I suppose you could say that my journey began a few years ago, when the stories came to light about catholic priests & their crimes against children in Ireland, & indeed, all over the world.
But we will get to that after the introductions.
Hi, my name was Damian Cúipéir, (Now Daamin Abdul Quadir) I was born in (withheld) in Newcastle, County Down, in the North of Ireland. I am the second youngest of 6, & I was raised as a catholic.
I began having problems with the teachings of the Catholic Church when I was at high school, when I was told that I had to go to confessions, to confess my sins in front of a priest. I objected to this & stated that I could speak to God whenever & wherever,
I chose to, this could be in bed at night, or anywhere really.
I became a ‘lapsed’ catholic from here & really had no further involvement with religion from this point for several years. But it didn’t stop me from believing in God, my view was that I could still pray without having to go through a ‘representative’ here on Earth.
I was still praying using the prayers that Catholicism had taught me, & later, I just spoke to God. When the stories of the behaviors of priests & others in the Catholic Church began emerging, I wanted to have no further dealings with it. But I still ‘knew’ there was a ‘God’, & felt I needed to find a new direction to go in.
I spoke to my mother about this only last year (2012), she told me to do what I was happy with, in other words, it was my choice & I’d be the one living with it. Basically, that was her blessing, or as close as I was going to get to it. So, I had to decide where I wanted to put my faith. As far as I was concerned, there was ‘ONE GOD’, just everyone had a different name for him, according to their faith.
The only other religion I had been looking at was Islam, I know that may sound cheesy, but it is the truth! I had been reading about it, but I was anxious, because my health was not good at all, at the time. I thought I wouldn’t be able to pray ‘properly’ as I had saw it on TV, because I was unable to get up & down, prostrating as I was told it was called. I thought I couldn’t be a ‘proper’ Muslim! I think because my health was so poor, it prompted me to take more decisive action. I began reading more about Islam from a few sites online, but I was a bit apprehensive; I was thinking about what others would think of my decision to embrace Islam, instead of putting my own happiness & peace of mind first.
In the meantime, I had been introduced to a few brothers on Facebook; I think the first was Brother Ibrahim. I remember thinking to myself after chatting with him a few times, “Why do they say that Islam is an evil religion, this guy could live across the road from me, he talks like me, could have similar interests, HAD a similar sense of humor.” I can say that he put me at ease, I wasn’t nervous about talking to him, I think the first time I spoke to him on fb, I ribbed him about his name, & he took it the way it was meant, as a bit of cráic, a joke. “He’s human”, I thought. Chatting with him & others, it spurred me on to gain as much knowledge as I could find about the religion of Islam, & how to go about bringing it into my life, to become a part of it.
I testified ‘Shahada’ on November 19, 2012, through islamreligion.com. I was having an online chat with Zia, one of the operators.
We went through all my fears, worries, anxieties, & I was at peace with myself at last. Zia phoned me & I testified ‘Shahada’, I wanted to ensure that I was saying the words right, for my own peace of mind. I honestly felt as if a weight had been lifted from me, I was unburdened & I was happy.
I told Ibrahim & a few other brothers & sisters of what I had done, by private message. This was because I had wanted to tell family & friends in person, rather than to plaster it across fb. So slowly, steadily, the list of people I felt I should tell in person grew smaller & smaller. Then in mid to late December (I think), I posted it as my status on fb. Again, I felt unburdened & extremely happy.
Now I just look forward to learning more about Islam every day. Brother Ibrahim provided me with links to a lot of sites where I could pick up more & more knowledge. Now, I have a great bunch of ‘true friends’, brothers & sisters who help me every time I chat with them on fb. Reverting to Islam is the best decision I have made in years & my Christian friends fully supported me right through the process, & still do to this day.