I would like to share my story about how I found and accepted Islam.
I was born into a Christian family. My parents did not go to church much, but I did go to Sunday school and vacation bible study in the summers when I was young. My Uncle Ronald gave me my first Bible when I was 8 years old, and I still have it. I heard gospel music at my grandmother Eve’s house and I know she was very faithful. She went to church as much as she was able to.
When I graduated from high school, I started college, but felt that I needed to spread my wings. I ended up enlisting in the United States Army as a combat medic in 1990. In 1991, right after I graduated from my medic training, I deployed in support of Operation Desert Storm. I landed in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on February 14th of 1991. I was soon assigned to 3rd Armored Division. During the ground war, I was behind all the big tanks as they went north and up into Iraq. After the ground war was over, we made a camp south of Kuwait City, in Kuwait. During that time, I was one of the soldiers who volunteered to help the war refugees in Safwan, Iraq. Among the many people we treated was a young Muslim girl of about 8 years old. Because of the help we received by Muslim translators, we found out that she had been walking barefoot in the rubble of her village, and a wound on her foot had become infected. By the time she got to us, that infection had spread up her leg and towards her hip. We had to send her to a bigger hospital for care. The next day, we found out that she had passed away. I remember looking at her beautiful dark eyes and wondering what she thought of us. I wondered if she thought it was all our fault or if she thought we were helping. I didn’t speak her language to be able to tell her that she’d be in my prayers…or anything at all. It broke my heart.
For the last 26 years, I have struggled with that. From that time, I gradually ended up being agnostic. I just didn’t KNOW if God existed or not. I kept hearing negative things about Islam in the news, and that has now hit an all time high. I KNEW in my heart that it was not true that ALL Muslims are bad or violent. I started speaking up about this on Facebook. Eventually, I met my dear friend Dalia, who was in a crafting group with me. She is my very first sister. She sent me my first book on Qur’an and my first hijab scarf. She is always so kind to me. Just when I thought things were bad enough towards Islam, the 2016 election happened. Even more people were saying bad things about Islam. My heart then decided that I would only be able to speak up for Muslims if I were to learn the truth for myself. That is when I decided to learn Arabic and more about Islam. I was blessed to meet Alaa, and she has been teaching me Arabic. She is also very dear to my heart for all her help. I have been so touched to make so many other Muslim brothers and sisters recently. No one at all has been anything other than kind to me. No one has forced me to do anything. I have spent the better part of this past year learning and reading and chatting with Muslims. I find it a bit amusing and ironic that it was the bigotry in the hearts of some “Christians” that led me more and more towards agnosticism, and Muslims who led me back to Allah. For that, I am ever grateful.
I am not changing the fact that I stand up for human rights. I will always do so. We are all on Earth here, together.
As salamu alykum<3 ❤ ❤