Islam and Other Religions - Forced Conversion

Forced Conversion

Many Muslim scholars believe that Quranic verses such as "Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error" (Quran 2:256) and (Quran 18:29) show that Islam prohibits forced conversion towards people of any religion.

The meaning of this verse 9:5 has however been a subject of discussion amongst other scholars of Islam as well (see At-Tawba 5). This Surah was revealed in the historical context of a broken treaty between Muslims and a group of idolaters during the time of Prophet Muhammed. Regarding this verse, Quranic translator M. A. S. Abdel Haleem writes: "in this context, this definitely refers to the ones who broke the treaty" rather than polytheists generally.

According to historian Bernard Lewis, forced conversions played a role especially in the 12th century under the Almohad dynasty of North Africa and Andalusia as well as in Persia where the Shi'a sect of Islam is dominant. He is however also of the opinion that other incidents of forced conversions have been rare in Islamic history. He adds that "In the early centuries of Islamic rule there was little or no attempt at forcible conversion, the spread of the faith being effected rather by persuasion and inducement." A few well-known examples of forced conversion are:

  • Anusim of Meshhad, Jewish community forced on pain of death to convert in 1839 under Safawid rule. Most continued Jewish practices in secret and many of their descendents returned to Judaism in the early 20th century.
  • Francis Bok - Sudanese-American activist, from Christianity; later returned to his Christian faith.
  • Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig - forced to convert at gunpoint by terrorists of the Holy Jihad Brigades.
  • Sabbatai Zevi - convert from Judaism, 17th century mystic, pseudo-Messiah and the self-proclaimed "King of Jews". Converted ostensibly of his own free will, while in prison. Although, some speculate that he may have been executed for treason had he not converted, Muslim authorities were opposed to his death.

Read more about this topic:  Islam And Other Religions

Other articles related to "forced, conversions, forced conversion":

Timeline Of Antisemitism - Fifteenth Century
1413 Disputation of Tortosa, Spain, staged by the Avignon Pope Benedict XIII, is followed by forced mass conversions ... Edict), confiscation of their possessions, and forced conversion of Jewish children. 1435 Massacre and forced conversion of Majorcan Jews ...

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