Conversion to Islam: Review of research conducted between 2000-2020 on Western and Australian converts to Islam

Bonne Martinot, Mehmet Ozalp

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This article is a systematic literature review of research conducted in the last two decades (2000-2020) on conversion and converts to Islam in western societies and Australia. The review highlights findings of this body of literature in six key points: there are important nuances of difference of conversions to Islam from country to country, conversion to Islam is a gradual process, converts to Islam do not entirely replace their existing identity with an Islamic one, converts are alienated by their friends and family leading to deep loneliness and isolation, converts to Islam feel denied meaningful roles in the Muslim community and converts to Islam experience a subtle form of Islamophobia. These findings and insights at the same time reveal gaps in knowledge and offer a road map in charting new research. This review highlights six important areas of research and gaps in knowledge: research need to include equally men and women converts, interplay between Islam influencing converts’ identity and converts influencing the way Islam is understood in western societies, there is a lack of the Muslim converts’ voice in research involving Muslims in the west, there is no study that investigates how converts successfully integrate within their respective Muslim community, the theory of conversion to Islam is not fully developed, research on Aboriginal converts to Islam needs to be investigated without the constraints of a security lens.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Pages (from-to)21-41
Number of pages20
JournalAustralian Journal of Islamic Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2020


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