More and more Danes choose to convert to Islam. Researchers have previously estimated the number of Danish converts to Islam as 2,800. This number is now increasing.
The Danish imam Abdul Wahid Pedersen who leads ‘The Danish Centre for Islam’ confirms the tendency. He says he talked to about 70 Danes last year who wanted to convert to Islam. Representatives from the organization ‘The Islamic Society in Denmark’ say they talk to many Danes each week who want to learn more about Islam because they are considering converting.
Abdul Wahid Pedersen estimates that one third are converting because they are marrying a Muslim, some are converting because of spiritual quests or because they grew up with Muslim friends. “A few are converting as a reaction to the very harsh public debate on Muslims in Denmark” Wahid Pedersen says. This is being confirmed by PhD Kate Østergaard who has done a survey of Danish converts. The survey shows that many converts have Muslim friends and grew up with Muslims. Another explanation could be that Islam is being seen as having a set of values which is also to be found among left wing sympathizers. “In some left wing settings Islam is seen as a religion of justice, which emphasizes equality and accept all races” Østergaard says. Like Wahid Pedersen Østergaard thinks that the polarized Danish debate on Muslims and Islam are attracting some people who want to learn more about Islam to find out whether the religion is as bad as it often seems in the public debate. “The bigger the focus is on Islam in the media the bigger the tendency is of Danes converting to Islam” Kate Østergaard says.