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Marlon wants to convert to Islam. Baber is enthusiastic, but soon even he gets annoyed at Merlons fanatism and judgemental attitude. Sarah is determined to prove that she is a serious convert as well and attempts to pray five times a day.

Best quote:

Amaar: "Any bit of advice on dampening religious enthusiasm?"
Reverend Magee: "Join the clergy"

So many things! First, the one big difference between Judaism and Islam. Nobody converts to Judaism this fast. No rabbi encourages conversion like Amaar. And no Jewish community is so enthusiastic about a conversion. Which is good (because it is a big decision and shouldn’t be rushed), but also bad (because many good people give up).

Then, what is the correct level of commitment to a convert’s new faith? Marlon takes on too much too quickly. And he judges everybody else on his extreme standards. On the other hand, Sarah doesn’t seem to care about Islam at all. From my experience as a convert and from talking to other converts, it is very easy to overreact in the enthusiasm of having found "the truth". Everything seems so glorious. And also, everything seems so clear, because in the beginning one is taught how the basic things are done, black and white, not all the nuances and exceptions and values behind them. Also, often the first books one reads come from more traditional sources and are rather more strict than what most of the people actually do in their daily lives. After a while the initial enthusiasm usually fades and then either people go somewhere else (like Marlon), cease to care about religion (like Sarah, though I don’t know if she ever had an enthusiastic phase or just converted for Yasir), or they manage to transform their passion into something healthy that becomes a natural and integral part of their lives (like Amaar or Rayyan, although they are not converts but Baalei tshuva, people who were raised as secular and returned to faith later).

Next, how should we treat our converts? From my experience, Jewish communities could work on being more welcoming. This doesn’t mean to encourage people to convert, but just to be a little more friendly and to not actively discourage people or put obstacles in their way. Smile at the enthusiasm the newly interested conversion candidates bring, prevent them from doing stupid things in this phase (like cutting ties with the family or throwing out huge amounts of stuff), teach them how to reconcile the real life with the ideals that they read in a book. And use some of that fresh perspective to renew your own commitment.

Finally, never-ever imply that a convert is not a real Muslim/Jew/whatever (like Baber says to Sarah). There’s enough feeling of being an impostor or being fake just because of insecurity. The last thing any convert needs is the feeling that she/he needs to prove herself by being "more Jewish" than the rest of the community. This will lead to the kind of annoying overzealous behavior we discussed above, which doesn’t help anyone. The Talmud says that it is forbidden to remind a convert of his/her past. Once she/he has converted, he/she is a Jew like anybody else.

There’s so much more to say, but I’ll leave it at this, the post is long enough.

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