We must learn to live together as brothers, or we will perish together as fools.~ Martin Luther King Jr.
HAVE YOU ALWAYS PRACTICED ISLAM?
WHEN DID YOU CONVERT TO ISLAM?
WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO CONVERT?
"Islam's beliefs were in conformity with what I believed as opposed to the religions I was raised under."
HOW IS ISLAM DIFFERENT FROM THE RELIGIONS YOU WERE EXPOSED TO GROWING UP?
"Mainly, the model t-ism. The oneness of the supreme creator."
HOW WERE YOU EXPOSED TO THAT FAITH?
"My friends were Muslim."
HOW DID YOUR FAMILY REACT THEN YOU CONVERTED?
"They were fine. They had some questions at first. I wouldn't say they were shocked, but they were surprised. More curiosity than anything. They had questions and I was able to answer them. And everything's fine."
DO YOU EVER FEEL LIKE YOU'RE WRONGLY JUDGED FOR PRACTICING ISLAM?
"Not so much. There have been times where I felt like I've been judged because of the fact that I was Muslim, mainly because I was a white Muslim. Where I was at, the location of where I was. Other than that, no."
MANY PEOPLE THAT ARE MUSLIM, HAVE STEREOTYPICAL PHYSICAL APPEARANCES, WHETHER IT BE THEIR CLOTHING OR A BEARD, AS YOU DO. DO YOU EVER NOTICE THAT YOU GET LOOKED AT DIFFERENTLY OR HAVE THINGS SAID TO YOU BECAUSE OF THAT?
"Yeah. I've had maybe one or two things, over the past few years, that at the end of the day are insignificant. I had a guy riding passed me one time say "Oh, you're a white Muslim? A fucking white Muslim? I can't believe this." He kept going. I just laughed about it BEcause of his ignorance. I found it amusing."
SOME PEOPLE WOULD HAVE A HARD TIME LAUGHING THAT OFF.
"There's no sense in getting upset about it."
AS I'M SURE YOU'RE AWARE, THERE ARE SOME VERY PROMINENT PREJUDICES IN THIS WORLD ABOUT MUSLIMS BECAUSE OF THE HORRIFIC THINGS THAT HAVE GONE ON IN THE WORLD AT THE HANDS OF RADICAL MUSLIMS? DOES THAT EVER BOTHER YOU? DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHY PEOPLE REACT THAT WAY?
"I do understand it, and it does bother me, because you look at people like the guy that walked into an abortion clinic and shot the abortion clinic up with a shotgun because of his Christian belief that abortion is wrong, so he killed the abortion doctor and everyone in there because of his religious views, but they don't call him a Christian terrorist. Then the guy who blew up the federal building, Timothy McVeigh, in the 90's, because of his religious beliefs, but nobody labels him a Christian terrorist.
It's not so much that it's just Islam who have these radical groups. Yeah, you're being propagated more in the media. But you have people in the midwest or the west coast, where you have these religious compounds in the big open land, where the governments not allowed, police aren't allowed inside. Guys are having sex with and impregnating little kids, all because they say they're a prophet or God chose them. It's no different than that, it's just not being put under a spotlight."
WHAT HAS THE RELIGION DONE FOR YOU?
"It's helped open my eyes to a few things. It's helped me find inner peace. Partially given me a sense of direction in life. And helped give me a better sense of principles to live by."
BEFORE PEOPLE MAKE A JUDGEMENT ON PEOPLE THAT PRACTICE ISLAM, WHAT WOULD YOU WANT TO SAY TO THEM?
"I don't think anyone should be stereotyped whether they practice Islam, Christianity or Buddhism. I think they should be judged on their character and their actions as opposed to the way they look or dress or what they choose to believe in."