Life Style

Conversion to Islam: “How Parents Respond”

La Croix: How do parents react to a young person who converts to Islam?

Raphael Liogier : There are obviously several cases, including that of parents of Arab, Maghrebian or sub-Saharan African origin who, for the sake of integration, fought to become secular, to say that they were secular. It is sometimes difficult for them to hear their children reproach them for having “melted” into society.

→ ANALYSIS. When the faith of the youngest troubles their elders

They, by demanding a return to an identity, have started to wear a headscarf for young girls, to grow beards for men: when you want to change your life and prove to yourself that you have a faith, it comes through appearing. This, by the way, makes the distinction between the cultural and the religious ineffective.

How to explain the fear often engendered by conversions to Islam?

RL: The conversion or re-Islamization of certain young people has been interpreted as the negative counterpart of churches which were emptying.

Although there was no numerical increase of Muslims, neither by conversion, nor by immigration, nor by birth rate – which are the three classic levers -, it was perceived in a causal relationship. . In the younger generations, some Catholics have also lived with enthusiasm a return to the faith. Some find themselves more in a proposition of transcendence than in the beacons provided by the nation-state, such as democracy, freedom …

What attitude do Catholic families adopt in the event of conversion to Islam of one of its members?

RL: It already depends on which version of Islam! Neosoufia, very modernized and liberal, or conversely neofundamentalist, outside of history, violent … Above all, it depends on which Catholicism: those who are Catholic above all for political, social, identity or heritage reasons will often have serious problems with this conversion.

→ TESTIMONIALS. The converts to Islam, a caricature to erase

Conversely, the “integralists”, very believing and practicing, going to the end of their faith, can adopt a position of tolerance or dialogue.

To the point of accepting more easily that their child chooses another religion?

RL: Without doubt. In any case more easily than people claiming to be indifferent, even anti-religious, who see religion only as infantilism, and for whom Islam is “squared archaism”. A skeptic of religions is likely to adopt only the discourse heard on television which repeats that Islam is a violent archaism.

→ PODCAST. “The other side of the story”: Benoît and Thomas, the converts of November 13


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