Monday, March 24, 2008

"Muslim" converts to Catholicism on Easter

So, the media is making a big deal about the fact that a "Muslim", Magdi Allam, converted to Catholicism this weekend. Find the story here. According to CNN, Allam has angered us (his fellow Muslims) by converting on Easter of all days. (Gasp!) Apparently, the media is waiting to see how the "Muslim world" is going to react to the announcement that "one of theirs" has left the ranks. Naturally, the press is speculating as to whether or not death threats will be issued to Allam by Muslims. I pray- Ya Allah- that not one single person reacts in a violent way to this news whatsoever. (That includes, the threat of violence by the way). At the same time I know if you're looking for a wacko you can always find one if you search hard enough. So, I won't be the surprised if I turn on the television, open a newspaper, or scroll through one of the online news sources and find that the media has successfully dredged up a group of people who who want Allam dead in no uncertain terms. *sigh*

As a Muslim, I don't know about you, but of the many concerns I have- gas prices, the housing market, the scarcity of jobs, racism, sexism, the war in Iraq- this dude doesn't even make the list. He has the right to decide what lifestyle is best for him. If he wants to worship Jesus, saints, the Pope and whoever else then that's his business. And you know what, I dislike the way the media is marveling at such a conversion to begin with. For the record, I know plenty of people who have left the Catholic church and became Muslims. Perhaps they did so on Christmas, Easter, or during Lent. Who knows? The point is, it happens. That's life.

By Magdi Allam's own admission, he was "never practicing", "never prayed five times a day, facing Mecca" and "never fasted during Ramadan." An interesting phenomenon I've noticed when it comes to Muslim apostates (especially when they're highly critical of Islam or Muslims) is that they're allowed to enjoy the privilege (that's right I said privilege) of calling themselves Muslims and can claim to speak from within the Muslim community. (Here I am thinking of characters like Ayaan Hirsi Ali). But I digress...

Personally, I don't subscribe to the belief that a person is automatically, instantly, permanently and forever Muslim (no matter what) simply because they were born into a Muslim family. Yes, everyone is born with an inclination towards the fitrah (the natural belief in one God) and it is their parents who make them otherwise. However, Islam is a proactive way of life. You can't simply be, you have to do. Therefore, even if you're born to Muslim parents and were raised as a Muslim, at some point in your life you have to decide if you want to practice Islam. If you make the decision not to practice Islam then what does that make you? Hmm...

Insha'allah when my husband and I have children, we have already agreed that our children, will make an official, conscious decision to be Muslims. Insha'allah, they will take shahadah (just as we did) to declare their position. I pray (Ya Allah) that my children will not walk around bragging about how they were "born Muslim" and how their mother and father are devout Muslims but when it comes down to it, they don't even practice the basic tenets of Islam. Does that make any sense? I don't know...I may be wrong here. I ask Allah's forgiveness if I am. I just think our perspective needs to change. But I digress again...

Good luck to Magdi Allam. Enjoy your shirk!


Sister Seeking said...

lol : )

You are so funny!

Anonymous said...

Assalmu Alaikum,
Yeah I feeel you....the media loves this kind of stuff. Then you have others at work and school asking you questions about the Muslim Community's if we even discuss this kinda stuff. The media tries to make us seem so on edge and easily distressed, as for American born Muslims they couldn't be farther from the truth. There are probally some things that we could stand to be more vocal the constant negative slant on Islam. We could definitely do more to project THE REAL instead of letting it be dictated for us. We have ties to the communities and can almost effortlessly show Islam to be the religion of peace and right guidance. May Allah make it so. Ameen.

Charles Hassan Ali Catchings said...

Salaam sister,

I still sense some 'hognarant' in your post! You'll be alright.

The media couldn't WAIT to get this on record. They knew it was coming because he set it up. He told them he would be prone to doing this. And he is exploiting his own people, (Arabs, Pakistanis, any other non-Black and non-White Muslims) but the media won't dare say that nor will he.

For the record, and I just might post in detail on this, Blackamerican Muslims and Whiteamerican Muslims can't get their shorts in knots over mess like this. We are predominately converts from all sorts of Christianity and interact on a constant basis with our Christian relatives.

But what gets me hot, is that the media and immigrant Muslims, primarily those hailing from the Middle East, is that they keep pretending that they don't have Christian family-members anywhere.

Are humans that stupid to believe that there are only two opposite ends of the spectrum all the time? The media, right-wing conservatives (Christian and Muslim) shove this down people's throats. I threw mine back up in their faces...then smutted 'em.

rahma said...

Kids? Kids??? When did you decide to have kids? :P

One thing I've noticed about (most) ex muslims is that they're very vested in their identity as an ex muslim. If one is going to embrace a new religious path, or lack there of, then why not do it fully? I've never identified as an ex christian - my identity as a muslim is more than enough for me.

Jamerican Muslimah said...

sister seeking, thank you. *takes a bow*

anonymous, walaikum salaam. I think Muslims DO speak out and try to let people know "the real Islam." Unfortnately, our voices never get the same level of publicity as extremists or those who apostated.

Agreed. This was the golden nugget media needed- esp. with the conversion being on a Christian holiday. Perfect!

I think you should create a post like the one you suggested. As I said, I don't care about this dude converting. What gets me is the way the media is portraying his conversion.

I also agree with you about Middle Eastern and other Muslim immigrants. If anything, I think they're the ones who take this kind of news the hardest. But they need to figure out how to deal with relatives who don't choose to practice Islam- whether they go to another religion or choose no religion at all.

As I said, it happens. As a convert I accept that. But then again, I'm not a parent so I don't know what it's like to watch your child stray from a religion you love so much.

LOL. I didn't say there was a definite plan. But you know, we plan and Allah is the best of planners.

I couldn't agree with you more about "ex-Muslims." They're holding onto the title for all of the fame, celebrity and of course, book deals it brings them. It's good old fashioned opportunism at its best.

Mira said...


Hmmm. I didn't even hear about this. Just a publicity stunt. So silly. You are, as usual, dead on.

KiKi said...

Every time I come here there seems to be an on point post about something that has been on my mind. You hit it right on the head.

Perhaps I missed a news story about people from other faiths who converted to Islam? Not newsworthy, eh? Well neither is this.

rahma said...

Actually, when I think about it, there have been a ton of news stories about americans (particularly latinas) converting to Islam in recent years. They're more of human interest pieces, but they have been en vogue as of late.

Abdur-Rahman said...

As Salaamu Alaikum Sister,

All I can say is "oh well, don't be looking for that drop of water later on".

Sherif M said...

Magdi Allam is not worth a drop of tears from Moslems. He was not ever good Moslem and for that matter a true Moslem or Moemen. So let him believe in trinity and Jesus is God if he wants.

Anonymous said...

Assalmu Alaikum,

I definitely agree with you about raising children, which may be influenced by the fact that I am a convert. I actually had a similar conversation with my husband about how although we do our best, God willing, it is important to remember that children ultimately make a decision to believe and practice Islam. (I wonder whether it is helpful to think of an age the decision is made or if it should only be done when the child/young adult decides?)

I love your blog.