Islamic converts add to Muslim community in Windsor
Number of Muslims in Canada is set to triple by the year 2030
While many religions are dealing with flat or shrinking memberships in Windsor, the local Muslim community is growing . Numbers are up due in part to converts.
According to Mohamed Mohamed, the Imam at Windsor Mosque, approximately three people come to the mosque every month looking to convert.
"When anyone comes to us, he will be one of us. It's as simple as that," he said.
According to the Pew Research Center Forum on Religion and Public Life, the number of Muslims in Canada is set to triple by the year 2030.
It is projected that there will be 2.7 million Muslims in Canada by then, up roughly 940,000 from 2011.
Remy Bolboul is a woman who converted to Islam.
She grew up Christian, but was inspired by a story about the Prophet Muhammad's first wife.
"She was so strong and independent and fantastic," Bolboul said. "I thought, 'this seems like a great woman. I kind of want to read a little more.'"
That was in 1999.
"I became a Muslim that year; in my living room with my sister," she said. "It was pretty anticlimactic."
Two years later, the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, hung a dark cloud over the entire religion.
Subsequent acts of terror, including the recent bombings in Boston and the four London teenagers, including a Greek Orthodox and a Korean Catholic, into Islamic radicals who are linked to al-Qaeda and an attack on an Algerian refinery, force Muslims to continually defend the religion.
Mohamed said people who have made the decision to convert to Islam need a bit of help fitting into the community.
For many, the biggest challenge is getting their family to accept the choice.
Bolboul said her family was understanding.
"It's not easy to change your life completely and to change everything about how you live your day-to-day life," Bolboul said. "Islam is not just. 'I am going to get up and go to the Mosque on Friday.' It's a complete way of life and living. That whole process, for someone who, as an adult, is changing all that, is very trying and difficult if you don't have the right supports around you."