My name is Cindy Weber and I’m originally from Burlington, Wisconsin, and I converted to Islam 23 years ago.
I was raised in the Catholic Church and I was taught by nuns.
The real place where I learned about Islam was in Kenya where I was a missionary teacher there. That’s where I met and I saw other Muslims and how they lived their lives.
This is like the first thing that I noticed about Muslims, is that they had a good family life and I think that was something that I was searching for.
Shahadah in Chicago
In Kenya, the families that I saw there were all joining each other and maybe having a meal together. And the contrast for me in America was a Sunday afternoon meant being in front of the TV, in front of a ball game with a case of beer, and it was just like so empty.
I became a Muslim by studying about Islam myself. I didn’t know anybody from any of those Muslim countries. I just studied Islam by myself and decided I wanted to become a Muslim. And then I went to an Islamic center in Chicago and I told them that I was interested in Islam.
They gave me literature and some books to read and then I said “OK, thank you” and I took the books and literature and as I was leaving they said:
“Wait, wait, why don’t you become a Muslim today?!”
I was just like “Well, I just read these books and things like that. I’m just thinking about it”.
|I said “I don’t drink alcohol!”|
They said “Well, do you know, if you don’t become Muslim today, and you crossed that street down there and if you get killed you would go to Hell”
I said “No, I can’t be because I’m Catholic, and Catholics don’t go to Hell!”
And then they said “Oh, OK, then we know, you want to go drinking with your friends, drinking alcohol, one more night before you become a Muslim, that’s why you don’t want to become a Muslim today”
And I said “I don’t drink alcohol!”
So they were like “OK, if you want to accept Islam” and they gave me this address of a big masjid in Chicago, “you can go there and tell them that you want to become Muslim”
So I took the address and two weeks later I went to that mosque and said my shahadah.
I just think that God wanted to guide me, so there was nothing that was going to stand in the way.
Daughter and Son
When my daughter first started wearing Hijab, it was required at the Islamic school after fifth grade that you wear hijab. So like all her friends at school were wearing it, and so she just like got used to it.
And then when she went from Islamic school to public school she just kept it on and she never had a problem. She was co-president of like Altrusa club. She is in the honor society. It wasn’t really a barrier to anything.
Yes I do worry about my children, about the western influences in the world, but hopefully they had well enough Islamic training that they will always be able to refer back to Islam when they are making their choices. Now my children are 19 and 22, so they are going to be making their own choices, so only I can set the foundations, so that’s what I tried to do.
We didn’t get a chance to talk about my son yet. His name is Abdullah. He is an American Muslim. He is an American teenager and he just finished film school in Orlando, Florida. He now lives in Los Angeles, and he will be starting an internship with the Muslim public affairs council- Hollywood bureau.
Islamic Charity Work
|This is the center where we welcome all the new comers and when I say all, I mean Muslims and non-Muslims|
I spend 7 days a week doing Islamic projects because there is so many to do. You just have to pick one or two or three or four or five and there is so much to do here in America, especially dawah, speaking about Islam, to other people.
I’m very active in the refugee community, because Dallas is like one of number 1 cities that refugees come to. 50% of them are Muslims coming out from the refugee camps so they understand that they think they are coming to a Christian country, and that it is going to be difficult for them to practice Islam here. But when they get here we are ready to receive them and let them know that it’s easy to practice Islam here in America. They can keep their faith and they don’t have to hide it or pretend something else.
This is the center where we welcome all the new comers and when I say all, I mean Muslims and non-Muslims and unfortunately most of the refugees coming in the United States are Muslims. So we do have the five daily prayers here. We have children’s classes for Islamic studies and Arabic. It does mostly end up Muslim but we have all religions for our English class. We partner with catholic charities and they bring the English-speaker to heat the teacher who teaches English as a second language. So we do have all religions and everyone is welcome.
We help them with their apartments, get things that they need. If they didn’t get their food stamp program yet, we bring them food, help them with kids’ clothes, help them with furniture, and once a week we have like office hours where they can come and tell us about their problems, whatever they have a problem with. And then we help them try to solve the problem and then help them with any of their legal papers that they need to be done like they already have their work permits. But then after being here for a while we can help them renew it or help them apply for their green cards or if they lost a card we can help them get a replacement.
If they can’t read, because some of them come from like African countries who don’t have education, we can read their mail for them, help them make out the applications if they don’t understand it or how to do something or go to the social security office. Anything that they need we help them with.
In Dallas we have a big Muslim community. The way that Muslims know each other here, it’s mainly through the mosque. The other people that you meet in the mosque and they just go out from there and then you get to know like their friends because not everybody goes to the mosque but most of the Muslims here have a feeling that they need to give and so they give something. It can be money, clothes or furniture or time for a project and that’s how they all help.
The American Muslims in America feel like they are living their life normally. I mean if you are a woman you get extra looks because you are wearing the scarf. And that’s basically about it. Or just like something little can happen that you can notice, like maybe a cashier is rude to you. That could be just little things but you just accept that and just go on because you know that that person wouldn’t behave that way if they knew like how good Islam would be for them. You just behave your best and that’s all you can do.
The life of a Muslim is a little bit different like some Americans would like for example for enjoyment it would be getting together to drink alcohol with their friends. And to us that would be something that we would hate…
(continued via onislam.net)