I wish more and more people in my country would go beyond biased mass media's view on Islam and start reading the Quran and understand the depth of this beautiful religion called Islam.
I want to be a good Muslim; I am sure that as long as I will be guided by God, I will lead a good and meaningful life. I lost my parents but gained a meaningful way of life. I am not afraid of anything, except God Almighty.
Between Ahmed and Rashida, I became very interested in Islam. I started to also study on my own. I started to go to meet Rashida; she had a shop that sells incense, oils and Islamic clothing. So now I was on my way with Islam.
My path led me to the site of a civil rights hero of mine and from there I befriended a person who taught me about Islam.
I was not searching for individuality. I was looking for structure, a way of life that guided me, a way of life that fellow brothers and sisters followed just like me, a way of life that the very first brothers and sisters of faith had followed.
I came to know that Muslims believe in all the prophets. I was interested to learn that Jesus was considered to be a prophet and that made sense to me, and then I came to know that Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the last of the prophets.
The halaqah became the foundation for my Islamic knowledge. Every week we met for a few hours. We always had work to present, books to read, notes to take, things to learn. We also had a lot of fun.
Since I have become a Muslim, I feel so lucky. I have more friends. And these are real friends. I have also realized the kind of person I really am and the beauty that God has granted me. Now, I am happy with the way I look.
Allah put things into place for me. I remembered that there was a shop called Crescent Imports, which I thought was run by Muslims. It was not. It was run by the group called Nation of Islam. Now here is the strange part that only Allah could have arranged.
Why did these people conduct their lives with such kindness? What made them behave so respectfully and so unlike anything that I had negatively heard on the American news and media channels? WHY?
I don't think about my past but hope for a better future. Deep inside my heart, I've always believed that there's always something more important that I found at last. I started to believe in One and Only God...
I do know that I will always be an American. My early years had a huge impact on my life, and America will always be my country. I did try, for the first twenty years, to blend in with the immigrant culture, but I realized that I was denying who I really was. I can't turn my back on my first twenty-three years.