We were asked by a person who, judging by his email address and contents of his emails, is a member of the British Academic Community:
"What is it about Islam that makes Muslims so hard to convert?".
Below follows the dialogue that ensued.
What is it about Islam that makes Muslims so hard to convert?
This question is not sufficiently clear to enable us give you a short answer. To enable us to give you a short answer you need to tell us:
But, if you give us short, but precise answers to the above questions, then we can give you a short and precise answer.
This is not the first, or only, time that the issue of "converting the Muslims" has been raised in the last six years.
Usually such suggestions come from politicized "Neo-Consrvative" Evangelists. Which is not surprising. Here, it is raised by a person who sees himself as a "secular westerner" and appears to have academic background.
By "conversion" I mean they no longer practice Islamic practices, even in secret.
This is even less clear than your original question.
What do you mean by "Islamic practices"?
Which of these "Islamic practices" do you want your prospective converts to discontinue?
You need to be specific and to provide a list of such "practices", as well as of the reasons why you want them to be discontinued. Otherwise people might think that you want them to stop washing their hands, respecting their parents, or being polite to each other - all of which are prescribed "Islamic practices". And, if you do want them to stop these "practices", then they will certainly ask you: "Why?".
The tendency of people to get involved in discussions and to make suggestions on subjects of which they have no knowledge is well known. "Why do you argue about things you have no knowledge about?", was written some 1500 years ago. And yet people still have not acquired the habit of making effort to inform themselves on the subject of their interest, before forming "opinions" about it.
[The object of the conversion would be] a typical adult living in a predominantly-Muslim country.
The so-called "predominantly-Muslim" countries are very different, and I doubt that there is such a thing as "a typical adult", especially with respect to the issue of "convertibility". It really depends on the individual, rather than on a country where he happens to live.
For example, if you see Iraq as a "predominantly-Muslim" country, then I have observed many cases of Iraqis coming to the "West" and embracing "western secularism" with all their "heart and mind" : drinking alcohol, having sex with aboriginal women, cheating, lying and doing nothing that you would relate to Islam. And all this without being "converted from Islam to Secularism" by anybody. But a year or so later, once they have familiarized themselves with the "West" well enough, they suddenly "revert to Islam" and become exemplar Muslims. And once this happens, then nothing will turn them back again to "Western Secularism".
So it is often the case that in Muslim countries many people are not "practicing Islam", but having come to the "West" and seen it for what it is, turn to Islam.
But with "conversions" from "West" to "East", the process is opposite. A frequent reason for conversions from Secularism to Islam by the "westerners" is gaining better knowledge of Islam. While they do not know what Islam is they often think of it as something "evil". But, once they learn more about it, they discover that it is not what they thought it to be, and then they become Muslims.
In one curious case a young man from a Muslim country came to the "West", he was totally secular and western. One day after a long night at a disco his aboriginal English girl-friend asked him: "Are you a Muslim?", he said, "Yes", meaning that he was of Muslim origin. "Tell me about your religion.", said the girl-friend.
He told her whatever he knew about Islam.
"Then, why do you not practice your religion?", she asked, "I like your religion, I want to be a Muslim."
So, they stopped drinking and going to discos, and started visiting a local mosque. She started observing hijab. Then they got married and had children and became a "typical western Muslim family".
So, in this case it was a "secular western girl" that converted a "secular eastern Muslim" to Islam, not the other way round.
What might strike you in all these conversions is that the issue of what people with European Christian background see as "religion", plays very little part in it. It is not about "spirituality" or "theology", or "faith", but about morality and daily life.
This might answer your question "what is it about Islam that makes Muslims so hard to convert?"
Islam is not about some mystical "practices".
It is about morality and standards of behaviour.
To "convert" from the "morality and standards of behaviour" of Islam to the "morality and standards of behaviour" of "western secularism", which you apparently would like to achieve, you need to be able to show to the objects of your intended conversion that what you want them to move to is better than what they have. And while you might sincerely believe that Islam is "evil", while "western secularism" is "good", having opportunity to see what "western secularism" is in reality, your intended objects of conversion come to the opposite conclusion than the one you would like them to arrive at.
"Western secularism", just like Christianity which it has replaced, is a past-the-sell-by-date product, which has lost its nutritional value somewhere in the 20th century, and now even "third-world" countries do not want it to be dumped on them.
And this is why even western secularists having had opportunity to compare the two products choose Islam.
Once, talking to a femail friend of hers, the lady mentioned in this passage made an interesting observation. She said: "When I became a Muslim, it was the first time in my life that I learned what it means to be clean."
One of the Muslim paractices is to wash one's private parts with running clean water every time one visits the toilet. For this reason in Muslim houses there are always special jugs, or hand showers in the toilets.
Failure to observe this practice results in drops of urine soaking into one's clothes and one's skin.
And as some people do not wash their bodies and clothes everyday, but do it weekly, the smell by the end of the week becomes distinctly noticeable even at a considerable distance.
Your use of "aboriginal" in this context to mean "white" is highly unusual, even if it is correct. Interesting!
The word "aboriginal" was used not in the sense of "white", but of "member of the original population of a country", as distinct from "immigrants". Colour was not the issue, because at least some Muslims are "white", at least from the point of view of, or by comparison with, those Muslims who are "black", "brown", or "yellow".
Another "evil" feature of Islam!
Islam is "colour-blind", "western secularism" is "colour-sensitive".
Should "Islam" "open its eyes" to "colour" and become "colour-sensitive, modern, western and secularized"?
For some reason, we get occasional emails starting with the words "As a white European woman (or man), I ... ". Is this what they call "racism"?