Joseph Burke was raised in New York. Most of his life he lived as Catholics, ranging from Catholic school to university. However, when he was already understand a little about Islam.
“My father had traveled to Malaysia several times, so he had Muslim friends,” he said. Sometimes Joseph’s family to accept them as guests.
Joseph has always had an interest to see the outside world, witnessed the cultural diversity, as well as religious differences. It was curiosity that led him to learn some basics of Islam while embracing Catholicism.
“I was prepared to take courses in religion and I know the basics of Islam. But I do not really understand much until I went to Indonesia,” ungkapya. “It was the first time I moved and lived in Muslim-majority country,” he admits.
Joseph studied electricity in college and 2 years after that he came out and joined a team of energy experts from General Electric as a technical field. He began to frequent travel abroad to work on power projects and build power plants.
The first time to Indonesia in 1994, he went to in order to work on the establishment of power plant projects. In Indonesia, he admitted that he enjoyed meeting with local people. “They are people who are very friendly and very open and excited to be involved chat with you because you are different,” she said her experience.
Living in Indonesia he began to learn about Islam. Two years later, 1996, he pledged his Islam. I married shortly after that, we traveled again, then settled back in New York in 2002 after a short stay in Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and Thailand as well.
Why is he interested in Islam? “I have a deep understanding of Catholicism. I think that led me to Islam is a logical nature. As an engineer, I really appreciate something that is logical,” said Joseph.
“That’s what I feel when I talk about Islam and lived among Muslims. I feel the same fraternity that they are for and it really encouraged me anyway.” said Joseph.
When he went to Australia and Malaysia after becoming a Muslim, he studied Islam more deeply. “I take classes and learn from others, and how they brought to me is really piercing and create awareness that as this is the right way.”
After embracing Islam, Joseph Burke admitted his family were so surprised. “But I think they can understand my decision,” he said. Joseph’s family has an open mind and they always respect all people, especially the monotheistic beliefs.
“I think they looked at me to worship based on the way I believe and they appreciate it,” he said. But Joseph also feels the need to explain to his family why he decided to embrace Islam. “Maybe that would get rid of skid also understanding that we have in the United States about Islam, and their exceptional very supportive.”
Now Joseph is not only a Muslim, he was active in Islamic activities and organizations. Today he became director of one branch of the Council on American-Israel Relations (CAIR) in the U.S.. “We, part of the advocacy group for American Muslims, are basically trying to try to remove some slippage understanding while helping Muslims in the case of freedom or civil rights,” said Joseph. “We’re trying to bring Muslims to sit down with U.S. society and introduce them to the wider community.”
When plunging preaching, he and his colleagues are always working mengkui carrying Islam to the American taste. The struggle for the rights and freedoms sipili Muslims is the main activity. “Every Muslim who was discriminated against because they are good Muslims in the workplace or government agency, we try memantu them. Now we are dealing with several such cases.”
Although he admits discrimination against minorities is often encountered, but one big thing that he acungi thumbs up life in America is the law on religious freedom and accommodation to worship according to his religion, especially in the workplace.
“But the problem, many workers did not know this and we make them understand what it’s like what forms of worship and accommodation of religion, such as praying or hijab or beard for men. We continue to socialize it to make sure they understand and they may ask for this right in workplace, “said Joseph.
In another sense, many Muslims are facing problems at work because the boss would not let them pray, scarf, or even grow a beard. “That’s what happened, such as wearing hijab in a work environment that has a uniform policy. But the law on our side and that’s what we try edukasikan,” said Joseph.