Overflowing With Tears: An American Muslims Testimony

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My great grandparents were born here in the USA. There are American Muslims whose ancestry dates way further back in America than mine — some can trace back centuries, some all the way to the Mayflower, and some American Muslims trace their heritage straight back to the Native Americans. This divisive view of our world — us vs. The more people see a polarized world, the more they feel obliged and compelled to take a side. They are training us to instinctively see all horrific incidents as being tied to Islam. Whether they really are or not is beside the point.

This helps to advance the positions and agendas of powerful politicians and corporations — but tears our society apart, and that does matter. Yes, the facts prove the islamophobes and everyone else trying to force a war down our throats, utterly wrong — but the truth alone cannot alter the toxic atmosphere being systematically created.

One of the effects of being constantly suspect is that the one under suspicion begins to feel guilty — even if he or she is totally innocent. This is reinforced by a few, very loud voices claiming that we are all suspect. He was appalled that the reporter, Fatima Manji was visibly Muslim.

We have to reject this idea and think critically: Is it wrong for white Christians to report news about attacks committed by white Christians? To suggest so is clearly, easily and immediately recognized as preposterous. We have to be the leaders of our own thoughts — to employ reasoning, and thoughtfully listen and consider the facts and points of view before settling on our position. They are not except like livestock. Rather, they are more astray in [their] way. Yeah, Islam is kind of like a hot coal right now. This is certainly one of those times. In light of this terrorism epidemic and the mounting negative public opinion towards Islam and Muslims, some of us may feel like giving up.

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Maybe this would all be easier if we just took our headscarves off, shaved our beards and changed our names to Moe. This is how we avoid despair and strive to become even better people. These difficulties can be good for us. The answers lie in the Quran and in our prayers — in our Islam. Turn off the TV. Sign out of Facebook and Twitter. Open the Quran, read it and understand it. And ask forgiveness for your sin and exalt with praise of your Lord in the evening and the morning. So seek refuge in God. Indeed, it is He who is the Hearing, the Seeing.

I had a transformative makeover that left me feeling totally renewed and poised. It all started when I received a gift some time ago. It was wrapped up really well. I unwrapped it carefully, layer by layer. To my surprise, it was Islam. Feeling compelled, I slipped it on.

At first I was kind of awkward, timid to step outside in it. I loved it, but what would people say?

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What would they think? After a while, it became part of me.

Chapter 6: A Marriage Made on Earth

I found it comfortable and beautiful. It taught me that I had been crafted, designed, thoughtfully developed — to be me. This Islam increasingly strengthened and empowered me. My femininity — Islam helped me embrace it wholeheartedly. Confidence replaced self-doubt; it ran through me, ultimately emanating and radiating from within.

For the first time, I became proud to be a woman. My understanding of what I was supposed to become, was formed in part via movies, shows, magazines, music, and probably the over-sexualized Barbie dolls I used to play with. I remember pre-teen trips to the mall with my friends. The pressure overshadowed and really destroyed what could have been many enriching experiences. The Tomboy Solution Sometimes, it was just easier to be boyish.

To hang out with boys, to wear the loose t-shirts they wore, to be rough and grungy. It was a relief to be away from the competition and feeling of inadequacy amongst my girlfriends. I felt freer; it was a reprieve from the intense expectations I had been facing.

But, that abandon was not to last. Puberty Rained on my Parade As puberty arrived, even the boys became a problem. They began to sense female sexuality and it was no longer possible to be one of them. Rude comments and discomforting observations made being a girl more tormenting than ever.

So much time is wasted wishing to be different, which leads to the constant feeling of failure. Many girls teeter on the brink of self-destruction because of the imposition of impractical, artificial standards. I became artsy, audacious and gained a certain self-confidence by choosing to be different. I had freed myself from the bondage of cultural expectations, but I discovered a new reality when I began commuting independently to the city. What I found is described accurately in an article published on upworthy.

The author detailed what so many women experience on a daily basis. How we are forced to attempt to deescalate and brush off situations that, upon closer examination, are clearly unacceptable. We have all learned, either by instinct or by trial and error, how to minimize a situation that makes us uncomfortable. How to avoid angering a man, or endangering ourselves. We have all, on many occasions, ignored an offensive comment. We are sexualized before we even understand what that means. We get stares and comments before we can even drive.

The reason being that it resonates deeply with women. It exposes a reality most women conceal. Artificial Respect Judging by all the discussions on sexism and gender equality, you may be led to believe that women are in fact respected and treated equally nowadays. Females are under impossible pressure to reach unattainable standards of beauty — and meanwhile, men are shamed for being attracted to women. This contradictory messaging about sexuality has unsavory ramifications. In the Human Rights Watch HRW reported huge increases in incidences of domestic violence, rape, and sexual assault over a two-year period.

Not to mention the epidemic of pornography addiction, which devastates far too many families. These statistics indicate that we are headed in the wrong direction; our attempt at gender equality is looking like a colossal fiasco. These issues are symptomatic of a much deeper problem. I believe, due in part to the unnatural defining of men and women, and the denial of our innate sexuality. Removing the healthy channeling of that sexuality is resulting in a hazardous imbalance. They need to be addressed just as much as our failings in the West.

Perhaps it seemed things had gone too far. I wanted to talk to God but I had trouble keeping his name on my lips to get and talk to him. It was so close in many ways to what I already believed! The one most worthy of my respect, my care, my compassion and whose wishes are most deserving of my honor. So record ourselves alongwith the Witnesses.

The transformation I have undergone was internal and external, spiritual and physical. From Within The most important change occurred within. Islam changed my own attitude towards femininity — towards myself. Honestly, before Islam, I subconsciously devalued females.

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I never fail to reward any worker among you for any work you do, be you male or female, you are equal to one another. Devoted men, and devoted women. Internal Changes Led to External Ones So, there I was with this new realization — this affirmation — that I was imbued with worth the moment I was created. My femininity itself is valuable. Furthermore, if I do good, my Lord appreciates it more than any mortal ever could.

The characteristics that differentiate women from men — those are the things that make us special, and through which we contribute to the world in ways no man can. This newfound self-esteem naturally led to external changes. I craved to dress more modestly. The guidelines in Islam for gender relations were enlightening.

Islam gave me self-confidence and poise by teaching me to value myself as a female. I changed the way I dressed to reflect my new state of being: I changed the way I interact with the opposite sex. I now have control over my body: My presence is a privilege. This makeover powerfully switched my focus away from how people perceive beauty, or sexuality, and instead towards more meaningful endeavors and accomplishments.

When I look in the mirror I see me. And thank God, I finally love what I see. A Response to Islamophobes. Because I am a Catholic, they consider me to be a heretic and feel that my interfaith activities are sacrilegious. Islam, to these critics, is evil and Muhammad is nothing but a terrorist. I see Muhammad very differently from these fanatics.

This short piece highlights his exemplary character and challenges Islamophobes to think differently about the Prophet. When I was innocent and new, she cradled me in her arms. As if time had stopped, we rocked slowly, her voice so close I could feel the warmth of her breath. She woke me up gently.

Testimonies of Other Faiths: Muslim Conversion Stories

So lovingly that I knew in my sleep that she deserved a smile, and I woke up smiling, at her. On summer mornings, she was already downstairs; a cooler packed with fruit, sandwiches and lemonade. Ready for a day at the beach. She watched as we swam and built sandcastle memories of endless summertime days. Her days, hours, and sleep were ransomed in exchange for our smiles.

Like a fountain, she gave and gave. She made me feel special. She made all of us feel special. Then before we realized what was going on, I was swept away. Whisked away by friends and fashion and a greed for independence. It was adolescence, tainted by selfish pursuits. But, she was still there — my mother, believing in me, hoping for me, eager to see me happy. Even when that meant remaining quiet while my ungrateful teenage feet walked all over her.

And then there were the college years. After which, I found a letter she wrote. She wrote it to herself about the day I left.


I had been excited to move into the dorms. She helped me through it all, every step of the way, sharing in my joy. But, all alone she wrote to herself of the pain of leaving her first child, miles away. I never knew; too oblivious to realize that my empty room was like a hole in her heart. Within those college years, I wanted to travel. They reluctantly allowed me to go to Kansas, then cross-country.

I sent a postcard or two over the month during which I all but disappeared into the wilderness of the Wild West. It only got worse. Next, I wanted to go to the other side of the world. I cracked open the nest egg my father had intended for me to use after graduation. I used all of it, drifting along on the currents of my whims without a second thought. Little did I know, I was pulling on the heartstrings of the one who pulled herself apart to bring me into the world. I wandered away, happy and blind. I returned months later, inspired. Next stop would be the most volatile section of the planet, embroiled in perpetual conflict.

This time, my parents put their foot down. But I was free from compassion for the ones who lived to see me happy.

More Familiar Than You Think

As I sat in the airport waiting for my plane to board, I received a call. It was my mother. After that, I submerged myself in the study of Islam. Like one thirsty and broken in a desert I drank in the Quran and every book I could find. And it was as if all my life I had been walking in darkness thinking it was daylight. My discovery was eye opening and earth shattering. After the tornado that was my adolescence, after disappearing into my studies, after wandering the world without a care, I came back. I finally came back. This time I was beginning to understand that my mother is the single most important person in this world to me.

Above my cravings for adventure. But, the very thing that had slapped me across the face and woke me up from my selfish stupor tore an impassable chasm between us.

Overflowing With Tears is a spiritual testimony of faith and worship that is unmistakably Muslim, and yet undeniably American. It falls somewhere in the. -transcribed from video, "USA: Matt's Reverts to Islam New Muslim Brother Takes Indeed, my eyes overflowed with tears as I read that verse.

I had to break the news one day. She thoughtfully bought clothes for me when something that suited my new, more modest style caught her eye. I suppose I looked too unfamiliar, like someone from a far away land. Not the daughter she had raised. Perhaps it seemed things had gone too far. I wanted us to be complete again, like we were when I was small, but instead I threw everything off balance. There was now this oddity, and it was me.

Overzealous and still a newbie lacking in deep knowledge, I overburdened them with Islam. Islam had taught me that my mother was the most important person in my life. The one most worthy of my respect, my care, my compassion and whose wishes are most deserving of my honor. I understood this, but I found myself already on the other side of that huge divide.

Trying to express my love across a chasm, my words were lost in the wind. Our relationship was like an untended garden overrun with weeds, and my attempts at repairing it only got tangled up in the mess. When I decided to marry, my mom said he was a good match for my mind. Even with the approval, the marriage was just another whirlwind of chaos and emotions.

The cultural differences, the particularities, the food, the two very different families hesitantly coming together. Pearls of Peace is excited to introduce Ibrahim M. Anderson brings a wealth of diverse experience to the helm of our mission. Both professionally and in the private sector, he has proven himself to be a passionate and diligent champion of the principles that are paramount to our purpose. A seasoned manager, with more than twenty years invested in motivating and guiding the performance of nearly one thousand employees, Ibrahim has acquired an extraordinary leadership skillset — which we are confident will translate to remarkable success in achieving our aims.

He is a talented and diplomatic leader with the ability to effectively influence collaborative initiatives and create a professional culture of inclusion. His unique perspective and keen insight facilitate an uncanny ability to liaise across multifarious layers of demographics — building the strong partnerships that are necessary for the success of any non-profit. Furthermore, in light of our current cultural and political climate, it is impossible to enumerate the value of establishing cohesive channels of communication and genuine understanding between the Islamic community and society at large.

So it is our great honor to have Ibrahim on board and guiding our mission; because we find in him the quintessential spokesperson and representative for our ideals. Louis Psychiatric Rehabilitation Center in His work with individuals who suffered from severe mental illness led to leadership roles with renowned non-profit organizations like Judevine Center for Autism, Life Skills Foundation and Volunteers of America Oklahoma. Then in , he made the switch to a career path in the retail industry—where he quickly ascended the managerial ranks within a multi-billion dollar home improvement mega-corporation.

It was here that Ibrahim began to unlock and cultivate an instinctive aptitude for operationally-sound business paradigms and a remarkable talent for mobilizing and orchestrating large, cross-functional teams. He enjoyed a highly decorated stay of employment with this corporation: Anderson earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Liberal Studies, with emphases in Business and Psychology; and the recurring theme in both his professional and educational endeavors has consistently been his passion for diversity and inclusion. This is illustrated in the title and content of his culminating thesis: The inspiration of our vision is the impetus behind every decision of Pearls of Peace; and to date, no decision better resembles that truth than the election of Ibrahim Anderson as our President and CEO.

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From his proficiency in assessing business needs and devising effective solutions, to his competence in visualizing and strategizing for outstanding future outcomes, we find that he aligns perfectly with our passion and purpose.