoris causa at Lund University and a Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Växjö and the author of more than 10 books, has acknowledged Islam as a “domestic” European religion. He said in an interview: “When I grew up in Sweden after World War II, there were three Muslims in the country, three! . . .  Now, Muslims make up 5 to 6 percent of Sweden’s population. And as this number continues to rise, everyone will realize that Islam is and will be a European religion.”[14]  The Sweden’s consul general was distressed by those who don’t understand the dynamics of Islam in Europe, “People are ignorant about the religion of Islam. People don’t understand that Islam today is a European religion . . .”[15]  He said in the interview.

According to Chicago Tribune foreign correspondent Evan Osnos: “For Europe . . . the question is not which civilization, Western or Islamic, will prevail, but which of Islam’s many strands will dominate.”[16]  Some might anticipate the following as the product of a Muslim-majority Europe: Europe will have more of mosques and minarets than churches and cathedrals; Adhan, call to prayer will echo from Paris to Rotterdam to Brussels and London; bearded men and hijab-wearing women flooding the streets; Muslim head’s of state throughout the Europeans governments; Christians lobbying for minority rights; freedom of expression compromised; Sharia law implemented . . . .

{Excerpted from Salim Boss’ book “They are either Extremely Smart or Extremely Ignorant”. Buy the eBook  for $1.9 and the paperback for $9. Just click here to buy the book}
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FOOTNOTES

[1]. Wiener, Jocelyn (Times Staff Writer). “Young, Female and Muslim.” St. Petersburg Times 7 Oct. 2002.

[2]. Elliott, Andrea. “Muslim Converts Face Discrimination.” New York Times 30 April 2005.

[3]. Savage, Timothy M. “Europe and Islam: Crescent Waxing, Cultures Clashing.” The Washington Quarterly Summer 2004. p. 28.

[4]. Buchanan, Patrick J. “Coming Clash of Civilizations? theamericancause.org. 7 Dec. 2001. <http://www.theamericancause.org/patcomingclashprint.htm.&gt;

[5]. Allen Jr., John L. “Europe’s Muslims Worry Bishops.” National Catholic Reporter 22 Oct. 1999.

[6]. “The Integration Of Muslims In Europe.” Oxford Analytica 24 Feb. 2009. <http://www.forbes.com/2009/02/23/france-uk-muslims-business_oxford.htmllast&gt; retrieved 29 April 2009.

[7]. Pipes, Daniel. “Europe or Eurabia?” Australian 15 April 2008.

[8]. Isabelle de Pommereau. “In Europe, skylines reflect the rise of Islam.” The Christian Science Monitor 26 July 2007.

[9]. Van Wishard, William. “Major Trends Reshaping the Global Context.” worldtrendsresearch.com <http://www.worldtrendsresearch.com/major-trends.php&gt; Retrieved 12/09/2009.

* Bernard Lewis is a British-American historian, Orientalist, and political commentator. He is the Cleveland E. Dodge Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University and the recipient of AEI’s Irving Kristol Award for 2007. He made his prediction in 2004 that Europe would be Islamic by the end of the century. See Hundley, Tom.  “Article of Faith for Some: Europe Going Muslim.” Chicago Tribune 25 June 2006.

[10]. Lewis, Bernard. “Europe and Islam.” American Enterprise Institute. 7 March 2007 (AEI Annual Dinner, Irving Kristol Lecture :Washington).  Also see Machlis, David and Tovah Lazaroff. “Muslims about to take over Europe.” The Jerusalem Post 29 Jan. 2007.

[11]. Ford, Peter. “Why European Women Are Turning to Islam.” The Christian Science Monitor 27 Dec. 2005.

[12]. Edwards, Ruth Dudley. “Will Britain one day be Muslim?” The Daily Mail 5 May 2007. Also see: Al Jazeera television. 10 April 2006.

[13]. Esposito, John L. “Introduction John L. Esposito.”In The Oxford History of Islam. Ed. John L. Esposito. Oxford Islamic Studies Online. 11 March 2009. Also see: “Observing Islam.” Online newshour. pbs.org. 16 Nov. 2001.<http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/religion/july-dec01/islam_11-16.html&gt;

[14]. “Islam is and will be a European religion.” Today’s Zaman 12 March 2007.

[15]. “Islam is and will be a European religion.” Today’s Zaman 12 March 2007.

[16]. Osnos, Evan. “Islam shaping a new Europe.” Chicago Tribune 19 Dec. 2004.

“Oh God! If you save me I will work for you.”

~ Exclaimed Cat Stevens when his leisurely swim off the coast of Malibu turned into a nightmare. He was busy drowning.

21 of July 1948, Steven Demetre Georgiou who would later be known by his stage name Cat Stevens was born to a Greek Orthodox father and Swedish Baptist mother. “I was born to a Christian family which revered money and I did the same, I felt in admiration for singers to the extent that I made of them my supreme god , then decided to become one of them. I ended up becoming one of the biggest Pop stars, and media made of me an icon, bigger than life itself and will live forever.” He said.

Cat Stevens is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, educator, and philanthropist. He had been a pop star since his teens. Under the name “Cat Stevens”, he has sold over 60 million albums around the world since the late 1960s. The world famous British pop singer used to earn sometimes more than $ 150 000 a night. Cat Stevens had everything most people aspire to achieve: fame, talent, wealth, good looks, and strong magnetism towards the opposite sex, yet he felt something was seriously missing. Living a fast-moving pop-star life, Stevens for once, received a call to spiritual awakening.  He became very ill with tuberculosis and a collapsed lung. Consequently, Cat Stevens got hospitalized for a long period, an experience that made him search for the meaning of life.

In 1976, Stevens received yet another call to spiritual awakening. This time, at the coast of Malibu, California, where he nearly drowned. He shouted in the bid to conform with the constant calls, “Oh God! If you save me I will work for you.” This near-death experience intensified his long-held quest for spiritual truth. Cat Stevens had looked into other spiritual formulas including Buddhism, Zen, and I Ching, Numerology, Tarot cards and Astrology. He writes:

My quest for truth continued in parallel with my artistic career, till the day when a friend of mine who came back from a trip in the East told me that he found serenity inside a mosque which he didn’t in a church, which led me to shift my interest to that religion and bought a translated Koran. At last I found answers to my questions: Who I am? Where I come from? And what is my goal in Life? Through my several readings of this holy book, I concluded that there is only one God with whom we can communicate directly without any interference.

It was the Qur’an that gave him the peace he was searching as he says, “. . . I would like to stress that I did not come into contact with any Muslim before I embraced Islam. I read the Qur’an first and realized that no person is perfect. Islam is perfect, and if we imitate the conduct of the Holy Prophet (Peace be Upon Him) we will be successful.”

He further states:

Everything made so much sense. This is the beauty of the Qur’an; it asks you to reflect and reason….When I read the Qur’an further, it talked about prayer, kindness and charity. I was not a Muslim yet, but I felt the only answer for me was the Qur’an and God had sent it to me.

He formally reverted to the Islamic faith in 1977, and took the name Yusuf Islam in 1978. After reverting to Islam, Yusuf Islam denounced his pop career calling music un-Islamic, auctioning his guitars and gold records and used the proceeds for Islamic charities. He even urged record companies to stop stocking his music, some of which he viewed as “immoral”. Talking about the need for dropping out of music, he said, “. . .  I had another agenda to fulfill; I had to learn my faith and look after my family, and I had to make priorities.”

Estimating in January 2007 that he continues to earn approximately $1.5 million USD a year from his Cat Stevens music, he decided to use his accumulated wealth and continuing earnings from his music career on philanthropic and educational causes in the Muslim community of London and elsewhere such as supporting orphans in Bosnia. In 1982, he and other concerned Muslims were troubled to see their children not getting proper Islamic education in Britain. Hence they founded the Islamia Schools’ Trust, a registered British charity which led to the opening of a Muslim primary school in London the following year and secondary schools later.

Yusuf Islam was famed for publicly endorsing the death sentence issued by Ayatollah Khomeini against Salman Rushdie in February 1989. “Salman Rushdie, indeed any writer who abuses the Prophet or indeed any Prophet under Islamic law, the sentence for that is actually death,” he said at the time, stating the punishment for blasphemers required under Islamic law.  Showing that blasphemy is a capital offense according to God’s standards, he said; “If you ask a Bible student to quote the legal punishment of a person who commits blasphemy in the Bible, he would be dishonest if he didn’t mention Leviticus 24:16.” The verse reads: “And whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall certainly stone him, the stranger as well as him who is born in the land. When he blasphemes the name of the Lord, he shall be put to death.”

Yusuf Islam has been given several awards including 2004 Man for Peace Award presented by Mikhail Gorbachev for his dedication to promote peace, the reconciliation of people and to condemn terrorism; (2005), Honorary Doctorate by the University of Gloucestershire for services to education and humanitarian relief; (2007), The Mediterranean Prize for Peace in Naples, Italy; Honorary Doctorate (LLD) by the University of Exeter (10 July 2007), in recognition of his humanitarian work and improving understanding between Islamic and Western cultures.

He lives with his wife, Fauzia Mubarak Ali, and five children in Brondesbury Park, London and spends part of each year in Dubai. In response to those who take black-sheep’s of Islam as the benchmark for its truth, Yusuf Islam said:

It will be wrong to judge Islam in the light of the behavior of some bad Muslims who are always shown on the media. It is like judging a car as a bad one if the driver of the car is drunk and he bangs it into the wall. Islam guides all human beings in the daily life – in its spiritual, mental and physical dimensions. But we must find the sources of these instructions, the Qur’an and the example of the Prophet. Then we can see the ideal of Islam.

Websites:

www.mountainoflight.co.uk

www.yusufislam.com

www.yusufislam.org.uk.

Contact Information:

Mailing address

2 Digswell Street,

London N7 8JX,

United Kingdom.

 

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{Excerpted from Salim Boss’ book “They are either Extremely Smart or Extremely Ignorant”. Buy the eBook  for $1.9 and the paperback for $9. Just click here to buy the book}

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Buy Ebook Smart

[References: Islam, Yusuf. “My Journey from Cat Stevens to Yusuf Islam.” Mountain of Light, 2001; Islam, Yusuf.  “Questions for Yusuf Islam.” By Deborah Solomon. The New York Times 7 Jan. 2007; Craig R. Whitney. “Cat Stevens Gives Support To Call for Death of Rushdie.” The New York Times May 22, 1989; Brown, George. Cat Stevens: The Complete Illustrated Biography & Discography. George Brown, 2006; Islam, Yusuf. “Yusuf Islam.” an interview by Nigel Williamson. Billboard magazine 25 Nov. 2006; Paphides, Pete. “Notions of Islam.” The Times 6 July 2007; “Cat Stevens-one man, two identities.” The Sydney Morning Herald 24 Sept. 2004; Schwartz, Stephen. “Why Yusuf Islam was turned away from the United States.” The Weekly Standard.  22 Sept. 2004; “Cat Stevens becomes Yusuf Islam.” video.google.com 16 Feb 2006. <http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6157965900354777626&gt;;”Prince goes pop to praise school.” bbc.co.uk 10 May, 2000. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/743894.stm>%5D