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Dubai: As many as 1,365 people converted to Islam from January to June this year as compared to 878 over the same period last year, according to Huda Khalfan Al Kaabi, head of the New Muslims Section in the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department in Dubai.

“This is basically due to the tolerance, modesty, transparency and greatness of Islam which meet people’s needs in all places and times,” she said.

Observing that 3,763 expatriates from 72 countries had converted to Islam in a year-and-a-half in Dubai, Al Kaabi said most of them were from the Philippines, Russia, China and India.

Al Kaabi indicated that most of the new Muslims were women. “While 576 of the 878 new Muslims in 2008 were women, 984 of the 1,365 people who embraced Islam in 2009 are women,” she said.

“They are just touched by the instructions of Islam which require the followers to be honest, fair, kind and tolerant when dealing with all people, irrespective of their religion, race, language and colour,” Al Kaabi pointed out. After spending 13 years as a missionary, 32-year-old Filipina Rowena Fernandez said the fact that she did not see a Muslim converting to another religion made her ask and read about Islam deeply and logically.

“When I came to work in Dubai as an executive secretary, I read some books on Islam, and started comparing its teachings with all I have been taught by my religion. The comparison was perfectly in favour of Islam. Therefore, I willingly and happily embraced this great religion,” she said. Al Kaabi said that the New Muslims Section provides fully-integrated and free services to three categories – Muslims of all nationalities, new Muslims, and 

“When dealing with non-Muslims, we do not call them for (conversion to) Islam. We instead focus on holding other programmes not related to religion, such as Arabic language. This is mainly aimed at integrating them into the UAE society and enlightening them about our religion and culture,” she said.

“As for new Muslims, we organise various courses about the Holy Quran and Sunnah, along with the pillars, rituals, teachings and ethics of Islam. Open lectures are also held for new Muslims and their friends.”

“We have also launched Itasel Bena (Call us) service at the department’s website to respond to all queries and doubts about Islam,” she said, stressing that polygamy, circumcision and burial technique in Islam are the main issues non-Muslims usually ask about.

“Questions may also be submitted in person or by telephone. The seven male and female staff counsellors are equipped to answer all questions in various languages.” Al Kaabi said that regular visits are paid to the consulates, departments, hospitals, shopping centres and prisons to explain the teachings of Islam to all people, using moral and scientific techniques.

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