Who would have thought a young black kid from a Christian family in New Jersey would ever grow up to be “The American Muslim”? Better yet, who would have thought a US Marine who watched the Towers fall and America get attacked, would then decide to convert to Islam?
These are things I often ponder as I look over my life…I definitely am one who believes God has a plan, but sometimes the plan you have to admit, is a little “weird”. 🙂 My life has taken many interesting turns, and true to the pattern, yet another interesting episode is developing.
As a new convert to Islam post 9/11….literally several weeks thereafter, true to the nature of the convert I was so zealous about my new faith that I began to immerse my self in debating Christians at every turn. I would debate just for the sake of debate and I used to get so happy just to win my arguments. I was so overjoyed when I could quote the Bible better, articulate Christian history, etc. and watch them fumble over their words. I had a great advantage: not only was I the grandson of a Pastor who raised me as a teen, but I used to be the “Christian’s Christian” going to Church often 4-5 days a week, lay ministering, conducting Bible Studies, etc… I used this to my advantage as a new Muslim and may God forgive me. The pleasure I sought in defeating your average Christians belief process was non-productive at best, and in retrospect, was one of the worst things I delighted in.
I eventually took this “message” to the internet, cruising chat rooms and eventually landing on several message boards. Thank God I finally got tired of debating Christians and began to focus on the internal issues concerning the Muslim world! Having changed my focus I began to look for ways to not only grow as a Muslim, but help other Muslims. I began to find my voice! This ultimately led me to not only debate “rogue” Muslim thought and practice, but to also be a staunch defender of Muslims like myself, who are constantly being lumped into baskets with those whom we have no affliation, except maybe our Arabic names and holding a Quran in our hands…
I decided that for me, my personal Jihad was the war of the hearts and minds on two fronts. It’s a war of ideas that if won, could ultimately lead to real peace in the world, God-willing. On one front, I have to confront my co-religionists and show them Islam and not what many are packaging as Islam, and on the other front, I have to confront my former co-religionists, fellow Americans, and other non-Muslims by highlighting the Islam I know and love, showing them Islam, and ensuring they all know the difference.
This is a great weight and burden I have taken upon myself and my family, but as I often ask myself “If not I, then whom?” There is no time like the present and why wait for others when you are fully capable? I never thought in a million years that at the age of 26, I would be headed down this path, but heh God works in mysterious ways.
So I left the chat room scene and I went for the static, engaging world of message boards, on one such board as one of like five or six Muslims out of 30,000 people total, I became know as Mujahid for my vigorous defense of Islam against the ignorant who will spit on my religion based off the actions of others. I kept this going for several years ensuring that I commented on every thread that ever mentioned “Muslim” or “Islam” and to my credit through Allah’s blessing and allowance I always presented clear and concise arguments that were true and as a result many gained new respect for Muslims and the number of “attack” threads soon dwindeled and then there were none. I learned a lot from this stage. It wasn’t my debate against other religions that changed minds and led some to Islam in the end, it was my debate for Islam that made the difference. I began to care less and less about what others believed so much so, that even today I rarely mention Christianity or anything else in debate. I began to focus solely on Islam and what it truely meant and teaches, vice what others Muslim and non-Muslims alike where proprageting. This ultimately led me to the blogosphere at the suggestion of many members on the message board, because here I can flesh out my raw thoughts like a journal and they will be here as long as I desire them, they truly are static. (Minus the ones I go back and edit once I realize how I bad I butchered the Queen’s English!)
Even still, the blog just wasn’t enough. At the suggestion of the “infamous” Dr. Blogstein, I began an online radio show “The American Muslim” which is in my opinion, one of the greatest ways for me to communicate to date. Which leads me to the actual reason of this post. Once again, I have to reflect within myself and strenghten my spirit to fight this Jihad. My Jihad has now led me to vocal debate on the air and who knows possibly TV someday. My most recent and spirited debate was against Brad Thor and Walid Shoebat or Dr. Blogsteins Radio Happy Hour Show, Tuesday, August 14. I came on at 60.30 on the timer. I believe I put up a vigorous and candid, clear argument agains what they presented against Muslims and Islam. Others felt the same way, but now it seems I have been called to once againd debate Walid Shoebat and we are now scheduled for a live moderated debate September 5th on blogtalkradio’s “The Halls of Valhalla” live at 8pm. I was a guest on this show August 22nd and I thought it went well, so I expect good things Wednesday.
I’m not a scholar or anything like that, just a 26 year old American Muslim who wants to Defend my religion and my Ummah. It’s not that Allah (swt) needs a defense, but something must be said because the reality is that our women and children will continue to be harrassed and our rights denied, until we gather the courage to do something about it. I just pray that through my efforts I can inspire the Ummah to do the same. I ask for your prayers and your support. I would like to thank all the readers of this blog and all the listeners of my show. Let’s see where God takes us!