Proselytise the traveller
There is one thing that I’ve come across in some Muslim countries I’ve visited. It’s the eagerness of some locals to convert me to Islam.
First one took place in the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, when the warden gave me a handful of leaflets telling how wonderful the faith was. I had been staring at the beautiful murals, obviously long enough to trigger his mission. In Eastern Turkey, the approach was not that respectful. A bearded man challenged me and my friend of us “Not respecting Mohammad, why?” Answering that kind of question is quite hard: “Umm…we don’t disrespect, he’s just not part of the doctrine…” invoked just another set of questions and suspicions.
In Iran, everyone minded their own business in terms of religion.
In Sahara, however, it happened again. In the shared taxi from Tan Tan to Laayoune, my neighbour (young and multi-lingual guy) suddenly popped out the question: “Why are you not a Muslim?” “Well, I was not brought to be one, and haven’t felt the need to convert” was my initial reply. This was not satisfactory. Interestingly, he used the exactly same argument than the man in Van (East Turkey): “Why hold on to a faith that is obviously wrong? Islam is correct, so you should convert to it.”
Needless to say, a philosophical argument questioning the foundations of his claim didn’t yield much. Raising the issue of having read the Qur’an and still not believing didn’t help either… Oh well.
It’s just interesting. There must be something in the religious mind that makes them spread the ‘good’ word. It happens also in the better families. It’s a gift, not an attempt to proselytise!