The Quran club: How Palestine is inspiring women to embrace Islam
Moved by Palestinians' unwavering faith amid Israel's brutal aggression, many young millennials and Gen Z women have turned to the Quran for answers, with some even converting to Islam.
The trend highlights how Israel's aggression is compelling many to educate themselves on the historical injustices inflicted upon Palestinians but also connect with the core essence of Islam.
It all started when TikTok influencer Megan Rice saw the crisis unfolding in Gaza and wondered how Palestinians held onto their faith despite losing everything.
"It just seems that Palestinians have this ironclad faith even in the face of losing quite literally everything," she said on TikTok.
Her Muslim followers told her to read the Quran to find out why the Palestinians are so steadfast.
"I made a video expressing my admiration for the Palestinian faith, and people commented, 'Well yeah, girl, that's Islam. Have you read the Quran? You should probably read the Quran,'" she said in another video.
On October 20th, she started the World Religion Book Club and conducted live readings of the Quran. In no time, 13,000 people joined her mission to understand the Quran.
Discussing the text, she found its teachings aligned with her own beliefs; it was anti-oppression, gave women rights, and focused on substance over vanity.
As Israel's assault raged on, Rice's exploration soon became conviction. On November 10th, she appeared in a hijab on TikTok. The next day, she officially converted by taking the Shahada — a mere 20 days after she had started reading the Quran.
After her conversion, due to the level of interest, Rice stopped doing live readings and said she would develop her spirituality in private. But she remains very public about advocating for the rights of Palestinians.
Many turning to the Quran for answers
Rice is not alone. Across TikTok, young people — especially Western women — are reading the Quran to grasp the religion demonised by media and finding common ground with Gazans facing violence.
Among the TikTokers exploring Islam is Madison Reeves, a 24-year-old mom and US Army veteran.
She became interested after speaking to a Muslim. But when the war in Palestine erupted, her reversion accelerated. On October 24th, Reeves posted a video wearing a hijab, announcing she had converted.
For many, the Quran's messages resonate - some refer to its fairness, while others point to its detailed account of Mary's story or the scientific explanations of the universe's origins.
"So I, like many white, secular Western women, am profoundly inspired by the faith of the Palestinian people. So much so that I got to get my hand on a Quran," posted @poemsaboutpot.
"And so I went to my local Islamic cultural centre, and they gave me two [Qurans]."
In an interview with a Turkish channel, Abbey Hafez talked about how the situation in Palestine made her read the Quran and convert.
"When I opened the Quran for the first time, it was addressing the situation in Palestine," she said. "As a Christian for 25 years, it was answering my questions. It was answering questions that I had for years and years."
The phenomenon echoes post-9/11 America, where around 8,000 women converted per year, far exceeding prior levels.
And it seems that, once again, Islam is providing a path to make sense of a painful world for the seekers of truth.
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