On Conversion...see this story:
It says that 30% of the mosque attendees in America are converts.
From my knowledge, after 9/11, interest in Islam and conversion increased sharply because more Americans wanted to know 'what is Islam?'...whereas before, no one gave it much thought.
My interest in your thoughts about Islam and its growing rate is based on my own experiences with family/employers etc...after I converted to Islam, 6 months before 9/11...most of which were not positive or supportive. Most people got very stiff...and uncomfortable, and wouldn't talk about it at all, or if they did would say very negative/hurtful things or not talk to me for a very long time....as if I was no longer the same person. i lost my job on 9/13, etc. No one, except my friends, thankfully for them, were supportive. So, i'm just interested in thoughts on that 'barrier' that closes people off to anything 'Islam'....without even trying to understand beyond what they hear on the news, etc...even when a loved one embraces it. My husband converted to Islam too (after 9/11), and also experienced similar reactions from friends and family, but fortunately for him, not from his employer.
So, forgive me, Setanta, for 'taking the bait', but, in this day and age, in my experience....the reactions from Americans on Islam is more likely to be negative than positive.
For myself, I don't and never have believe in terrorism, oppression of anykind, be it gender, political, economic, religious or ethnic oppression, etc...and I've always believed in peacefulness and seeked goodness and truth. I've always believed in simple living, social justice, unity, charity, and equal rights and religious freedom for all people, women being valued for their minds...not their bodies, diverse community in which the needs of everyone are met...regardless of their gender, race, or social status...etc. I beleive in All the prophets, and that they all came with the same message, the Unity of God...And I believe in One God. I believe in All the Books of God, including the Torah, the Bible, and the Qu'ran...and believe in Love and Compassion towards all life. The only Religion I found which encompassed all of that, surprisingly, even to myself, was Islam.
My point is not about Islam being embraced by 'non-believers', or there being any signifigance in conversion to Islam...it's about the negative reactions and stand-offishness from Americans about Islam, which are based on an impersonal and limited exposure from television sources...and, if what they believe about Islam is really true, why would so many Western people be converting?
Anyway, I hope that clears up my intentions in starting this post...
p.s. don't forget Cat Stevens converted too...