~A Revert Story to Remember~

September 29, 2011

Faisal mosque

Image via Wikipedia

 My name is Cassie, I am 23 years old. I graduated as a qualified nurse this year and was given my first position as a home nurse.

 My patient was an English gentleman in his early 80’s who suffered from Alzheimer’s. In the first meeting  with the patient  I was given his record and from it could see that he was a convert to the religion of Islam, therefore he was a Muslim.

I knew from this that I would need to take into account some modes of treatment that may go against his faith, and therefore tried to adapt my care to meet his needs. I brought in some ‘halal’ meat to cook for him and ensured that there was no pork or alcohol in the premises as I did some research which showed that these were forbidden in Islam.

My patient was in a very advanced stage of his condition so a lot of my colleagues could not understand why I was going to so much effort for him, but I understood that a person who commits to a faith deserves that commitment to be respected, even if they are not in a position to understand.

Anyway, after a few weeks with my patient I began to notice some patterns of movement. At first I thought it was some copied motion he’s seen someone do, but I saw him repeat the movement at particular times; morning, afternoon, evening.

The movements were to raise his hands, bow and then put his head to the ground. I could not understand it. He was also repeating sentences in another language, I couldn’t figure out what language it was as his speech was slurred but I know the same verses were repeated daily. Also there was something strange, he didnt allow me to feed him with my left hand {I am lefthanded}.

Somehow I knew this linked to his religion but didn’t know how. Read the rest of this entry »


CHOOSING ISLAM FOR MYSELF

May 20, 2011

Borrowed from HAPPY MUSLIM HUSBAND & WIFE

Story of Wanda and how she became a Muslim – very inspiring for all.

I was raised in a Christian environment, but from about the age of 7 or 8 I openly refused to accept the idea that God and Christ were one in the same–nor did I accept the trinity.

 woman making supplicatton

There were six children and my parents. No one else thought as I did, so you can imagine how very interesting “Bible Study” got at home. My mother was so shocked by my steadfastness, but nothing she said could change my mind. As shy as I was, I stood my ground and refused to accept my families’ beliefs. For whatever reason, I simply could not accept the Christian concepts to the point I got nothing out of the studies.

When I was fourteen, I decided I wanted to search for what I could not find in Christianity. I was literally starving spiritually for something I had no name for, but felt it existed somewhere.

I visited other religions–studied with some of them, but there was always that point where I was aware they were not for me. I just about visited every church/religion you could think of and they all fell short of the concept I had in my mind and heart for My true religion. The one religion I kept searching for was that which I could serve with all my heart and soul totally, fully, truly and uncondionally beyond a shadow of a doubt.

I was an oddball among my family and my peers. All during my childhood strange things happened to me that could not be explained by ordinary standards. I stood out like a sore thumb. I stopped going to church except for special family funcions and funerals. I prayed to God often, and tried to live my life each day to the best of my abilities with God’s guidance. I prayed to God to show me where I belonged. I asked Him where did I belong? I prayed for years and years, and would you believe I finally got my answer? Almost 4 years ago, I got an unsolicited letter out of the blue from a man who got my name from a penpal list sent to him by his sister-in-law.

I answered his first letter and from then on, it all was very interesting. I could read from the flavor of his letters that he was Muslim; he acknowledged this fact. I noticed his beliefs were a lot like my own and over time,he told me that without knowing it,I basically lived my life as a believer. We had so much in common when it came to serving God.

He sent me literature. The first piece of literature was so very beautiful, I could hardly stand the overwhelming emotion that came forth as I read it. It touched me to the point that I could not hold back my tears. I was so shaken by it; I have no words to explain what was in my heart at that time. I thorouhly studied all the literature sent thereafter, and it had the same emotional affect upon me. Read the rest of this entry »


A College Junior Converts to Islam

October 14, 2010

UNC junior reshapes lifestyle after converting to Islam

By KELLY POE | The Daily Tar Heel
Updated: 1:58 AM
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Nushmia Khan / DTH

Junior Matt Stevens holds a Quran before a Muslim Students Association on Wednesday evening. Stevens grew up going to a Christian church, but converted to Islam in 2008. “When people come to college, it’s a time where either they lose themselves religiously, or they find their true passion,” he said. “I found my place.”

muslim2Kirsch

Stevens prays in the Student Union. “They’re deep moments, those moments after prayer,” he said. “They’re silent. No matter how busy you are, you remember why you’re here. You can ask God for anything.”

MULTIMEDIA
Close ups: The Convert to Islam

Close ups: The Convert to Islam

This installment of Close ups focuses on Matt Stevens, a junior business administration major who decided to convert to Islam from Christianity.
Before sunrise, Matt Stevens is closest to God.

He wakes up every day between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. for fajr.

He washes his face and kneels toward Mecca, then puts his head to the ground to bow before God. The first thread of light has just appeared on the horizon.

He is closest to God at least four more times each day when he performs the five daily prayers obligatory to the Islamic faith.

He prays the dhuhrasrmaghrib and isha’a , some silent and some aloud. For Matt, these are five daily reminders of what’s important to him and what his life really is.

When he kneels before Allah, you hardly notice his blond hair and blue eyes.

Same god, new religion

Matt hasn’t always prayed this much. He always prayed to the same God. But he’s only been calling him Allah for about two years.

He used to go to church with his father every Sunday. He went to youth fellowship and Bible study, and he volunteered at vacation Bible school programs and went on mission trips all at the same church where he went to preschool.

He digested what the minister told him in his sermons. He got it. He understood.

But he didn’t feel anything.

“Who is Jesus?” he asked a Sunday school teacher.

He’s the son of God, she told him. He’s also God. Sometimes he’s God, sometimes he’s the son of God.

But how could he be both?

He brought the question of the Trinity to his father. Try, his father told him, and you’ll get it eventually.

As he waited for answers and none came, his interest in the answer only grew. Read the rest of this entry »


Making the Choice: Wearing the Hijab

November 13, 2009

Wearing Hijab

Wearing the Hijab for the First Time

Essay by Najla Ghazi Amundson

I was born and raised in Akron, Ohio, to Muslim parents from Aleppo, Syria. We lived in an upper-middle class suburb, predominately white and Christian. My parents had doctoral degrees. Dad was an engineer at a large company and mom stayed home with my younger sister, brother, and me. My parents spoke Arabic at home and we responded in English. Our family did not attend Mosque, we did not fast nor did we celebrate Muslim holidays. The women in my family did not wear hijabs. But I knew I was Muslim. My parents taught me that being Muslim was a way of life. I learned about my religion when I asked questions, when I listened to my parents converse, from the rules of our home and the choices I was taught to make. My religion was also strongly tied to my ethnicity. To be Muslim was to be part of the Arab culture.

I grew up during the 1970s and 1980s, during the overthrow of the Shah of Iran and the Iran hostage crisis. That’s when Nightline first went on the air and Ted Koppel began each show with the number of days the hostages had been in captivity. Then the oil crisis. Neighbor kids would tell me my family should go back to where we came from and ask why my Dad didn’t wear a rag on his head. Just as I emerged as a new television reporter, the first Gulf War erupted. My beat was the local Air Force base. Most of my reports focused on National Guard troops being shipped off to Iraq. Then, there was 9/11 and now we have the ongoing “War on Terror” making Arab and Muslim synonymous with terrorist and anti-American.

I maintained a particular identity and I guarded it heavily. As an elementary student, I didn’t look like my blonde-haired and blue-eyed classmates, but I tried to appear like them as much as possible in clothing, hair, behavior, and talk. This emphasis on mainstream appearance hit a high in college when I represented my state in the Miss America Pageant. I also had chosen a career in broadcast journalism and became a well-recognized figure in my community as an evening television anchor. My position placed an emphasis on appearance.

As I saw it, the only way to relate the “I” to “we” was to blend into the dominant culture. So as I got older and gained more control over my own decisions, I took the route of least resistance. I spent much of my life not discussing my religion, or even my ethnicity. My parents knew what I was doing and so did I. They never said anything. I am sure they were ashamed of my choices. But some things are difficult to talk about. I wasn’t strong enough to be without a “we.”

The Decision

The decision to wear the hijab and write an autoethnography came about quickly. I came up with the idea about a year ago, but decided the timing wasn’t right. The night before the fall semester began, I was home with my husband, children and one of my friends, Anna (also a graduate student). I brought up the idea again and Anna enthusiastically encouraged me to follow through on it.

I wasn’t so sure. Read the rest of this entry »


NEWSWEEK: THE GUARD WHO FOUND ISLAM

April 2, 2009

Newsweek

The Guard Who Found Islam

Terry Holdbrooks stood watch over prisoners at Gitmo. What he saw made him adopt their faith.

Dan Ephron

NEWSWEEK

From the magazine issue dated Mar 30, 2009

Army specialist Terry Holdbrooks had been a guard at Guantánamo for about six months the night he had his life-altering conversation with detainee 590, a Moroccan also known as “the General.” This was early 2004, about halfway through Holdbrooks’s stint at Guantánamo with the 463rd Military Police Company. Until then, he’d spent most of his day shifts just doing his duty. He’d escort prisoners to interrogations or walk up and down the cellblock making sure they weren’t passing notes. But the midnight shifts were slow. “The only thing you really had to do was mop the center floor,” he says. So Holdbrooks began spending part of the night sitting cross-legged on the ground, talking to detainees through the metal mesh of their cell doors.

He developed a strong relationship with the General, whose real name is Ahmed Errachidi. Their late-night conversations led Holdbrooks to be more skeptical about the prison, he says, and made him think harder about his own life. Soon, Holdbrooks was ordering books on Arabic and Islam. During an evening talk with Errachidi in early 2004, the conversation turned to theshahada, the one-line statement of faith that marks the single requirement for converting to Islam (“There is no God but God and Muhammad is his prophet”). Holdbrooks pushed a pen and an index card through the mesh, and asked Errachidi to write out the shahada in English and transliterated Arabic. He then uttered the words aloud and, there on the floor of Guantánamo’s Camp Delta, became a Muslim.

When historians look back on Guantánamo, the harsh treatment of detainees and the trampling of due process will likely dominate the narrative. Holdbrooks, who left the military in 2005, saw his share. In interviews over recent weeks, he and another former guard told NEWSWEEK about degrading and sometimes sadistic acts against prisoners committed by soldiers, medics and interrogators who wanted revenge for the 9/11 attacks on America. But as the fog of secrecy slowly lifts from Guantánamo, other scenes are starting to emerge as well, including surprising interactions between guards and detainees on subjects like politics, religion and even music. The exchanges reveal curiosity on both sides—sometimes even empathy. “The detainees used to have conversations with the guards who showed some common respect toward them,” says Errachidi, who spent five years in Guantánamo and was released in 2007. “We talked about everything, normal things, and things [we had] in common,” he wrote to NEWSWEEK in an e-mail from his home in Morocco. Read the rest of this entry »


Why Abdul Raheem Green Came to Islam

February 12, 2009

 

Br. Green explains how he came to Islam and his views about this religion as a logical religion and how difficult it is when someone knows what is right but not allowing oneself to accept it.


MUSLIM DEMOGRAPHY IN THE U.K.

January 31, 2009

From
January 30, 2009

Muslim population ‘rising 10 times faster than rest of society’

A man prays at a mosque in northern Tehran

Click here to view the table

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00478/table_478352a.jpg

The Muslim population in Britain has grown by more than 500,000 to 2.4 million in just four years, according to official research collated for The Times.

The population multiplied 10 times faster than the rest of society, the research by the Office for National Statistics reveals. In the same period the number of Christians in the country fell by more than 2 million.

Experts said that the increase was attributable to immigration, a higher birthrate and conversions to Islam during the period of 2004-2008, when the data was gathered. They said that it also suggested a growing willingness among believers to describe themselves as Muslims because the western reaction to war and terrorism had strengthened their sense of identity.

Muslim leaders have welcomed the growing population of their communities as academics highlighted the implications for British society, integration and government resources.

David Coleman, Professor of Demography at Oxford University, said: “The implications are very substantial. Some of the Muslim population, by no means all of them, are the least socially and economically integrated of any in the United Kingdom … and the one most associated with political dissatisfaction. You can’t assume that just because the numbers are increasing that all will increase, but it will be one of several reasonable suppositions that might arise.”

Professor Coleman said that Muslims would naturally reap collective benefits from the increase in population. “In the growth of any population … [its] voice is regarded as being stronger in terms of formulating policy, not least because we live in a democracy where most people in most religious groups and most racial groups have votes. That necessarily means their opinions have to be taken and attention to be paid to them.”

There are more than 42.6 million Christians in Britain, according to the Office for National Statistics, whose figures were obtained through the quarterly Labour Force Survey of around 53,000 homes. But while the biggest Christian population is among over-70s bracket, for Muslims it is the under-4s.

Ceri Peach, Professor of Social Geography at Manchester University, said that the rapid growth of the Muslim population posed challenges for society. “The groups with the strongest belief in the family and cohesion are those such as the Pakistanis and Bangladeshis. They have got extremely strong family values but it goes together with the sort of honour society and other kinds of attributes which people object to,” he said. “So you are dealing with a pretty complex situation.”

Professor Peach said that the high number of Muslims under the age of 4 — 301,000 as of September last year — would benefit Britain’s future labour market through taxes that would subsequently contribute to sustaining the country’s ageing population. He added, though, that it would also put pressure on housing and create a growing demand for schools. “I think housing has traditionally been a difficulty because the country is simultaneously short of labour and short of housing. So if you get people to fill vacancies in your labour force you also need to find places for them to live,” he said.

Muhammad Abdul Bari, general secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain, predicted that the number of mosques in Britain would multiply from the present 1,600 in line with the rising Islamic population. He said the greater platform that Muslims would command in the future should not be perceived as a threat to the rest of society.

“We each have our own set of beliefs. This should really be a source of celebration rather than fear as long as we all clearly understand that we must abide by the laws of this country regardless of the faith we belong to,” he said.

The Cohesion Minister, Sadiq Khan, told The Times: “We in central Government and local authorities need to continue our work to ensure that our communities are as integrated and cohesive as possible.”

Growing numbers

The total number of Muslims in Great Britain:

2004: 1,087,000

2005: 2,017,000

2006: 2,142,000

2007: 2,327,000

2008: 2,422,000

Source: Labour Force Survey


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