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By Belinda

Last week, in my post entitled, The Defining Characteristic , I wrote about an article in The Mail on Sunday, by Lauren Booth, on her conversion to Islam.

Another part of the article, which was entitled, "Why I love Islam (...and so do my daughters,)" intrigued and disturbed me, and that was where she described her two daughters' reaction to her conversion. I quote from the October 31 article in The Mail on Sunday:

I sat in the kitchen and called them in. 'Girls I have some news for you,' I began, 'I am now a Muslim.' They went into a huddle, with the eldest, Alex, saying: 'We have some questions, we'll be right back.'
 They made a list and returned. Alex cleared her thoat. 'Will you drink alcohol any more?'
 Answer: No. The response--a rather worrying 'Yay!'
 'Will you smoke cigarettes any more?' Smoking isn't haram (forbidden) but it is harmful, so I answered: 'No.'
 Again, this was met with puritanical approval.
 Their final question, though, took me aback.
 'Will you have your breasts out in public now you are a Muslim?'
 It seems they'd both been embarrassed by my plunging shirts and tops and had cringed on the school run at my pallid cleavage. Perhaps in hindsight I should have cringed as well.
 'Now that I'm a Muslim,' I said, 'I will never have my breasts out in public again.'
 'We love Islam!' they cheered and went off to play...
I reflected a lot on that snippet. With the simplicity of children they were ready to embrace whatever it was that caused these changes in their mother. I found it disturbing that their hearts and souls were so easily won.

In doing some research on the path that these three are setting out on I read an excellent article by retired U.S. army chaplain Pastor Bob Leroe entitled Islam—submission vs grace. Pastor Bob's blog can be found by clicking on his name. His article, from a well informed knowledge base, clearly and in a balance way, lays out information it is important to know about Islam. We are so generous in our acceptance, and we should accept and respect other's choices--the alternative is bigotry and prejudice--but we do need to be educated on what it is we are accepting and just how it differs from the faith we hold if we are Christ followers.
I pray for Lauren Booth and her daughters; who admitted to only having read 100 pages of the Koran; when she discovers what lies beneath the surface of the dreamy glow she is experiencing at the moment.

Post Script: I know that his is not the sort of topic that I write about usually,  but the article sort of haunted me, especially thinking of the children.


Anonymous said…
Disturbing indeed, thanks for bringing this to our attention.
Anonymous said…
I never comment under anon but wish to here. I do not believe this conversation happened, it does not ring true in the use of language, I believe the author is telling of a conversation she wishes happened or imagined happening ... this has nothing to do with my feelings for Islam, it is more about being an informed and critical reader and about knowing a bit about how young teens talk. We all fictionalize our lives to a certain degree and that's what I think is happening here.
Belinda said…
Dear Anon,
I cannot speak to the veracity of the actual conversation Lauren Booth wrote about, but if you Google her on You Tube you will find several video clips of her public declarations and on one she is accompanied by one of her young daughters who makes a statement beside her mother.

I really struggled with writing about this because I do respect individual Muslims for their morality and individual compassion.
Angcat said…
A very compelling topic to tackle Belinda.
I am captured by the part where the daughters were so pleased that their Mom would now be dressing more modestly.
I used to live in an area with a high Muslim population and their women were always modest (yes, sometimes to an extreme). I was very conscious of my shorts or sleeveless summer dresses when I would meet one of our Muslim neighbours in the building.
I think we must ask ourselves as Christ's ambassadors if there's something we can learn from this modesty, as I see many 'upstanding' Christian women dressing immodestly
because that is the clothing that our culture offers.

Just a thought.
Belinda said…
Ang, yes, the article made me realize several things--that some might be surprised at the things children long for from their mummies, and secondly I feel challenged. What more should I be doing to invest in the generation I feel so passionately about? It's easy to cast stones...

I agree that there is something we can learn about the grace of modesty.
Personally, I find this conversation a wee bit disturbing. I agree we can find things in other faiths to admire. However, when we begin to believe that women's bodies should return to 'shameful' things ... I note no where here a suggestion that men without shirts or in short pants should think about modesty. I'm willing to be there are more kids embarrassed by dad bbqing with bare chest and bare legs than they do when having a sip in the shade with their mother's.
There are those who would believe that this blog is immodest because it's written by a woman and woman's voices have no place in the discussion of God. Women of faith have fought and continue to fight for equality - I think it's a good fight and a terrific discussion.
Belinda said…
Dave, I agree. It's a fine line between the superficial appearance of peace and modesty, and the dark side of what lies beneath. I still believe that individuals may be practicing the religion without the dark side, but it doesn't change what lies beneath and the fact that it is a religion of rules that lead their god--a hopeless pursuit. Oh no, I think there needs to be part three to this post.

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