Relations among the main religions, particularly the Muslims, Christians, and Jews have been shaped not only by the beliefs and theologies of the three religions. But more strongly, they’re shaped by the historical circumstances in which they are found.
Today, we’ll be talking to you about a matter that involves the Jews and Muslims. We’ll be discussing the increasing trend of Jews converting to Islam, mainly in Israel and the problems that arise for the Muslims and Christians because of this.
For Muslims, the Quran and Sunnah are key guides in dealing with people of other religions. Anybody who knows Islam, is aware that the primary message of Islam is peace in this world and the hereafter.
However, as Islam continues to spread around the world, more and more Muslims are living in non-Muslim countries as minorities. This trend gives rise to newer intellectual and security challenges for Muslims.
The up-to-date statistics of Jews-to-Muslim conversions in Israel are hard to come by at this moment. However, it is known that 35 Jews converted to Islam in the year 2003 – the number doubled by the next three years and 70 Jews had converted to Islam in 2006.
Between the years 2005 and 2007, more than 250 Jews in Israel had converted to Islam and it is not a surprise that many of them were women.
Lehava, a movement in Israel that’s not so cool with Muslims or any other religions for that matter, accused of causing incitement and is committed to helping women in particular go back to the fold of Judaism after marrying Muslims Israeli men and converting to Islam.
Clearly we should take their facts with a pinch of salt..
Anat Gopstein, who co-founded this organization with her husband back in 2005, claims to receive five requests a day for help from these women. The women who did convert but want to find a way out. Either because they’re stuck in the mundane cycle of living with the Muslim families or who are crying for help out of abusive relationships.
Gopstein said. “It’s hard to give an accurate number but we do know that the conversions from Judaism to Islam are on the rise.”
“We believe it’s because the women end up converting to Islam because they want to marry Muslim men. As a result, it becomes a problem for us Jews because these men are Gentiles who take our women away from Judaism.”
Last year, in 2019 one of Lehava’s leaders, Bentzi Gopstein was charged with inciting hate. Gopstein referred to Christians as ‘blood-sucking vampires’ and demanded them to be expelled from Israel.
Jews who do convert to Islam or Christianity have repeatedly said that they did so after deepening their knowledge of the religion – particularly Islam. ‘Many of them are disappointed in Judaism’, a senior member of the Islamic court said.
According to one of the converts, “The interior ministries and the religious affairs ministry gave me a hard time while converting to Islam. They gave me the runaround, sending me back and forth from office to office. They also made me see a psychiatrist to make sure I wasn’t brain-washed. They did everything they could so I would despair and return to Judaism.”
According to Gopstein’s group, “Children that are born as a result of these marriages follow their father’s religion. These kids will further end up marrying Muslim women or make more Jews convert to Islam eventually dropping out of Judaism”
“More importantly, since they are raised by two conflicting societies, very often they find themselves unwanted by either of them.”
We do agree about there being exceptions in happy marriages when a woman from another religion converts to Islam before marrying. However, anyone can understand the nationalist and harmful exaggeration in Gopstein’s ‘5 woman a day’ number.
If anything, the increasing trend of more Jews converting to Islam should give rise to a more democratic, more secular, more collaborative, and peaceful environment for Israel.
But unfortunately, the existence for movements like Lehava that give rise to hateful nationalism doesn’t do good for any religious group in Israel, including the Judaism.
May Allah make this world a peaceful place for people of all religions. Ameen!