One Jewish woman converted to Islam after immigrating from the Caucasus; the other, from Croatia. Al-Jazeera reports that an organization in the Arab Israeli village of Kafr Qara has been, systematically and slowly, spreading Islam to Jewish women.
The group is called Dar Al-Islam (lit. “house of Islam”), and is located in the village of Kafr Qara, in north-central Israel.
One of the converts has renamed herself Aisha – after the wife of the Muslim prophet Mohammed who married him at age 9. When Aisha was visiting Israel from her native Caucasus, an Arab handed her a pamphlet entitled “The Way to Happiness.” Back home, when afflicted with a serious illness, Aisha thumbed through the pamphlet.
The pamphlet gave her comfort – and roped her in to the world of Islam. After she contacted the Dar Al-Islam organization, who had distributed the pamphlet, she studied Islam rigorously for 6 months before going to the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem to convert.
According to the report, she kept Islam in secret for months, only revealing her decision to her father; she describes her mother as a religious Jew and an “extremist.” Eventually, she ran to the Dar Al-Islam center, where she lived there with 5 other Jewish girls who had chosen to convert to Islam.
Aisha’s friend, a woman in her mid-twenties from Croatia, chose the name Hanin when she converted. She claims what drew her to the faith is “the way Islam treats women and family life” as well as seeing positive conversion experiences from her friends.
The center’s director, Sheikh Rassan Athamneh, is also Imam of the Nida Al-Haq Mosque. The center publishes books on Islam in several languages – including Hebrew – and sends out missionaries of sorts of both genders to spread Islam in Israel.
From the report, it is evident that women are the primary target of the organization – especially unhappy Jewish women with little to no background. The organization appears to lure them into the fantasy of a traditional family life, while leaving out the systemic discrimination Islam often employs against women.
According to Islamic law, women must ask permission to leave the house at any time. After marriage, a woman is instructed that she must be available at all times to satisfy her husband’s whims – with or without her explicit consent. The Quran allows husbands to hit their wives if they disobey them, and it is common for Muslim men to take multiple wives.
The tactic of luring women away from modern Western views of women’s roles is not new among Islamists. In December, the pan-Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir held an event in Jerusalem, featuring a 13-year-old girl preaching against women’s rights.