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60-year-old American woman converts to Islam after watching Turkish series Ertugrul Open in fullscreen

The New Arab Staff

60-year-old American woman converts to Islam after watching Turkish series Ertugrul

Khadija became hooked onto the Turkish series [Screenshot/Anadolu]

Date of publication: 6 February, 2021

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Popular Turkish series 'Dirilis: Ertugrul', also known as 'Resurrection: Ertugrul', led a 60-year-old American woman to Islam.
An elderly American woman from the US state of Wisconsin says she converted to Islam after indulging in the popular Turkish series, Dirilis: Ertugrul.

The 60-year-old chose the name Khadija following her conversion to the religion, which she said was inspired by the Islamic values of peace and justice that were presented in the series.

"I looked into the details [of the show], it intrigued me so I started watching it, and from the first episode I was very interested," she told Turkish state news Anadolu.

"To live a life like that back then is very admirable," she added.

Shortly after, she took to the internet to find out whether there were any mosques in her small home town and was surprised to locate one nearby.

"So I went. I went and they were shocked to see me, I think. I became Muslim right that day," she adds.

Although her decision was praised by Muslims, Khadija said her predominant Christian community were not so keen on her conversion.

Read also: Freed Italian hostage says conversion to Islam during Al-Shabab captivity was not forced

"The people around me believe that I was brainwashed. I do not discuss this issue with people anymore. I do not interfere with their belief. They should not have any reason to interfere with me," she said.

"Dirilis: Ertugrul", also known as "Resurrection: Ertugrul", focuses on the 13th-century life of Ertugrul, the father of the Ottoman dynasty's founder Osman I.

Ertugrul's descendants went on to rule the Ottoman sultanate as it expanded across Anatolia and Thrace. The dynasty's rule crystallised into what is now known as the Ottoman Empire with the 1453 conquest of Istanbul by Mehmed II.

The show is sometimes referred to as the Turkish "Game of Thrones" and is one of several sprawling Turkish dramas to gain popularity across the Middle East, Asia and South America.

Commenting on the news of Khadija's conversion, the writer of the series, Mehmet Bozdag, simply said: "Praise be to God."


'Colonial campaign'


Despite its widespread popularity, some have shunned the series.

Last year, Egypt's highest Islamic authority warned against watching "Dirilis: Ertugrul" and "Valley of the Wolves", another Turkish series, saying they were part of efforts led by Turkish President Erdogan to revive the Ottoman Empire.

The Global Fatwa Index is associated with Egypt's Dar al-Iftaa, one of the Muslim world's oldest and most influential bodies responsible for giving out fatwas, or religious edicts, on all aspects of worship and life.

It is not only Egypt's leading Islamic religious authority that has accused Turkey of using its popular television shows to cultivate soft power, however.

Turkey's then Minister of Culture and Tourism Omer Celik said in 2014 that Turkey's wildly popular dramas played a powerful role in helping the country build ties across the region.

The idea has even been the topic of a number of academic papers.

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