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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
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.