Stories Of New Muslims


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  • Stories Of New Muslims




  • 10. Mr. Yahiye
    Adam Gadahn

     

     

    My first seventeen years have been a bit different
    than the youth experienced by most Americans. I grew up on an extremely rural
    goat ranch in Western Riverside County, California, where my family raises on
    average 150 to 200 animals for milk, cheese, and meat. My father is a halal
    butcher [a butcher who slaughters in an Islamic manner -ed.] and supplies to an
    Islamic Food Mart a few blocks from the Islamic Center in downtown Los Angeles.

    My father was raised
    agnostic or atheist, but he became a believer in One God when he picked up a
    Bible left on the beach. He once had a number of Muslim friends, but they've
    all moved out of California now. My mother was raised Catholic, so she leans
    towards Christianity (although she, like my father, disregards the Trinity). I
    and my siblings were/are home-schooled, and as you may know, most home-school
    families are Christian. In the last 8 or so years, we have been involved with
    some home-schooling support groups, thus acquainting me with fundamentalist
    Christianity.

    It was an eye-opening
    experience. Setting aside the blind dogmatism and charismatic wackiness, it was
    quite a shock to me when I realized that these people, in their prayers, were
    actually praying TO JESUS. You see, I had always believed that Jesus (pbuh)
    was, at the very most, the Son of God (since that is what the Bible
    mistranslates "Servant of God"). As I learned that belief in the
    Trinity, something I find absolutely ridiculous, is considered by most
    Christians to be a prerequisite for salvation, I gradually realized I could not
    be a Christian.

    In the meantime, I had
    become obsessed with demonic Heavy Metal music, something the rest of my family
    (as I now realize, rightfully so) was not happy with. My entire life was focused
    on expanding my music collection. I eschewed personal cleanliness and let my
    room reach an unbelievable state of disarray. My relationship with my parents
    became strained, although only intermittently so. I am sorry even as I write
    this.

    Earlier this year, I
    began to listen to the apocalyptic ramblings of Christian radio's
    "prophecy experts." Their paranoid espousal of various conspiracy
    theories, rabid support of Israel and religious Zionism, and fiery preaching
    about the "Islamic Threat" held for me a strange fascination. Why?
    Well, I suppose it was simply the need I was feeling to fill that void I had
    created for myself. In any case, I soon found that the beliefs these
    evangelists held, such as Original Sin and the Infallibility of "God's
    Word", were not in agreement with my theological ideas (not to mention the
    Bible) and I began to look for something else to hold onto.

    The turning point,
    perhaps, was when I moved in with my grandparents here in Santa Ana, the county
    seat of Orange, California. My grandmother, a computer whiz, is hooked up to
    America Online and I have been scooting the information superhighway since
    January. But when I moved in, with the intent of finding a job (easier said
    than done), I begin to visit the religion folders on AOL and the Usenet
    newsgroups, where I found discussions on Islam to be the most intriguing. You
    see, I discovered that the beliefs and practices of this religion fit my
    personal theology and intellect as well as basic human logic. Islam presents
    God not as an anthropomorphic being but as an entity beyond human
    comprehension, transcendent of man, independent and undivided.

    Islam has a holy book
    that is comprehensible to a layman, and there is no papacy or priesthood that
    is considered infallible in matters of interpretation: all Muslims are free to
    reflect and interpret the book given a sufficient education. Islam does not
    believe that all men are doomed to Hell unless they simply accept that God
    (apparently unable to forgive otherwise) magnanimously allowed Himself to be
    tortured on a cross to enable Him to forgive all human beings who just believe
    that He allowed Himself to be tortured on a cross... Islam does not believe in
    a Chosen Race. And on and on...

    As I began reading
    English translations of the Qur'an, I became more and more convinced of the
    truth and authenticity of Allah's teachings contained in those 114 chapters.
    Having been around Muslims in my formative years, I knew well that they were
    not the bloodthirsty, barbaric terrorists that the news media and the
    televangelists paint them to be. Perhaps this knowledge led me to continue my
    personal research further than another person would have. I can't say when I
    actually decided that Islam was for me. It was really a natural progression. In
    any case, last week [November 1995 -ed.] I went to the Islamic Society of
    Orange County in Garden Grove and told the brother in charge of the library I
    wanted to be a Muslim. He gave me some excellent reading material, and last
    Friday I took
    Shahada
    [accepted the creed of Islam -ed.] in front of a packed
    masjid. I have spent this week learning to
    perform
    Salat and reflecting on the
    greatness of Allah. It feels great to be a Muslim!
    Subhaana
    rabbiyal 'azeem!

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