A convert’s conversion to Islam is often complicated, as are the details of their family and religious upbringing.
And while a conversion counselor can help convert a person to Islam, they’re not necessarily a good fit for a particular community or faith.
This is where the conversion counselling course, or conversion course QLD, can come in handy.
The program’s chief executive, Dr Shai Alsheikh, says conversion courses have a number of benefits, including helping people find a religious identity, which in turn can lead to increased spiritual and psychological wellbeing.
The course’s website says it is designed to “engage a diverse group of individuals from all walks of life, whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims”.
“In some circumstances, the course will include religious, cultural and ethical considerations, which may affect the student’s personal beliefs,” it says.
“Students may also wish to consider the implications of their conversion on the broader community, including how it impacts the wellbeing of the wider community.”
But Dr Alsheik says the program is not for everyone.
“There are many students who have been in the program and found it helpful, but for many others, the conversion course is not suitable,” he said.
“It is not a course to convert someone to Islam and it does not provide the spiritual and ethical guidance that the course does.”
The program can be found online, or via the program’s Facebook page.
In order to attend, you’ll need to bring your own accommodation and pay $180.
“If you are an Australian citizen, you will also need to provide your passport,” the website states.
The first step in the conversion counseling course is to find the person you want to convert.
They will be asked a series of questions about themselves and what they want from you.
“Do you have a family history of religious conversion?
Do you feel that your religious identity is under threat or has been challenged by your family?”
“Do your parents or grandparents have conversion experiences?”
“Are you struggling with religious identity or your faith?”
“Have you experienced trauma from religious conversion?”
The next step is to set up an appointment for a consultation.
“The conversion counselor will provide you with a list of relevant resources and ask you to consider your beliefs and what you believe about your family and community, the community you belong to, and what other people have to say about your faith,” the program website states, adding that the first session will take about 15 minutes.
“Once the consultation is complete, the counselor will sit down with you to discuss your experience with your conversion experiences and to help you decide what your next steps are,” it adds.
Dr Alherik says a lot of the students’ questions can be asked at a later point in the process, but the conversion counsels aim to find out the individual’s religious identity.
“We can then provide a personal history, as well as a list or list of your family members,” he says.
The conversion counselor then asks you about the beliefs you hold.
“How important are religious beliefs to you?” the program asks.
Dr Alshikh says conversion counselling courses are often designed to be open-ended. “
What do you feel your religious beliefs and values are, and how do you personally identify with them?”
Dr Alshikh says conversion counselling courses are often designed to be open-ended.
“When someone comes to us, we’re not looking for specific answers, we are just asking the question, what do you believe and what do your religious traditions teach?” he says, adding the course aims to provide a space where students can discuss these issues and find answers.
“These are the questions that we ask the students at the end of the conversion therapy program,” Dr AlSheikh says.