PARIS – The number of reverts to Islam among French people has increased significantly after Charlie Hebdo attacks, with French imams reporting a growing number of people coming to take Shahada or declaration of faith at mosques.
“It makes me want to go to Islam and to show everyone that this is not what Islam is about,” a young Muslim revert to Islam was quoted by RTL Radio.
According to the radio station, the Great Mosque of Paris issued 40 reversion certificates to Islam.
At the same period last year, the mosque gave certificates to 22 only, almost 50% of this year’s conversion rate.
Percentage of reverts to Islam in Strasbourg and Aubervilliers was also high, scoring around 30% increase.
Lyon also followed the same trend with an increase of 20%.
The imams said they were surprised at first by the increase in the number of new reverts. Moreover, the diversity of those reverts, including a doctor, a school principal or a police officer who all crossed the gate of the Grand Mosque to revert.
In January 2015, 17 people have been killed in attacks on Charlie Hebdo that rocked Paris.
A few days after Charlie Hebdo attack, French director Isabelle Matic announced her decision to revert to Islam on her FaceBook account.
Seeing the Charlie Hebdo attack as a betrayal of Islamic faith, leaders from Muslim countries and organizations have joined worldwide condemnation of the attack, saying the attackers should not be associated with Islam.
Later on, French Muslims called for criminalizing insulting religions amid increasing anger around the Muslim world over Charlie Hebdo’s decision to publish new cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).