My image of Islam was shattered when I went to Malaysia. I found myself becoming curious about the pretty South-East Asian Muslim girls with their colourful hijabs and clothes. I made many Muslim friends who went to university and had jobs. Some wore veils and others didn’t. They all seemed quite content and loved their religion and Islam quickly became a religion I wanted to learn more about.
My eyes and mind were opened, when, as a journalism student, I did an article about Muslim women’s rights. That was the beginning of everything. My mind was suddenly bursting with knowledge about Islam and the fact that women had many rights in Islam! Muslim women were legally given rights (including divorce, land rights, monetary rights, the right to choose who to marry, etc) in the Qur’an and Hadiths hundreds of years before Western women won the same rights.
The first time I stepped into a mosque in Malaysia, I felt an immediate sense of calm and peace. The strong yet humble cry of the call to prayer invoked feelings in me I never felt before. When I first bowed my head toward the Ka’ba, I felt home in my heart. I didn’t convert to Islam in Malaysia – I did that over a year later – but it introduced me in a beautiful way to Islam and to the Oneness of God.
One can only wonder what moral, social, cultural and personal qualities are lacking that one could ever embrace Islamism.