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Sunday, 24 March 2013

Islamic Values draw Yoga Teacher Camilla Leyland to Islam



For some reverts, Islam represents a celebration of old-fashioned family values. Some are drawn to the sense of belonging and of community — values which have eroded in the West. Many people, from all walks of life, mourn the loss in today’s society of traditional respect for the elderly and for women, for example. These are values which are enshrined in the Quran, which Muslims have to live by. It is values like these which drew Camilla Leyland, 32, a yoga teacher who lives in Cornwall, to Islam. A single mother to daughter, Inaya, 2, she converted in her mid-20s for ‘intellectual and feminist reasons’.

She explains: ‘I know people will be surprised to hear the words “feminism” and “Islam” in the same breath, but in fact, the teachings of the Quran give equality to women, and at the time the religion was born, the teachings went against the grain of a misogynistic society.

‘The big mistake people make is by confusing culture with religion. Yes, there are Muslim cultures which do not allow women individual freedom, yet when I was growing up, I felt more oppressed by Western society.’

She talks of the pressure on women to act like men by drinking and having casual relationships. ‘There was no real meaning to it all. In Islam, if you begin a relationship, that is a commitment of intent.’

Growing up in Southampton — her father was the director of Southampton Institute of Education and her mother a home economics teacher — Camilla’s interest in Islam began at school.
She went to university and later took a Masters degree in Middle East Studies. But it was while living and working in Syria that she had a spiritual epiphany. Reflecting on what she’d read in the Quran, she realized she wanted to convert.

Her decision was met with bemusement by friends and family.
‘People found it so hard to believe that an educated, middle-class white woman would choose to become Muslim,’ she says, but her faith remains strong !

1 comment:

  1. It is values like these which drew Camilla Leyland, 32, a yoga teacher who lives in Cornwall, to Islam. A single mother to daughter, Inaya, 2, she converted in her mid-20s for ‘intellectual and feminist reasons’.

    Explain something to me: This article implies that Ms. Leyland must have gotten pregnant around the age of 29 or 30. If she is a single parent, then it is implied that she committed fornication by having sexual relations with somebody she is not married to; this is a very bad sin according to the Islamic faith, and in some Islamic countries it carries a deaths sentence. So why did a practicing Muslim woman choose to commit the sin of fornication? I do not understand this.

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