My name is Keith. I was born in Illinois. I grew up in the central part of the state in the country, a rural area. I grew up in an evangelical Christian household, so church and religion was pretty prominent within my family.
I had a vast experience doing almost 24 years in military. I traveled the world, seen a lot of different cultures, experienced a lot of different things…
18 years almost since I embraced Islam. For the past 18 years, I have been on a beautiful ride as I look at it: my outlook, my heart, my eyes, my mind have all been opened up.
I went from looking at it from a Christian background, a person that has read the Bible 3 or 4 times, knew the Bible well. I knew what churches were instilling in me, but something just didn’t feel right.
While on a deployment to Turkey in the military fulfilling my obligation, I started meeting people… that’s where my first encounter with Muslims. I started talking to them and ask them questions.
I started realizing that Islam and Christianity are extremely similar. It’s like the message is the same; it’s just been re-passed from stage to stage and the message never changed.
I started looking at it as all the things that I grew up to know in Christianity, Moses, Adam, Jesus… Islam covered the same.
What I have learned since I converted to Islam is that it’s a pure religion, there is no middle man. Majority of Christians pray to Jesus. Why?
Why are you going to pray to a person in the middle when you got direct contact with God? He’s the one that’s going to be the overall decider of what goes on, what you get, what you don’t get, what happens to you… why do through a middle man?
I took a year from the time my first involvement with Islam and I started reading. You never want to jump into it too openly, you want to make sure you’re fully aware of what Islam is about. So that’s what I did.
I read books and started learning the true Islam, the beauty of it, the simplicity of it. And it just opened my heart and then in December 1998 in Florida I submitted and converted to Islam.
Islam has impacted my life in a very positive way. I feel good about everything I do, I don’t feel that weight on my chest anymore, I don’t feel that I have to worry about pleasing somebody. I see everything in a different light.
A year before when I first started to meet Muslims, started to learn a bit about Islam until I converted, I had some concerns that ‘do I really want to do this?’ I mean, I grew up my whole life evangelical Christian, do I want to shun my family and all the things they’ve tried to instill in me and teach by jumping over to this?
And before I started realizing and learning, I asked myself: “Why do I need to convert if the people I’m seeing at the current time are doing the same thing I’m doing?”
But it wasn’t until I started realizing that they weren’t holding true to their faith, and not to base all of Islam on acts of a few.
I thought it was going to be hard, you know, I had to go through a whole big course… a couple of months of listening and taking classes… when I found out how easy it was, that’s what made me kind of “Ok I’m ready!”
I realized that converting to Islam is one of the easiest things a person can ever do.