HAVANA – Growing up with his Christian mother, Arnaldo, now Yusuf, was a young man in Havana who enjoyed the joys of life while believing in the existence of a superior God who created the world.
The young Cuban man found Islam accidently after noticing a Muslim man walking past his door as he sat at the entrance of his home on a hot afternoon, Havana Times reported.
Arnaldo quickly stood up and approached him and asked “Why are you dressed like that? What is your religion?”
The following day, a Friday, he was already at the Abdallah Mosque, located in Old Havana, talking about life in Islam and understanding every little detail.
“It took a week for me to convert. During that time, I knew that I wanted to be a Muslim,” he recalled.
“The first Friday of prayer, I went home and I told my mother that I couldn’t eat pork. The only thing she said to me was that she couldn’t believe that I had become a terrorist.”
Cuba is a predominantly Catholic country with about 85 percent following Christianity.
The Muslim population, though growing with new reverts, is only a few thousand people, forming about 0.1 percent of population.
Converting to Islam with his friend, now his wife, the couple are among the few Muslims in the Cuban capital Havana.
“A lot of people say it’s very hard, but I don’t think so. It’s something within you and it isn’t hard, as long as you are willing to leave trivialities to one side,” Yusuf said.
Now, the young Muslim says he enjoys the peace Islam gave him.
“Peace, brother. Peace. And being young still, that’s a blessing,” he said.