carnegie logo

Babylon & Beyond

Observations from Iraq, Iran,
Israel, the Arab world and beyond

« Previous | Babylon & Beyond Home | Next »

MUSLIM WORLD: Young European man explains why he converted to Islam

41386_765997801_6575_nThe story of Malcolm is intriguing, and perhaps a bit puzzling.

Why would a left-leaning young man from one of the world's most secular and liberal countries choose to become a pious Muslim?

The 34-year old Swedish music teacher from Stockholm, who asked that his last name not be published, attempted to explain his decision, describing it as the culmination of a long journey searching for faith and him solidifying his religious beliefs that he couldn’t always place.

“I have never doubted my faith," he told Babylon & Beyond while on a recent visit to Beirut. "It feels like I've had the same faith all the time but it feels so cleanly formulated in Islam."

For Malcolm, becoming a Muslim gave him a connection to others in a country where identity is not always clean-cut.

"I feel very comfortable as a Muslim.... We’re social creatures and we want to feel a sense of belonging," he said. "If it’s not a clan it’s a nation or a soccer team. For me it’s nice to have a belonging which is not a nation or a football team."

Growing up in predominantly Protestant Sweden, Malcolm's doubts about his faith lingered as he got older.

He started to study different religions and read philosophy texts. He felt drawn to Islam and fascinated by its teachings, especially to what he says is the religion's focus on seeking knowledge.

He used the Internet to learn about Islam and the Koran, dedicating many hours in front of his computer learning how to recite the Koran and memorizing its chapters.

Malcolm wasn't the only member of his family who embraced Islam. His brother, too, became a Muslim.

The day he "officially" became a Muslim some three years ago will be forever ingrained in his memory.

He had attended Friday prayer service in the grand mosque of Stockholm, when after the program an Imam reached for the microphone and called out in the loudspeakers before the jampacked crowd: “Now, we have a brother here who will say the Shahada,” the Muslim declaration of belief.

The room became quiet as the blond-haired, blue-eyed Swede got up from his seat and started to read out the text alongside the imam in Arabic. From a stand above in the women’s section, his Muslim wife was watching him. 

“It felt big. When it was over everyone came up to hug and congratulate me ... one guy from Morocco gave me a kaftan as a gift," Malcolm said.

Since then, then 34-year old strictly observed the rules of Islam. There is no more pork on his dinner plate or drinking of alcohol, no gambling in casinos on the weekends. During the holy month of Ramadan, he fasts. Whenever he can, he attends Friday prayer service at a mosque. 

His brother, he said, observered Islam even more strictly.

What's the appeal? In part, Malcolm said, Islam fits in well with his left-wing views. "In that sense, Islam fits me really well," he said. "I am completely against capitalism."

As a Muslim living in Europe, Malcolm is also concerned about what he and others see as the bashing of Islam in the region as acted out in French burka bans, a Swiss decree to ban the building of minarets and the rise of far-right political parties in several European nations.

In September, Sweden made international headlines when it voted the far-right anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats party into Parliament. Members of the party have called Islam “un-Swedish” and said that Muslims should be driven out of Sweden with a policy of “sticks and carrots.”

 -- Alexandra Sandels in Beirut

Photo: Malcolm, a 34-year old Swedish music teacher, converted to Islam a couple of years ago. Credit: Nadia Jebril

Comments () | Archives (27)

Ruslan,
The crusades came about BECAUSE OF MUSLIM ATTACKS ON EUROPE. Muslims would raid countries and take european people AS SLAVES. You have been brainwashed to believe that it's all a one-way street. The Turks STARVED over 1 million Armenians. We in the West are lied to constantly about these things. Read "Islam's Black Slaves" for one. It is true that all people's can be brutal.

I see a lot of people here make false information about islam, one guy is even very concerned about 750 dead jews. Well, the number was 600 actually. I am not gonna talk about reasons of these killings, a lot of killings happened in world history. (Just remember crusaders) But the thing is that CHRISTIAN armenians killed 613 unarmed muslim civilians in one night in Khodjali, Azerbaijan. It is so interesting, why you are making so important the lives of these jews, when americans, french, russians, serbs, armenians kill muslims in millions. And you still do these killings for freedom, democracy and Jesus?

Leftwingers are practically muslims and dhimmi appeasers these days so it wasn't much of a conversion.

Please remember that the Sweden Democrats party belongs to the political leftist centre. It has a political agenda which is very close to the Social Democratic party of Sweden. It has a different view about the immigration policy of today’s Sweden - that's practically all that separates it from the Social Democrats. So, to be strict, no more talking about the far-right party here.

Interestingly enough, in Finland they have a party called The Basic Finns. In finish media it is also described as a far-right party. This couldn’t be more false identification: since the Basic Finns are the only true workers party in Finland. The Social Democratic party has lost a lot of its members to Basic Finns party. The reason for this transition of supporters is the loose and lunatic immigration policy of the Social Democrats party.

So the situation in both Nordic countries, Sweden and Finland, is quite similar: the media which is overrun by the green leftist feminist coalition is trying to destroy the reputation of these moderate workers parties by calling them far-right extremists. This is done for the “political correctness” demands it in order to secure the power of matriarchate in both countries.

Well, if there is a war between Islam and the west, the Swedes will sit it out anyway, so no biggie losing this fella.

This man is not left at all, he is totally confused and so is his brother. He probably feels the same disconnect most of the baby-boomer felt with their older generation and in reaching out for something totally different has just fallen into the most reproductively violent religion of the world. I think he should look at women subjugations, stonings, mercy killings, and a good look at the Sharia law not to mention outright hyprocracy when it comes to social issues as homosexuality, slave beatings in Dubai, not to mention the capitalism of oil rich tycoons etc...all followed by professing muslims.

Plenty of alcohol in Morocco ~ he probably would not like it there!! There is also a thriving trade in male prostitution ~ and female [hard to spot them at first because they wear the Islamic headscarf and dress ~ its more Biblical]. With all the anti-Islamic rhetoric in Europe he must be wondering where his paradise is!

He hates capitalism ~ but the thriving markets in Morocco are called souks.

Sometimes people have to go through these things to come out one day to tell others, why they should not go through the same. May he have a safe journey to the other side, then.

In the Islamic world it is not hard to find a level of hypocrisy. For example, things we take for granted they have to sneak around and do, because of the extreme laws. If you are caught walking down the street with a girl or guy, you are not married to ~ the penalty is 6 months in prison ~ in Morocco ~ but mostly couples are arrested by the Islamic police and questioned about their relationship.

Often young people act like they are not attracted to the person they are sitting with on the park bench ~ in the evening!!

I once noticed a well dressed Moroccan woman, but on coming back I saw her crying, I was told she had been stopped by the Islamic police, she was likely heading towards the restaurant to go on a date. I think it was a bit of jealousy, because she was dressed really nice western style.

Young Muslims do have relations before marriage, they even have a name for it ~ climbing through the back window, versus walking through the front door once you are married. Each girl has to take a virginity test before marriage. They must be sure to pass with flying colors.

There is a whole fantasy being built up around Islam ~ its just normal people living under extreme religious and social restrictions.

Take sitting at a restaurant ~ it is seen as un-Islamic for a woman to be seen sitting at a cafe, she would be careful to go into the restaurant to make sure she is not seen.

Such are the laws, they don't back women, a man told me proudly, that a man can throw his wife onto the street in the middle of the night and tell her to take her children with her. This was to demonstrate the power man had over women.

If a woman is successful and there are very few, she has to also prove she is not a fallen woman .i.e. a prostitute ~ as the only women you see who are free, are the very wealthy or prostitutes. A group of prostitutes would sit at a cafe and eat. So western women automatically ~ by default, are seen as prostitutes. This is what they think, and it is also commonly believed western women don't love their children. Obviously these beliefs are used to prevent Muslim women from gaining their emancipation.

It is incredible how much control the men there have over women ~ it is too much to explain ~ but with this they believe, as standard that women are not intelligent. They are not trying to be cruel ~ they just believe it. So if you see a woman with an element of freedom she had to be given that freedom by a man.

In the McDonald's though, the young women, more affluent [a burger cost an average days wage], are able to have more freedom, sit in a restaurant by themselves and smoke a cigarette [on the patio].

Though sadly most of the women will be married off to a close relative.

Spending time in the Islamic world is a wakeup call ~ it lets you know how free we are ~ and how we should appreciate and even help to maintain that freedom.

Good luck to the guy on his Islamic journey ~ don't try to follow all of the Koran's verses.

This man is NOT a hero to the left. He is a lost soul. Stop trying to make a connection between Liberalism & Islam because there is none.

Is this really news or PR? Less coverage was given to former British PM Tony Blair converting to Catholicism and it certainly has more significance, moment and gravitas both as possibly revealing hidden motives while in office and in his current role with the Quartet and potential Middle East peace. Thousands of lesser newsworthy persons are converting from one religion to another or to none at all all the time. What makes this newsworthy?

He is a communist who converted to Islam. He appears to be a totalitarian that thirsts for control over others and he has found that in being a Muslim (communist revolutions are arduous). You can beat your wife and kill infidels with impunity and assert your superiority over your atheist countrymen. The kaffir (all non-Muslims) are dirty and of no human value. He has abandoned his country, his parents, his western inheritance and modernity. This man is a hero for the left because he disdains western civilization just like everyone who writes for this paper.

"I pray one day these young western Muslim reverts are able to "come out of the closet" and proudly identify themselves as Muslim westerns"

I pray one day muslim apostates are able to come out of the closet without fear of being assassinated by their own families

Some people need guidance and teaching to get to the precipice of spirtuality. Some of us have already done our homework and have taken off the training wheels and do not appreciate others defining what we have to keep doing that we feel we have already done and do not want to be babysat anymore by the self righteous who don't have another way of earning a paycheck. Religious Freedom though knowledge and choice. If he changes his mind in a year and now wants to study Budism will they let him??

"“In that sense, Islam fits me really well,” he said. “I am completely against capitalism.”"

"As socialists, we are opponents of the Jews, because we see, in the Hebrews, the incarnation of capitalism, of the misuse of the nation’s goods.”"-- Joseph Goebbels

Shaq confirms he's Muslim and going to hajj.
end of story.

so what's the big deal? he just wants to have more wives or join Al Queda and have 70 virgins.

He should have stuck to drugs.

Converting from one ridiculous set of beliefs to another even more set of ridiculous beliefs, the cycle is complete. No big deal!

Malcolm said: "I feel very comfortable being a Muslim..."

In Sweden MANY believe that native Swedes converting to Islam is clearly a matter of safety & security. The Muslims in Malmo, Sweden have RIOTS so frequently that the fire chief recently QUIT his job because he could no longer GUARANTEE THE SAFETY of his firefighters.

Recently firefighters were stoned & pelted with garbage when they responded to a MOSQUE on fire.

Don't take my word for it, just Google the words "Malmo Muslim Riots" & see for YOURSELF. Not surprisingly, many of the links you'll get are RIOT VIDEOS from Malmo...

This once-tranquil & beautiful city is now sarcastically referred to by many Swedes as the "ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF MALMO".

This story is indeed very intriguing, thanks.
So happy for Malcom, wish you all the best in everything :)

Out of indian more then 500 millions hindu converted to islam we see pakistan,bangladesh and afganistan as part of india now islamic states these Hindus were forced or adopted islam Now you see them after 700 yrs what kind of country they have made out of the land where we had Vedas and Great Budda was there. ISlam is nothing but love for death or distruction of other cultures Good luck its a one way street.

 
1 2 | »

Connect

Recommended on Facebook


Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Recent News
Introducing World Now |  September 23, 2011, 8:48 am »

Categories


Archives
 


About the Contributors