Tilburg: More male converts

Islamologist professor Herman Beck of the University of Tilburg says that more and more ethnic Tilburg men are converting to Islam. He estimates that there are several dozen converts, men who became Muslims later in life. He says that there no exact numbers, also not nationally. He says that Ethnic Dutch feel more and more attracted to the spiritual side of Islam. In the beginning it was especially women who converted because they had married a Muslim. Recently more often also men convert.

Abdelkader Barkane, spokesperson for the Moroccan association El- Feth in Tilburg says that the number of converts is increasing. He says students especially consciously choose Islam, they are searching for a new form of spirituality.

Currently about ten ethnic Dutch man visit the Moroccan mosque. The number of ethnic Dutch women is higher. Barkane says they don't keep track, and that's only an estimate. He says since the attacks on America on September 11, 2001 the Tilburg mosque has become more important for young Dutch who had been born and raised in the Netherlands. He explains that's due to the attention Islam gets. Since then there have been more talks, and interest is increasing through that.

According to Abdelhak Bidaoui of the Moroccan association Mast, most choose for the orthodox mosque in Tilburg-Noord.

Beck thinks that's logical. Converts are usually more 'right-wing' than the average Muslim and therefore choose a strict mosque.

Beck says that there's no Muslim group in Tilburg which is actively missionizing. In Den Bosch and Waalwijk there's a Ahmadiyya Muslim community and they do have a missionizing campaign, however the Ahmadiyya has no fixed base in Tilburg.

Source: Brabants Dagblad (Dutch)

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