Religious Conversion, Models and Paradigms

Tuba Boz


This papers examines the experiences of converts to Islam among Australian women in the milieu of polemic views and debates such as ‘Islam versus the west', which is most visible in the image of the ‘eastern' ‘oppressed' Muslim woman. Employing the experiences of Australian Muslim women converts in Melbourne, issues concerning identity politics, and the individuals and social dimensions of conversion are investigated. While there is an array of literature about Muslim women from various disciplines including anthropology, sociology, politics, cultural studies and gender studies, among others, this paper takes an interdisciplinary approach to examine debates that have based their discussion on the image of the Muslim woman. Marco debates concerning issues such as multiculturalism, integration, Islam and the West debates including the ‘clash of civilizations' have been largely centred on the image of the Muslim women. The debate concerning the inherent conflict between Islam and West intensified after 11th of September 2001 with the terrorist attacks in the United States and the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2002. It is during this critical period I interviewed Muslim converts in order to gain first-hand insight into their experiences as Muslims. This paper employs primary data collected during this historical period to examine issues regarding broader issues of identity politics, religious conversion as well as the everyday life experiences of female converts to Islam.     


Muslim women; religious conversion; Islam; hijab; Australia and identity politics

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