The right to proselytize

RNW archive

This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011, the Dutch government decided to cut funding and shift RNW from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW Media’s current activities can be found at

The right to proselytize, or the right to spread the word - for people living in Europe or in the United States, being proselytized to is a fact of life. It’s on TV and there are people who knock on doors from time to time, they meet them at the train stations and they’re all hoping to wrap up a conversion.

For the people doing it, it’s a matter of duty. Jonathan Groubert spoke to:

Samir is Lebanese and a Southern Baptist. He’s also a filmmaker and photographer travelling around the world not only taking beautiful pictures but also using every opportunity he can find to spread the word of his evangelical faith.

Idris Tawfiq was once a Roman Catholic priest working in England . He’s now a Muslim based in Cairo and travels the world talking to people about his faith. “I don’t like the word proselytise,” he says. “It’s never been my way.”

Ariane Sherine was so bothered by a religious advertisement she saw on the side of a London bus, she wrote about it in a British newspaper and sparked public anti-religious advertisements all over the world.