Reflecting on Conversion in the UK

Reflecting on a recent study carried out by Cambridge University, to shed light on the converts in Great Britain, the Project Leader and Director of CIS, Yasir Suleiman, said:  

“White converts can be regarded as ‘trophy’ Muslims and used in a tokenistic fashion by various sections of society, including the media. African-Caribbean converts remain largely invisible, uncelebrated and frequently unacknowledged. They can feel like a minority within a minority and this is something that must be addressed. I found this part of the conversion narratives hardest to bear.”

I could have misunderstood, but I surmised from his comments that even Muslims treated white converts like trophy converts. It made me think how Muslims have yet to recover from the inferiority complex. The ‘white’ man is superior, and so too, the ‘white’ convert. The actual conversion becomes a side story, while the ‘whiteness’ of the convert takes center stage.

Compare this to how Abu Bakr took the conversion of Bilal:

News of the slave who cried out ‘God is One!’ even in the midst of torture soon reached Prophet Muhammad and his companions.  Abu Bakr, Prophet Muhammad’s closest friend and a wealthy trader of equal status to Umaya was sent to investigate.   He came upon the open field where Bilal was being tortured for amusement. Abu Bakr did not lose his temper, for that was not his way, but he remonstrated with the torturers.  He said to Umaya, “Have you no fear of God that you treat this poor man like this?”  He replied saying: “You are the one who corrupted him, so you save him from his plight!” Abu Bakr replied: “Then sell him to me, name your price.” Umaya, was a businessman and could not give up making a profit, so he sold Bilal for a good price. To humiliate Bilal, he added: “I would have sold him to you even if you had offered me only an ounce of gold.”  Abu Bakr answered: “I would have bought him even if you had asked for one hundred ounces.”

It is interesting to note the difference in how Umaya evaluates Bilal’s worth, and how Abu Bakr does.



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