American Women Choosing Islam
CAROL L. ANWAY
A small but growing number of American-born women are choosing to become Muslim, helping the process of making Islam the fastest growing religion in the United States. This growth can be attributed not only to immigration and increase in births, but to the success of da'wa (witnessing by Muslims to the non-Muslims) in America.1 A growing number of families are finding themselves with daughters or sons who have chosen to leave the Christian tradition to become a follower of Islam.
From September 1993 through July 1994, I conducted a study of Americanborn women who had converted to Islam in the United States and Canada.2 Questionnaires were distributed to women converts at Muslim conferences, mailed to those responding to notices in Islamic Sisters International, and sent to converts who were identified by those completing the questionnaire for the study. Of the 350 questionnaires given out, fifty-three American Muslim women returned the completed form. The respondents were from sixteen states and one Canadian province, all eager to share stories of their choice to be Muslim. The response rate of 15 percent is fairly low and may be affected by many factors, including the length of time required to answer the ten parts of the questionnaire, the many such questionnaires already floating around asking for the stories of Muslim women converts, and perhaps an unwillingness to share information with a non-Muslim conducting the survey. The letter with the questionnaire stressed that the study was only for Muslim women converts wearing hijab, which also eliminated some converts.
The group of women who did answer is self-selected in that they chose to respond to the survey and therefore is not representative of all women who convert to Islam, for their experience tends to be more positive than