The New White Moors

Letter From London

On February 22, an article in London’s Sunday Times reported on a survey of white British converts to Islam.  The survey was conducted by Yahya (formerly Jonathan) Birt, the son of former BBC director-general Sir John Birt.  Having examined the 2001 census figures, Birt concluded that there were around 14,200 white converts to Islam in Britain, including some well-known or well-connected people.

Apart from Birt himself, well-connected converts mentioned in the Sunday Times article or subsequent articles in other journals included Emma Clark (great-granddaughter of Herbert Asquith), the earl of Yarborough, and Joe Ahmed-Dobson (son of former Labour minister Frank Dobson).  Readers were also reminded of the pop star Cat Stevens, who is now known as Yusuf Islam, and other high-profile converts such as Jemima Goldsmith (daughter of Sir James Goldsmith, who married the Pakistani cricketer Imran Khan) and Yvonne Ridley, a TV journalist who, when held captive by the Taliban in Afghanistan, did a Patty Hearst.  “We’re all the rage,” Clark said.  “I hope it’s not a passing fashion.”  The internet has now given birth to various websites (such as that contain “trophy lists” of white converts to Islam, including, if these lists are to be believed, Gen. Charles William Buchanan Hamilton (nephew of American...

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