African American Women's Experiences Around Conversion to Islam

Joretha Bourjolly*, Roberta G. Sands, Dorit Roer-Strier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This article focuses on the experiences of African American women who converted from Christianity to Islam. Examining qualitative data from interviews with 15 Muslim women, we identified common experiences the women had in their paths to Islam. These experiences included predisposing conditions, experiencing challenges, social ties and relationships with Muslims, observing others, and positive experiences during the conversion process. We also found that dissatisfaction with their religious upbringing, life events, close and distant relationships, and feelings of peacefulness entered into the process, which seemed to be gradual. Similarities and differences between these findings and models of conversion and implications for social work practice with African American Muslim women are discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)14-35
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Religion and Spirituality in Social Work
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Received June 28, 2012; accepted July 9, 2012. This research was supported in part by a grant from the Research Foundation, University of Pennsylvania. Address correspondence to Joretha Bourjolly, PhD, Associate Professor/Clinician Educator and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy & Practice, 3701 Locust Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6214. E-mail: jerri@sp2.


  • African American Muslim women
  • Islam
  • religious conversion


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