Strange conversion

It was the sight of peach juice dripping from the chin of a teenage French female nudist that led a Cambridgeshire public schoolboy to convert to Islam.

Really? That’s the sort of thing that would have made me want to convert to being French. But I never went to a public school, who knows how that could upend your priorities.

The moment is given a little more context later in the article

“In my teens I was sent off by my parents to a cottage in Corsica on an exchange with a very vigorous French Jewish family with four daughters,” Winter recalls. “They turned out to be enthusiastic nudists.

“I remember being on the beach and seeing conjured up before my adolescent eyes every 15-year-old boy’s most fervent fantasy. There was a moment when I saw peach juice running off the chin of one of these bathing beauties and I had a moment of realisation: the world is not just the consequence of material forces. Beauty is not something that can be explained away just as an aspect of brain function.”

It had quite an effect on him: “That was the first time I became remotely interested in anything beyond the material world. It was an unpromising beginning, you might say.

“In a Christian context, sexuality is traditionally seen as a consequence of the Fall, but for Muslims, it is an anticipation of paradise. So I can say, I think, that I was validly converted to Islam by a teenage French Jewish nudist.”

Nope. I’d still rather be French than religious. (And that’s not being snide. I’m fond of our Gallic neighbours. If I ever manage to finish a comic project it will be more suited to the French than US market. They make some very good films. Their pop music is awful, but their hip-hop is quite interesting. They also do interesting tax breaks for artists. Admittedly the Belgians make better beer, but nowhere’s perfect.)


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