Conversion to Islam: a gradual transformation versus a radical change




Islam, conversion, Muslim converts, Polish converts


Nowadays Poland (according to different sources) is inhabited by approx. 20—30 thousand Muslims, which is less than 0.1 % of the country’s population. From a historical perspective, Poland first encountered Islam in the 14th century as a result of Prince Witold’s decision to allow the Tatars to settle in the Polish-Lithuanian-Teutonic borderlands. The 20th century brought a new group of Muslims — immigrants from Muslim countries. Their arrival, however, was preceded by Polish women’s conversion to Islam.In the contemporary sociology of religion, the conversion to a different culture is usually perceived as a result of a sudden change in identity. The article is devoted to the analysis of the blogs written by Polish Muslim women. The study was conducted in 2016—2017 using the content analysis. The author shows that the lifestyle can be identical or totally different before and after the conversion. Two forms of conversion to Islam prevail: an open one and a secret one.One of the key innovations of the study is an analysis of the conversion in terms of the attitudes of social environment towards female converts. The social environment attitudes can take three forms: breaking the family ties (frequently for a temporary period), tolerant attitudes (without accepting any specific ideology) or full acceptance. The author concludes that it is impossible to create a single model of conversion.