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Monday, 25 March 2013

Abdullah Takazawa - Yakuza Tattoo Artist turned Muslim



Shaykh Abdullah Takazawa from Japan, was previously a tattoo artist for the Yakuza (Japanese Mafia), but when Allah (Subhana Waa Taala) blessed him with Islam through the Daa'wa of a foreign brother, he traveled to Saudi Arabia to make Hajj, then was offered a scholarship to seek knowledge there, where he stayed for several years. He came back to become an Imam in Tokyo. Ma sha' Allah, a very, very humble brother. Proves again, you should never exclude ANYONE from Daa'wa and ALLAH Subhana Waa Taala is the turner of Hearts.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

American Christian Troy Bagnall embraces Islam because of its Amazing Simplicity



My name is Troy Bagnall. I reverted to Islam while I was studying in college at Arizona State University (ASU) in Phoenix, Arizona in the US. I was then in a film & media studies program at the ASU.

I accepted Islam almost 5 years ago for a multitude of reasons. I had been interested in Islam for quite some time, as it is a hot topic when it comes to the news and current events. I am very interested in ancient history and world history as well as war and politics.

As I would hear about conflicts in the news that were happening in places such as Sudan, Somalia, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Chechnya, Lebanon, etc., I would research those conflicts simply so I would understand what was really happening in those conflicts as the media here tends to be very vague in explaining them in a fair and unbiased manner.

As I researched the conflicts, I also became interested in learning about the history of the Muslim world. I spent time on my own learning about some of the history and culture of the Muslim world. I also took a class at ASU called Islamic Civilization. As I learned about the history and culture of the Muslim world, I became interested in the religion, Islam, itself.

I had been raised Christian but quit practicing it when I was 15. I personally found Christianity to be very confusing and not logical. The trinity and doctrine of atonement really do not make sense considering there are verses from the Bible that contradict those doctrines.

When I took the Islamic History class, I met a brother named Mohammad Totah who is very knowledgeable in the Bible, Quran, and all three Abrahamic faiths. We had many talks about comparing the faiths. I researched on my own as well. I learned more about how Christianity contradicts its own scriptures.

I learned more about how many Biblical scriptures actually support Islam too. Another thing that got me too was the Gospel of Barnabas which prophesized and mentioned by name, the coming of Mohammad (peace be upon him). This Gospel was also removed from the Bible.

Now to the Quran, which is beyond amazing with its flawlessness. I found the Quran to be quite simple and easy to comprehend. Islam itself is a very simple and straightforward with no complex doctrines. Islam does not feature the blind faith that Christianity does.

It also has a feeling of fulfillment that Judaism does not have as Judaism denies later prophets such as Jesus (peace be upon him) and John the Baptist (peace be upon him) for example.

As I learned more about Islam, I realized that it made sense of the uncertainties I had with Christianity. I actually know more about the Bible and Christianity now since reverting to Islam than I did while I was a Christian.

I feel much closer to God as a Muslim, too. Not to bash Christianity, but I find it to be more about the teachings of Paul and the other Apostles instead of the teachings of Jesus (peace be upon him).

I also spent much time learning about the history of the religions after they were established and how they spread across the world. I know that Islam is portrayed as being some exotic eastern religion here in the west, but it is really just what all the prophets were sent to teach, which is submission to God. It is also really frustrating how the media always portrays Islam in such a negative light.

I understand there are conflicts and violence in parts of the Muslim world, but those conflicts are really more about politics.

Yes, I will admit that it has been a bit tough practicing Islam considering I do live in America and the media here pushes negative stereotypes about Islam all the time. It is also a bit tough on me simply because it is not like there are many American college kids giving up the carefree party life and converting to Islam.

That was not much of a problem for me though, as I am pretty much a studious nerd. I get questions from non-Muslims concerning politics and Middle Eastern cultural practices, and I have to show them the difference between what is really Islam and what is political ideology and cultural practices.

The Middle East is obviously the center of the Muslim world, but it is frustrating too how the media stereotypes Muslims as always being Middle Eastern, as Muslims come from all over the world. I think racism is involved too, as the West seems to overlook the fact that Judaism and Christianity’s origins lay in the Middle East just like Islam.

To sum it up, I accepted Islam simply because I declared it to be the true religion of God. It is simple, straightforward, and not confusing.

I also love how Islam has such a universal bond of unity amongst its followers. Islam has helped me to become a better person.

I feel at ease when I practice Islam. It helps me feel better about life and helps me deal with stress and life problems.

I really hope that people here in the West become better educated on the Muslim world and what Islam really is as a religion instead of listening to the negative and not always entirely true criticisms that the media portrays about Islam.

I hope my story will inspire those who are interested in Islam to want to learn more about it.

Sister Sara Hermansson, an Ex Christian from Sweden explains how Islam showed her the True Purpose of Life



My life before Islam was empty in a way. Just the feeling to live for the day and not knowing the meaning and purpose of life. My self-confidence was quite weak. I didn't feel that I belonged anywhere in the society, something was missing. I was searching for something, I just didn't know what it was at that time.

It was a long journey and it took time. I knew there was a God, I just couldn't identify myself with Christianity. God for me has always been something so great and big that my mind is limited to understand what He is. This, as God has such great power and can not be compared to a human being. God has no limitation, he is capable to do whatever He desires.

I searched for a long time among different religions and the more I came to know about Islam, the more I felt Islam is the full truth and it made complete sense. Islam described God as I had always imagined Him.

What I mostly love about Islam is Allah's love and mercy. For me, being a Muslim means to live in peace with yourself and your friends, family and the whole society. And to show the best behaviour as possible, according to Prophet Muhammad's (peace and blessings be upon him) Sunnah and how he treated people and how he showed love, charity and mercy. And also to please Allah Almighty and follow His words and ask for forgiveness and thank Allah for everything.

 a rich life, in the sense that life has a purpose and you feel peace and love in your heart.
               
I believe Islam is very much relevant to the world today. There is so much hatred in the world and a lot of people have the wrong concept of Islam, which is in many ways our own (we Muslims) mistakes in showing Islam in a wrong way. We need to show Islam in a peaceful way and with patience.

Islam has many things to offer the world today. For example, charity is very much emphasized and to not be greedy regarding money and material things.

To share love with your neighbors and with strangers. To keep self-respect, to show that confidence is not to show your body, it is to protect it; which is the ground to confidence and good morals.

There are unfortunately many misconceptions about Islam. For example, that women are oppressed and forced to do whatever men say. So, it was not strange that my parents were not happy after I told them that I reverted to Islam, but they knew that I started to read about Islam since a long time before that.

They had and still have a negative view about Islam. Very much due to what is portrayed in media, but also because of the many bad actions done by Muslims who fail to correctly represent their religion. Unfortunately, I am held responsible for other peoples acts.

My parents do accept me and they love me very much and when I'm there at their house they always cook food that I can eat as well. In that way they respect me, but they do feel ashamed if I need to pray somewhere.What's positive is that they think that I'm helping them a lot and that I'm very caring.

Some of my friends reacted in a negative way when I became Muslim. I have no longer any relationship with some of them, unfortunately. Others, I still got a relationship with, but I try not to discuss Islam too much with them, as some could feel uncomfortable with that. However, they do sometimes ask me things.My parents are not keen on discussing Islam.

With time, I pray they will start asking and become Muslims insha Allah (God willing).It's in the hands of Allah. I try to be kind to them, help them as much as possible, respect them and just show good behaviour.

I guess my relatives think I'm strange to revert to Islam, but none of them ever commented about it.- From the Arabic language and/or specific acts of worship.I have felt frustration on not understanding Arabic. I have also not felt completely free to pray in any place, even in Islamic countries.

Friends who showed charity and love and open arms had a great effect on me. I felt I did not see a purpose with life. I had an empty feeling; no peace. I embraced a whole new way of life with daily prayers, etc. I'm still doing the things I liked to do before that are permissible.

It was not difficult for me to accept the belief in Prophet Muhammad. When you read about his beautiful way in dealing with people with understanding and love and his respect and love to people as well as animals in addition to how logical his acts were, it's easy to believe in him

I read about Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism before embracing Islam, I believe that knowledge about other religions is very relevant to be able to compare and to get a larger understanding for your own religion and for other religions.

If we, as Muslims, want people to understand and respect us and our religion; we must act in the same way to others. Islam has given me a feeling of peace and harmony. It's a feeling of satisfaction that I found the truth.

Shariffa Carlo ~ Ex Christian from USA explains how Allah is the Best of Planners



The story of how I reverted to al Islam is a story of plans. I made plans, the group I was with made plans, and Allah made plans. And Allah is the Best of Planners.

When I was a teenager, I came to the attention of a group of people with a very sinister agenda. They were and probably still are a loose association of individuals who work in government positions but have a special agenda - to destroy Islam. It is not a governmental group that I am aware of; they simply use their positions in the US government to advance their cause.

One member of this group approached me because he saw that I was articulate, motivated and very much the women's rights advocate. He told me that if I studied International Relations with an emphasis in the Middle East, he would guarantee me a job at the American Embassy in Egypt. He wanted me to eventually go there to use my position in the country to talk to Muslim women and encourage the fledgling women's rights movement.

I thought this was a great idea. I had seen the Muslim women on TV; I knew they were a poor oppressed group, and I wanted to lead them to the light of 20th century freedom.

With this intention, I went to college and began my education. I studied Quran, Hadeeth and Islamic history. I also studied the ways I could use this information. I learned how to twist the words to say what I wanted them to say. It was a valuable tool. Once I started learning, however, I began to be intrigued by this message. It made sense. That was very scary.

Therefore, in order to counteract this effect, I began to take classes in Christianity. I chose to take classes with this one professor on campus because he had a good reputation and he had a Ph.D. in Theology from Harvard University. I felt I was in good hands.

I was, but not for the reasons I thought. It turns out that this professor was a Unitarian Christian. He did not believe in the trinity or the divinity of Jesus. In actuality, he believed that Jesus was a prophet.

He proceeded to prove this by taking the Bible from its sources in Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic and show where they were changed. As he did this, he showed the historical events which shaped and followed these changes.

By the time I finished this class, my religion had been destroyed, but I was still not ready to accept Islam. As time went on, I continued to study, for myself and for my future career. This took about three years. In this time, I would question Muslims about their beliefs. One of the individuals I questioned was a Muslim brother.

Alhamdulillah, he saw my interest in the religion, and made it a personal effort to educate me about Islam. May Allah increase his reward. He would give me guidance at every opportunity which presented itself.

One day, this man contacts me, and he tells me about a group of Muslims who were visiting in town. He wanted me to meet them. I agreed. I went to meet with them after Evening prayer. I was led to a room with at least 20 individuals in it. They all made space for me to sit, and I was placed face to face with an elderly Pakistani gentleman.

Mashallah, this brother was a very knowledgeable man in matters of Christianity. He and I discussed and argued the varying parts of the bible and the Quran until the morning.

At this point, after having listened to this wise man tell me what I already knew, based on the class I had taken in Christianity, he did what no other individual had ever done. He invited me to become a Muslim.

In the three years I had been searching and researching, no one had ever invited me. I had been taught, argued with and even insulted, but never invited. May Allah guide us all. So when he invited me, it clicked. I realized this was the time. I knew it was the truth, and I had to make a decision.

Alhamdulillah, Allah opened my heart, and I said, "Yes. I want to be a Muslim." With that, the man led me in the shahadah - in English and in Arabic. I swear by Allah that when I took the shahadah, I felt the strangest sensation. I felt as if a huge, physical weight had just been lifted off my chest; I gasped for breath as if I were breathing for the first time in my life.

Alhamdulillah, Allah had given me a new life - a clean slate - a chance for paradise, and I pray that I live the rest of my days and die as a Muslim. Ameen.

Brother Steve from New Zealand Discovers Islam by Fasting Ramadan


My name is Steve. I was born in New Zealand in 1972, in a little town called Reefton, which is on the west coast of the South Islands.

I was adopted to some new parents, Keith and Darrel, who looked after me very well, and I moved with them to most of the places in New Zealand, and spent a little bit of time overseas.

I was brought up in a Christian home, and my father was a Baptist minister, so he was actually a clergyman or a minister of the church, and we would travel around with him to a church that he was placed at. It was a really really good upbringing, I was brought up with the ethics in the belief system of the Bible obviously and Christianity. It was a really good foundation for me in my life.

My parents worked very hard for us to understand what we were taught in the Bible, and also good manners, old traditional manners that often don’t get taught now. I was lucky enough to be brought up in such a home, with an understanding of God definitely, growing up younger going to Sunday school, and having a belief that there was a Creator who had a plan for my life, and had a plan for everyone’s life, and I had to find out what that was and do the best I could.

I often went to church; we went regularly every Sunday. As I grew older, I would go to youth group as well, which would be during the week and socialize with friends, and most of our life revolved around the church because dad was so involved in the church.

At church we were taught that Islam was not a very good thing. I don’t need to go into the detail there, so early on, my experience with Islam was really negative; what the media had portrayed to me. When I first came up against it in a real way, I was in Syria and Jordan on a holiday, and stayed with various Muslim families, and was taken aback by the hospitality. I was very suspicious of their hospitality at first, because I had never come across people who were so friendly and so giving and so open.

I was invited into their masjid to meet people, and I was very scared, and having not had any experience of that except through the media, and wondering what the masjid was going to be like. The first time I was there, I was welcomed by many strangers and we exchanged phone numbers and addresses and contacts, and it was a very pleasant introduction to Islam.

I first started learning more about Islam when I started working on a project that I’d been assigned to, and I met a couple of Muslims at work who steered me in the right direction. They both were very interested in my circumstances, and where I was at. Where I was at in my life at the time was not particularly pleasant, I didn’t have a very happy life, and really self-destructive, and both of my friends that I met, they were Muslims who directed me to some older Muslim friends they knew, who asked questions as they could see that I was searching. So initially I was given a book which covers all the major religions in the world, and how they had formed and where they had formed, and what their beliefs were.

From there I decided that Islam seems like a very reasonable approach to life, and a very measured way of doing things, rather than the dogmatic beliefs that I had previously that were not necessarily the truth but what I had in my mind. I was introduced to another man, Sheikh Noury, who is from Yemen, and I would meet with him regularly where we would laugh and joke and talk about life, Islam, the media and all sorts of things, and I began to have all my questions answered.

I did come with a lot of preconceptions on how women were treated, terrorism, the Afterlife and just all the things that people who are ignorant of what Islam is like have. It’s quite natural to have them. And eventually I managed to move aside all those preconceptions, and realize that all the beliefs and all the traditions and all the rules that were in place within Islam for me had a practical reason behind them, and it was refreshing to investigate something, a belief or something in scripture and realize that the reason it was there was because of this, not just because it had to be there. I felt it was very practical.

I reverted, or converted, a year ago, just over a year ago now – 18 months ago – I was at a stage where I was undecided what I wanted to do. I had made some serious changes in my life: I stopped drinking, and I was on my way to stop smoking, and I was settling down in my crazy ways, but I still was not quite decided on where I wanted to go in my spiritual life. Through the friends I had at work, my Muslim friends, i was taught about Ramadan, and I decided that I would fast Ramadan, and do the prayers for Ramadan to experience it.

So I went to the Islamic center and met the people there, and had lots of meals there, it was fun and lots of prayers there, and during the day I did the Ramadan fast. After I completed it I was surprised at the effect that it had on me. I’m not sure how to describe it, but I guess in a western society we don’t often deprive ourselves of things, or we don’t choose to deprive ourselves of things, and you go through these days of intentionally not eating during the day, when everything around you is telling you to eat and drink, it was quite an inspiring thing for me.

After that I met with Sheikh Noury again, and he came to my house, and he said why are you waiting to make a decision? I agreed and so in my house, just over there, I said what I needed to say and became Muslim, and it was great. I felt that I had made a very worthy decision.

There was a little bit of tribulation because I knew that my friends and family would not understand, but those who have no exposure to people who are Muslims, it would seem like a crazy decision. I felt like I had been walking in a long dark corridor, and I opened the door and I just got out…I can sort of take my breath out now, and start the journey again because I had lost my way.

Islamic Values draw Yoga Teacher Camilla Leyland to Islam



For some reverts, Islam represents a celebration of old-fashioned family values. Some are drawn to the sense of belonging and of community — values which have eroded in the West. Many people, from all walks of life, mourn the loss in today’s society of traditional respect for the elderly and for women, for example. These are values which are enshrined in the Quran, which Muslims have to live by. It is values like these which drew Camilla Leyland, 32, a yoga teacher who lives in Cornwall, to Islam. A single mother to daughter, Inaya, 2, she converted in her mid-20s for ‘intellectual and feminist reasons’.

She explains: ‘I know people will be surprised to hear the words “feminism” and “Islam” in the same breath, but in fact, the teachings of the Quran give equality to women, and at the time the religion was born, the teachings went against the grain of a misogynistic society.

‘The big mistake people make is by confusing culture with religion. Yes, there are Muslim cultures which do not allow women individual freedom, yet when I was growing up, I felt more oppressed by Western society.’

She talks of the pressure on women to act like men by drinking and having casual relationships. ‘There was no real meaning to it all. In Islam, if you begin a relationship, that is a commitment of intent.’

Growing up in Southampton — her father was the director of Southampton Institute of Education and her mother a home economics teacher — Camilla’s interest in Islam began at school.
She went to university and later took a Masters degree in Middle East Studies. But it was while living and working in Syria that she had a spiritual epiphany. Reflecting on what she’d read in the Quran, she realized she wanted to convert.

Her decision was met with bemusement by friends and family.
‘People found it so hard to believe that an educated, middle-class white woman would choose to become Muslim,’ she says, but her faith remains strong !

How Ex-Christian Sister Themise Cruz found her way to Islam


If anyone were to ask me when I became Muslim, I guess the only feasible answer would be that I was born Muslim, but just wasn't aware of it. We are all born into a state of Islam, but what is unfortunate is that many people never recognize this fact, and live lost in other circles of religion and lifestyles.

I was horribly lost, and I suppose this was a good thing, because Allah felt my suffering and reached out to me. (al humdulilah).

My first introduction to Islam was through a course at the University where during Ramadan we were invited to Friday prayer. It was here where I met a wonderful Muslim sister who invited me to her home for study and food. I declined at the time because it seemed too foreign to me. I had built up so many stereotypes that I was not willing to open my mind to anything surrounding Islam, even an invitation to knowledge.

The next message Allah sent me came by my friendship with several Arab Muslims at one of the Technical Colleges near my home. This is where I was exposed to the Islamic lifestyle. I was amazed at the fact that they refused invitations to wild parties and drinking alcohol.

How could they sit and pray so many times a day. And fasting for a whole month, what had gotten into these people? From that point forward, I thought I was the American authority on Islam. But in actuality I knew nothing. The height of my confusion hit at this point. I was an observer, but never had any understanding of what it all meant.

So, when I became a Muslim it was like Allah found me and gave me the answers to all the confusion that ran around in my head. It is so mind boggling to me that I was oblivious to the fact that I was so miserable. I was successful in the material aspects of life, but my mind and heart were uneasy. I was so weak in spirit that I tricked myself in believing that the material things that laid at my feet, were enough to cushion any hurtful blow that life dealt me. I was wrong.

My mother died when I was 23, and all the money, my home, my education, the cars, jewellery, they all meant nothing. I tried to go on with life as though her death was just another event. But it was at this point that I could no longer ignore Allah. If I went on in my current state of mind, then my mother's life had been in vain. What purpose did she serve here on this earth? To what greater significance did her life have in this world? I could not believe that she meant so little. It was at this point that I began to hunger for this knowledge, and I opened all of myself to Allah.

It is almost too difficult to describe what it is like for someone who begins to feel Allah in their heart. Islam means so much more than rituals, language, culture or country. Islam is a glorious state of being, and it is a fundamentally different experience than what I had previously been learning. My husband taught me much of what I know about Islam today. While observing, listening and opening my heart, I slowly began to understand. Allah presents himself to people in different ways, and Allah impacts everyone's life differently. I had to come to an understanding of what Allah meant to me, and why it was necessary that I follow this path of life.

I began to learn the meaning and significance behind the rituals I had only before observed at a primitive level. I began to read Quran for hours at a time. Allah began to reach out to me and fill the vast hole that was in my heart. For when an individual does not follow the path of Allah, they are in a constant search for that missing element. And once I stopped refusing the knowledge of Islam and opened my heart to my fellow Muslims and the teachings of the Quran, the transition was as easy as eating a piece of pecan pie.

Since then I have had contact with the original Muslim sister who I met in my university class. Many of the Muslim sisters get together once a month for study, prayer and informational sessions. I also visit the Masjed during Friday prayers and any other time that my schedule permits. Of course my husband and myself study Quran and Hadeeth, and are on a constant quest for knowledge. When you become a Muslim, it is the beginning of a new path, a new way of life.

Everyday Allah reveals Himself to me in some way. Sometimes it is with a new piece of knowledge, or maybe He grants me patience or understanding, and some days it is perseverance or a peaceful state of mind. No matter what the case I am always aware of the blessings that Allah presents to me, and I continuously work to live the way He has intended all of us as human beings to live, in submission to His will.

I have also struggled throughout this search. My family is not accepting of my new way of life, nor are they accepting of my husband. I had a co-worker ask me one time, "How can you abandon Jesus? I love Jesus" My response confused her I am sure. I simply explained that in Islam we abandon nobody. And in fact it is only now that I can read and understand the true significance of Jesus. Islam allows the follower to study the messages that Allah has sent throughout the ages, through the teachings of Jesus, Abraham and Mohammed (Peace and Blessings be upon them). Because of this fact, as Muslims, knowledge is never hidden from us, and we are free in our search for truth and closeness to Allah.

My struggle is far from over. Western culture is not accepting or understanding of Islam, and it is mostly out of ignorance that this is so. They think that we are fundamentalists or terrorists, or some other form of monster here to wreak havoc in a peaceful Christian world. The way in which I combat the unkind comments and glares is through kindness and understanding.

I remember a point when my understanding was so low that I closed my mind and heart to anything that the Muslim community had to say. And to think that if they had turned me away because of my ignorance, I would not be where I am today. So it is up to all Muslims to have patience and compassion for those who do not understand our way of life. Eventually, Allah reveals Himself to those who seek true knowledge and understanding.

Canadian brother Abdullah DeLancey`s Journey to Islam


My name is Abdullah DeLancey. I am Canadian and I am employed as a Patient Service Worker at the local hospital. I have been married for almost 20 years and we have 3 wonderful children. Alhamdulillah, I am now a Muslim. I wasn't always a Muslim, though.

Previously; I was a Protestant Christian for all of my life. My family brought me up in the Pentecostal Church until I was an adult at which time I moved to a fundamental Independent Baptist Church.

As a faithful Christian I was very involved at Church, giving lectures for the Adult Sunday School and other duties. I was eventually elected as the Deacon of the Church. I really wanted to further my dedication to God and decided to pursue a career as a Minister.

I was awarded a scholarship to help me start taking a degree in Divinity. My goal was to be a Pastor of a Church or a Missionary. However, becoming a Minister would commit me and my whole family to the Church full time for life.

So just before attending Bible College, I thought it best to look at Christianity critically and ask some very serious questions about my faith. I questioned the Trinity, why God would need a son, and why the human sacrifice of Jesus, as stated in the Bible, was needed to provide me with forgiveness.

I questioned the Christian belief of how all the righteous people in the Old Testament were "saved" and in heaven if Jesus wasn't even born yet.

I pondered serious questions about Christianity that I had neglected to ask my whole life. The answers I received from Christians on these theological issues "which are the basis of the faith in Christianity", defied all reason and were absolutely beyond any logical thinking.

Why would God give us a wonderful brain and then expect us to temporarily stop using it? Because that is what Christianity is asking people to do when they say you just must have faith.

That is blind faith. Realizing that I had always accepted Christianity, with blind faith for my entire life and never had questioned it was perplexing to me. How could I have not realized this before?

I could not find the answers in the Bible. Once I realized that the Trinity was a myth and that God is powerful enough to "save" someone without the need for help from a son or anyone or anything else. Things changed. My entire faith in Christianity fell apart. I could no longer believe in Christianity or be a Christian.

I left the Church for good and my wife dutifully left with me, as she was having trouble accepting Christianity too. This was the start of my spiritual journey. I was now without a religion but believed in a God.This was a very hard time for me and my family as Christianity was all we had ever known. I had to search for the truth. I began studying various religions and found them as false one after another. Until, I heard about Islam. Islam!!! What was that? As far as I could remember, I had never known a Muslim and Islam was not heard or spoken of "as a faith" in my part of Canada. Unless, of course, it was news stories talking bad about Islam. For me at that time, Islam was not even a consideration. Not on my religious radar at all. But then I started to read a little about Islam. Then, I kept reading a little more.

Then, I read the Quran. This wonderful revelation of truth changed my life forever. I immediately started to study every piece of information pertaining to Islam I could get my hands on. I discovered the nearest masjid was about 100 miles away from my city.

So I promptly loaded the family van and drove my family to this masjid. On the way, I was very nervous but also very excited at the same time. I asked myself, was I even allowed in the masjid because I wasn't an Arab or a Muslim?

However, after arriving at the masjid, I quickly realized I had nothing to fear. I was greeted by the Imam and the Muslims with a most warm greeting. I found them very nice. Nothing like the bad things the news always said about Muslims. They gave me a book by Ahmed Deedat and assured me I could be a Muslim.

I studied all the material on Islam they gave me. I appreciated these books very much because our local library had only 4 books on Islam. After studying I was in shock. How could I have been a Christian for so long and never heard the truth?

I now believed in Islam. I knew it and I wanted to convert. I was put in contact with the small Muslim community in my city. On March 24th 2006 I went to the Masjid. Just before Friday prayer started and with most of the local Muslim Community present as witness; I testified that "La illaha ill Allah, Mohammadur Rasul Allah" - "There is no God but Allah, Mohammad is the Messenger of Allah. I was now a Muslim. It was the best day of my life.

I love Islam and have peace now. Difficult times have come since I became a Muslim. When people started realizing I was now a Muslim they would shun me or laugh at me, most of our old Christian friends have never talked to us again.

My parents have all but disowned me. I love being a Muslim and it doesn't matter if some of my fellow Canadians think of me as odd for becoming a Muslim. Why?

The reason is that I alone, am the one that will have to answer to God after my death. God is the giver of strength and Almighty God has helped me through all the rough times after my conversion to Islam. I have many, many Muslim Brothers now.

I have legally changed my first name to Abdullah, which I like very much. I am now the first and only Muslim Chaplain approved to work at the local hospital in my City. I am a Muslim and I am truly happy. All thanks be to God.