Most people we meet in our daily lives are not religious. Some identify with a religious community or tradition from a cultural perspective, but more often than not have no interest in the practices or devotions of their particular faith.
This realisation dawned on me late in the day, for I was raised in a very religious family: a family of priests, preachers and missionaries. It only recently occurred to me that my family was quite peculiar. Indeed, it was brought home to me only today, by the mockery of work colleagues, when I happened to mention how I spent the Sunday mornings of my youth.
So to the likes of me: a convert to a minority faith. It turns out I am a minority within a minority within a minority. Adherents to the dominant faith of the land are themselves viewed with scepticism and derision, so what about me? Altogether, converts like me make up about 0.1% of the UK population. We make up well under 5% of the UK Muslim population. We’re just a peculiar aberration in the fabric of the nation.
I wonder if the sectarians sparring with each other ever think about this: about how odd it is that we fight and argue with people who are broadly the same as us, only wearing different jumpers. Most people we meet just couldn’t give a stuff about what we believe, more likely to mock us, winking at one another when we pass by.
When you really think about it, those of us who adhere to a religious faith are quite peculiar, walking a peculiar path. Most of the people, although you may strive for it, are not believers. Most people do not hear or use reason. To most people, we’re just odd. Strangers in their midst.