American Family's Story with Islam: Oldest Son is a Pastor. Mom, Daughter and Middle Son are Muslim Reverts

Sally remembers how Islam changed her son Zach “He was so thoughtful and sweet when he returned. It was such a transformation.”

In the year 2000 Sally was going through a divorce and was hoping to meet a “high soul”, something that had long been a goal of hers, so she decided that she wanted to meet and thank the Shaykh who helped her son convert to Islam. “I had no intention of converting to Islam, I was fine being a Christian. I’m sure some people thought I was nuts.”

Sally said she was sewing some new head scarves when her son Vernon (the pastor) called her on the phone. She was nervous about telling him she converted and at the same she didn’t want to go against the teachings of Islam and lie to her son. So she told him shortly after he asked what she was doing. “I told him and it was complete silence… then he hung up.”

Her son Vernon said his frustrations about his mother’s conversion had always been minor, and said that much of his path in religion is courtesy of his mother bringing him to church as a child. “It’s the first born’s responsibility to conserve the traditions of the family,” he said. “My frustrations at the time were bigger than my mom, as my brother had converted before her.”

Vernon thinks his mother has become “wiser about putting first things first” since her conversion to Islam and that she now stops to think before becoming stressed out about something. “We have a good relationship now. For me, it’s a good lesson in creating inter-faith relationships and finding the similarities.”

Sally doesn’t believe life has changed dramatically since her conversion, although she does admit to getting a few weird looks from passersby from time to time, using an analogy of seeing looks akin to when a parent tells a child not to look at someone: “I do get nervous from time to time, but I have faith in God”.

Sally can only recall one time in the Monadnock region in which she was personally attacked by someone, referring to a situation where a man yelled from his truck that she should go back to her own country.

“People say that I’ve changed, but it’s hard to see change in yourself,” said Sally. “I still have a lot of thoughts, but I try to watch what I say and avoid conflict.”

While Muslims are few in her area, Sally said she does have opportunities to speak with people of her faith when she goes to the mosque in Worcester, Massachusetts.