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Religious conversion is the adoption of new religious beliefs that differ from the convert's previous beliefs; in some cultures (e.g. Judaism) conversion also signifies joining a group as well as adopting its religious beliefs. Conversion requires internalization of the new belief system. Proselytizing is the act of trying to convert another individual from the convertee's religion to the converter's religion.
- 1 Religious conversion in international law
- 2 The convert/proselyte
- 3 Conversion to Judaism
- 4 Conversion to Christianity
- 5 Conversion to Sikhism
- 6 Conversion to Islam
- 7 Conversion to religions of Indic origin
- 8 Conversion to Hinduism
- 9 Conversion to Buddhism
- 10 Conversion to the Bahá'í Faith
- 11 Conversion to new religious movements and cults
- 12 Prohibition of conversion
- 13 Proselytism
- 14 Notes
- 15 See also
- 16 References
- 17 Bibliography
- 18 External links
Religious conversion in international law
The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights defines religious conversion as a human right: "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, ...." (Article 18). Though this is controversial because some groups either forbid or restrict religious conversion (see below).
Based on the declaration the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) drafted the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a legally binding treaty. It states that "Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, ..." (Article 18.1). "No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice." (Article 18.2).
The UNCHR issued a General Comment on this Article in 1993: "The Committee observes that the freedom to 'have or to adopt' a religion or belief necessarily entails the freedom to choose a religion or belief, including the right to replace one's current religion or belief with another or to adopt atheistic views [...] Article 18.2 bars coercion that would impair the right to have or adopt a religion or belief, including the use of threat of physical force or penal sanctions to compel believers or non-believers to adhere to their religious beliefs and congregations, to recant their religion or belief or to convert." (CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.4, General Comment No. 22.; emphasis added)
- Main article: Proselyte
A person who has undergone conversion is called a convert or proselyte. A proselyte (from the Latin word proselytus which in turn comes from the Greek word προσήλυτος, proselytos meaning "someone who has found his/her place") is in general a title given to a person who has fully embraced a certain religion, world view, ideology, metaphysics, ontology, et cetera.
On the historical meaning of the Greek word, Acts of Pilate, roughly dated from 150 to 400, in chapter 2, has Annas and Caiaphas define "proselyte" for Pilate:
- "And Pilate, summoning the Jews, says to them: You know that my wife is a worshipper of God, and prefers to adhere to the Jewish religion along with you. ... Annas and Caiaphas say to Pilate: All the multitude of us cry out that he [Jesus] was born of fornication, and are not believed; these [who disagree] are proselytes, and his disciples. And Pilate, calling Annas and Caiaphas, says to them: What are proselytes? They say to him: They are by birth children of the Greeks, and have now become Jews" -Roberts Translation 
Usage note: While the term 'convert' is now generally used to mean any transition from one faith to another, in older usage it implies that the transition is from sin or 'false religion' to truth. For instance, the 1910 Catholic Dictionary defines 'conversion' as 'One who turns or changes from a state of sin to repentance, from a lax to a more earnest and serious way of life, from unbelief to faith, from heresy to the true faith.' In that older usage, the term 'pervert' was occasionally used to mean transition in the opposite direction. For example, the Encyclical of Pope Gregory XVI promulgated on 27 May 1832 entitled Summo Iugiter Studio (On Mixed Marriages) included the following: 'the Catholic party must not be perverted, but rather must make every effort to withdraw the non-Catholic party from error.' In this article and elsewhere in Wikipedia, the term 'convert' is used in the newer sense and does not imply favour for one faith over another.
Conversion to Judaism
- Main article: Conversion to Judaism
Jewish law guidelines for accepting new converts to Judaism are called "giur". Potential converts should desire conversion to Judaism for its own sake, and for no other motives. A male convert needs to undergo a ritual circumcision conducted according to Jewish law (if already circumcised, a needle is used to draw a symbolic drop of blood while the appropriate blessings are said), and there has to be a commitment to observe the 613 commandments and Jewish law. A convert must accept Jewish principles of faith, and reject the previous theology he or she had prior to the conversion. Ritual immersion in a small pool of water known as a mikvah is required. The convert takes a new Jewish name and is considered to be a son or daughter (in spirit) of the biblical patriarch Abraham, and a male is called up in that way to the Torah.[How to reference and link to summary or text]
The Reform and Conservative movements are lenient in their acceptance of converts[How to reference and link to summary or text]. Many of their members are married to gentiles[How to reference and link to summary or text] and these movements make an effort to welcome spouses who seek conversion[How to reference and link to summary or text]. This issue is contentious in modern Israel as many immigrants from the former Soviet Union are not considered Jewish[How to reference and link to summary or text].
Orthodox Jews tend to discourage conversion, urging the person to find their path to God through being a righteous Gentile and observing the Noahide laws and living a life of kindess, but they will accept conversion if the person persists.
Conversion to Judaism in history
- Main article: List of converts to Judaism
Christians were forbidden to convert to Judaism on pain of death during most of the Middle Ages. In the 1700s a famous convert by the name of Count Valentin Potoski in Poland was burned at the stake. He was a contemporary and a disciple of Rabbi Elijah, known as the Vilna Gaon.
King David was descended from the convert Ruth, who, according to the Talmud and Midrash, was a Moabite princess. No formal conversion procedure is given in the text; modern critical historians generally hold giur, in its modern sense, to be an innovation of a later period. Joseph, the father of the most famous sage of the Talmud, Rabbi Akiva, was a convert.
In Hellenistic and Roman times, some Pharisees were eager proselytizers, and had at least some success throughout the empire. Some Jews are also descended from converts to Judaism outside the Mediterranean world. It is known that some Khazars, Edomites, and Ethiopians, as well as many Arabs, particularly in Yemen before, converted to Judaism in the past; today in the United States, Israel and Europe some people still convert to Judaism. In fact, there is a greater tradition of conversion to Judaism than many people realize. The word "proselyte" originally meant a Greek who had converted to Judaism. As late as the 6th century the Eastern Roman empire (i.e., the Byzantine empire) was issuing decrees against conversion to Judaism, implying that conversion to Judaism was still occurring.
In recent times, members of the Reform Judaism movement began a program to convert to Judaism the non-Jewish spouses of its intermarried members and non-Jews who have an interest in Judaism. Their rationale is that so many Jews were lost during the Holocaust that newcomers must be sought out and welcomed. This approach has been repudiated by Orthodox and Conservative Jews as unrealistic and posing a danger. They say that these efforts make Judaism seem an easy religion to join and observe when in reality being Jewish entails many difficulties and sacrifices.
Relationship with converts
The Hebrew Bible states that converts deserve special attention (Deuteronomy 10:19). The Hebrew word for "convert", ger, is the same as that for a stranger. It is also related to the root gar - "to dwell'. Hence since the Children of Israel were "strangers" - geirim in Egypt, they are therefore instructed to be welcoming to those who seek to convert and dwell amongst them.
Judaism, unlike say Christianity and Islam, is not a proselytising religion. Because it teaches that the righteous of all nations shall enter the gates of heaven, it does not have any compelling urge to rescue non-Jews from hell and damnation.
There is a requirement in Jewish law to ensure the sincerity of a potential convert. This is taken very seriously, and when played out against the background of the foregoing considerations, most authorities are very careful about it. Essentially, they want to be sure that the convert knows what he is getting into, and that he is doing it for sincerely religious reasons. A Rabbinic tradition holds that a prospective convert should be refused three times.
Today, in many Orthodox Jewish communities outside of North America (Latin America, Middle East and Europe), the sincerity test may have in practise become an instrument to bar persons dedicated to Judaism from joining the Jewish people, despite clear indications of willingness to accept the tenets of the Jewish faith. In fact, a growing criticism of what is seen as excessive caution or rigour on the part of Orthodox Jewish courts in Europe and elsewhere has caused both a movement of heterodox rabbis willing to convert those persons as well as the formation of some of the first anti-cult recovery groups associated with the Jewish religion. One such group, Conversion Exodus, was founded to assist persons who experienced serious social and psychological difficulties as a result of excessive obstacles placed in the way of their conversion as well as practices which they deem to be unethical or emotionally abusive. The Orthodox rabbinate has been slow to respond to these allegations and the groups have tended for this reason to work largely with non-Jewish authorities and other anti-cult organisations in the countries concerned.
Differences between Jewish and Christian views
The subject of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) is the history of the Children of Israel (also called Hebrews), especially in terms of their relationship with God. Thus, Judaism has also been characterized as a culture or as a civilization. Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan defines Judaism as an evolving religious civilization. One crucial sign of this is that one need not believe, or even do, anything to be Jewish; the Rabbinic definition of 'Jewishness' requires only that one be born of a Jewish mother, or that one convert to Judaism in accord with Jewish law. (Today, Reform and Reconstructionist Jews also include those born of Jewish fathers and Gentile mothers if they are raised as Jews.)
To Jews, Jewish peoplehood is closely tied to their relationship with God, and thus has a strong theological component. This relationship is encapsulated in the notion that Jews are a chosen people. Although some have taken this as a sign of arrogance or exclusivity, there are Jewish scholars and theologians who have emphasized that a special relationship between Jews and God does not in any way preclude other nations having their own relationship with God. For Jews, being "chosen" fundamentally means that Jews have chosen to obey a certain set of laws (see Torah and halakha) as an expression of their covenant with God. Jews hold that other nations and peoples are not required or expected to obey these laws, and face no penalty for not obeying them. Thus, as a national religion, Judaism has no problem with the notion that others have their own paths to God (or "salvation"), though it still makes claim as to the truth or falsehood of other beliefs, and about whether Gentiles are allowed to hold them. Thus, for example, Maimonides believed that the truth claims of Islam were largely false, but he also believed that Gentiles were not sinning by following Islam; on the other hand, he regarded idolatry not just as false, but also as a serious sin, for Jew or non-Jew. In this respect, Rabbinical sources have usually classed Christianity with Islam, rather than with idolatry, though the use of icons in many denominations has raised questions about whether they are, in fact, idolatrous.
Christianity is characterized by its claim to universality, which marks a break with Jewish identity. As a religion claiming universality, Christianity has had to define itself in relation with religions that make radically different claims about Gods. Christians believe that Christianity represents the fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham and the nation of Israel, that Israel would be a blessing to all nations.
This crucial difference between the two religions has other implications. For example, conversion to Judaism is more like a form of adoption (i.e. becoming a member of the nation, in part by metaphorically becoming a child of Abraham), whereas conversion to Christianity is explicitly a declaration of faith. Of course, conversion to Judaism also entails a declaration of faith, and, in Christian churches, conversion also has a social component, as the individual is in many ways adopted into the Church, with a strong family model.
Conversion to Christianity
- Main article: Conversion to Christianity
- Main article: List of converts to Christianity
Most branches of Christianity, such as Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, the Anglican Communion, and the Lutheran Churches, among others, encourage infant baptism, welcoming children into the Christian faith before they are aware of their status. In some post-Reformational and modern branches of Christianity, one is considered to become a Christian by choosing to accept the death and resurrection of Jesus as the payment for and freedom from their sins, and this choice is substantiated by the ritual of baptism- generally as an adult.
According to many branches of Christianity, telling non-Christians about Christianity has been a duty since the time of Jesus. According to the New Testament, Jesus commanded his disciples to "go and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19) . Evangelism, or 'spreading the Good News' has been a central part of the life of Christians since that time.
Within Christianity individuals may join various different denominations or churches. This process is also commonly termed conversion. The majority of Christians, e.g. (the Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican/Episcopal, Lutheran, Calvinist and Methodist traditions, for instance), recognize only one baptism, thus conversion is a process of being incorporated into the Church, but the individual is not "re-baptized" provided they have received water baptism in a Christian denomination that states belief in the Trinity. Other churches, for instance those in the Anabaptist tradition, require previously-baptized Christians to be re-baptized before being accepted into the respective religious community.
Conversion to Sikhism
- Main article: Conversion to Sikhism
- See also: List of converts to Sikhism
One becomes a Sikh by taking Amrit (baptized). However converts do not need to baptize and can follow the Sikh religion by adopting Kesh (long hair) and following the basic tenets of the Sikh path.
Conversion to Islam
- See also: List of converts to Islam and Islamization
One becomes a Muslim by believing that God is the only god (God, the word for whom is Allah in Arabic, is the sole deity in Islam), and that Muhammad is God's messenger or prophet. A person is considered a Muslim from the moment he or she sincerely makes this witness, called the shahada, with at least two Muslims as witnesses to the making of this statement.
Of course a new Muslim has to familiarize himself/herself with the practices of Islam, but there is no formal requirement for that. It is a personal process; acceptance of all of that is taken to follow from the original statement, since all of Islam is considered to derive from either divine inspiration, in the form of the Qur'an, or for prophetic example, in the form of the hadith and sunnah of Muhammad. Muslims believe that a new Muslim is pardoned from all past sins.
According to some Muslims, one of the important doctrines of Islam is "la ikraha fiddeen" (Qur'an, 2:256), meaning "There is no compulsion (or coercion) in religion". They believe that this verse implies that no nation can coerce another nation or individuals to change their religion. Similarly, they believe that no spouse can coerce his or her spouse into religion. The doctrine is stated in such general terms it can also influence the policies of an Islamic nation towards two challenging parties and not having the other one being coerced into the other's religion.
In Islamic culture there is no such label or word found that means convert, probably [How to reference and link to summary or text] since new converts to Islam soon found their way to mainstream or even leadership ranks among Muslims. In other words, there was no need for the label in dealing with newcomers.However, it exist an expression which is "Al Mu'allafun kulubuhum" that deals with that issue. "Al Muaallafun kulubuhum" means those whom hearts need company or affection. So they receive a part of the zekat ( due religious alms) and friendship from already and well established Muslims. The aim was to help these new converts to restart a new life as they were banned of their families and tribesin the early times of Islam.( One example to this is the family of the late Iqbal of Pakistan[How to reference and link to summary or text].
Conversion to religions of Indic origin
Religions of Indic origin such as Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Jainism do not hold teachings that advocate conversion as a form of expansion, although they accept anybody to join their faiths. Followers also believe the religion you follow is to be chosen based on an individual's temperament, birth etc. Also, what would be very strange and foreign to non-Indic origin faiths is that people can claim to be follower of multiple religions. For example in Japan which was influenced by the Indic faith of Buddhism, it is easy to find people who follow both Buddhism and Shinto. In China, too, many people follow multiple faiths including Buddhism and Daoism. It is also common to find people in Nepal claiming to be both Hindu and Buddhist or in India claiming to be both Hindu and Sikh[How to reference and link to summary or text], etc. This inclusivism is in direct contrast to the belief that the ordained path in the book is the only true paths, found in exclusivistic belief systems like Islam and Christianity. The above does not apply for some sects of Indic faiths, like Soka Gakkai and the Hare Krishnas (officially known as ISKCON).
Conversion to Hinduism
- Main article: List of converts to Hinduism
Hinduism traditionally does not evangelize . It doesn't mean Hinduism doesn't accept newcomers. Since the Hindu scriptures are essentially silent on the issue of religious conversion, the issue is open to interpretations. 
In practice conversion can be accomplished by going through the Namakarana Samskara naming ceremony, adopting the name of a god, and having your name legally changed. Most Hindus will accept you when they see your new name on a passport or drivers license. 
Because of growing Christian missionary activities in India , some Hindu organizations are aggressively trying to counter them. Because of this, reconversion drive of ex-Hindus (mostly Christians) by Hindu organizations in India has become well organized and seen many successes in recent years.
Hindu spirituality has greatly influenced the intellectual-religious contour of western nations. Many Western intellectuals have accepted Hindu ideas and Hinduism , and because of its all-inclusive nature, traditional Hinduism has shown acceptance to this new category of "western Hindus."
According to many, a new emerging religion of Western countries is called 'New Age'.[How to reference and link to summary or text] The Pope sees 'Eastern influences' in this new development.[How to reference and link to summary or text] Pat Robertson, a controversial American evangelist, finds links between the New Age and Hinduism, of which he actively preaches against.
In former Hindu places such as Indonesia there have been Hindu restoration movement in which certain tribes, be they Muslims or anything else still practicing many of the ancient Hindu traditions have converted.
Conversion to Buddhism
Technically speaking a Buddhist is someone who takes refuge in the Three Jewels of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. In a spiritual sense it is possible to take refuge without any ritual or ceremony, but the refuge ceremony affirms this and makes it even more spiritual. Refuge should be given by a monk or preceptor. In some traditions this monk needs to have been authorized to do so by their own teacher. Usually the convert takes the 5 Lay Precepts (of morality) together with the refuges and receives a new Dharma name. Sometimes it is believed that if they break any of the precepts in a significant way later on, their refuge has been lost, but some schools do not follow this interpratation.
According to the Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, which is taken as a standard text of Mahāyāna orthodoxy by many Tibetan schools, taking refuge in the Buddha precludes one from worshipping gods and nature spirits. Other traditions take the position that a lay Buddhist can pay respects to, and give gifts to, gods or spirits, but should not regard them as a refuge. This position is generally practiced in the Theravada Buddhist tradition of Thailand.
Conversion to the Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith prohibits "proselytism" and "missionaries" but encourages its members to "teach the faith" and serve as "Bahá'í pioneers". Such distinctions can be very subtle at times. Although recognizing the divine origins of various world religions, Baha'is believe that these occurred sequentially (see Progressive revelation), with each new revelation superseding its predecessors. Bahá'ís regard their own faith as the most recent, and therefore as the one most suitable for all others to convert to. In most countries conversion is a simple matter of filling out a Bahá'í declaration card, stating one's awareness and acceptance of various figures, institutions, and laws in this tradition. It sometimes happens that inquirers fill out the card without understanding that the Bahá'ís understand this as an act of religious conversion.
Conversion to new religious movements and cults
Conversion to new religious movements (NRMs) (often called cults) is riddled with controversies. The anti-cult movement sometimes uses the term thought reform or even brainwashing, though the latter term has now become discredited. Often they will call certain NRMs cults. There are many different definitions for the word cult. NRMs are very diverse and it is not clear whether conversion to NRMs differs from conversion to mainstream religions. See also Brainwashing controversy in new religious movements
Research both in the USA and the Netherlands has shown there is a positive correlation between lack of involvement in mainstream churches in certain areas and provinces and the percentage of people who are a member of a new religious movement. This applies also for the presence of New Age centers. , The Dutch research included Jehovah's Witnesses and the Latter Day Saint movement/Mormonism to the NRMs.
Professor Eileen Barker believes the psychological changes as described in converts of the Divine Light Mission can be generalized for other NRMs, however she has supplied no proof of such claims.
Conversion to Scientology
The Church of Scientology attempts to gain converts by offering "free stress tests" (see picture at auditing). In contrast to other religions, which require one to sign a card (e.g. Unitarian Universalism) or be baptised (e.g. Roman Catholic Church), Scientology requires converts to sign contracts before attending church.
Prohibition of conversion
Several ethnic religions accept few if any converts, like the Yazidis, the Druze, Zoroastrians, and Mandaeans. The only way to become a Yazidi is to be born in a Yazidi family. Conversely, the Shakers and some Indian eunuch brotherhoods don't allow procreation, so every member is a convert. Mainstream Islam forbids converting from Islam to another religion. In some Islam-controlled states, such as Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan, conversion from Islam is punishable by death or imprisonment, though it is vaguely mentioned in the Qur'an, it is clearly mentioned in the hadith. All the major schools of Islamic Jurisprudence (the Hanifi, Maliki, Shafi'i and Hanbali schools of Sunni Islam, and the Shi'a Jafari school) all traditionally agree that an adult male ex-Muslim is to be put to death if he refuses to return to Islam. The jurisprudence is traditionally somewhat more lenient towards women on this however. Some schools have determined that an adult female ex-Muslim should not be executed over apostacy, but is to be imprisoned until she returns to Islam.
While it is a sin for a Muslim to leave Islam, it also a sin for a Muslim who does not believe, to profess Islam-this lands one in the hottest parts of hell.
However, more recent sects and individuals in Islam adhere a different point of view on this matter, the Ahmadiyya for example, although their views are by no means widely accepted in the Muslim world.
The English language word proselytism is derived ultimately from the Greek language verb προσέρχομαι 'to approach, to come toward'. It generally describes attempts to convert a person from one point of view to another, usually in a religious context.
In the Bible, the word proselyte denotes a person who has converted to Judaism, without overtly negative overtones. In our day, however, the connotations of the word proselytism are almost exclusively negative. Nonetheless, many people use the words interchangeably. An Orthodox writer, Stephen Methodius Hayes has written: "If people talk about the need for evangelism, they meet with the response, "The Orthodox church does not 'proselytize' as if evangelizing and proselytism were the same thing."
Many Christians consider it their obligation to follow what is often termed the "Great Commission" of Jesus, recorded in the final verses of the Gospel of Matthew: "Go to all the nations and make disciples. Baptize them and teach them my commands." The early Christians were noted for their evangelizing work.
The difference between the two terms is not easily defined. What one person considers legitimate evangelizing, or witness bearing, another may consider intrusive and improper.
Illustrating the problems that can arise from such subjective viewpoints is this extract from an article by Dr. C. Davis, published in Cleveland State University's 'Journal of Law and Health': "According to the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, Jews for Jesus and Hebrew Christians constitute two of the most dangerous cults, and its members are appropriate candidates for deprogramming. Anti-cult evangelicals ... protest that 'aggressiveness and proselytizing . . . are basic to authentic Christianity,' and that Jews for Jesus and Campus Crusade for Christ are not to be labeled as cults. Furthermore, certain Hassidic groups who physically attacked a meeting of the Hebrew Christian 'cult' have themselves been labeled a 'cult' and equated with the followers of Reverend Moon, by none other than the President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis". 
Views on the propriety of proselytism, or even evangelism, differ radically. Some feel that freedom of speech should have no limits and that virtually anyone, anywhere should have the right to talk about anything they see fit. Others see all sorts of evangelism as a nuisance and an intrusion and would like to see them proscribed. Thus, Natan Lerner observes that the issue is one of a clash of rights - the right of a person to express his views versus the right of a person not to be exposed to views that he does not wish to hear.
From a legal standpoint, there do appear to be certain criteria in distinguishing legitimate evangelization from illicit proselytism:
- All humans have the right to have religious beliefs, and to change these beliefs, even repeatedly, if they so wish. (Freedom of Religion)
- They have the right to form religious organizations for the purpose of worship, as well as for promoting their cause (Freedom of Association)
- They have the right to speak to others about their convictions, with the purpose of influencing the others. (Freedom of Speech).
By the same token, these very rights exercise a limiting influence on the freedoms of others. For instance, the right to have one's religious beliefs presumably includes the right not to be coerced into changing these beliefs by threats, discrimination, or similar inducements.
Hence a category of improper proselytizing can be discerned.
- It would not be proper to use coercion, threats, the weight of authority of the educational system, access to health care or similar facilities in order to induce people to change their religion.
- It would be improper to try to impose one's beliefs on a 'captive audience', where the listeners have no choice but to be present. This would presumably require restraint in the exercise of their right to free speech, by teachers in the classroom, army officers to their inferiors, prison officers in prison, medical staff in hospitals, so as to avoid impinging on the rights of others.
- It would not be proper to offer money, work, housing or other material inducements as a means of persuading people to adopt another religion.
Issues involving proselytism
Since the collapse of the former Soviet Union and the rise of democracy in the Eastern Bloc, the Russian Orthodox Church has enjoyed a revival. However, it takes exception to what it considers illegitimate proselytizing by the Roman Catholic Church, the Salvation Army, Jehovah's Witnesses and other religious movements  in what it refers to as its canonical territory.
Greece has a long history of conflict, mostly with Jehovah's Witnesses but also with some Pentecostals over its laws on proselytism. This situation stems from a law passed in the 1930s by the dictator Ioannis Metaxas. A Jehovah's Witness, Minos Kokkinakis, won the equivalent of US $14,400 in damages from the Greek state after being arrested for trying to preach his faith from door to door. In another case, Larissis vs. Greece, a member of the Pentecostal church also won a case in the European Court of Human Rights.
Some Islamic countries with Islamic law outlaw and carry strict sentences for proselytising. Several Islamic countries under Islamic law, e.g. Saudi Arabia , Yemen , Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt, Iran  and Maldives outlaw apostacy and carry imprisonment or the death penalty for those leaving Islam and those enticing Muslims to leave Islam ''(citation needed with location of verse)/.
- List of converts to Christianity
- List of converts to Islam
- List of converts to Judaism
- Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults
- Secondary conversion
- Schepens, T. (Dutch) Religieuze bewegingen in Nederland volume 29, Sekten Ontkerkelijking en religieuze vitaliteit: nieuwe religieuze bewegingen en New Age-centra in Nederland (1994) VU uitgeverij ISBN 90-5383-341-2
- Stark, R & W.S. Bainbridge The future of religion: secularization, revival and cult formation (1985) Berkely/Los Angeles/London: University of California press
- Barrett, D. V. The New Believers - A survey of sects, cults and alternative religions (2001) UK, Cassell & Co 
- Cooper, Richard S. "The Assessment and Collection of Kharaj Tax in Medieval Egypt" (Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 96, No. 3. (Jul. – Sep., 1976), pp. 365–382.
- Barker, Eileen The Making of a Moonie: Choice or Brainwashing? (1984)
- Jewish Encyclopedia: Proselyte
- "Proselytism, Change of Religion, and International Human Rights", by Natan Lerner, PhD (legal aspects of defining illicit proselytism)
- Choosing Judaism: Resource Center for Prospectice Converts
- Online Book on conversion to Hinduism
de:Konversion (Religion) es:Proselitismo fr:Conversion religieuse he:המרת דת nl:Bekering ru:Прозелитизм
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