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Author Topic: People who have become Muslim  (Read 29170 times)
a_ahmed
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« Reply #50 on: January 25, 2013, 10:27:50 PM »

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COSpkwXTvxw" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COSpkwXTvxw</a>

mashAllah Smiley
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« Reply #51 on: January 25, 2013, 10:54:05 PM »

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Bringing a Friend to Christianity Led Me to Islam
It's the most logical doctrine you won't find in any other religion::

My name is Rasheed. I'm from Florida, in the United States. I’m twenty four years old.

I came to Islam in December ...of 2004, so I was seventeen at the time.

Currently I work as an optical lab technician.

I want to tell my story of how I came to Islam, and maybe give some advice to people who are trying to find their path In-Shaa-Allah.

Generally I was like a church kid, I was raised in the Southern Baptist church. I went to church very frequently; Bible studies and services, so I knew my Bible. I was not very knowledgeable, but knowledgeable enough for a kid of thirteen to seventeen years when I'd really gone into it.

Before converting, I was a very strong believer in the Trinitarian Christian faith, as I was a Southern Baptist, and I was very firm in this faith. I didn’t know much about Islam to have an opinion. I think that was a kind of self-imposed ignorance because of how the media portrays Islam. So I didn’t want to go there, as I was afraid of what I might learn. So I thought whatever the news told me basically.

I didn’t know much about Islam, but I had actually done my fair share of homework on Buddhism, Hinduism, and that was based on pure curiosity and interest in Eastern cultures. Having been brought up in the Christian faith, going to Bible studies you get a kind of cursory basic information about Judaism because the Old Testament is incorporated into the Bible. So, I knew a little bit about Judaism, basic tenents of Hinduism and Buddhism, Taoism not much, Shinto a little. So the major religions I did look a little into the basics at first.

I never went on like a journey to find the truth because being raised in the church as firmly as I had been I always assumed that I was upon it already. So what actually happened was that there was another revert brother that I went to school with, we were pretty good friends at the time. But having been raised in this Christian environment, and finding out that he had left the faith that I loved so much, I was personally offended that he chose to leave it. So I took it upon myself as kind of like a crusade to bring him back to the church, witnessed to him and all this kind of thing, but without knowing anything about his religion.

I tried my best, and through that what I had to do is finally research about Islam on my own, and through asking him also, as we would have various kinds of debates on doctrinal issues. So we discussed, and he would teach me this aspect of Islam and this aspect, and what do I say to that now because I did not know that before, as it made sense to me, and I had nothing to say. So as this went on, actually my mission to bring him out of Islam led me to Islam, Alhamdulillah.

Yes, I didn’t go on a search for truth as some people do. But I guess Allah guided me in the way that He did, Alhamdulillah.

Life After Islam

I can be totally honest and say my life hasn’t really changed that much because of how I was raised, like going to church a lot. My lifestyle per se didn’t change very much. I just picked up the few extra prayers per day and stopped eating pork. I didn’t indulge in alcohol at that time anyway, so I didn’t have to really leave it.

Belief in God as in the Trinitarian doctrine I always just accepted because that’s what we believed, but I didn’t understand it. So if you don't understand something how can you really say that you believe it?
I can say with confidence that I never really did believe in a triune God. I believed there’s God, but what changed was my belief in Jesus, peace be upon him; in his relationship to God, his relationship to us. That’s really what did change.

From the bottom of my heart I have to say just do it, because to me speaking from reason it is the only way of life that people should be following. It’s the complete way of life that you won’t find in any other religion. And it's the most logical doctrine you can say you won't find in any other religion. It makes perfect sense, and the way of life that is encouraged and commanded by God is the perfect way of life.

My advice would be to just make sure that that’s what you want for yourself, and just do it. Don't worry and put your trust in God. Also, if you have any Muslim friends that you are already in contact with that may be teaching you about Islam, then ask them; and don’t be shy to ask them to bring you to the mosque they go to, to talk to their Imam or with some of the other knowledgeable persons in their congregation.

So, if you have decided to take on this path, then congratulations. You will have my prayers for continued guidance and success in this life and in the next life; the real life.


My advice would be: just be wary from where you get information from. Don’t be hasty to join up with a sect with slogans and all these things. Learn your information, go slow; it is the beginning of the path. You’ve just started. You just cannot attain ultimate truth within a year or something. Take your time. Always make sure to purify your intentions, and whatever you’re doing is for the sake of Allah, and in His worship.

So, brothers and sisters in Islam, and hopefully new brothers and sisters in Islam, I hope my words could benefit you in some way In-Shaa-Allah, and inspire you to embrace Islam and to progress on the path your are on.

Keep me in your prayers.

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« Reply #52 on: January 25, 2013, 11:22:22 PM »

subhanAllah... this was traumatizing... and so deep... the life and times people go through subhanAllah and yet how they embrace Islam and change themselves

Quote
How The Quran Changed J.R.'s Life
J.R. Farrell's Journey to Islam::--

I can remember, throughout my childhood, all the times my parents fought over money issues, living situations and the like.

... I remember living in the project homes on the South Central side of Chicago with almost nothing to eat.

With a family of 10 it was hard for my father to support the family in the most desirable fashion.

Difficult Youth

My father was a hard working man, although he spent most of his time drinking away our family income and beating my mom, I still love my father. My father comes from Irish and German background, he has a sort of 'back home' old-fashion way of living.

Whenever he would come home drunk or just upset about something he would come to me and my younger brother and lay it out on us until he had nothing else to do.

Many times I could not even walk or breathe from all of the blows. Of course I had to be the one who got it most because I was older and any rap my brother gave I would take his whack as well. This was most of my childhood.

Then came my teenage years. With everything happening around me, such as girlfriends, flings, boozing, bars, drugs, etc. I just could not allow myself to be a part in any of it. It just didn't feel right.

My brother was one of the biggest drug dealers in Chicago. Many a day he would bring his stash home to sell locally. He knew my views on the whole idea and when he left one day, I took about $1,000 of drugs he had stashed away and flushed it down the toilet. When he found out, I swear, he wanted to kill me; and he would have if he had the chance. Of course I was the one who my parents took it out on because I was older and I should have taught him better.

That made me realize how fragile life can be. I didn't want to die an idiot so I began studying anything and everything. I couldn't take my face out of a book unless I put it in another. You have to realize something about my family, they are very competitive toward one another. Once they see the other person advancing they want to stop you in your tracks and allow you to go no further.

My parents had mixed feelings of my personal studies. They were worried that I might become brainwashed or follow some cult. They were right in one thing, I became a Nazi in 1994. I loved the fact that Hitler had thousands of people under his control. It made me feel important...like I was somebody. My father was pleased with the whole idea.

Back in the 60's when Martin Luther King Jr. was getting everyone fired up about his 'dream' my father was planning on getting rid of all of the blacks in the Chicago land area. In fact when Martin Luther King Jr. had marched through Marquette Park and Sherman Park on the South West side, my father had formed a gang, (the gang) that not only threw the blacks out but also caused a white against black war. That day my father hit Martin Luther King in the nose with a brick and to this day he brags about it.

Shortly after this incident Charles Manson and his crazy family were starting their secret mission. He was another who I admired and wanted to be like. While in the Nazi's I had witnessed the 60's all over again. I was there when they organized the attack on the little 11 year old black boy walking in a white neighborhood in Chicago (around 1997). They would have killed him but they wanted to leave a sign. Upon seeing these things I knew that I didn't fit in any more.

In 1995 I had met the first girl I could ever say I had loved. Even though I had a perfect opportunity to do whatever I wanted with her, I didn't. I couldn't allow myself to be completely intimate with someone who I wasn't married to. A few months afterward I had proposed to her and for a little over 3 years we remained engaged with out being sexually active. We both understood that more problems would occur. Being with this woman I was able to become who I wanted to be. I studied and studied and began to realize my life and it's purpose. I knew that I was missing something, I mean I really knew but I couldn't put my finger on it, but I would not give up searching.

The more I read the more my parents were drawn back. As I had pointed out that my family is very competitive they began mentally attacking me with how bad a child I was and how ungrateful a person I am for their shelter and food they supply me with. My parents never graduated high school, in fact they both only made it through the 8th grade and dropped out of the 9th. Therefore their education is obviously limited. All they know is what they see on TV and see from the behavior of people. I have to admit, from my parents raising me the way they did, I honor their discipline and give them absolute gratitude for what they did for me. They forced me to become a man. I had my first job at the age of 12.

At the age of 13 I was working full time making just as much as they. By the age of 16 I had my 1st apartment. I cooked, cleaned, washed my own laundry, did my own shopping and was preparing myself to get married. From the point of view that my parents judged people by their actions, I agreed with them and I still do. But that caused me to hate Muslims and Islam. I swear I really hated Muslims like you would not believe. Many say it is due to the media, well yes, it is a part of the madness, but mostly it is the own fault of the Muslims. The Muslims are the ones who have destroyed the reputation of Islam to a point that others hate us and we don't even know what we believe any more. It's sad but true. I have to tell you that most immigrants who enter into this country to make money are the number one accusers of spoiling the true image of Islam.

In 1997 my fiancée had given me the Quran as a gift, simply because I loved to read. Just to show you how much I hated the Muslims...Well when she gave me the Quran it caused a fight between us and we had separated for quite some time. Eventually I had picked it up and began reading it. I can remember that very day. The house was crystal clean, the air was soft and sweet and the lighting was dim and perfect for reading. It was the translation from Abdullah Yusuf Ali.

I read his introduction, the first 3 pages, and I began to cry like a baby. I cried and cried and I couldn't help myself. I knew that this was what I was looking for and I wanted to beat myself to death for not finding it earlier. I just knew in my heart how magical it was. This was not the Islam I knew. This was not the Arab thing I was taught to think was dirty. This was my life wrapped up in a few pages. Every page told my life. I was reading my soul and it felt good, but regretful. After this I had reunited with my fiancée and we discussed the whole matter maturely. Shortly afterward we both accepted Islam and were willing to live our lives as Muslims, even if it meant separately.

When my parents found out all hell broke loose. My father had threatened to take my life. He said, "You were born Catholic and so help me God I will make sure you die Catholic......" My mother's reaction was similar. I wanted to go to college more than anything, I wanted a formal education. So I got a job and paid my way through furthering my education in college. At that point my parents began flipping out over my conversion and my mother threw me out of the house which caused me to remain living in the streets for 6 months. I ate out of garbage cans, I slept in the coldest nights through the blizzard of '99. I walked miles to be with Muslims. I was chased out of neighborhoods by police officers for going into black neighborhoods attending Jummah prayer. I was pelted with rocks, spit on, harassed, etc. I just wanted to be with Muslims.

After some time I met a friend who made a deal with me. He said, "If you can build us a masjid in our muffler shop, you can stay there until you find a place..." I agreed. The muffler shop had a second floor area, about 2000 square feet for storage. Every day I had spent hours on removing inventory supplies and garbage. Within one month I had utilized half of the space, built a wall, added a window, installed a door, put in some carpeting, painted and opened up the first Muffler shop masjid in the city of Chicago. I had learned the carpentry trait from my uncle. It was my first full time job.

Around 6 months later I had maintained a good job and moved in with two friends. My old fiancée was out of the picture by now. We had agreed to live our lives as Muslims, not as fools. I loved her more than anyone I had ever loved. But being Muslim was far more important than being with a person. In 1999 I had become the President of the Muslims Student Association at my college. I was attending Halaqat daily, going to seminars, I had a mentor, and I built a relationship with my enemies; Muslims.

In 2000 I was on my way to Hajj. An experience I will never forget. I had visited Madinah and other neighboring areas. The one thing I had realized at Hajj was the truth about God and the history of Islam. We can only go back in time so far and we can only rely on what text books tell us about people and places. In Makkah and Madinah I had seen with my very own eyes the magic of Islam's great history. It was as if I was living the history. I felt the Hadith come to life. I saw the Sahabah in the mountain tops. I smelt the battle of Badr. I tasted the air the Prophet once breathed. I felt the real Islam that each and everyone of us are destroying.

Although I am alone, without a wife or a family to call my own, I know Islam is life, not a way of life but life itself. I understand that Islam is not a religion, because religion can be pluralized. I understand that Muslims are not what Islam has to offer. I understand that Islam cannot be judged by the actions of Muslims, Muslims can only be judged by Islam.

I have been given a great opportunity to become who I am and who I am is no one no higher or less than each and every one else. I was given the opportunity to acquire my dream job. I have always wanted to work for relief work and helping people, as much as my past contradicts the fact, but it's true. I now work for Global Relief Foundation, it's where I have been for over a year now.

As much as I fed you with words of my life, nothing can explain my heart. I have only mentioned a few of the many obstacles I have faced, I know that many of you have faced so much more. My purpose of telling you this is to say that I understand the difficulties many are going through.

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« Reply #53 on: January 29, 2013, 02:55:53 PM »

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A mum-of-two has told how she was inspired to convert to Islam – after helping a victim of honour-based violence as part of her job in the police.

Police Community Support Officer Jayne Kemp, 28, decided to find out about the faith while helping a Muslim woman suffering domestic abuse.

After speaking to other Muslims on Twitter, she was inspired to give up her Catholic faith to fully convert last year and now lives a completely Islamic lifestyle.

She now goes out on her PCSO patrols in?Eccles, Salford, wearing the traditional hijab headscarf and makes time up at the end of her shift to attend Friday prayers.

Jayne, single mum to a son, nine, and daughter, seven, formerly converted in a Shahada ceremony last April and now plans to change her name to Aminah.

While her children spent Christmas Day at their dad’s so they could still celebrate, she went round to her mum’s – but had to cook her own dinner so it would be halal.

Jayne, who joined GMP in August 2009 and lives in south Manchester, said: “It started when I had a woman approach me at work who was experiencing honour-based violence.

“Where I work in Eccles there’s a big mosque and big Muslim population, so I thought I should find out more about it.

“I’d thought Islam was all about women being forced to slave away in the kitchen – but found out it was about being generous with your time, patient and respectful of others.

“As I looked into it I saw similarities with Catholicism and also values like looking after your neighbours and valuing the elderly that older people say younger people don’t have any more.

“I wasn’t looking for any religion at the time but for every question I got answered about Islam I just had five more – I think I fell in love with it.”

Jayne made the decision to tell colleagues she had converted when she wanted to start wearing a hijab to work – and says they have all been supportive.

She is now working with the Greater Manchester Muslim Police Association to design a regulation police hijab and tunic – as one has never been needed before in the force.

Jayne said: “I was worried about what my colleagues would think but they have been so understanding.

“People in Eccles have been great too – most don’t even mention it.

“If my children had struggled with me covering my hair I wouldn’t have done it.

“They have both asked a lot about it but I would never push Islam on them and they will be brought up Catholic.

“I just hope by speaking out I can show it is OK for a Muslim woman to work in the police force and also change negative stereotypes about Islam.”

Jayne, who grew up in Wythenshawe, said: “My family in general are supportive. As long as I’m happy, they’re happy.

“I was very open about my reading and studying Islam. My sister said the other day I’m the happiest she’s ever seen me.”

Jayne was helped to find out about Islam by Muhammad Manzoor, who runs Muslim Twitter account Local Masjid from his Whalley Range home.

He said: “I was humbled Jayne was asking me these questions as it made me find out more about Islam too.

“She has found this religion for herself and hopefully it shows Muslims can mix in society without compromising their faith.”

-----------------
manchestereveningnews.co .uk

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« Reply #54 on: January 31, 2013, 02:53:25 PM »

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Jobseeker Claire, 24

CLAIRE EVANS converted to Islam last July after researching it following a break-up. Claire, from Bridgend, South Wales, says:

After my heart was broken by a Muslim man, I wanted nothing more to do with the religion – I thought it was cruel and unkind.
Heartbreak ... Claire converted to Islam after breaking up with a Muslim man
I wasn’t religious before I converted. I didn’t really believe in God. I now cover my hair and wear a hijab, which was a big decision. My dad doesn’t like it, though, and I don’t wear the hijab when I’m with him.

At first I got some stares and nasty comments but in the past six months I’ve grown in confidence. Now I go to the mosque once a week and I pray every day.

I also took a Muslim name, Safir, but I still use my old name of Claire too. I have a new partner too, who is a Muslim, but we’re not settling down just yet.

Islam has made me calmer and, for the first time in my life, I feel accepted.
There’s not much I miss about my old life, except the odd sausage roll – I can’t eat pork now.

thesun.co.uk



Rather interesting, a non practicing Muslim she was in a relationship with has led her to actually wanting to find out what Islam is. As Muslims we are not suppose to have non marriage boyfriend girlfriend type relationships. Kind of interesting point to illustrate, just because some people are Muslim by birth, name, that does not mean they are fully following the religion as they should. Same with the many stupid honor killing threads. It's not from Islam or a part of Islam and Islam does not condone it but condemns it. Likewise there are Muslims who fornicate, sleep around, go clubbing, drinking BUT... it is contrary to what Islam teaches. It's wonderful to see people learn about Islam and embrace it.
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« Reply #55 on: February 01, 2013, 11:32:48 AM »

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rF6FmH5vzz4" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rF6FmH5vzz4</a>
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« Reply #56 on: February 01, 2013, 11:35:14 AM »

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucQDqn-zRPU" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucQDqn-zRPU</a>
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« Reply #57 on: February 01, 2013, 11:37:20 AM »

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O--sDm3Sod0" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O--sDm3Sod0</a>
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« Reply #58 on: February 07, 2013, 10:06:03 AM »

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y01Bt963qRY" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y01Bt963qRY</a>
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« Reply #59 on: February 07, 2013, 11:06:29 AM »

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8HXUhBVefU" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8HXUhBVefU</a>
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« Reply #60 on: February 07, 2013, 11:07:48 AM »

American family that converted to islam Smiley

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« Reply #61 on: February 07, 2013, 11:08:50 AM »




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American soldier Jacian Fares - Converted to Islam
........................ ........................ ........................ ......................
My name is Jacian Fares. I come from the Al-Fares family of Hebron. My father was born in Lebanon, my mother is a Spaniard. I was the first generation born in America (Dearborn, Michigan in fact).



My father took no stock in religion nor did he live it, although my grandparents are devout Muslims, I do imagine his choice and path in life had sadd

ened their hearts. Needless to say my siblings and I were born without a specific religion. We were to be raised as American kids.



Under odd circumstances I was the only one of the three of us to go live in Lebanon for six years, during which I was a teenager. I shall call this time period ‘my first encounter with Middle East culture’.



My second phase of encounter came when I was in the U.S. Marine Corps. I led the invasion into Iraq - not a war I agreed with, but I was a soldier just doing his job.



In Fallujah and other areas of the Al-Anbar province, I came to know locals. I had witnessed other Arabs during Ramadan over the years. I had watched how devoted to their religion they were.



Unfortunately I was shot in Iraq and lost a kidney - but it is as Allah wills. I had always believed everything happens for a reason. When I had come home I was depressed and feeling like I had nothing to follow in life. I was used to having routine and now it was taken from me. My relationship at the time went downhill. So I was alone. My grandparents had hinted at Islam, as well as my aunt. During August of 2008 I read the Quran. And it just clicked. It made sense to me, more so than the Bible or the Torah. It was very straight to the point. Muslim life has routine. I needed this change in my life, to find my true self.



“Verily this Quran doth guide to that which is most right (or stable), and giveth the Glad Tidings to the Believers who work deeds of righteousness, that they shall have a magnificent reward;” (Quran 17:9)



Finally I had routine. I had reasons to live for and make my life that much better. I can say I had made many friends over the past year, all of different Middle Eastern countries; from Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, and Qatar. And these friends helped in developing who I am now. And for that I am forever thankful.



This year I have witnessed my second Ramadan. Sadly, I could not fast because I am a juvenile diabetic. But I donated food, money, and time to people in need for all thirty days. And this year is special, my birthday falls on Eid al-Fitr.



And while I am stuck here in America, alone, I am not alone. People in the Muslim communities treat me as any other family member. And I have to say this life we live, the Deen (Islamic way of life) we live, it brings us all together. It brings us together and makes us brothers and sisters every day of our lives - even without feasts.



So I promise I will always treat everyone as my brother or sister, help out ones in need, even in times without special purpose. I will do this every day of my life.

“Serve Allah, and join not any partners with Him; and do good- to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbours who are near, neighbours who are strangers, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (ye meet), and what your right hands possess: For Allah loveth not the arrogant, the vainglorious;” (Quran 4:36)



I love Ramadan and what it represents. It reminds us what being a good Muslim is. But I propose that we make everyday of our lives like Ramadan and share with our fellow man and woman.



As Muslims we can make this world a better place, no matter how the media tries projecting us as, no matter how ignorant people believe we are, we can honestly make this world a better place.



“Show forgiveness, speak for justice and avoid the ignorant.” (Quran 7:199)

We should never push our God onto anyone, but we should inform the ones interested correctly. That's how it was done with me; I've come a long way with the support and help of my brothers and sisters, my friends and family in Islam.



I choose Islam because it's part of who I am. I've reverted back to what my family has believed. I now live how they live. This is all because reading the Quran was suggested to me. I'm happy and proud of myself for doing so. The Quran has led me to finding my true self. And now my God has a name: Allah.

I suggest to non-believers to keep an open mind and just look at what the Quran has to say. There is more there to it, if read with open eyes. The Quran is simply a tool and guide that we should use to live a correct path. It promotes peace, love, and a strong trust in Allah.



“And what will explain to thee the path that is steep? It is: freeing the bondman; Or the giving of food in a day of privation. To the orphan with claims of relationship, Or to the indigent (down) in the dust. Then will he be of those who believe, and enjoin patience, (constancy, and self-restraint), and enjoin deeds of kindness and compassion.” (Quran 90:12-17)
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« Reply #62 on: February 07, 2013, 06:55:58 PM »

Chicago's Free Muslim Medical Clinic Making impression

CHICAGO (RNS) Religious affiliation may be on the wane in America, a recent Pew study asserts, but you wouldn't know it walking into the storefront near the corner of West 63rd Street and South Fairfield Avenue.
 
Inside a former bank in a neighborhood afflicted with gang violence, failed businesses and empty lots, a team of volunteers drawn by their religious faith is working to make life better for Chicago's poorest residents.
 
The free medical clinic has expanded its hours; 20-something college graduates are clamoring to get into its internship program; rap stars swing by its alcohol-free poetry slams; and the budget has increased tenfold in the past decade.
 
The storefront belongs to Chicago's Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) and it is part of a wave of new Muslim institutions emerging at an unprecedented pace. More than a quarter of the nation's 2,106 mosques were founded in the last decade, according to a recent University of Kentucky study, and new social service organizations, many of them run by 20- and 30-something American-born Muslims, are thriving as never before.
 
This surge in new Muslim institutions, led by a nationwide network of young activists, "is the most important story in Islam in America right now," said Eboo Patel, founder of the college campus-based Interfaith Youth Core.
 
Young Muslims "are going about the process of institution building in concretely American ways," said Kambiz GhaneaBassiri of Reed College, author of "A History of Islam in America," adding that the 9/11 terrorist attacks shaped a generation of young Muslim activists.
 
"The sheer numbers are absolutely new and the funding available for these organizations is absolutely new."
 
Chicago may be ground zero of this trend: The city's 15-year-old IMAN is one of several young Muslim organizations inspiring young Muslims to connect with their faith.
 
"Charity is an important part of our religion," said Dr. Adiba Khan, an IMAN staff member.
 
Other organizations include CAMP, the Council for the Advancement of Muslim Professionals; the city's umbrella Muslim federation, which organizes the nation's largest political gathering of young Muslims at the Illinois State Capitol each spring; and the Webb Foundation, a five-year-old organization dedicated to shaping a new model of diverse, indigenous American Islam.
 
A new campaign known as #MyJihad, in which American Muslims describe their personal faith struggles in advertisements on buses and in transit stations got its start in Chicago before expanding to San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
 
"There are good things happening in many places, but Chicago seems to me to kind of have it all," said Jane I. Smith, who recently retired as a dean at Harvard Divinity School. "It's got all different backgrounds represented, and different ways of approaching Islam."
 
Chicago's Muslim community is among the nation's largest and most diverse. About 400,000 Muslims live here, and the 15 new mosques built in the last decade are just one indication of wealth, growth and political connectedness. Smith sees signs of a kind of Muslim reformation here, not in any single watershed moment but in myriad significant movements that are utterly new.
 
IMAN is run by Rami Nashashibi, a boyish-faced 40-year-old with a small black skullcap, a closely-cropped beard and a gentle charisma. Nashashibi founded IMAN in 1997 with a group of friends eager to convince Muslim suburbanites that not only could they transform Chicago's worst neighborhoods, their faith demanded they try.
 
Setting down roots in a Southwest Side neighborhood that saw 70 percent of its white population flee in the 1990s, the organization he founded helped ex-convicts find jobs and housing and hosted a series of poetry slams and urban street fairs aimed at connecting Muslims to the arts and social justice work.
 
It also opened the city's first free medical clinic run by Muslims. The clinic boasts three exam centers, a lab, a growing cohort of young volunteer doctors, and a full-time medical director.
 
Nashashibi – known as Rami to nearly everyone – grew up in Chicago and has a doctorate in sociology from the University of Chicago. His dissertation focused on urban hip-hop culture, and he has the ability to connect with Hyde Park intellectuals, middle-aged suburban doctors, rabbis and neighborhood kids with just about equal ease.
 
Nashashibi enjoys near celebrity status among ethnically diverse cadres of young Muslims from California to London. IMAN's budget topped $2.1 million last year, 10 times what it was a decade ago.
 
"I think Rami is the most impressive Muslim of my generation," said Interfaith Youth Core founder Patel.
 
Nashashibi's reputation extends far beyond the Windy City. Inspired by IMAN's successes, young activists in cities including Detroit, Atlanta, New York City, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., have created similar ventures and turned to IMAN's staff for help.
 
U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison – a Democratic congressman from Minnesota and an African-American convert to Islam – is a Rami fan.
 
"Quite honestly, the Muslims are very fragmented," Ellison said. "Rami doesn't care what color you are or what cultures you are from. He wants to work with you."
 
But it may be outside Muslim circles where IMAN's impact may be most pronounced.
 
Yolanda Voss sat in the clinic's modest waiting room on a recent morning, waiting to see a doctor for a follow-up visit about her high blood pressure. A member of an evangelical Christian church, Voss said she has been impressed by the clinic's services.
 
"The quality of the care is excellent," she said, adding, "the doctor is very understanding."
 
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« Reply #63 on: February 08, 2013, 03:50:26 PM »

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_9Xs7S8Ad4" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_9Xs7S8Ad4</a>
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« Reply #64 on: February 08, 2013, 03:52:45 PM »


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A British Sister's Journey to Islam

I will shortly give you an introduction of why I became Muslim and how it just came about really.

About a year ago, my fiancée came back to his religion. When we first met he was Muslim, but he was not a practicing Muslim. And this time last year he actually came back to his religion and found his faith again. He started to read the Quran and pray, and everything like that.

He started to read to me stories about the prophets, peace be upon them, and also gave me a web site where I could read the Quran in English, and next to it was the Arabic translation.

The Quran actually wasn’t what I expected. The way it was written was really beautiful, and it seems to me that every question you had it was answered there. No matter what question it was or anything, there was an answer in the Quran at some point in it.

So the more I started to read about it, the more I wanted to learn about Islam, its principles and what it was like to be a Muslim in general, so I started to get books out and read them, and I also started to look at web sites on the Internet about Muslim converts and just anything that I could find really.

So it carried on for a few months, me researching and finding everything that I could, and in November of last year I actually said my Shahadah. I didn’t say it with anybody present, I said it to myself, and I did all the purifications and everything. So since then, it’s just been amazing. I don’t actually live in a Muslim community, so it’s a bit difficult for me to interact with Muslims personally.

I got a book out a few months ago, it was called The Bible, The Quran and Science, and that book is so great. It’s by an author called Maurice Baucaille, and he basically tells you all the contradictions of what the Bible says, between the Old and the New Testament, and how it has changed through the years. And then he also goes on to say that the Quran is in modern knowledge it can’t be explained, and therefore it must be the word of God, because things that happened hundreds and hundreds of years ago cannot be explained today, how they knew it sort of thing, and it’s just a great book, you should check it out it’s really good.

So that’s in a nutshell, it took a few months for me to get there, but I did.

So brothers and sisters, you've got a new one to add to the family.
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« Reply #65 on: February 13, 2013, 01:52:38 PM »



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Luis Garcia converted to Islam while studying English in Texas.
Cut off financially by his Christian mother and father, Luis Garcia was about to be thrown out on to the streets of Texas, where he was studying at the University of Houston.
Mr Garcia was drawn to the faith after meeting a group of students from Saudi Arabia who did not fit the media's stereotype."Among them there was one guy called Ahmad who started talking to me about Islam," he said. "I didn't want to learn at first."

Ahmad gave him brochures which he accepted only "out of politeness", but soon read them and Islam started to making sense.

His curiosity led him to take Islamic classes but he gave up after five months fearing the reaction of his parents.

However, when a renowned Muslim preacher, Yusuf Estes, himself a convert, delivered a lecture at the university, Ahmad arranged for Mr Garcia to meet him backstage.

"When Estes saw me he hugged me, then I started crying. I don't know why," he said.

He told the preacher he was too scared of his parents to convert, so the preacher suggested he return after "growing up".

That was all the prompting Mr Garcia needed. He took Mr Estes's hand, walked out on stage in front of 400 people and announced that he was a Muslim.

But the joy of the experience was tempered by the dread he felt at having to tell his parents. That Christmas, he went home to Mexico City. Airport security held him on suspicion of having links to Al Qaeda after they found a Quran in his suitcase.

He was freed but his father demanded that he be re-baptised at the local church. When he refused, his father became violent and kicked him out of the family home.

Mr Garcia flew back to Texas, where he continued the English as a foreign language programme his parents had already paid for. His father stopped sending money, so he moved into a friend's flat.

"My Saudi friends received a salary from the embassy there every month. Each one of them would put US$100 (Dh367) aside for me."

But he knew he did not have the finances to continue for long. "I felt really hopeless," Mr Garcia said.

Just as he was beginning to despair, a friend called him and told him to meet an Emirati man at the local mosque.

The Emirati told him he would speak to some people in the UAE and fix his problem. One week later, the Emirati returned and told him everything had been arranged for him to move to the American University of Sharjah, where he would be fully sponsored by a sheikh.

When Mr Garcia arrived in the UAE he was escorted to his dorm by a supervisor. When he opened the door the room was exactly as he had seen in an earlier dream.

"I knew it was the right place for me … it was my home," he said.

The next day the family who sponsored him invited him to their majlis and told him how proud they were of him.

"They never left me alone, they treated me like one of their own," he said.

Worried at first about being the only Hispanic student among 5,000, Mr Garcia thrived and became president of the student council. Now 25, he will soon be starting his first job.

"I found real fraternity in Islam. Brothers and friends, I have met so many good people here," he said."


source: the national
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« Reply #66 on: February 13, 2013, 02:51:56 PM »

Meet the ex-Hindu who converted 108,000 people to Islam since 1989



By: Shah.hasan

Source: hopeitw.com

MATLI: Such are Deen Mohammad Shaikh’s powers of persuasion that he has converted 108,000 people to Islam since 1989, the year he left his birth religion Hinduism behind.

His multi-coloured business card describes the Matli dweller as the president of the Jamia Masjid Allah Wali and Madrassa Aisha Taleem-ul Quran – an institute for conversions to Islam.

The reedy 70-year-old brandishes an embellished cane. A red-and-white keffeiyah perched on his shoulder offers people a hint to his theological leanings.

As he speaks to The Express Tribune, his arm slices an invisible arc through the air. He is gesturing to a vast expanse of nine acres of donated land where converts are invited to pitch a tent and stay. “My heartfelt wish is that the entire world becomes Muslim,” comes his response, when asked about the en masse conversions. His piety is matched only by its ambition.

But contrary to the grandiose proclamation, this preacher isn’t a repository of rehearsed sound bites. It is only after he settles down on a charpoy that he deigns to embark on the journey of a Hindu named Jhangli who became an expert in evangelism.

“I always loved Islam,” he begins. “I read the Holy Quran and realised that 360 gods were not of any use to me.”

At first he had to study the Holy Quran in secret. There was the risk of being misunderstood if a Muslim caught him with the holy book. He started fasting and in fact he would begin a day before Ramazan started.

Shaikh’s mother grew alarmed at her son’s forays into another faith. She thought that if she married him off, he would not ‘leave’. Thus, he was barely 15 when his wedding took place, followed by a quick overtaking by nature – four girls and eight boys.

But despite this, he was drawn back to his curiosity and managed to find a teacher, Sain Mohammad Jagsi, who instructed him in the Holy Quran and Hadiths or sayings of the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh).

Fortunately, Shaikh’s uncle was of the same mind and the two men agreed that they would give each other the strength. Shaikh held off until his daughter was married to a Hindu as planned, since he had already “given his word”. Then there was no turning back.

After his conversion, Deen Mohammad Shaikh made it his mission to woo others. He began in his own backyard, preaching to family, before venturing beyond this comfort zone. Encounters with the rich and powerful helped pave the way. Retired Pakistan Army general Sikandar Hayat, who owns a sugar mill in Matli, offered Shaikh money, which he turned down. Instead, he urged Hayat to give jobs to some of the new converts. Hayat and his daughter proved extremely helpful in providing assistance.

Now, Shaikh says, his fame has spread and people come to him from as far as Balochistan, members of all religions and sects, who would like to convert. A small mosque has sprung up in his residential compound along with a number of rooms where children – mostly girls – are taught how to say their prayers and recite the Holy Quran.

One of the teachers is 14-year-old Sakina, who is just 15 days into the job. “Only a few students are difficult to teach,” she says while commenting on their ability to recite a text in an unknown language.

Shaikh is aware of the difficulties converts face while taking on what appear to be the initially daunting rigours of a brand new system. He makes life easy for the first 40 days. “They only have to pray farz!” he says while referring to the mandatory parts. This relaxed schedule ensures that they can ‘confirm their faith’. He understands that if he demanded they start out with praying five times a day to offer even the optional and ‘bonus’ parts, “They would run away!” as he puts it with a look of mock horror on his face.

Other than this, he is reluctant to actually explain how he influences the people. All he offers is a nugget of fire and brimstone: “I tell them that I was a Hindu too and that they would burn in Hell if they are not Muslim.”

More than saving a soul

There are other practical considerations that accompany conversions. In order to ‘save’ the converts from influential Hindus in other districts, Shaikh packs them off to Hub Chowk while the Kalima is still moist on their lips. “Their families would beat them up (for converting) otherwise,” he explains.

This trick of the ‘trade’ he learnt from personal experience. He alleges that he was kidnapped along with his daughter-in-law by influential Hindus who threatened him so that he would stop converting people. “They don’t want these poor Hindus to stand up to them when they become Muslims,” Shaikh maintains.

Despite 108,000 conversions, for which a record is kept, Shaikh still doesn’t feel his work is done. He wants everyone to be a Muslim and learn from his example. He also attends the Tablighi Jamaat’s annual congregation in Raiwind, although he doesn’t believe in sectarian divisions. “All groups are like brothers to me,” he declares.
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« Reply #67 on: February 13, 2013, 03:03:01 PM »

Female converts finding true feminism in Islam
by Hasnet Lais
Source: Independent.co.uk



By: Hasnet Lais

Source: http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2013/02/08/are-female-converts-to-islam-part-of-a-new-wave-of-feminism/

You’d think after watching BBC Three’s Make me a Muslim documentary, being a female convert to Islam is so riddled with fault lines. Not really. My recent interviews with Muslim converts offered a rare glimpse into the lives of three women who would flatly reject such comparisons. And they’re all buzzing with spiritual ecstasy, retelling what caused them to halal-ify their wardrobes and Islamise dress codes.

“Being Muslim keeps me from wanting to impress others and gives me more personal confidence,” says Chantelle, a 19-year-old convert from Hackney. Today, she goes by the name Khadija, as a sign of respect for Muhammad’s first wife and insists there’s more to British women trading bare midriffs for abayas than what meets the eye. “I wear the hijab because I want to. Because it’s between me and Allah. It’s not a fashion statement. Yes, I don’t go to clubs and don’t sleep around. It gives me a comfort which I know so many of my friends would love to have.”

One of those friends is Monique, who recalls how Chantelle’s embracing Islam inspired a raw honesty and emotion in her, helping her sense power and security in a head-to-toe cover-up: “I can’t really say for certain that I became Muslim because I read the Qur’an. But in a weird way, I felt Chantelle had more freedom than I did by covering herself, instead of letting it all out like me. I thought to myself ‘this was worth trying’. I can’t say I don’t miss our clubs and parties but I’d rather live like this. We still do what other girls do but it’s more toned down if you catch my drift. I haven’t looked back since”.

Both girls were gearing up for a lifetime of prostration, meditation and single-sex socialising and offered gleaning insights into how their lives had taken a better turn from the moment they embraced Islam. As we entered deep into our discussions, they also took a moment to discuss the challenges which lay in their wake.

We talked about everything from relationships, sex and family, and it was clear the prospect of love and marriage lingered heavily over their heads. Chantelle spoke candidly about some common anxieties with converts: “It’s not just what friends and family are going to say. ‘Oh my God, why are you dressing like that etc.’ I don’t care about being unpopular. But I do wonder whether I can have a boyfriend or what my chances of marrying a native Muslim will be. I guess I’ll have to stick to another convert”.

Similar emotions skittered across Monique’s face when I asked her the same question. Despite being saddled with the weight of conversion, theirs was a genuine humility and grace with which both accepted their “good fortunes” of becoming Muslim and as Chantelle put it, “Women who can at last be themselves and please themselves and not men”. Neither of them was borne of any resignation and were at pains to convince others that their new identities hadn’t sapped their career ambitions or aspirations in the slightest.

Contrary to the sneering stereotypes of some sections of the press, British women converting to Islam do not enter the realm of the socially immobile and culturally policed. Like those I interviewed, they’ve found a new lease of life as tee-totalling Brits, dragging women from under the voyeuristic yoke. If Chantelle and Monique are anything to go by, then sex doesn’t have to sell for women to compete on the same terms.

Then there was 32-year-old mother of two, Jessica. Defiant, unrelenting and unapologetic, she sat before me, niqaab-clad- a far cry from her early adolescent years which were “adrenaline soaked” and “godless”. “I’m just so thankful to Allah that I’ve left everything behind. The hangovers, the guilt, the promiscuous sex. Basically, I feel completely transformed and hate to be reminded of my past because that was me then, and this is me now”.

She claimed becoming Muslim was a “welcome distraction” from her previous, unspiritual lifestyle and was relieved to be confronted by a siege of female converts after she took her shahada (testimony of faith). There was a lot of frenzy surrounding her conversion, not least from her family: “My mum dismissed it as a case of teenage rebellion,” says Jessica, who spends much of her spare time buying and selling the intricate embroideries and jewel works of hijabs and jilbabs.

As I probed a little deeper, I realised the reason why she, like some other converts I’ve met in the past, came across as a lapsed Briton, cut off from their indigenous culture: “No one from our politicians to our newspapers are doing anything to fight the prejudice against women. Our culture has become so sex obsessed, its making parenting tougher than I thought”.

We spoke in length about the misogynistic gaffes served up by the media, and the recent description by The Daily Mail of an eight-year-old as a ‘leggy beauty’ unwittingly added fuel to her fire. “You see that’s exactly my point. My decision to become Muslim was a safety net from all this filth. My children are not going to grow up without realising that although we’ve got a lot of things right in Britain we’ve also messed a lot of things up, especially when it comes to respecting our girls”.

For Jessica, grubby tabloids and the casual sexualisation of British society helped explain the irresistible appeal of puritanism for some British females. Accepting Islam was a way of her silently reproaching the cultural failure to improve the lot of women: “Why do you think so many women are becoming Muslim in this country? Because the ‘wonderful’ freedoms in the west have only enslaved us.”

As interesting as it was hearing these converts share memories from the past and express delight at their leap of faith, I was looking more forward to interviewing native Muslims who had grown up in British Muslim families, to find out what they thought about their convert sisters in faith.

Like me and Shanna Bukhari, the documentary’s presenter, Fatima felt converts to Islam claimed an ambiguous spiritual advantage: “Seeing them offer voluntary prayers and study the Qur’an led me to a lot of soul searching and reflection. They’re much better at being Muslim than I could ever have imagined” she says.

For practising Muslim Lutfa, the no-nonsense hard-line exteriors of some converts bring a certain noise and colour to the religion which she feels can only be good for the faith. “If you look at Islam from a historical point of view, then you will see that we really owe a lot of our genius to the energy of converts”. I couldn’t agree any more. Among my Muslim friends, we’re often left feeling that converts have seized the initiative and run with it and to keep apace, we’ve got to step our God-game up so to speak. Lutfa also agrees that women converts offer Muslims a refreshing change of pace “Convert sisters are definitely setting a standard for others to follow”.

Whatever we may think of these converts, their decision to become Muslim may be a powerful indictment of some women’s lives in the west. That’s the impression they all left me, especially Jessica who would repeatedly ask whether feminism had delivered on its promise. So amidst all the everyday sexism and cultural creepiness hounding British women, is Islam somehow squaring their circle?  Are burkas, niqaabs and hijaabs breathing soul in the lives of girls which desperately lack a higher calling, helping them reclaiming the watchwords of feminism? Does the conversion to Islam among British women bode healthily for Britain’s future? For Chantelle, Monique and Jessica, the answer to these questions is a resolute yes.
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« Reply #68 on: February 14, 2013, 03:23:20 PM »



“Sonny Bill Williams is a New Zealand rugby union MUSLIM player, and heavy weight boxer and rugby league player with his brother
Alhamdu lillah, he’s reverted to Islam Smiley
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« Reply #69 on: February 15, 2013, 03:24:51 PM »



My name is Jasmine Crawford

I chose Islam because I believe it was the right thing to do. I was asking God for signs and to guide me. And actually I was a Catholic and I just wanted to be a better Catholic. So I was studying the different religions, and I just was interested in learning. And the more that I learned, the more I liked it.

It was a little difficult in the beginning because it was hard to let go of my past, but alhamdulellah I did the right thing.

Before I converted to Islam, I knew basically what most of the other people know about Islam, which is the terrorists and that women are covered. And unfortunately there are some Muslims that are not practicing so they don’t represent Islam the way that they should. And so when they hang out with non-Muslims, they give the wrong impression of what Islam is about.

So I thought the same thing that most of the people got, that it’s just a way of life and it wasn’t really a religion, it was just what people did.

I have friends who are Muslims, so it opened the door for me to look more into it. Again I knew about Islam, I knew Judaism, Christianity and Islam. So that’s how I knew about it, really because I have friends who were Muslims.

The main thing that attracted me to Islam is la illaha illa allah (There is no God but Allah); the fact that you go directly to God, because I always used to go directly to God anyway. And there is not really one particular thing because there was so many major things that happened in my search that made me feel like it was the right thing for me. The Quran never changing was really important, and the scientific proofs in the Quran, all the little things that are in Islam that just make sense. It makes a lot more sense than any other religion.

In my immediate family I’m the only Muslim. I do have distant family members that have also converted. But as of now I’m the only Muslim in my family. I’m working on my mother!

The relationship with my parents, alhamdulellah, I love my parents. My father was very ill at the time that I was looking into Islam. I had just found out that he had cancer again. And my mother is such a beautiful woman alhamdulellah. She helps me with everything. She helps me get up for Fajr (Dawn prayer), she buys me halal food, and she is a beautiful woman. I’m very close to my mother. My father passed last July but it was a very good relationship.

The only question that my mother asked me was “I thought you were going to think about it?!’ and other than that they are not strict Catholics. So Subhanallah, they said “if it makes you happy, as long as you don’t go out blowing up people!, do it. Do what makes you happy”.

It’s very easy to be an American Muslim in New York. As long as you are confident and secure in yourself. And the Hijab style, people think that this is just my style. They don’t realize that I’m Muslim. Because if you see what people wear outside today they throw on all types of things that some people don’t even realize that I’m Muslim. But a lot of people ask me questions, and I’ve noticed that people are actually very kind to me. It’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be. In New York, I think it’s fairly easy to find what you are looking most of time. I’m sure in other states and cities it’s probably a lot more difficult, but we have halal stores on every corner basically. So it’s very easy, and I’ve been eating a lot of fish lately! But I think it’s very convenient to be a Muslim convert in New York City.

M.E.C.C.A. is the Muslim Education and Converts Center of America. It’s a non-profit organization. We offer classes. We have a new Muslims program which shows new Muslims how to pray, and all the basics that you need to be a Muslim. When you are a convert, it can be very frightening and overwhelming, and then you take the Shahadah, and then that’s it. You go by yourself and you have no one to help you. So you come here. You take classes with other students who are also looking into Islam with qualified teachers who have studied abroad with scholars.

We also offer courses like Arabic, Aqeedah (creed) and Fiqh (Islamic law). And we have support groups for converts, sisters who are going through the same thing, like they are not sure they want to wear Hijab and we help each other out. We just offer a lot of great classes. It’s not only to Muslims but to non-Muslims as well. So we have converts, we have born Muslims, and we have people who are just interested in learning more about Islam.

We do offer the support for non-Muslims but rather for new Muslims when they convert. We have like a sisters’ circle or a brothers’ circle, where we come in and we eat and we talk about our problems or what we are going through. Some people would have similar situations where their families or their friends are no longer talking to them, and it’s very emotional. It’s very difficult and they feel alone, and we all have a connection here. It’s like a very small family and we all have similar situations. So it’s a great place Alhamdulellah.

Our converts are from everywhere. We have myself. I’m black and white. I’m Irish and African American and Indian. And we have Chinese. We have Spanish. We have white people. We have everything here. So this is New York City, you are going to get everything.
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« Reply #70 on: February 18, 2013, 01:43:55 PM »

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4XtGPkI5TE" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4XtGPkI5TE</a>
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« Reply #71 on: February 18, 2013, 04:26:25 PM »

Japanese Muslim brings life to Arabic calligraphy



Fuad Koichi Honda, a native of Japan, is known round the world as one of the world’s top contemporary Arabic calligraphers. His works show a level of artistic perfection that has taken him decades to achieve.
He has won many awards for his work, including the International Arabic Calligraphy Contest. His most famous works of calligraphic art use passages from the Koran as their basis.

The experience of living in Middle Eastern deserts also served as an influence to Honda, which has been recognized by major traditional Arabic calligraphers. They praise the way in which he combines the Japanese aesthetic of empty space with strictly traditional letter forms.

Today Honda serves as President of the Japan Arabic Calligraphy Association and teaches at Tokyo’s Arabic Center.

Honda has crossed cultural boundaries with his calligraphy, bringing two different cultures – Japanese and Islamic – together in a way which can be appreciated by both – as well as by the rest of the world.
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« Reply #72 on: February 21, 2013, 05:30:46 PM »



Katerina Nordin-Phillips, a History graduate from SOAS, embraced Islam in 2003 aged 14.


My mum was a lapsed Catholic, and my dad had grown up Muslim in Malaysia but lost his faith when he moved here.
I was of no religion but had grown up with Christian culture from my mum.

A Buddhist friend started experimenting with drugs, and we would have debates about religion and theology. The debates woke me up and I realised that I believed in God, and started to study different religions.

Before reading up about Islam, I had assumed that the Prophet was just a random individual, but the fact that he followed on from all the other prophets and had that direct link made so much sense. It reinforced the belief that Islam is for everyone, and has a place in the wider picture of the world. When I started to read the Qur’an, a lot of internal questions were answered. I find it inspiring that it still resonates from 1400 years ago and has never been changed. It made sense to have a lifestyle that was so geared to God. Islam had the perfect balance between logic and spirituality.
Around the same time that I was looking into Islam, my Mum and Dad were doing the same and we all managed to reach the same conclusion independently. Following this, my older sisters embraced Islam too.

As converts, we can bridge the gap using our own personal experiences, but those new to the faith should take it at a pace that they can handle, but the most important thing is to try not to cut people off. We should show them the beauty of Islam, not run off into some sort of secluded community.
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« Reply #73 on: February 21, 2013, 05:33:09 PM »



Inspiring Story Of A Revert NBA Player Who's Against Flag Salutation:

The 12th March 1996 was as if a dark history in the career of Chris Wayne Jackson as a professional basketball player. On that date nearly fifteen years ago, Jackson got banned from playing in the National Basketball Association (NBA) matches. The penalty were given to Jackson because he was not willing to stand up when the national anthem of America, The Star Spangled Banner, was played just before the game started. He was playing for the Denver Nuggets at that time.

Jackson believed that it (standing up – ed.) was not a right thing to do, because according to him the United States flag is a symbol of oppression. He also said that the United States itself has a long history of tyranny and not in accordance with his faith as a Muslim.

Right away, Jackson's action which was considered controversial, drew protests from the public of the Country of Uncle Sam, which resulted in the ban from NBA matches. But the suspension lasted only one game. Two days later the ban was lifted. The NBA made a deal with the Afro-American basketball player. In accordance with the contents of the agreement, Jackson should still be standing when the national anthem was played, but he was allowed to bow his head and close his eyes. Abdul-Rauf said that at such times he prayed the do'a.

In an opportunity thirteen years later while giving a lecture in a masjid in Gulfport, Mississippi, Jackson emphatically revealed that such an attitude of his was an articulation from the religion that he professed in his daily life. ''I made use of the controversy as a tool to explain to others about my religion,'' he said.

Chris Wayne Jackson was born in Gulfport on 9th March 1969. He was an NBA basketball player in the 90's. In the past, Jackson was one of the most excellent point guards. He was born and raised in a family of Christian believers. He changed his name to Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf when he changed religion and embraced Islam in 1991.

"I had a lot of questions with my Christian background while growing up,'' Abdul-Rauf said. "I felt like I was being someone I wasn't meant to be.''

Before starting out in the NBA, Jackson played for the basketball team where he studied i.e. Louisiana State University (LSU). Jackson had a brilliant basketball career with this university basketball team. It was this that later drove the Denver Nuggets, one of the professional basketball teams in the NBA, to recruit him in 1990. Since then, his career as a professional basketball player began.

Abdul-Rauf could be regarded as the best player in this basketball club which is based in Denver, Colorado. He played for the Denver Nuggets team until the match season of 1995-1996. During the match season of 1992-1993, Abdul-Rauf won the title “The Most Improved Player Award”, an award given to the player who is considered as having shown better performance than the previous seasons. When playing for the Denver Nuggets, he had also topped the NBA spot in the category of 'the best percentage of free-throws in one season', for the year 1994 and 1996. He was having his best season in 1995-96, averaging 19.2 points and 6.8 assists per game, when his career changed forever after he stopped standing for the national anthem, saying it conflicted with his Muslim beliefs.

Although the ban to play in the NBA matches was finally revoked and replaced with a ban on playing in just one game, but no doubt he later became the most hated player in America. His basketball career in America was threatened. Evidently, not long after the American national anthem controversy, the Denver Nuggets terminated its contract with Abdul-Rauf. But Abdul Rauf was unmoved with that of his conviction and habit.

Leaving the NBA:

After no longer playing for the Nuggets, he played for another NBA basketball team, the Sacramento Kings, before finally leaving the professional basketball competition in America for good. He played for Sacramento for only two seasons (1996 to 1998).

After leaving the NBA arena of competitions, Abdul-Rauf globe-trotted from one basketball club to another basketball club. He had played for a basketball club from Turkey, Fenerbahce, for one season(1998-1999). After that, he was absent from playing for one season, then he was playing basketball again with the Vancouver Grizzlies, a basketball club from Canada for one season 2000-2001. After his contract with the Vancouver Grizzlies was not renewed, he chose to pause from the basketball arena for two seasons (2001-2003).

In 2003, Abdul-Rauf got a contract with the Russian basketball team, the Ural Great Perm, for one season. After that, he then consecutively played for a basketball club from Italy, Sedima Roseto (2004-2005); the Greek basketball club, Aris Thessaloniki (2006-2007); the Saudi Arabian basketball club, Al-Ittihad (2008-2009); and the Japanese basketball club, Kyoto Hannaryz (2009-2010). Being abroad seems to suit him just fine.

"I feel like I could live anywhere, not necessarily in the States,'' Abdul-Rauf said. "I'm the type of person who could pick up his bags and go live anywhere and I'm not going to miss anything.''

His decision to leave the NBA basketball competition had brought major changes in the person of Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. Slowly, he began to dabble in the activity of da'wah. He built a masjid in his hometown in Gulfport, Mississippi. In fact, he even became the imam of that masjid.

Abdul-Rauf hoped that the existence of the masjid would bring positive impacts on the younger generation in Gulfport which was known to be close to drugs and crimes. Thus, he often held events involving young people in Gulfport. ''Knowledge can make a slave becomes king,'' that is the advice often given by Abdul-Rauf to the Muslim youths in his neighbourhood.

In his every lecture, he also advised the young Muslim generation to uphold Islam wherever they are and seek knowledge as much as they can. ''We always look at education as a preparation for seeking employment for the sake of financial security. But we forget the main purpose of education which should be a provision for a person to survive in life,'' he said.

He compared Islam to the Western education which is based on secularism, separating the state from religion. According to him, education in Islam should cover all aspects of life. ''The Muslims cannot afford to put away his religion into the closet,'' Abdul-Rauf said.

Abdul-Rauf also described the results of studies conducted by some professors in the Harvard University and Yale University. The result of the study showed that African children have the talent of comprehending lessons faster. ''History proves that the African people and the Muslim were the inventors of the modern disciplines like algebra and many other sciences.'' he said.
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Phillip Rhee
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« Reply #74 on: February 24, 2013, 12:54:16 PM »

Ahmed, if I prove to you (and everyone here) that Christianity and the Bible are of the true God and that Islam is a giant fraud will you renounce Islam and accept God and His Son Jesus Christ?
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