Back to the blog!

I haven’t had the opportunity to blog for a couple of days because I have been busy working - I went back to my old job agency on Wednesday and was out at work the next day, delivering cleaning supplies down to the Kent coast on Thursday and plastic goods of some sort to Waterlooville in Hampshire yesterday - I have a particular liking for that run because it takes me past the marvellous “Devil’s Punch Bowl” - a natural amphitheatre which the main road skirts near the top, giving a magnificent view (which the government wants to destroy by building a tunnel and blocking that stretch of road off). On Thursday in particular I didn’t finish work until 8pm, because I got stranded at the company’s yard outside Caterham, had to wait for someone to pick me up, who got me to Caterham town centre a few minutes after the bus to Croydon had left. So it must have been about 10pm or later when I made it home. But it’s nice to be back out on the road - it’s a whole lot more enjoyable than being stuck in an office, if the office job is not particularly intellectually challenging. Saraji has a couple of really interesting pieces on how converts are treated in the US Muslim community. It got a massive response, and the second article deals with a lot of the responses from the first. Umm Zaynab followed this up on Hijabi Madness which mentioned something Saraji left out - the suspicion that a white convert is probably a spy. I have myself encountered this - I once had dealings with an east African community who suspected me of this (the FBI and CIA are known to operate in Kenya, and are sometimes present at arrests of Muslims), but my first such experience was from a supposed “alim”.

But really the saddest thing about converts in the west (and I have no problem with this term) is the tendency of some of us to drift into dodgy sects, and the profusion of such sects who all want to “get” converts. A few months the BBC showed a programme called The Last White Kids about some white families in Bradford whose daughters were becoming Muslims, but whose sons were not (and called the Muslims “Pakis” and themselves “porkies”!). The local Breilawis were apparently breathing down the girls’ necks, and they had acquired pamphlets like The Rule of Allah Alone and had said that “that mosque is a Wahhabi mosque while this one is a Sunni mosque”, when in fact the so-called Wahhabi mosque was probably Deobandi. (I have never been to Bradford, but I have a copy of The Rule of Allah Alone which is supposedly written by a convert whose solution to the whole Muslim world’s problems is to follow the way of Imam Ahmad Raza Khan Breilawi. The pamphlet does not even say what this way is, but it repeats this as the conclusion of almost every section.) There are quite a number of other sects including the Wahhabis (the real Wahhabis) and the Murabitun whose members include large numbers of converts (in the latter case, the vast majority) - and it’s not all the Arabs’ and Pakistanis’ fault that these people drift into straying sects. It’s really sickening to see Carribean Wahhabi converts who think that they, who have been Muslim for a few months or years, think they know better than the Pakistanis or some other group of long-established Muslims. The sectarians are sometimes known to get their converts married, so that they find it more difficult to get out.

Anyway, I don’t have much to add to the articles here … other than “what they said”. I’ll leave you to read them all if you haven’t already done so (I wonder how many people read this that don’t already read Saraji’s blog).

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