Published on May 9, 2013 | by Clare Hiles0
LCC student finds peace and friends with Islam
Despite continuing controversial media coverage, more and more people – including UAL students – are becoming Muslims, making theirs the second-largest religion in Britain. Arts London News asks why they are converting.
The warmth, friendship, and feeling of community are some of the main factors that are drawing UAL students to Islam.
It has become the most popular religion for people to convert to in Britain, according to the 2011 Census and Statistics.
UAL student, Head Brother of UAL’s Islamic society, and recent Muslim convert Christian Sinclair, 20, spoke to Arts London News about why he was so attracted to the religion.
The first year BA Interior Design student from Dartford said: “I started working with the Islamic Society at the university on charity projects, mainly because they seemed to be the only people doing them.”
Then I started reading about Islam and all those misconceptions I had about it were broken as I delved deeper.”
He is one of many people who have taught themselves about Islam and found the religion appealing.
Coming together in faith
Christian, who was Christian before his conversion, said: “When I went to church I found everyone kept to themselves and was rather cold.
But when you go to a mosque, it’s a different thing entirely. People sitting next to you won’t just sit there quietly, they’ll talk and you will get to know people.”
“I have tons and tons and tons of Muslim friends. We just meet so many people. In the mosque in the women’s section they cuddle you and kiss you. Everyone is just dead nice.” Alana Blockley
Sinclair’s experience of Islam is similar to Alana Blockley, 21, from Glasgow, who converted two years ago.
Alana also commented on the strong friendships she has made since joining the Muslim community.
Alana found Islam through her husband, who she met before her conversion and married in June 2012, but she is adamant he’s not the reason she converted.
A community religion
“I started to study Islam, knowing that it’s not a private religion. You live it in your life and that’s it. I studied it because I really didn’t know anything about it before,” Alana said.
“Then I started to ask my husband questions. Most of what I studied was about women because that was what would affect me, but I was adamant I had no plans to convert.
“A Jewish or Christian woman can still marry a Muslim man so I knew I didn’t have to convert at all.”
After learning about the religion, she then found she agreed with a lot of Islam’s practices and converted.
The beauty of Islam
Speaking about relationships, Christian was adamant he would never force Islam on someone who was not already a Muslim.
“There is a saying that Islam did not spread by the sword, it spread by conquering hearts with its beauty.” Christian Sinclair
“If I do meet someone and I’m interested in them but they’re not willing to take up Islam, then I believe the heart will eventually find somebody that it loves just as much.”
Sinclair converted to Islam on December 28, 2012 and has credited his conversion as the final thing he needed to lead a peaceful, complete life.