The experiences of Greek student after her decision to accept Islam


“Shall I write your name?” “Yes write it.” “And your parents?” “Eventually they will get to know the truth. I did not fall into drugs!”

Twenty-three year old today, Elena Pouliasi is young and beautiful girl – you can see that even under her hijab. It has been less than a year since her decision to accept Islam, decision that cost her enough friends and posed the risk of rupture with her family.” This is my truth though,” says to “K”.

For the past three years, Elena is in England for studies. In her neighbourhood and university, Muslim population outclass in number. “Like most Greeks, I had too grown with the mentality that the Muslims are strict and oppressed people. I saw women with headscarves and I thought that they do not have a life. But the people I met there were quite different.” Her two best friends in London were from Saudi Arabia – she describes them as “incredibly intelligent and talented.” They naturally wore the headscarf. Elena could not understand and neither wanted to challenge their religion. Herself from a little girl believed in God. “I began to read about Islam in order to convince them, to prove that in the subject of their religion they are misguided.”

She began to read the Quran in his Greek translation. “I began to realize that I had learned it… differently. I saw, as an example, love and respect for the women and mothers. Almost unconsciously I stopped drinking and eating pork. I did not know what the truth was and until I find it, I decided to remain open at all. This process lasted roughly eight months. “I lived as a Muslim. I was careful where I go out, I was more careful with the clothes I wore; I stopped swearing, and became more generous and polite.”

On May 15th she officially became a Muslim. The subject of hijab worried her. In the beginning, she wore it outside, but used to remove the scarf when she entered her office (alongside her studies in International Business and Management, she also runs a translation office). “I did not want the behaviour of my colleagues to change towards me. But now I wear hijab all the time. Why? Because it makes me feel better. I feel secure”.

Personal cost

Her decision did not come without personal cost. “It was something that affected my family too. Even though I have not announced it, my mother understands that I have changed. I lost also many friends. The only consolation is that they were not real friends, or if they were they would like to be with Elena as she really is, not only with Elena that used to go out on Friday night and get drunk.”

It is not that she does not understand them. “Most people have a tendency to believe that to become a Muslim you must have been brainwashed.

However, nobody put the Quran in my hands, it was my choice.

They say to me, “but you were born Greek!” I say to them, “but I am Greek.” Becoming Muslim does not mean that my life is over and that I should devote myself in reading Quran, bear children and become fanatical. On the contrary, I get angry with the Muslims who are extremists.” Before we close,” she points out, “They will ask you for sure, if I became Muslim because I fell in love. Answer them that I did not. Most women become Muslims before they meet their prince.”

Many are baptized Christian Orthodox

In, the global online community of Greek Muslims, you find enough testimonies of Greek Orthodox that at some point made the conscious decision of embracing Islam. Most are Greeks of abroad and, in their narrations, describe rather with gloomy colours the way that they were faced by their families. “This is an experiential, hard road to change your religion and which in any case should be treated with respect,” says in the “K” professor of Comparative Philosophy in University of Athens Mr. Marios Begzos. In Greece, however, we are open only in words; instead there is great difficulty in the assimilation of the ‘other’. Especially Muslims, who in our conscience are acknowledged as Turks therefore there are negative records in our subconscious.

The natural routes between the two religions have two directions. Many Muslims every year are baptized Christian Orthodox in a church of our country, although as emphasized in the “K” Chairman of the Board Movement Citizens’ Coexistence and Communication in the Aegean Mr. Stratis Potha, in most cases the reason is marriage.”For Muslims especially, that is something not easy to reveal to their family.


Myrto – my journey to Islam


Questions were racing through my mind. Does this makes me a Muslim? What is a Muslim after all? And is it easy to become one? And what happens after that? What if I regret?

It was minutes after my shahada (my declaration of the Islamic faith), a few weeks ago.

It took me almost 9 years to believe there is actually a God and choose Islam as the way to worship Him. But why was that? Having a very hard life so far, full of personal traumatic experiences of which I could not be responsible for during childhood, puberty and adolescence, a person does not have the right to make his own choices by law, I was led to disappointment.

I almost completely rejected the presence of God or of any Divinity in my life.

Although I was completely dissatisfied by the behaviour of the clergy in Greece and still having the words of the burial service which says “rest your servant ignoring all sins,” I decided to start reading about religion.

Feeling tormented, tired and a bit desperate to find answers to my questions, I choose to read religion initially and then philosophy and history of sciences instead of trying to find my way through fortune tellers or tarot readers, drugs or alcohol.

No matter how hard someone tries to numb himself so he doesn’t feel any pain, the pain will always be there, waiting to be confronted. Being deeply ethical and raised with the traditional values of a middle class Greek family , values of honesty, pride and dignity, I did not want to be part of any religious or philosophical group just to satisfy my needs for warmth and affection. And I definitely, loved and honoured my Greek cultural identity and I did not want to imitate or fake any other identity or nationality.

I started researching Christianity and mainly the Orthodox Dogma, then Judaism and Buddhism and finally Islam. I started gradually believing in God, my faith becoming stronger with time. At some point I started having questions about the Trinity, questions for which I found the answers in Islam.

What I realised is that Islam is the religion that closes the circle of Divine revelations. Islam means peace and Muslim means the person who offers himself to God and God only, with no remorse or personal benefit. Allah is not a new invention, it’s just the Arabic word for God, the half moon is not a symbol of blood bathing and revenge but is a reminder that Muslim people calculate the time based on the moon rather than the sun.

At this point I seriously started to consider myself as a believer rather than an agnostic. In the meantime, I moved to United Kingdom, to further educate myself though postgraduate studies. I do not know if it was a sign but while I was in UK, I kept meeting really nice people, the majority of them being Muslims, and I ended up marrying one of them.

I continued reading more and more and was becoming focused on Islam this time. Though not only reading, watching documentaries, attending Islamic lectures, going to Islamic museums, attending Islamic classes.

And there comes the questioning. Do I want to be part of a religion that has so many different variations of interpretation of its Holy Book? Would I want to be part of a group that would be a religious minority in my country? Would I want to be part of a religious group where most people, of the ones I have met at least, are paying attention just to the rules of worship and not the worship itself? Or would I want to be part of a religion which is used by its own followers to inspire hate and hostility?

I got again disappointed but this time not by the religion itself or the philosophy itself or from the Quran but from the followers. And then I realised that I cannot blame the religion itself since I found the answers to my questions, from its followers. I decided to start living as a Muslim for a period of time, to see what it takes and see if it is really so hard. As it is stated in Quran, men and women were created equally having their own free will.

But what does it mean to live as a Muslim? Wearing an abaya and niqaab? Praying 10 times a day? Fasting strictly during Ramadan? Staying at home and having loads of children? Avoiding any kind of joyful experience just in case you do something forbidden? Certainly not, in my opinion.

Islam is not a strict system of rules or a kind of imprisonment. Doing good deeds every single day, trying to avoid bad actions, praying as much as you can, fasting as much as you can, showing love and compassion and always fighting peacefully to improve yourself, progressing and evolving in knowledge day by day, trying your best every single day, this is what it takes to be a Muslim.

I realised that I could live as a Muslim, I just changed the way and the frequency of my prayers, I stopped completely eating pork or drinking alcohol and I wore a headscarf. That’s all. So after this so long journey, I decided to have my shahada done admitting firstly to myself that ‘There is no god but Allah (God), and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah (God).

Written by:

Myrto Z.

Athens, Greece

I felt ashamed to ask questions but it led me to Islam


By Iman Sotiria Kouvalis

I remember seeing Muslim women at my university and feeling sorry for them. I didn’t know them but when we crossed paths at the cafeteria, I smiled at them because I thought they were oppressed. I never talked with them but I just assumed that they were forced to wear the veil.

It’s funny that I thought this way because I knew nothing about Islam. I mean nothing. I actually thought that everyone in the world were Christians! Remember, this was about 10 years ago (before 9/11).

But, my interaction with many Muslims made me reflect on my own disconnect with God and the Church. Although I was raised in a typical Greek Orthodox family and attended church every Sunday for most of my life, as I grew older, church no longer had meaning in my life and there were a lot of questions that couldn’t be answered by the Church.

As I grew older, a dichotomy started to appear where life and religion were drifting to opposite sides. I couldn’t see how I can make religion relevant to my daily life. On the one hand, we were raised to think that in order to be successful, we have to go to school, get a good job and buy a nice house and car and on the other hand, we were taught all we had to do is believe that Jesus died for our sins and we would be saved to be successful. On this side, we were taught to always think critically, to question why, to negotiate and on the other side, we were taught to just believe and never question or it would be like blasphemy. On this side, never do anything unless you know why and on the other side, perform all the rituals and never ask why.

And that’s how I started to drift away from the Church. It had no meaning anymore. I always believed in God and I desperately wanted Him to be part of my life but I had questions. And I was made to feel ashamed that I had questions. As if I was being a disobedient person.

So my only solution was to be away from the Church because I didn’t want to be seen as disobedient and at the end of they day, I was going to heaven anyway according to Christianity as long as I believed that Jesus died for my sins, it didn’t matter anyway. I could do anything and get away with it.

But my interactions with Muslims in university years later and seeing how spiritual they were reignited my passion to become close to God again. I guess you could say deep down I was a little jealous. How were they so devoted and at peace and I wasn’t even though I was going to heaven and they were not?

I started getting into religious debates with them. I was determined to convince them that they need to accept Jesus in order to be saved. But to my surprise, they already believed in Jesus! I started figuring out that they know a great deal about Islam and Christianity where I know next to nothing about Islam and even Christianity even though I attended Sunday school all my life.

Secretly, when no one was looking, I went to the library to read about Islam in order to convince them that they were wrong. I only found some really weird and old books. Remember, this was pre-Google days so there wasn’t that much on the internet either. One day, I was walking down one of the university halls when I saw some pocket pamphlets on the wall about Islam. I guess the Muslim Student Association put them there so after I made sure that the hall was empty, I quickly slipped a few of them in my bag. When I got home, I started reading and was amazed. One pamphlet even talked about Muhammad in the Bible. The Bible? I thought this must be a lie! But I checked the verse in my Bible, and I didn’t know if it was true or not because I was just reading a translation in English.

I made a sincere prayer to God to show me which religion is the truth. I wanted to know! I surprised myself though that I did that because I kept saying, of course, Christianity! I started attending church every week again, and then twice a week. This was very strange because I was practically the only young person there. I started reading the Bible again but this time in order to find answers to my questions.

After months of this, I couldn’t take it anymore and I decided to go to my priest. Now, anyone who is Greek can understand what a big event this is. I’m going to my priest to admit that I have questions in my faith and also to ask about the worst enemy of the Greeks: Islam. My questions were three:

  1. If Jesus died for our sins and we only have to believe this to be saved and go to heaven, then how does that make sense? That means I can commit any sin and be saved?
  2. How can God be 3 in 1?
  3. What do you think about Islam?

For the first two questions, he tried his best to explain but it was clear to me that there was a lot of ambiguity in his answers. When we got to the third question, his eyes bulged out and his skin turned a little red and he told me to just stay away from those people!

I left the meeting disappointed. For the first time, it caused a definite crack in my faith. I needed to find answers! But now I was on my own to find them. And I did.

After more months of intense reading, critical study of both religions and a persistent nagging of my soul to keep searching for God, the truth started coming to me, but I kept fighting it. I kept telling it to go away. I am Greek. I am Orthodox. I love my lifestyle. I don’t want to give up everything I was raised upon. But, in the end, it won. I submitted to my conscience. I submitted to the truth and declared that there is no object worthy of worship except God. Because that’s literally what the word “Islam” means.

Later, I started to realize that I don’t have to give up myself, my family or my culture. I realized that I can be Muslim and also be Greek, just like so many others around the world who are Muslim but also Pakistani, Arab, Somalian, Bosnian, Chinese or many other cultures. And in the Quran, I read:

“They are not [all] the same; among the People of the Scripture [i.e. Jews and Christians] is a community standing [in obedience], reciting the verses of Allah during periods of the night and prostrating [in prayer]. They believe in Allah and the Last Day, and they enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and hasten to good deeds. And those are among the righteous. And whatever good they do – never will it be removed from them. And Allah is Knowing of the righteous.” (Quran 3:113-115)

I understood that as Muslims we are to respect people of other faiths for some of them are really sincere and they live God-conscious lives. In the end, it’s not me who will judge people, only God can do that.

I came to Islam through books. Through a critical and intense study just like so many other converts to Islam and just like so many other Greek converts to Islam. And I noticed that my story is not unique. So many other Greeks that I know today have similar questions as me and the same dichotomy in their lives. If you are in this situation, you owe it to yourself to find the answers now because we don’t know when we will die. And to know that God gave us a mind to think critically. It’s ok to ask questions and it’s ok to find answers.

That is why I started a website called Greeks Rethink. It’s a website where you can ask questions and find answers about life and God. You can go to and read about our stories and our lives or go onto the forums directly and interact with other rethinkers around the world.


Margaret,Tumbuh dan besar di keluarga Atheis akhirnya memilih jadi Muslim


Nama Islaminya adalah Maryam Noor. Sedangkan nama aslinya adalah Margaret Templeton.

Wanita ini lahir di Skotlandia dan tumbuh besar di keluarga atheis sehingga ia pun tak percaya Tuhan. Dalam rumahnya anggota keluarga dilarang berbicara tentang Tuhan. "Bahkan ketika kami belajar di sekolah, kami tak dibolehkan menyoal itu di rumah, bila tidak kami dihukum."

Namun sejauh yang bisa ia ingat, Maryam selalu berupaya mencari Kebenaran mengapa ia hidup di dunia. "Mengapa saya hidup dan apa yang seharusnya saya lakukan."

Ketika ia cukup dewasa, ia mulai mencari beberapa informasi tentang 'sosok yang disebut Tuhan' yang selalu disebut oleh orang-orang dan didengar Maryam selama hidupnya. "Saya mencari Kebeneran, bukan agama tertentu," tutur Maryam.

"Kebenaran yang masuk akal bagi saya, sesuatu yang membuka hati saya dan membuat saya layak untuk hidup," ujarnya. Saat mencari ia memasuki setiap jenis gereja baik di Inggris maupun dekat rumahnya. "Tak pernah sebelumnya terbesit untuk berpikir tentang Islam."

Maryam tertarik dengan Islam, namun saat itu perang tengah berkecamuk di Irak dan ia membaca banyak hal mengerikan tentang Muslim di surat kabar. "Saya merasa berpengalaman dan memiliki pendidikan dalam mempelajari agama lain, sehingga saat itu pun saya berpikir semua itu tak benar," ungkap Maryam.

Ia pun mencari seseorang yang bisa mengajarinya dan memberi tahunya tentang Islam dan cara hidup berdasar agama ini. "Sehingga saya bisa membedakan mana yang benar, mana yang salah, mana yang berasal dari tipu daya setan," tutur Maryam.

Satu hal yang selalu ia lakukan selama pencarian, ia sellau berbicara dengan siapa pun dan tersenyum dan menyapa setiap orang. " Saya berkata 'Halo', 'Bagaimana kabarmu?', 'Bagaimana harimu?', karena Yesus selalu menyebarkan kebahagiaan di mana pun dan kapan pun ia berada. Saat itu saya penganut Katholik Roma," ungkap Maryam.

Namun ia merasa tak bahagia dengan agama tersebut dan akhirnya meninggalkan gereja. "Tapi saya tak tahu kemana lagi harus pergi," ujarnya.

Di saat bersamaan ia tengah mencari pula guru Islam. "Saya berdoa setiap saat, setiap hari kepada Tuhan 'Bantu aku, bantu aku, bantu aku'. Ia lakukan itu berulang-ulang, terus menerus selama dua tahun. "Karena saya tak tahu apa yang harus diperbuat dan pergi ke mana," ungkap Maryam.

Hingga suatu hari seorang kawan dari temannya membawa seorang yang alim ulama. Namanya Nur El-Din. Ia adalah seorang Arab yang lahir di negara itu. Ia mengundang Maryam untuk datang ke rumahnya dan memberi tahu buku apa yang harus dibeli dan apa yang harus ia lakukan. Bahkan Nur membuka diri untuk dihubungi kapan saja bila Maryam memiliki pertanyaan. "Itulah hubungan kami, ada tujuh volume buku yang saya baca mengenai tafsir dan terjemahan terhadap Al Qur'an dan buku itu sangat luar biasa."

Maryam pun mulai mengkaji Islam. Ia membuka buku pertamanya dan membaca kata pengantar. Ia tidak memulai dari belakang, melainkan dari depan. Ia langsung menuju surah Al Baqarah.

Sebelum Al Baqarah terdapat Surah Al Fatihah. Rupanya Maryam kembali ke awal lagi dan membaca umul kitab tersebut. "Begitu saya membaca, rasanya seperti tersambar. Air mata saya bercucuran. Hati saya berdebar keras, saya berkeringat dan gemetar," tutur Maryam.

Awalnya ia takut itu adalah godaan setan. "Seperti ia mencoba menghentikan saya karena saya mungkin menemukan jalan, karena buku ini mungkin membukakan saya menuju Kebenaran, sesuatu yang selama ini saya cari," ujarnya.

Maryam pun langsung menelpon Nur El-Din. "Ia berkata datanglah saya ingin bertemu kamu. Saya pun pergi ke tempatnya. Saat itu musim dingin, begitu sampai rasanya tubuh saya seperti balok es," ungkapnya.

Ia menuturkan pengalaman kepada Nur El-Din. "Saya berkata padanya ini pasti ulah setan, apa yang harus saya perbuat?" ujarnya. Maryam menuturkan kala air matanya bercucuran ia bisa melihat jelas ke dalam hatinya, begitu besar, merah--alih-alih terang, dan tidka berbentuk sama sekali. "Saya sangat takut," ujarnya.

Nur El-Din pun berkata padanya, "Margaret, dikau akan menjadi seorang Muslim." Maryam membalas, "Tapi saya tidak membaca buku-buku ini untuk menjadi seorang Muslim. Saya membaca demi membantah semua kebohongan yang telah disebarkan di media mengenai Muslim," ujarnya. "Saya tak ingin menjadi Muslim," kata Maryam lagi.

Namun Nur El-Din tetap pada keyakinannya. "Margeret dikau akan menjadi Muslim karena, baiklah saya harus memberi tahumu bahwa ada campur tangan kekuatan Tertinggi dalam hidupnya. "Saat itu saya berusia 65 tahun. Kini saya 66 tahun dan saya telah menjadi Muslim selama satu tahun."

Ia akhirnya melakukan kajian lebih dalam lagi dengan si ulama mulai November hingga Februari. Akhirnya ia tak bisa menahan diri untuk bersegera mengucap syahadat. Saat dorongan itu timbul Maryam sempat bertanya apakah itu tak terlalu terburu-buru baginya.

"Anda tahu, ketika bertanya itu, alasannya bukan lagi karena saya tak mau menjadi Muslim. Saya telah meyakini bahwa Allah akan selalu mengampuni hambanya, yang saya pikirkan saya terlalu kecil, terlalu banyak dosa, dan hidayah itu rasanya hadiah terlalu besar bagi saya yang tak seberapa," tutur Maryam.

Nur El Din hanya berkata satu kata "Nur". Saat itu 11 Februari 2003, Maryam duduk sedikit jauh dari Nur El Din yang berpakaian serba putih mulai. "Ulangi persis seperti yang saya ucap," ujar Nur El Din. Ia mengucapkan syahadat yang langsung diulang oleh Maryam.

Usai mengucap syahadat Maryam bertanya, "Apa yang barusan saya ucapkan?". Nur El Din memaparkan artinya dalam Bahasa Inggris. Setelah itu ia pun resmi menjadi Muslim dan mengganti namanya dengan Maryam.

"Saya tak bisa berkata bahwa saya Muslim yang baik, karena itu luar biasa sulit," ungkap Maryam. "Saya kehilangan semua teman Katholik, semua teman mengobrol saya. Bahkan putri saya menganggap saya gila. Satu-satunya yang percaya saya adalah putra saya yang mengatakan mungkin saya menemukan Kebenaran. Ia adalah salah satunya yang mungkin menyusul saya menjadi Muslim," ungkapnya.

Tantangan terberat yang dirasakan Maryam adalah tempat tinggal di mana ia hidup di dunia sekuler, bukan dunia Muslim. "Dengan sepenuh hati, saya ingin tinggal di dunia Muslim dan memiliki komunitas Muslim. Saya satu-satunya Muslim yang tinggal di kawasan ini. Namun Allah selalu baik kepada saya karena ditengah kesulitan, saya tetap bahagia dan terus memiliki kesempatan belajar,"

Maryam mengaku kini membaca Al Qur'an dalam terjemahaan Bahasa Inggris. "Usia saya sungguh membuat saya sulit menghafal jadi saya menggunakan buku terjemahan. Dan saya memohon pada Allah, 'Mohon Ya Allah yang Maha Pengasih dan Penyanyang, saya hanyalah seorang bayi berusia 65 tahun dan saya memiliki kesulitan dan bantulah aku," setiap saya berdoa itu saya selalu menemukan jalan. Ia benar-benar membantu saya."

Perubahan Perilaku Jason Perez Membuat 55 Orang Terdekatnya Ikut Menganut Islam

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Tayangan The New Muslim Cool sangat menyentuh publik Amerika Serikat. Di dalamnya berisi tentang pengalaman rohani salah satu rapper negeri itu, Jason Perez - namanya menjadi Hamza Perez setelah masuk Islam dan pandangannya tentang agama.

Ada satu kutipan satir tapi membuat publik terhenyak tentang betapa SARA di AS mulai memprihatinkan adalah, "Anda seorang ayah tunggal, sekarang Anda menikah lagi, jadi Anda seorang pria yang sudah menikah, Anda muslim, Anda orang Amerika, Anda Puerto Rika, kau dari the hood, Anda seorang seniman, Anda rapper ... terdengar seperti mimpi terburuk Amerika!"

Berikut ini wawancara dengan Jason:

Bisakah Anda ceritakan sedikit tentang diri Anda?

Jason: Saya lahir di Brooklyn, NY. Saya dibesarkan di sebuah proyek perumahan di seberang jalan masjid. Ibu saya membesarkan saya di sana. Setelah saya besar, kami pindah ke Puerto Rico, dan setelah itu kami pindah bolak-balik antara Massachusetts dan Puerto Rico.

Dapatkah Anda menceritakan sedikit tentang pendidikan agama Anda?

Jason: Ya, ibu saya Katolik. Tapi, nenek saya di Puerto Rico adalah Pembaptis. Selama sekolah, saya selalu di sekolah Katolik.

Bagaimana Anda bisa berpindah menjadi Muslim?

Jason: Saya memiliki seorang teman bernama Louie Ekuador. Kami tumbuh bersama, dan kemudian kami terlibat dalam penjualan narkoba bersama-sama. Saya adalah pencari kebahagiaan sebagai orang muda, tetapi saya tidak pernah menemukannya. Saya mencoba kehidupan jalanan dan obat-obatan tapi itu hanya membuat saya lebih tertekan. Meskipun kita menghasilkan uang, tidak memberi kita rasa atau kepuasan kebahagiaan. Suatu hari, ia berjalan dengan masjid, dan dia duduk di tangga. Seorang Muslim mendekatinya dan bertanya apa yang dia lakukan di sana dan mulai berbicara kepadanya tentang Islam. Dan dia akhirnya menjadi seorang Muslim. Kami tahu masjid ini karena kami dibesarkan di jalan, tapi, kami tak pernah tahu tentang Muslim dan ajarannya. Satu-satunya hal yang kita tahu tentang mereka adalah bahwa mereka membunuh kambing. Jadi, dalam masyarakat, masjid mereka lebih dikenal sebagai tempat dimana kambing dibunuh. Jadi kita akrab dengan gedung tetapi tidak benar-benar tahu tentang apa yang terjadi di dalamnya. Louise berakhir menjadi Muslim dan sempat menghilang selama 40 hari. Dia pergi dengan Jamaah Tabligh (komunitas guru Islam) menyebarkan Islam.

Namanya pun berubah, menjadi Lukman. Suatu hari Lukman datang berpakaian serba putih dengan seorang syekh bernama Iqbal. Kami sedang bermain dadu, minum, dan merokok saat itu. Tiba-tiba aku melihat sisi berbeda darinya. Ia terlihat lebih bercahaya. Saya bisa melihat perubahan dalam dirinya. Saya pikir, sesuatu yang serius telah terjadi dalam hidupnya. Jadi, saya meninggalkan orang lain yang minum dan merokok dan berjalan ke arah mereka. JDi sana, syekh bertanya apakah aku percaya bahwa hanya ada satu Allah. Aku berkata, "Ya." Dan kemudian dia bertanya apakah saya percaya pada Nabi Muhammad. Terus terang, saya tak pernah tahu tentang Muhammad SAW, tapi saya melihat cahaya dalam karakter dan wajah Luqman teman saya, jadi saya percaya. Saat itu juga saya minta dituntun mengucapkan syahadat, di pinggir jalan. Adik saya yang menyaksikan, ikut pula bersyahadat.

Bagaimana orangtua Anda bereaksi terhadap Anda yang menerima Islam?

Jason: Keluarga saya awalnya kesal. Tetapi setelah mendapatkan kami bebas dari narkoba dan jauh dari kegiatan berbahaya lainnya, mereka menyukainya. Ibu saya sangat mendukungnya. Dia pikir itu sangat positif. Saya pun menjadi lebih peduli padanya; Saya membantu dalam urusan rumah tangga, dan melakukan apapun yang dimintanya. Dulu sebelum menjadi Muslim, saya tak pernah peduli padanya. Perubahan dalam diri saya membuat kakak saya menjadi Muslim juga. Kemudian salah satu teman saya menjadi Muslim. Lebih dari 55 orang yang kita kenal menjadi Muslim. Kami kembali ke tempat yang sama kita gunakan untuk menjual obat-obatan dan memasang tanda yang mengatakan, "Heroin membunuh kamu dan Allah menyelamatkan Anda!" Jadi, Anda tahu, banyak dari mereka dipengaruhi oleh Lukman. Termasuk saya.

Apakah Anda pernah menemukan masalah dengan penerimaan Islam Anda?

Jason: Pada awalnya, karena saya merek baru Muslim, saya pikir saya harus mendengarkan setiap apa yang dikatakan seorang Muslim. Saya benar-benar tidak ada arah. Beberapa orang mengajarkan saya untuk melihat Muslim lain dan mengkritik umat Islam lain yang berjanggut panjang dan 'pakaian aneh' mereka. Sampai kemudian di satu titik: mengkritik orang menjadi lebih sering sementara mengingat Allah menjadi sedikit. Aku mulai kehilangan rasa manis yang saya alami ketika saya pertama kali menjadi Muslim. Kemudian saya melewati sebuah transformasi besar; hanya melihat kesalahan diri dan bukan kesalahan orang.

Apakah Anda melihat kesamaan antara Islam dan agama-agama lain?

J: Ya, tentu saja. Ini semua terhubung. Saya tahu siapa Yesus, saya melihat gambar yang dikaitkan dengannya, tapi saya tidak benar-benar tahu tentang Yesus selain Natal, dan ayat-ayat yang kita baca diarahkan kepada kita oleh para imam dan pendeta. Kadang-kadang saya merasa kini saya menjadi pengikut Kristus dengan cara yang lebih baik setelah saya menjadi Muslim. Isa adalah Nabi-nya, bukan Tuhan.

Apa dampak yang Islam telah pada kehidupan Anda?

J: Islam telah membuka mata saya untuk kesalahan saya sendiri. Sebelumnya, saya punya hal yang disebut nafs. Saya tidak tahu tentang nafs. Islam membuat saya sadar bahwa, di jalanan, Anda selalu mencari musuh. Dan Islam mengajarkan saya bahwa, dalam rangka untuk menemukan musuh saya, saya harus melihat di cermin. Musuh saya adalah diri saya sendiri; nafsu saya.