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Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Number of people adopting Islam rises by 71% in Dubai

Taken from The National, 29.01.09
ByRasha Elass

DUBAI // The Government said yesterday that 2,763 people converted to Islam in Dubai last year, 71 per cent more than in 2007.

The Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department said the converts, from 72 countries, included 1,869 women.

Dr Hamad al Shaibani, director general of the department, said: “We are delivering our message properly by spreading Islamic culture. ... We are lending special care to new Muslims, providing them with all they need from audiovisual materials, books, lectures and training programmes in all languages so as to become true Muslims.”

Conversion to Islam is a simple process that requires the convert to say the shahada in front of two witnesses. He or she must then adhere to Islam’s four other pillars, including prayer, fasting during Ramadan, giving an annual percentage of net worth to charity and going to Mecca at least once for pilgrimage.

Non-Muslim men who marry Muslim women are required by Sharia law to convert to Islam. Non-Muslim women, however, do not need to convert to marry Muslim men, though many do.

The Dubai Islamic authority did not say how many converted for the sake of marriage. But the report indicated that all those who converted did so willingly.

“The converts last year came to us by their free will, and showed a sincere desire to embrace Islam out of personal conviction that it is the true way,” said Ayesha al Kash, the head of education and training at the department.The Quran has been translated into almost all languages and the authority gives it free to anyone who is interested.

Zayed House in Al Ain also provides services to new Muslims, including helping them with Arabic, Islamic jurisprudence and Quran memorisation. and teaching them how to worship.

Last year Zayed House extended such services beyond the country by inviting delegations of non-Arabic-speaking Muslims, including a group of American women and Malaysian government employees, to teach them about Islam.