Swiss Politician Bans Minarets then Converts to Islam

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Source: http://www.islamicbulletin.org/services/new_muslims/streich.htm

The Swiss politician Daniel Streich, who rose to fame as a result of his opposition to mosques in his homeland, has now embraced the faith he reviled.

Daniel Streich was a member of the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) in Switzerland. A well-known politician, Streich led the calls for a ban on minarets across Switzerland. He was active in building anti-Muslim sentiments throughout Switzerland. This sustained campaign led to him being given a high ranking position in the Swiss Army.

Switzerland Minaret Ban and Daniel Streich

Streich was an important member of the Swiss People’s Party (SVP). His importance could be estimated from his influence on party’s policy making, in which he always had a prominent role. His movement against minarets was aimed at gaining political attention and interest. He won the slot of military instructor in the Swiss Army due to his popularity.He was also committed to his party (SVP) and stood as a local politician in the commune of Bulle.

Daniel Streich Conversion to Islam

Streich attempted to understand the Qur’an and Islamic teachings in order to argue against Muslims on tenets of their faith. In the course of his efforts the ex-Christian began to agree with and acknowledge the proclamations of the Qur’an.

Born in a Christian family, Streich had a comprehensive study of Islam merely to malign and confront, but Islamic teachings had a deep impact on him. Eventually he de-linked himself from political activities and he embraced Islam. Streich has termed the SVO activities against the Muslims as satanic.

He says that he used to read the Bible and often went to chapel, but now he recites the Holy Quran and offers his prayers five times a day. He further says that he cancelled his party membership and made public his conversion. Streich says that he has found the truth of life in Islam, which he could not find in Christianity.

“Islam offers me logical answers to important life questions, which, in the end, I never found in Christianity,” says Streich. He is now a committed Muslim, who attends the mosque, recites the Qur’an and prays five times a day.

According to figures from the Union of Islamic Organizations and Communities, some 3,000 to 5,000 Italians have recently converted to Islam from Catholicism.

Post-Conversion Life for Daniel Streich

Recently the question of ban on minarets was put to voting in Switzerland, wherein the Swiss nationals gave the issue a legal status.

As per voting results 42.5 per cent people voted in favour of the minarets and 57.5 per cent supported the ban, while the Muslim population in Switzerland is only 6 per cent. The most wondrous thing in this regard, therefore, is the support of 42.5 per cent of population for only six percent Muslims. The analysts claim that ban on minarets and Islamic rituals has attracted the people towards Islam.

Streich has now focused his intentions on participating in the building of the new Conservative Democratic Party in the canton of Freiburg. Freich’s new movement is in contrast to his previous one and he aims to promote religious tolerance and peaceful cooperative living, in spite of the fact that ban on mosques minarets has gained a legal status.

He is vehemently opposed to the Minaret ban and is hoping to establish Switzerland’s fifth mosque and the most beautiful in Europe.

More at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Streich

Deen Show: The Christian Preachers son accepts ISLAM

This is the story of a Dr.Jerimiah who’s both parents were Christian preachers and how he came to know Islam as being the truth from God. As a Christian Dr. Jerimiah grew up in the Church and him and his family would go to the church almost ever day. He fasted, prayed and would try and memorize parts of the Bible and also observed the Sabbath as well. They stuck to the Bible literally in everything they did until he finally found Islam.

CNN: I’m a feminist, and I converted to Islam (Theresa Corbin)

CNN Editor’s note: Theresa Corbin is a writer living in New Orleans. She is the founder of Islamwich and a contributor to On Islam and Aquila Style. A version of this piece first appeared on CNN iReport.

(CNN) — I am a Muslim, but I wasn’t always. I converted to Islam in November 2001, two months after 9/11.

I was 21 and living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It was a bad time to be a Muslim. But after four years of studying, poking and prodding at world religions and their adherents, I decided to take the plunge.

Questions and answers

I am the product of a Creole Catholic and an Irish atheist. I grew up Catholic, then was agnostic, now I’m Muslim.

My journey to Islam began when I was about 15 years old in Mass and had questions about my faith. The answers from teachers and clergymen — don’t worry your pretty little head about it — didn’t satisfy me.

So I did what any red-blooded American would do: the opposite. I worried about it. For many years. I questioned the nature of religion, man and the universe.

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Theresa Corbin

After questioning everything I was taught to be true and digging through rhetoric, history and dogma, I found out about this strange thing called Islam. I learned that Islam is neither a culture nor a cult, nor could it be represented by one part of the world. I came to realize Islam is a world religion that teaches tolerance, justice and honor and promotes patience, modesty and balance.

As I studied the faith, I was surprised many of the tenants resonated with me. I was pleased to find that Islam teaches its adherents to honor all prophets, from Moses to Jesus to Mohammed, all of whom taught mankind to worship one God and to conduct ourselves with higher purpose.

I was drawn to Islam’s appeal to intellect and heartened by the prophet Mohammed’s quote, “The acquisition of knowledge is compulsory for every Muslim, whether male or female.”

I was astounded that science and rationality were embraced by Muslim thinkers such as Al-Khawarizmi, who invented algebra; Ibn Firnas, who developed the mechanics of flight before Leonardo DaVinci; and Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi, who is the father of modern surgery.

Here was a religion telling me to seek out answers and use my intellect to question the world around me.

Taking the plunge

It was 2001, and I had been putting off converting for a while. I feared what people would think but was utterly miserable. When 9/11 happened, the actions of the hijackers horrified me. But in its aftermath, I spent most of my time defending Muslims and their religion to people who were all too eager to paint a group of 1.6 billion people with one brush because of the actions of a few.

I was done being held hostage by the opinions of others. In defending Islam, I got over my fear and decided to join my brothers and sisters in the faith I believed in.

My family did not understand, but it wasn’t a surprise to them since I had been studying religion. Most were very concerned for my safety. Luckily, most of my friends were cool about it, and even curious to learn more.

The scarf

These days, I am a proud wearer of hijab. You can call it a scarf. My scarf does not tie my hands behind my back, and it is not a tool of oppression. It doesn’t prevent thoughts from entering my head and leaving my mouth. But I didn’t always know this.

Studying Islam didn’t immediately dispel all my cultural misconceptions. I had been raised on imagery of women in the East being treated like chattel by men who forced them to cover their bodies out of shame or a sense of ownership.

But when I asked a Muslim woman “Why do you wear that?”, her answer was obvious and appealing: “To please God. To be recognized as a woman who is to be respected and not harassed. So that I can protect myself from the male gaze.”

Surprisingly, Islam turned out to be the religion that appealed to my feminist ideals.
Theresa Corbin

She explained how dressing modestly is a symbol to the world that a woman’s body is not meant for mass consumption or critique.

I still wasn’t convinced and replied, “Yeah, but women are like second class citizens in your faith?”

The very patient Muslim lady explained that, during a time when the Western world treated women like property, Islam taught that men and women were equal in the eyes of God. Islam made the woman’s consent to marriage mandatory and gave women the opportunity to inherit, own property, run businesses and participate in government.

She listed right after right that women in Islam held nearly 1,250 years before women’s lib was ever thought of in the West. Surprisingly, Islam turned out to be the religion that appealed to my feminist ideals.

Getting married

It might shock you to know that I had an arranged marriage. That doesn’t mean I was forced to marry my father’s first choice suitor, like Jasmine from “Aladdin.” Dad didn’t even have a say.

When I converted, it wasn’t a good time to be a Muslim. Feeling isolated, alienated and rejected by my own society pushed me to want to start a family of my own. Even before converting, I had always wanted a serious relationship but found few men looking for the same.

As a new Muslim, I knew there was a better way to look for love and a lifelong partnership. I decided that if I wanted a serious relationship, it was time to get serious about finding one. I wanted an arranged marriage.

I made a list of “30 Rock”-style deal breakers. I searched. I interviewed. I interrogated friends and families of prospects.

I decided I wanted to marry another convert, someone who had been where I was and wanted to go where I wanted to go. Thanks to parents of friends, I found my now-husband, a convert to Islam, in Mobile, Alabama, two hours from my New Orleans home. Twelve years later, we are living happily ever after.

Not every Muslim finds a mate in this manner, and I didn’t always see this for my life. But I am glad Islam afforded me this option.

Living in a post-9/11 world

I never had to give up my personality, American identity or culture to be a Muslim. I have, at times, had to give up on being treated with dignity.

I have been spat on, had eggs thrown at me and been cursed at from passing cars. And I have felt terror when the mosque I attended in Savannah, Georgia, was first shot at, then burned down.

In August 2012, I moved back home to New Orleans, where being different is the norm. I finally felt safe — for a while. But now, with the continuous news coverage of the un-Islamic group known as ISIS, I have been subjected to much of the same treatment I received in other cities. And I now feel less safe than I ever have.

It enrages me to know there are some who call themselves Muslims and who distort and misappropriate Islam for political gains.

It weighs on me knowing that millions of my countrymen see only these images as a representative of my religion. It is unbearable to know that I am passionately hated for my beliefs, when those hating me don’t even know what my beliefs are.

In my journey to Islam, I came to learn that Muslims come in all shapes, sizes, attitudes, ethnicities, cultures and nationalities. I came to know that Islam teaches disagreement and that shouldn’t lead to disrespect, as most Muslims want peace.

Most of all, I have faith that my fellow Americans can rise above fear and hatred and come to learn the same.

 

Source: http://edition.cnn.com/2014/10/14/opinion/muslim-convert-irpt/index.html

Why I embraced Islam by MARYAM JAMEELAH

Why I embraced Islam

MARYUM JAMEELAH (formerly Margret Marcus)

I trace the beginning of my interest in Islam when as a child of ten , while attending a reformed Jewish “Sunday School” , I became fascinated with the historical relationship between the Jews an the Arabs. From my Jewish textbooks, I learned that Abraham was the father of the Arabs as well as the Jews. I read how centuries later when in medieval Europe, Christian persecution made their lives intolerable, the Jews were welcomed in Muslim Spain and that it was the magnanimity if this same Arabic-Islamic civilization which stimulated Hebrew culture to reach its highest peak of achievement. Totally unaware of the true nature of Zionism, i naively thought that Jews were returning to Palestine to strengthen their close ties of kinship in religion and culture with their Semitic cousins. Together i believed that the Jews and Arabs would cooperate to attain another Golden Age of culture in the Middle East.

Despite my fascination with the study of Jewish history, I was extremely unhappy at the “Sunday School”. At this time i identified strongly with the Jewish people in Europe, then suffering a horrible fate under the Nazis and I was shocked that none of my class-fellows nor their parents took their religion seriously. During the services at the synagogue, the children used to read comic strips hidden in their prayer books and laugh to scorn at the rituals. The children were so noisy and disorderly that the teachers couldn’t discipline them and found it very difficult to conduct the classes. At home the atmosphere for religious observance was scarcely more congenial. My elder sister detested the “Sunday School” so much that my mother literally had to drag her out of bed in the mornings and she never went without the struggle of tears and hot words. Finally my parents were exhausted and let her quit. On the Jewish holy days instead of attending Synagogues and fasting on Yum Kipper, my sister and i were taken out of school to picnics and gay parties in fine restaurants. When my sister and i were convinced our parents how miserable we were both at the Sunday School they joined agnostic, humanist organization known as the ETHICAL CULTURE MOVEMENT.

The Ethical Culture Movement was founded late in the 19th century by Felix Adler. While studying for the rabbinate, Felix Adler grew convinced that devotion to ethical values as relative and man-made, regarding and supernaturalism or theology as irrelevant, constituted the only religion fit for the modern world. I attended the Ethical Culture “Sunday School” each week from the age of eleven until i graduated at fifteen. Here i grew into complete accord with the ideas of the movement ad regarded all traditional, organized religions with scorn.

Throughout my adolescence i remained under the influence of humanistic philosophy until, after i began to mature intellectually and atheism no longer satisfied me, I began a renewed search for my identity. For a time i joined a bahai group in New York called the “The caravan of East and West” under the leadership of a persian by the name of Mirza Ahmed Sohrab (D.1958) who told me that he had been the secretary of Abdul Baha, one of the founders of the Bahai. Initially i was attracted to the Bahai because of its Islamic origin and its preaching about the oneness of the mankind, but when I discovered how miserably they had failed to implement this ideal, I left them a year later bitterly disillusioned. When i was eighteen years old, I became a member of the local branch of the religious Zionist youth movement known as the Mizrachi Hatzair, but when i found out what the real nature of Zionism was, which made hostility between Jews and Arabs irreconcilable, I left several months later in disgust. When I was twenty and a student in New York University , one of my elective courses was “Judaism in Islam”. My professor, Rabbi Abraham Issac Katsh, the head of the Department of Hebrew Studies there, he spared no efforts to convince his students — all Jews many of whom aspired to become Rabbis– that Islam was derived from Judaism. Our textbook, written by him * took each verse from the Quran , painstakingly tracing it to its alleged Jewish source. Although his real aim was to prove to his students the superiority of Judaism over Islam, he convinced me diametrically the opposite. I was repelled by the sub-ordination of the Hereafter, so vividly ported in the Holy Quran, to the alleged divine right of the Jews to Palestine. The Jewish God in the Old Testament and in the Jewish prayer book appeared to me distorted and degraded into some kind of real estate agent ! The fusion of Parochial nationalism with religion, I thought had spiritually impoverished Judaism beyond redemption. The rigid exclusiveness of Judaism I felt had a great deal of connection with the persecutions the Jews have suffered throughout their history. I reflected that perhaps these tragedies wouldn’t have happened if the jews had competed vigorously with other faiths for converts. I soon discovered that Zionism was merely a combination of the racist, tribalistic Judaism with modern secular nationalism. Zionism was further discredited in my eyes when i learnt that few if any of the leaders of the Zionism were observant Jews and that perhaps nowhere is orthodox, traditional Judaism regarded with such intense contempt as in Israel. When i found nearly all important Jewish leaders in America uncritical supporters of Zionism who felt not the slightest twinge of conscience because of the terrible injustice inflicted on the Palestinian Arabs, i could no longer consider myself a Jew at heart.

One morning in November 1954, Professor Katsh during his lecture, argued with irrefutable logic that the monotheism taught my Moses (PBUH) and the Divine laws related to him at Sinai were indispensable as the basis for all higher ethical values.If morals were purely man-made as the Ethical Culture and other agnostic and atheistic philosophies taught then they could be changed at will according to mere whim, convenience or circumstance. The result would be utter chaos leading to individual and collective ruin. Belief in the Hereafter as the Rabbis in the Talmud taught, argued Prof. Katsh. was not mere wishful thinking but a moral necessity. Only those he said who firmly believed that each of us will be summoned by God on judgment Day to render a complete account of our life and rewarded or punished accordingly, will possess the self-discipline to sacrifice transitory pleasures and endure hardships and sacrifice to attain lasting good. While Prof. Katsh was lecturing thus, i was comparing in my mind what i had read in the Old Testament and the Talmud with what was taught in the Quran and Hadith and finding Judaism so defective , I was converted to Islam.

Although i wanted to become a Muslim as far back as in 1954, my family managed to argue me out of it. I was warned that Islam would complicate my life because it is not like Judaism and Christianity, part of the American scene. I was told that Islam would alienate me from my family and isolate me from the community. At that time my faith wasn’t sufficiently strong to withstand these pressures. Partly as the result of my inner turmoil, I became so ill that i had to discontinue college long before it was any time for me to graduate so that i never earned any diploma. For the next two years i remained at home under private medical care, steadily growing worse. in desperation from 1957-1959, my parents confined me both to private and public hospitals where i vowed that if i ever recovered sufficiently to be discharged i would embrace Islam.

After i was allowed to return home, I investigated all the opportunities to meet Muslims in New York City and it was my good fortune to make the acquaintance of some of the finest men and women anyone could ever hope to meet. I also began to write articles for Muslim magazines and carry on an extensive correspondence with Muslim leaders all over the world. I corresponded with the late Sheikh Abrahimi, the leader of the ulema in Algeria, Dr, Muhammad El-Bahay of Al-Azhar, Dr. Mahmud F Hoballah , then the director of the Islamic center in Washington D.C., Dr. Hameedullah of Paris, Dr. Said Ramadan, the director of the islamic center of Geneva, and Maulana Sayyid Abul Ala Maudoodi.

Even before i formally embraced Islam, i found the integrity of the faith in the contemporary world greatly threatened by the so-called modernist movement which aimed at adulterating its teachings with man-made philosophies and reforms. I was convinced that had these modernizes had their way , nothing of the original would be left ! As a child I had witnessed with my own eyes in my own family how the liberals had mutilated what had once been a Divinely revealed faith. Having been born a Jew and reared in a Jewish family ,i had seen how futile was the attempt to reconcile religion with atheistic environment. “Reformed Judaism” not only failed to check the cultural assimilation of the Jews i knew but actively encouraged the process. As a result they had become Jews by label only. None had any religion worthy of the name. Throughout my childhood, the intellectual dishonesty, hypocrisy and superficiality of “reformed” Judaism was a vivid experience. Even at that early age i knew that such a watered down, half-hearted compromise could never hope to retain the loyalty of its members, much less their children. How dismayed i was when i found among the muslims, the same threat! How shocked i was when i found certain scholars and some political leaders within the Muslim community guilty of the identical sins for which the God in our Holy Quran has vehemently denounced the Jews! Convinced that God wouldn’t spare us from calamity and doom us to the same fate the Jews have suffered unless we sincerely repented and changed our ways, I vowed that i would devote all my literary struggle to combating this menace from within before it was too late.

Thus in his first letter to me of January 1961, Maulana Maudoodi wrote:

“While i was scanning your essays. I felt as if i were reading my very own ideas. i hope your feeling will be the same when you have the opportunity to learn Urdu and study my books. And that despite the fact there has been no previous acquaintance between you and me, this mutual sympathy and unanimity in thought has resulted directly from the fact that both of us have derived our inspiration from one and the same source– Islam ”

Source: Quoted from her book “Islam and Modernism”