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Concordia students tell of their conversion to Islam

By Sobia Virk, The Link, February 5 2002 CE


Walking serenely on her way to class, dressed in blue jeans and a sweater, blond hair tucked behind her ears, Kim Glithero does not stand out as a visible Muslim. Most of her friends are unaware of her conversion to Islam three months ago, and the second-year human relations student does not fit the typical notion of what a Muslim looks like.

Glithero is one of the several newly-converted Muslims at Concordia[1]. She recited shahada, a declaration of faith, in November 2001.

"I was nervous before saying it," she said. "I wanted to for a long time but was too shy. I finally declared faith and felt completely overwhelmed. Islam gave the concept of one God. It was easy to convert, I found a religion that fit what I already believed."

Her family took the news relatively well, she said, though her mother was upset and thus Glithero does not wear a hijab.

"I gave her Carol Anway's book, Daughters of Another Path and it helped," she said. The book tells the story of a mother's reaction to her daughter becoming a Muslim.

Islam, the fastest growing religion in the world, has 1.2 billion adherents worldwide. At Concordia, nine students have converted to Islam over the past four months.

In January 2002, a shy woman who wished to be identified only as "Ayesha" quietly embraced Islam. She has yet to reveal her faith to her family.

"I want to tell them about my decision slowly, but surely," the Mathematics student said. Only close friends know of her conversion, though her lifestyle has changed significantly. Ayesha has given up alcohol, eats Halal food and prays five times a day. She did not always believe in God, and feels to have been "given a second chance," she said. "I am in peace, and have no reason to worry."

Ewen Jones, a British-born Biology student who was once an atheist, echoed those sentiments. "I felt very much guided from the heart," he said. "I am a changed person."

Paola Ortiz, an International student from Colombia, read the Qu'ran at age 15.

"The Qu'ran speaks of embryonic development, cloud formations, and other recent scientific knowledge. It made sense," she said. The Psychology student became Muslim two weeks ago. "I felt very happy and at peace, but knew of the repercussions I would face in my family."

Ortiz comes from a Catholic background, but she struggled with the concept of Trinity. After becoming Muslim, she encountered dissent from her family.

"Spiritually I am different, but not in my day-to-day life," she said. "I am coming into the religion gradually." Prayer was a surprise to Ortiz.

"I went from going to church once a week to praying five times a day," she said. She does not envision herself wearing hijab though.

"Here, my culture influences my choice,"[2] said Ortiz.

Source: http://thelink.concordia.ca/article.pl?sid=02/02/05/0554215&mode=thread&threshold


[1] Concordia University is located in Montreal, Quebec (Canada)

[2] A clarification is necessary here. Hijab is the right of every Muslim woman, and an obligation upon her, regardless of her cultural background. For more information please read our articles about hijab


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