News | Dubai | By Bassam Za'za' | 29-04-2003
Ninety-eight people converted to Islam in the last four months,
a moderate 10 per cent increase over the number that converted
during the same period last year.
Twenty were men, said Sheikh Ismail Essa Mohammed Al
Thani, vice president of the New Muslim Converts section at
Dubai Department of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs.
The average is increasing all over the UAE, especially in
Dubai. Between January and September last year 267 embraced
Islam in Dubai.
Most of the converts came from countries such as Thailand,
Burma, the Philippines, Uzbe-kistan, Kyrgyzstan, Egypt, Russia,
China and Lebanon.
Al Thani explained: "The section for new converts uses every
means to give the converts a clear image of Islamic culture
and traditions. Many come with distorted impressions about
the religion. So our task is to correct these distortions.
We try to do this through lectures, preaching, public conferences,
as well as audio and video talk shows."
He said: "Several wrong practices by a small section of Muslims
have made many non-Muslims misunderstand Islam as a whole.
Islam always denounces acts of violence and terrorism."
Al Thani believes that non-Muslims can learn more about Islam
through the media and by taking part in Islamic cultural contests.
The section conducts workshops and holds talks on the comprehensive
message of Islam and its global concept, with the aid of scholars
and preachers. Al Thani pointed out that the section's objective
was to call non-Muslims to embrace Islam in order to live
a respectable life under this religion that provides decency
in life and happiness in the days after.
Since its establishment in 1992 the section has been publishing
and distributing literature on the teachings of the religion
in different languages.
On holy occasions like Ramadan, Isra wal Miraj or Eid, scholars
or clergymen are invited to lecture and introduce the public
to beliefs, notions and teachings of Islam in prisons, Islamic
associations, foundations and educational institutions as
well as in mosques.
The department will hold lectures next month entitled 'Islamic
Lecture for New Muslims' and 'Islam is the true religion of
the world and henceforth'.
The different sections of the department's Women's Da'wa Administration
also helps new women converts by preparing monthly and annual
schedules in addition to annual programs of Da'wa and instruction,
publishes leaflets, booklets and articles on feminine Da'wa
in different languages and contacts specialised administrations
in the UAE.
It looks after new female converts by registering their names
in administrations and gives them booklets to guide them through
the initial phases of conversion.