My reversion to Islam begins as a child, were my first religious exposure was to a Christian Cult. that my now divorced mother and father were deeply involved in. During my adolescence this was short lived as my mother turned towards drugs, alcohol and a violent motorcycle gang’s counter culture. As a result my childhood was saturated with being molested by our step father for eleven years. drugs, violence and then intense physical abuse by our second step-father. It was very hard growing up in this environment and I sought the first available means of escape, the Army at the age of seventeen.
The Army was both good and bad for me. I learned how to be a strong person through the Army. unfortunately that strong person was very prone to violence.
Coping with my childhood wasn’t easy. thus beginning a period of self-medicating with hard drugs and alcohol. None of these were strong enough to numb my minds’ eye of the past. I did find one thing that was though-violence. I became very aggressive, very violent towards people. I became very calculating and malicious and would fight people just to see how they fought back. as a result the Army released me from duty and my family admitted me to a psychiatric hospital, were I was a frequent in patient for over a year.
In 2003 I became a father, this was the beginning of a mental shift in my life. I decided that I wanted to be a better person and turned to the only religion. I had ever known-the cult in which I was familiarized with as a child. I feel I wasn’t going for true self-improvement, rather societal acceptance. It wasn’t until I found myself back in the Army serving in Iraq. that I became genuine about my faith and began to study what I actually believed in. Using what is called circular reasoning, I became an extreme Zionist.
In the name is Jesus, Christianity and the American way of life, I openly persecuted Muslims and desecrated anything remotely Islamic. I refused to do business with Muslims and even refused to be seen by Muslim doctors. I have publicly persecuted Muslims and done many things I am not proud of; all of this I did because I was defending my country, my religion and my way of life. I channeled all of my negative emotions from life unto Islam and I did that for years.
In my religious life I felt I was a good person, I was involved in youth ministry and jail ministry. I taught all of this love and forgiveness and performed many good deeds however on the other hand I practiced extreme hatred and Antisemitism towards Muslims. This of course was very acceptable at the time and I was even encouraged by fellow Christians and Americans.
It wasn’t until I found myself in combat that I decided to find GOD were ever he was; I knew in my heart I was a horrible person just playing church. The only difference in me at this point from before is that oppressing Muslims was acceptable to the American public. My search for GOD lasted years, I was finally out of the Army and as a result of my studies had denounced Christianity and was exploring Judaism for answers.
I had briefly examined Islam and rejected every fact and truth that those studies discovered. I didn’t want to be a Muslim, I didn’t want Islam to be true. in my heart I knew it was though. So I did what any true blue patriot would do, I rejected all of that and converted to Judaism. All of my studies at that point were self-supporting so that I could continue to reject Islam. In Judaism I studied Hebrew and Hebraic concepts that always seemed to lead me back to this Islam issue. In secret I loved to watch two different Islamic teachers Ahmed Deedat and Khalid Yasin. I began by trying to disprove the things I heard these men talk about and in the end I was just listening to what they had to say.
I still hated Muslims, up until the point that I took a job on an apartment complex as a Maintenance Manager that had a high number of Muslim residents; roughly 1/3 of the complexes residents were Muslim. My employment forced me to be courteous to these people. Living in this community and working for these people changed my whole perspective on individual Muslims.
The Defining Moment:
The defining moment that I recall to most clarity is the Muslim man who observed me working in the heat and discerned that I was experiencing heat exhaustion; this man I didn’t know brought me water and insisted that I cool off in the shade of his patio. He and his wife then fed me and kept me on their shaded patio until they deemed me fit for duty once more. For whatever reason, this situation had such a deep emotional impact and so much meaning to me, it is as if that hateful switch in my heart was just shut off.
In truth from that moment I wanted to be a Muslim, however I wrestled that idea for a few more years. I spent more time attempting to disprove Islam; however this time it seemed everything I studied only led me back to Islam. The final thing I wrestled with was how could I revert to Islam after all that I had done? How could I revert to Islam after I had zealously persecuted Muslims for years? Not only had I done just down right horrible and despicable things in my life; I had lived a whole other life doing horrible and despicable things to Muslims and Islam as well. I didn’t believe GOD would forgive me and I was absolutely terrified to go into a Mosque full of people I once despised and persecuted without cause.
I spent two years after this point actually studying Islam, so I would say my reversion is actually an intellectual decision. I had in this time taken advantage of social media and began speaking to a Muslim about all of these things via a pen pal type relationship. I felt that social media granted me a certain anonymity that made me comfortable enough to verbalize things that I normally don’t talk about.
Doing this gave me a form of reconciliation that I needed emotionally. I even offered my deepest apologies to my dear Muslim pen pal, who of course accepted them graciously and proceeded to talk me into going to a Masjid to make Shahada. My journey to Islam was intellectual, my journey through Islam is very much an emotional one at times. It took over ten years to get me to the point of reverting to Islam.
Shame and guilt are two powerful. I have many things I regret and am so deeply ashamed of. I carried guilt with me every day. Friends, family, colleague and my veteran comrades don’t understand my reversion to Islam. I lived a hateful and sinful life because I hated myself for the things I had endured as a child, for the all the things I had done. Without reconciliation these things when dwelled upon usually end in suicide. in my case it resulted to my reversion to Islam. The process has taken me over a decade of fervent resistance and denial. However now I feel I am not even that person any longer; in essence part me did die.
In the religion of Islam I have finally found the peace that I have desired my whole life. The lifestyle of Islam has evolved me into an entirely different person. I don’t even know that person I just wrote about anymore. Islam has given me the unique opportunity to reinvent myself, to become an entirely different person.
Islam is my religion and being a Muslim is my identity. that being said I love Islam and I just absolutely love every single Muslim I have the joy of meeting.