New Report on Conversion to Islam in UK

A new report published by the think-tank Faith Matters, entitled A Minority within a Minority: A Report on Converts to Islam in the United Kingdom, has garnered some media attention for its claim that there may be 100,000 converts to Islam in the UK. Although this is higher than expected, the author, M.A. Kevin Brice, explains that this is “an estimate only, and as such should not be given a high level of confidence”. Further, “it is not claimed that this figure represents the number of current practising converts to Islam in the United Kingdom” – Brice notes that some will have lapsed or since converted to other religions. Brice also makes clear that, at most, converts make up 4% of the Muslim population and 0.2 per cent of the British population:

There is no evidence of a mass conversion of the population and this is hardly the beginning of the “Islamification” of the United Kingdom as is suggested by some groups (both pro- and anti-Islam).

… which is why the Independent decided to unleash its inner tabloid with this headline about the report:

The Islamification of Britain: record numbers embrace Muslim faith

Brice also has a section on how female converts have modified their dress:

Of females who change the way they dressed, 25% wore more ‘modest’ clothing (covering arms and legs), 55% immediately wore more ‘modest’ clothing and later adopted the hijab (covering the head and neck), 15% immediately wore more ‘modest’ clothing and adopted hijab and 5% adopted the burqa (although later stopped wearing it and wore ‘modest’ clothing).

The Mail chose to illustrate the fact that 95% of women converts never took the burqa and that those who did went on to reject the practice with the following photograph, under the headline “How 100,000 Britons have chosen to become Muslim… and average convert is 27-year-old white woman”:

With the average age of conversion being 27.5 years, the Daily Star went with the headline “Rise and Rise of Islam’s White Girl Converts“.

I looked at conversion to Islam in the UK in the very early days of this blog – see here. One factor I considered then (early 2004) was conversion for the sake of marriage to a Muslim partner (I did once meet a white British man who had converted for this purpose); Brice sees this as something of a “myth”, and he claims that his figures are for “converts of conviction” rather than of convenience.