Watch Islam

Lia Rojas

Kisah Lia Rojas (2-Habis): Begitu Berilslam, Tiba-tiba Ia Malu Melihat Kakinya Terbuka dan Bercelana Pendek

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, Lia Rojas embraced Islam since six months ago. Previously, a woman from Dallas, Texas, embraced the Catholic since childhood. She bersyahadat after studying Islam for one year.
 
Rojas has a unique process in finding Islam. Initially, she is a Catholic religious teacher candidates intend to delve deeper into the teachings of their religion as a provision to give teachings to his disciples.

The plan, she will bring the materials 'Why Catholic'. Before giving out material that, she was really prepared. Nearly eight months she was trying to equip themselves for teaching. Who would have thought, when she intends to delve deeper into the Catholic religion, she just 'stumbled' Islam.

Had she told a Muslim friend, the friend of the 'push' the light of Islam. "I have several Muslim friends but I do not know they were Muslims. I told them about my class and how I am learning about Islam, "said Rojas.

Rojas then given a copy of the Qur'an in English which he learned further. During the eight months' time, she actually studied Islam more than deepen the Catholic religion.

A process to the light of Islam are found with the way he'd never think of. Since then, she no longer went to church. She even canceled classes teach Catholic, a task that was originally entrusted to her.

Almost like another convert, Rojas also studied the Koran over the internet. "Then I began to visit the mosque," she said.
 
When found the guidance of Islam, Rojas now suggest it is Allah who has saved her from all blindness she had ever gone through. "Before we pray to Mary or Jesus to help us. I was 40 years old and I almost did not realize it (a mistake in prayer), "she said.

She now realizes Mary is the mother of Jesus Christ, but Mary was not the mother of God. "I just can not believe that I've been so blind," she said.


Many things that can not be disclosed Lia Rojas, converts from Dallas, Texas, when I first say the shahada. "It's very special. That's incredible, "she said.

Rojaz admit it's hard at first to receive the response of family and friends. But since an open mind she believes no longer possible to continue to survive with the Catholic religion that was followed. Initially there are many friends who suddenly  refrain , but it's not a problem for Rojas.

When I first say the shahada, Rojas conditions very much different than now. Now she wears a headscarf. First, she still likes to wear shorts and tank top.

There is quite a strange occurrence when early convert to Islam. At that time, she intends to go shopping, she suddenly froze in the car. "When the going down of the car for shopping, I suddenly felt embarrassed to see my feet (still open)," she said.

He was so stunned that she could not get out of the car. Three times to try out, but she felt powerless. She began to wonder what was going on, all of a sudden she felt ashamed of what she was wearing on the body. "I went home and cried," she said. That was the beginning Rojas became acquainted with the hijab.

She who has now become a Muslim just thank God for the guidance provided. "Thank God, if I die today I will die as a Muslim," she said.

Sara Bokker, Former Actress and Model, USA

Sara Bokker
I am an American woman who was born in the midst of America’s “Heartland”. I grew up, just like any other girl, being fixated with the glamour of life in “the big city”. Eventually, I moved to Florida and on to South Beach of Miami, a hotspot for those seeking the “glamorous life”. Naturally, I did what most average Western girls do. I focused on my appearance and appeal, basing my self-worth on how much attention I got from others. I worked out rigorously and became a personal trainer, acquired an upscale waterfront residence, became a regular “exhibiting” beach-goer and was able to attain a “living-in-style” kind of life.


Years went by, only to realize that my scale of self-fulfillment and happiness slid down the more I progressed in my “feminine appeal”. I was a slave to fashion. I was a hostage to my looks.

As the gap continued to progressively widen between my self-fulfillment and lifestyle, I sought refuge in escapes from alcohol and parties to meditation, activism, and alternative religions, only to have the little gap widen to what seemed like a valley. I eventually realized it all was merely a pain killer rather than an effective remedy.

As a feminist libertarian, and an activist who was pursuing a better world for all, my path crossed with that of another activist who was already at the lead of indiscriminately furthering causes of reform and justice for all. I joined in the ongoing campaigns of my new mentor which included, at the time, election reform and civil rights, among others. Now my new activism was fundamentally different. Instead of “selectively” advocating justice only to some, I learned that ideals such as justice, freedom, and respect are meant to be and are essentially universal, and that own good and common good are not in conflict. For the first time, I knew what “all people are created equal” really meant. But most importantly, I learned that it only takes faith to see the world as one and to see the unity in creation.

One day I came across a book that is negatively stereotyped in the West--The Holy Quran. Up until that point, all I had associated with Islam was women covered in “tents”, wife beaters, harems, and a world of terrorism. I was first attracted by the style and approach of the Quran, and then intrigued by its outlook on existence, life, creation, and the relationship between Creator and creation. I found the Quran to be a very insightful address to heart and soul without the need for an interpreter or pastor.

Eventually I hit a moment of truth: my new-found self-fulfilling activism was nothing more than merely embracing a faith called Islam where I could live in peace as a “functional” Muslim.

I bought a beautiful long gown and head cover resembling the Muslim woman’s dress code and I walked down the same streets and neighborhoods where only days earlier I had walked in my shorts, bikini, or “elegant” western business attire. Although the people, the faces, and the shops were all the same, one thing was remarkably distinct: the peace at being a woman I experienced for the very first time. I felt as if the chains had been broken and I was finally free. I was delighted with the new looks of wonder on people’s faces in place of the looks of a hunter watching his prey I had once sought. Suddenly a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I no longer spent all my time consumed with shopping, makeup, getting my hair done, and working out. Finally, I was free.

Of all places, I found my Islam at the heart of what some call “the most scandalous place on earth”, which makes it all the more dear and special.

Soon enough, news started breaking about politicians, Vatican clergymen, libertarians, and so-called human rights and freedom activists condemning the Hijab (headscarf) as being oppressive to women, an obstacle to social integration, and more recently, as an Egyptian official called it -“a sign of backwardness.”

I find it to be a blatant hypocrisy when some people and so-called human rights groups rush to defend women’s rights when some governments impose a certain dress code on women, yet such “freedom fighters” look the other way when women are being deprived of their rights, work, and education just because they choose to exercise their right to wear the Hijab.

Today I am still a feminist, but a Muslim feminist, who calls on Muslim women to assume their responsibilities in providing all the support they can for their husbands to be good Muslims. To raise their children as upright Muslims so they may be beacons of light for all humanity once again. To enjoin good -any good - and to forbid evil -any evil. To speak righteousness and to speak up against all ills. To fight for our right to wear Hijab and to please our Creator whichever way we chose. But just as importantly to carry our experience with Hijab to fellow women who may never have had the chance to understand what wearing Hijab means to us and why do we, so dearly, embrace it.

Willingly or unwillingly, women are bombarded with styles of “dressing-in-little-to-nothing” virtually in every means of communication everywhere in the world. As an ex Non-Muslim, I insist on women’s right to equally know about Hijab, its virtues, and the peace and happiness it brings to a woman’s life as it did to mine. Yesterday, the bikini was the symbol of my liberty, when in actuality it only liberated me from my spirituality and true value as a respectable human being.

I couldn’t be happier to shed my bikini in South Beach and the “glamorous” Western lifestyle to live in peace with my Creator and enjoy living among fellow humans as a worthy person.

Today, Hijab is the new symbol of woman’s liberation to find who she is, what her purpose is, and the type of relation she chooses to have with her Creator.

To women who surrender to the ugly stereotype against the Islamic modesty of Hijab, I say: You don’t know what you are missing.

Muslim convert in US facing prejudices for wearing hijab

Michael J. Feeney
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Originally Published:Wednesday, August 31st 2011, 7:54 PM

Updated: Wednesday, August 31st 2011, 10:13 PM
Julissa Fikri, 27, wears the hijab, a traditional Muslim headscarf - which has not gone over well with some of her East Harlem neighbors.
Julissa Fikri grew up in East Harlem – and never thought she’d hear hateful words in her own neighborhood about converting to Islam.

“As soon as I started wearing [the hijab] I got a lot of stares,” said Fikri, 27, who was raised as a Christian in East Harlem’s Thomas Jefferson Houses and became a Muslim seven years ago.

“Even my own Latino people feel like I betrayed them,” she siad. “They see me veiled and they think ‘she’s under [her husband's] grasp’ and that’s not the case. “This is not a bad thing. I’m not oppressed. I’m very comfortable. I just want people to know that I’m the same person.”

Now, Fikri, who is Puerto Rican and Dominican, is on a mission to educate those around her – including her own mother – becoming one of many Muslim women who have started to share her story on YouTube to educate the public.

“It’s something very foreign to the Hispanic community,” Fikri says of the hijab in one video. “They immediately associate the religion with the culture of being Arab, and that’s something now that I want to educate people, especially in this community. It is two different things – culture and religion.”

She later met her Egyptian husband, who she married in 2010 and who is also a Muslim.

But it wasn’t until earlier this year, in February, when Fikri started wearing the hijab – the traditional head scarf worn by Muslim women – that she noticed the resistance from some in her community.

At one point, Fikri said she was walking near E. 117th St. and Pleasant Ave. to pick up her daughter from school when a Latino man said in Spanish: “Oh, so she changed her race. Now, she’s Arab.”

In another incident, a woman at a bodega looked at her and called her a terrorist, she recalled.

“It hurt a lot,” she said, noting she was being snickered at by people who’ve known her since she was a child. “I live here. I grew up here.”

Even Fikri’s own mother, who is Dominican, had some reservations about her chosen religion.

“Take that thing off, you’re Spanish. We don’t wear that,” Fikri recalled her mother telling her in Spanish.

Fikri’s situation is not uncommon, said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman with the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“That’s not an unusual story by any means,” he said, noting it’s not just the Latino community where people view joining the Muslim religion as “race betrayal.”

“The Muslim women’s headscarf is still a red flag for those who harbor hostile views [toward the Muslim religion]” he said.

As Fikri watched her two kids play in El Barrio’s Thomas Jefferson Park earlier this week, she told the Daily News, “I am not any different than anybody else. This is part of my belief.

When asked what she would say to people who have given her a tough time, she said:

“Before you judge me, remember just because I wear a scarf that does not separate me from society,” she said. “Underneath the scarf, I’m just the same person. I’m an American. I’m a human being.”

Catherine Heseltine Elected MPACUK's CEO


The Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPACUK) is proud to announce that our new Chief Executive Officer is Catherine Heseltine. Since joining MPACUK in 2003, Catherine has made a consistently outstanding contribution to the work of the organisation. Her various roles have included working as the head of our campaigns team, appearing on television documentaries including Channel 4's 'Women Only Jihad', as a media spokesperson and mentoring new members.

Catherine is an English born revert to Islam and her election victory sets an historic precedent. In true pioneering spirit, MPACUK is the first British Muslim organisation to elect a woman as their CEO. We believe Catherine’s leadership will enhance MPACUK’s work in defending the civil rights of Muslims.

Catherine was born in 1978 and grew up in Islington, North London. She attended Westminster School and went on to do a BA in Education at Goldsmiths College, University of London. She became Muslim in 1999 while at University. She has worked for 10 years as a nursery teacher in London schools but is now taking on the role of CEO of MPACUK full-time. Her interests outside of her campaigning and community work include sports (tennis, sailing and skiing).

When asked about her historic achievement in being elected to lead a major national British Muslim organisation, she replied "I hope that this historic step will be a landmark in the development of a new wave of Muslim women leaders and will spark a revolution in the way Muslim women are enabled to contribute their talents in the service of both the Muslim community and wider society."

About MPACUK: The Muslim Public Affairs Committee is a civil rights group that campaigns on issues affecting Muslims in the UK and abroad. MPACUK runs Britain’s biggest Muslim website and has made numerous media appearances.

http://theislamawareness.blogspot.com/ 

Sa’ad Laws, Ex-Christian, USA

I have often been asked how I came to Islam.  I mean, it isn’t too often you see a white guy from “cow country” turn to Islam.  I guess the most amazing thing about the whole thing is where I started.  Now, I am not one of those stories of brothers who you hear were in gangs, addicted to crack, or worshiped devils at stone altars.  I come from quite a typical background.  I have two sisters; a brother; and both my parents are still married.  My father is an engineer; while my mother is a housewife (or domestic engineer, as she likes to say) and we are as middle-class as you can get.  My family lives in a small country hamlet, just to the south of nowhere.  To give you a glimpse of how rural it is, there is a general store about a mile from my house, where the lady who runs it say “ya’ll come back now, ya hear” when ever you leave the store.

Religion was always a strange subject in my house.  My father is an Irish-Catholic by birth and my mom is a Methodist.  We went to church on occasion, but for the most part, religion was a “spiritual” matter that you just had in your heart.  I can remember as a kid looking at a small figurine of Jesus (which I had “borrowed” from the family nativity set) and wondering why do we go to “number two” when we pray or want something?  Why don’t we just go to “number one”, God?  Growing up, the whole concept of the trinity never made since to me, but since I lived in a spiritual Christian family, this wasn’t really an issue.
As I got older and entered high school, I quickly noticed that I was a bit different.  In my school, like in most schools in America, there were basically four groups with whom you could be associated: the “Alternative”, the “preps”, the “crack-heads” or the African-Americans (being that 90% of the county I grew up in was white, they ended up being somewhat alienated and kept to themselves).  Then there was me.  I have to say looking back now, that this was one of the blessings of Allah.  I very much feel like Allah was protecting me from all sorts of things which, had gotten involved in them, could have brought me down later on.  For example, I was always in search of a “girlfriend”, much like any other typical high schooler.  However, whenever the situation presented itself for me to take advantage of, I always found myself overwhelmed with shyness and I wasn’t able to do anything, not even move my lips.  I am extremely grateful for this now, even if I wasn’t then.
Although I hung out with the “Alternative” group, I never really felt like I fit in.  They liked to talk about music, trash their friends, and do drugs or some other mindless pastime.  I, on the other hand, was interested in the Black Panthers, Medgar Evers, and Malcolm X.  This made me look a little odd to say the least and I received more than a few tags as being a “Black wannabe”.  It was at this time, while in the eleventh grade, that I began to read The Autobiography of Malcolm X, the ultimate anti-white leader, or so I was told.  I read his book, and the more I read it, the more I couldn’t put it down; his story was amazing to me.  He came from nothing and then…there he was.
But, it was the chapter entitled “Mecca” that would have the most profound effect on me.  In it, he told his story of how he was affected by the generosity and compassion of, not only the Muslims he met while making the Hajj, but also by Islam itself.  I read that and thought to myself, “who are these guys?”  So, I went to the school library and started to check out every book that I could about Islam.  I was amazed at what I read; here they believed in the same principals I has found so innate within myself.  They said that there was only One God, that Jesus was not his son, but a rightly guided Messenger and Prophet.  I was taken aback.  I knew that whatever this “Islam thing” was, I needed to be a part of it.
At that time I considered myself a Muslim.  If you had asked me what my religion was, I would have said Islam.  I hadn’t taken my official shahada mind you, but in my heart I was a Muslim.  I was a bit na├»ve at that point though.  I knew that Muslims were supposed to pray, but I didn’t know how many times, or how to pray and so on.  I didn’t know much, and there wasn’t anyone for me to learn from at that point.  I was just kind of walking around saying “hey, I’m Muslim”.  It was then that I got the jump-start that I needed.  A friend of mine got a bit agitated by me saying I was a Muslim all the time (I was a bit over zealous at this point) and said that I wasn’t really Muslim.  “You don’t even pray,” he told me.  I thought to myself, you know what…he’s right.  I knew I needed to take this being a Muslim thing a step further.  That’s where I ran into a problem.
Who were these Muslims?  I didn’t know a Muslim or where to meet any.  There wasn’t exactly a mosque down the block from my house you have to understand.  You could have literally found gold more easily than a Muslim where I lived.  So, I searched the phone book and came across a mosque in Washington D.C.  But, that was unfortunately about two and a half hours away and might as well have been two thousand miles away.  When I first called them I was so nervous.  Here I was about to talk to a Muslim!  They were very pleased by my enthusiasm towards Islam and my eagerness at becoming a Muslim.  But, they wanted me to come to the mosque.  This would of course be a problem.
At the time I was still in high school and under the reign of my parents, who also controlled my extended whereabouts, especially since it was the family vehicle that I was driving.  My chances of getting that car for a trip to D.C.  were slim at best.  What was I going to do?  I couldn’t get to the Muslims, so how was I going to be a Muslim.  I asked them if they could come down here, but that was to no avail.  I needed to do this now; I couldn’t just sit around for another year or two with this.  It was after much prodding that I finally convinced the brother to let me take my shahada right then and there, on the phone.  I guess that might have been a first…conversion by phone.
So, that is how I came to Islam.  I can truly say now, looking back on the whole story, that I was overwhelmingly blessed by the way Allah guided me to Islam.  I look back now and see my old friends from high school and how lost they are.  Then I look at myself.  I mean I know that I have more than a few rough edges and that I have much improving to do, not only as a Muslim, but also as a person in general.  But, I can’t help but feel a bit awed that I was guided and that Allah picked me to be guided and out of where?  Nowhere.
I look back and I think…what was it that guided me?  What could have led me to this?  This “religion of the Arabs”, that was so foreign to me that I would have needed a passport just to get in.  Then I realized that what happened to me was from Allah and that He alone has guided me.  I feel kind of awestruck when I think of it.  I mean, I don’t know why, but Allah picked me for this religion of guidance.  I feel like I have been saved from the Hell fire and plucked from the ashes.  It is this, my being guided to Islam by Allah and Allah alone, which is the greatest blessing that I have ever received.

Finding My Way….Lynette Wehner's conversion to Islam

How a spiritually dissatisfied American Catholic teacher found fulfillment and direction through her new job at a Muslim school.
My new position at the Islamic school was received with reserved enthusiasm from my Christian family. “Just make sure you do not convert,” my father-in-law at the time told me when he found out about it. My mother-in-law was intrigued by the idea of being around something “exotic”. I grappled with whether I wanted to work at this school. While I would have my own classroom (which I desperately wanted), I would only be part-time and I would be required to dress Islamically (even cover my hair). This whole concept was very foreign to me. I debated with myself for a day or two until deciding to take my first teaching assignment at this school. I was open and determined that this would be a learning experience for me. Boy, was it ever….

On the first day, the new “non-Muslim” teachers were given a “scarf” lesson by a sister in the teacher’s workroom. We were laughing as we tried different styles. I still remember that morning being pretty relaxed, and it was during this event that I realized I always thought Muslims were stern and serious. It is strange how one can hold certain stereotypes of people without even knowing them. Cross off one misconception…

During my 1st year of teaching, I learned many things. I was extremely impressed with the way that my students knew my religion (Christianity) better than I did. How did they know the stories? My students were always asking me questions about my beliefs, and they made me think. What DID I believe?

I was brought up Catholic, and as an adult, I started to stray from it. I didn’t know what it was that I felt uncomfortable with, but I just knew something wasn’t right. I ventured a little into the new-age type of Christianity, but some of that didn’t sit right with me either. I just knew that I wanted to connect with God. I didn’t want my religion to become something that I felt I had to do in order to be considered a “good person” in the eyes of my relatives (as was the case with my husband). I wanted to feel it in my heart. Looking back now, I was lost, but didn’t know it at the time.

Kids will be kids, and my Muslim students were no different. They left their books in my classroom instead of taking the home. This was a blessing in disguise as I started to read these books after class. So much of it made sense. To help matters along, one sister and brother were more than happy to answer all of my questions, and I had many! We would discuss Islam and religion for hours. It was very intellectually stimulating and I was excited about it. I felt that I had found what I was looking for. There was a peace slowly spreading over my heart…

Around this time, I started to read the Qu’ran at home. My husband at the time (I have since divorced him) did not like my interest in Islam. When I would read the Qu’ran, I would do so in private without his knowledge. At first, I felt that I was doing something blasphemous. I remember being very scared that God would be upset with me. How can any book other than the Bible be from God?? I tried to listen to my heart, and it was telling me to read. Some of the passages of the Qu’ran felt as if they were written just for me. I found myself sitting there and crying many times. All at once, I felt at peace, yet confused. There was something holding me back from accepting it full-heartedly.

After months of reading, talking with people, and a lot of soul searching, there was one event that I consider to be the determining factor in my becoming Muslim. I was standing in my son’s room trying to pray. I had a book on Islam opened to the “how to pray” section. I was standing there in conflict with myself. I was not used to praying directly to God. All of my life I was taught to pray to Jesus, who would then tell God my prayer (or something like that). I was so scared that I was doing something wrong. I didn’t want Jesus mad at me. At that moment, it hit me like a tidal wave. Did I really think that God would be upset at me for wanting to get closer to Him? Did I really believe that Jesus would be upset with me for trying to get closer to God? Isn’t that what he wants me to do? God knows my intent. To this day, I believe it was God talking to me-that is how powerful the feeling and voice inside my head was. What did I have to fear?? How could I NOT convert to Islam? At that moment, I started crying and crying. It was what I needed to hear. I knew at that time that I had to convert to Islam. It felt right and nothing else mattered.

After taking my shahada in front of the entire school, I was a new person. I did not have that “where-do-I-belong-and-what-do-I-believe-in” feeling anymore. It was gone. I knew that I made the right decision.

I have never been so close to God as I have been since becoming Muslim. Alhamdullilah. I am so lucky. Thank you for allowing me to share my experience with you.

Tony Blair's sister-in-law Lauren Booth converts to Islam

Tony Blair’s sister-in-law has converted to Islam after having a ‘holy experience’ in Iran.

Broadcaster and journalist Lauren Booth, 43 - Cherie Blair’s half-sister - said she now wears a hijab head covering whenever she leaves her home, prays five times a day and visits her local mosque ‘when I can’.
Conversion: Lauren Booth
Conversion: Lauren Booth
She decided to become a Muslim six weeks ago after visiting the shrine of Fatima al-Masumeh in the city of Qom.

‘It was a Tuesday evening and I sat down and felt this shot of spiritual morphine, just absolute bliss and joy,’ she told The Mail on Sunday.

When she returned to Britain, she decided to convert immediately.

‘Now I don’t eat pork and I read the Koran every day. I’m on page 60. I also haven’t had a drink in 45 days, the longest period in 25 years,' she said.