By Amy, a Muslim revert since 2011
Why do I not wear shorts? Why am I covering my hair? Why do I pray in a foreign language? Why am I Muslim? I am white, right? Then Why…. ?
Upon people’s realization that I’m a white Muslim American, they immediately attempt to investigate why? They assume that surely it could not be my own decision… After all, who would choose to become a part of such a “restrictive” religion in such a “free” society.
Now, It is true that I am in love with the Arabic language and the culture… It is true that I am married to a Muslim Arab. These are facts. But my love for Arabic and Arab culture, and certainly the love for my husband, is much more than an “infatuation” that I would use to determine the fate of my soul… After all, it has been nearly seven years since my interest started and infatuation is typically something very short lived.
It is also true that I became Muslim as a result of my exposure to Arabic and Arab people: most big changes in people come after they learn something and are exposed to the reality. This is nothing surprising. I learned how easy it is here in America to assume that we have all the answers… That we are the world’s leaders… That the other side of the world consists of “the others”…but guess what, to them, WE (the west) are “the others.
It is also true that I did not start openly practicing my religion until I was married to my Muslim husband. But no one knows that before I even knew his name I was praying in secret and fasting alone in the darkness of my bedroom at my parents’ house so they would not discover my secret. I still remember my dad finding my food stash of peanut butter and bread that I hid behind a shelf during Ramadan.. I told him I get hungry at night… I wasn’t ready to explain just yet.
The point is, converting is a major life decision. Any person assuming that the changes I’ve made in my life are a result of pressure or infatuation is truly an insult to my soul. Converting is just like any other BIG decision… It takes time to get to there… It takes analysis, logical reasoning, evidence, and most importantly, a journey of the soul and the heart. When you look at me and see a white Muslim American please know that this choice was one I openly and willingly made because I FEEL it to be the truth. I did not take such a decision lightly. In fact, if anything, it has made life more complicated for me, putting me through trials I otherwise would not have had… especially being American and coming from a predominately Christian society with Christian parents, friends, etc.
I am completely aware that it’s not normal. And I don’t care. Because ultimately I feel it was not just me choosing to be a Muslim, but God choosing me. And for that, I am forever grateful and will never feel embarrassed by.