What is going on here? Are these people crazy? http://wechooseislam.wordpress.com/2009/01/20/thousands-of-british-elite-embrace-islam-study/ LONDON, February 26 (IslamOnline.net) â Jonathan Birt, the son of Lord Birt and Emma Clark, the granddaughter of former liberal prime minister Herbert Asquith, are only two of 14,000 mostly-elite white Britons having reverted to Islam. "I have received letters from people â¦ who are looking for a religion which does not compromise too much with the modern world,â Eaton In the first authoritative study of the phenomenon, carried by the Sunday Times on February 22, some of the countryâs top landowners, celebrities and the offspring of senior Establishment figures have embraced the Muslim faith after being disillusioned with western values. The new study by Yahya (formerly Jonathan) Birt, son of Lord Birt, former director-general of the BBC, provides the first reliable data on the sensitive subject of the movement of Christians into Islam. He uses a breakdown of the latest census figures to conclude that there are now 14,200 white reverts in Britain. Mass Conversion Speaking publicly for the first time about his faith this weekend, Birt argued that an inspirational figure, similar to the American revert Malcolm X for Afro-Caribbeans, would first have to emerge if the next stage, a mass conversion among white Britons, were to happen. âYou need great transitional figures to translate something alien (like Islam) into the vernacular,â Birt, whose doctorate at Oxford University is on young British Muslims, was quoted by the Times. âThe image of Islam projected by political Islamic movements is not very attractive,â he said. Initially, Birt said he had no coherent reasons for reverting, but âin the longer term I think it was the overall profundity, balance and coherence and spirituality of the Muslim way of life which convinced me,â he said. âAll Rageâ Meanwhile, it emerged this weekend that Emma Clark, the great-granddaughter of a British prime minister has reverted. Emma, whose ancestor, the Liberal prime minister Herbert Asquith, took Britain into the first world war, said: âWeâre all the rage, I hope itâs not a passing fashion.â Clark, who helped design an Islamic garden for the Prince of Wales at Highgrove, his Gloucestershire home, is now helping create a similar garden for a mosque in Woking, Surrey, on the site of a car park, said the British newspaper. Furthermore, fresh evidence came this weekend that Islam has received formal acceptance at the heart of the Establishment. The Queen has approved new arrangements to allow Muslim staff at Buckingham Palace time off to attend Friday prayers at a mosque. A member of staff in the finance department is the first to take advantage of it, said the British paper. âTrophy Listsâ Others have come to Islam through love or marriage. Kristiane Backer, a former girlfriend of the cricketer Imran Khan, said she was introduced to the religion through love but reverted after her break-up. She has shrunk from speaking publicly about her religion before because of fears it might affect her work prospects. âImran sowed the seeds, but when (the relationship) finished (the faith) took on a momentum of its own,â she said. Drawn to Sufi mysticism, Baker said that white reverts had to overcome prejudice both from those born into Islam and from non-believers. âIn the mosque women come up and say to me, âYou have hair showing: you must cover up completely.â I say, âMind your own hair, youâre here to think about Godâ â. Many reverts have been inspired by the writings of Charles Le Gai Eaton, a former Foreign Office diplomat, it added. âI have received letters from people who are put off by the wishy-washy standards of contemporary Christianity and they are looking for a religion which does not compromise too much with the modern world,â said Eaton, author of Islam and the Destiny of Man. Wary Some prominent reverts are even more wary, said the Times. The Earl of Yarborough, 40, who owns a 28,000-acre estate in Lincolnshire, declined to discuss anything about his faith. âI have nothing to say to you,â said Yarborough, who has apparently taken the name Abdul Mateen. Muslim leaders are harnessing modern campaigning methods to promote their faith. Groups have sprung up on the internet publishing âtrophy listsâ of white reverts. The state-funded school in London founded by Yusuf Islam, formerly the singer Cat Stevens, has turned to Premiership footballers to provide role models, said the Times. Sources close to the school say reverts including Nicolas Anelka, the Manchester City striker, and Omer âFreddieâ Kanoute, of Tottenham Hotspur, have made visits. The trend is being encouraged by Muslim leaders who are convinced that the conversion of prominent society figures will help protect a community stigmatized by âterrorism and fundamentalismâ. The Muslim Council of Britain has co-opted Joe Ahmed-Dobson, son of Frank Dobson, the former health secretary, to chair its regeneration committee. âThe community has been unfairly targeted and these developments encourage it in a time of difficulty,â said Zaki Badawi, chairman of the Imams and Mosques Council.