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About the monk

About the siteAbout the monkAbout the book

Halal Monk is an alter ego of Jonas Atlas, a Christian theologian who found himself on an unexpected 'journey' through the culture and religion of islam. Several encounters with different people made him realise that this journey could not stay confined to his personal life but needed to find a form that was accessible to all.

Jonas was born in Belgium and raised in a Christian manner. Yet already as a teenager, he felt the need to have a better understanding of other religious traditions. Initially he was attracted towards Buddhism and Hinduism. By going deeper into their respective wisdom he came to a better spiritual understanding of his own Christian tradition.
After studying theology at the university of Leuven, he unexpectedly ended up in Istanbul, which strengthened his bond with Islam and the teachings of the Sufis. When he returned to Belgium it led him to work for the Expertisecentre of Islamic Cultures in Flanders. This in turn broadened his knowledge of the dynamics within the local as well as the international Muslim community.
When he noticed how the wordlwide fear for Islam kept on increasing year by year, he decided he had to go one step further and started his journey as the Halal Monk.
Jonas therefore isn't a real monk. The name just seemed perfect for this project since it does not only combine elements of both the Islamic and Christian tradition, but somehow, in a very modern way, also invokes the times of old when religious figures would travel around to discuss theology and spirituality with people of other faiths.
Besides all of that, 'Halal Monk' is also the title of a song by U-Cef, one of the first people Jonas interviewed, and a good personal friend. (click here to read the interview)
Other texts and books of Jonas on religion, spiritual ethics and God-focussed life can be found at