|The ghar wapsi ceremony|
And they're Hindus.
The movement is called ghar wapsi, and is naturally the subject of some controversy. What constitutes a "forced conversion" is a matter of some dispute, for instance. Holding a knife to someone's throat and demanding they recite the shahada is an easy one. But is it a "forced" conversion if it's done in order to get regular meals? Or access to education? The ghar wapsi advocates say yes:
"About 90-95 percent of Christians and Muslims in India were originally Hindus as their forefathers or they themselves were either forced or lured into conversion. Now we are only trying to reconnect them with their roots and the land. We want to rekindle their attachment with their land and bring them back" - Surrendra Jain, 2014But the Christians and Muslims beg to differ. Go figure.
|Destruction of the Irminsul|
It should also be marked that the notion of bringing the Folk back home to their native faith is one that's integral to the AFA's mission (specifically, Goal #4). This is something that leaves a bad taste in a lot of Asatruars' mouths; understandably given their experiences with Christianity in the past. But this sort of "homecoming" (ON heimkoma), bringing the Folk back home to their ancestral ways and Gods, is not just a good thing for Asatru or the AFA. It's good for the people who make their way back home.
It's not about conversion. Conversion is going out and roping people into a religion that's alien to them and their ancestral ways. That's what the "universalist" religions do, like Christianity, Islam, and Scientology. They think one faith fits all. But a religion like Asatru, that contends that ancestry is relevant to faith, has no need of conversion. It is not insecure enough to need to go out and convince new tribes that it's right. It is concerned with its own Folk, whose ancestors cleaved to the Gods and Goddesses of the North, and assumes that other Folk can get by well enough with their own faith.
I say it's time for an Asatru Homecoming movement. Let's start getting serious about bringing the Folk back home.