Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|He had never been to a mosque before, and was nervous....|
|11/10/01 at 23:00:33|
A new faith called for a new behavior
By SUSAN HOGAN/ALBACH / [url=http://www.dallasnews.com/religion/STORY.e9efe1576c.b0.af.0.a4.b5d27.html]The Dallas Morning News[/url]
Richard Beauchamp sat in the parking lot watching the Muslims come and go. He had never been to a mosque before, and was nervous.
When he mustered the nerve to go inside, he was greeted warmly. He said that he'd been raised a Baptist, but felt drawn to Islam.
"They were extremely kind," said Mr. Beauchamp, 31, of Irving. "It was so easy to go back."
His next visit was on a Friday during prayer time. Mr. Beauchamp didn't know the Muslim way of praying, so he sat in a chair and watched. Most men were on the floor.
"The chairs were for the elderly," he said. "I was so caught up in the prayers that I didn't notice."
Mr. Beauchamp said he became disenchanted with Christianity at a young age. He didn't understand how babies could be born with original sin. Nor did he understand how Christians could believe in one God and the Trinity at the same time.
His journey to Islam was a solitary one, which is common among American converts. He discovered Islam through books, before ever meeting a Muslim.
Within a year of his visit, he was sure he'd found a spiritual home. But becoming a Muslim meant a major lifestyle overhaul.
"I was living a normal lifestyle of a 20-something American," he said. "I was going out, going to pubs, and mixing freely with women. As a Muslim, I could no longer call up a friend, if she was a girl, and just hang out. I certainly couldn't drink anymore."
His friends took his conversion harder than his parents did.
"My lifestyle changed a lot, and it was hard for them," he said. "But when I read what Muslim writers said, it made me take a hard look at how I was living."
He said he'd had taken a dim view of Muslims growing up, which was a barrier to his conversion. Stories about the Iranian revolution, violence, and the capture of American hostages make him leery.
"It was a battle to get through the prejudices I had," he said. "But going to a mosque smashed all those negative beliefs. I saw extremely faithful people who were sincere and compassionate."
On Monday, Mr. Beauchamp will be in Indonesia to marry a woman that he's never dated. Because Muslims frown upon dating, he turned to the Internet to find his spouse.
"She's a good woman, devoted to Islam," he said.
He corresponded with her for six months, then flew to Indonesia to meet her and her family last month. He was there on Sept. 11 when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
"Many Americans are getting a distorted image of Islam," he said. "It pains me because Islam has brought me a sense of peace and a sense of purpose that I never had before."
|Journey from atheism to Islam stunned, disappointed parents...|
|11/10/01 at 23:07:17|
Journey from atheism to Islam stunned, disappointed parents
By SUSAN HOGAN/ALBACH / [url=http://www.dallasnews.com/religion/STORY.e9efef13d0.b0.af.0.a4.d092f.html]The Dallas Morning News[/url]
Five months before their marriage, Karen Meek's fiancé told her that he was becoming a Muslim. Ms. Meek, an atheist, was taken aback.
"I thought he was being brainwashed into something," she said. "All of a sudden he stopped drinking alcohol. He wanted to pray every day. He stopped eating pork."
For months, Eric Meek, a lapsed Baptist, had studied Islam without telling her. Now, when he went to work, Ms. Meek poured over his books and videos, trying to understand his faith.
She never expected to be attracted to Islam.
"I grew up thinking religion was ridiculous," said Ms. Meek, 33, of Lewisville. "I didn't believe in God. I had no idea how the universe was created and, frankly, didn't care."
She said Islam had a logic to it that she couldn't resist.
"Coming from an atheist background, I had an easier time accepting Islam than a Christian because I didn't have to unlearn or give up any beliefs," she said.
After getting married, she prayed for the first time while her husband was at work. She learned how from a book.
"Until this point, I had done everything privately, without telling him," she said. "I did not want to join a religion just because he did. I wanted to discover it on my own."
She and her husband began meeting with other Muslims to study the Quran, the holy book of Islam. Eventually, she made her profession of faith.
Her choice of religions stunned her parents.
"One day she came and she wearing a scarf and a dress down to her ankles," said her father, Ray Allred of Carrollton. "I was shocked."
He said he was estranged from his daughter for a time because of her religion. They're close now, though he fears for her safety since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"You want to love your child, but when they do something so foreign to you, it's very difficult," he said. "I'd give anything if she hadn't adopted this religion."
Those comments were echoed by Jane Barrett of Flower Mound, who's Ms. Meek's mother. She said she especially dislikes the hijab, or head covering, that her daughter wears.
"Karen is such a pretty girl with beautiful hair," she said.
Ms. Meek said she understands. After becoming a Muslim, it took her many months to adopt Islamic dress
"I would wear the hijab places where people didn't know me," she said and laughed. Now, she wears it all the time – even to work, where she is an accounting clerk for a restaurant chain.
She said embracing Islam has caused her to see life in a new way.
"Going from not believing in God to believing in God is amazing," she said. "Islam opened my eyes to so many things I had taken for granted, mostly that life is a gift."
|11/10/01 at 23:30:22|
|Alhamdulillah!!! That first story really hit home. I had and have the same feelings! I am always comforted when I hear these stories....knowing that I am not alone in these thoughts and feelings.|
|Re: He had never been to a mosque before, and was nervous....|
|11/11/01 at 11:12:19|
Peace and e-Greetings be upon you,
Just this morning here in Toronto,
I was half listening to CBC radio one's Sunday Morning
Program when my ears perked up as the story
of 'Amy' came on the air.
She is our new muslim sister in Fremont California.
She decided to accept Islam AFTER Sept 11th.
She hasn't told her parents yet, but she just feels
it's right. She was told by her new muslim (female)
friends at the masjid to work on the big things first
Like saying the 5ive daily salat in arabic.
It was a nice audio documentary that ended with her
saying, "I like to go to the beach...but I'll deal
with it when we get there."
I imagine this broadcast helps/helped those single
women listening who are struggling with accepting
Islam and retaining their North American cultural
~ HiMY! ~
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