As the Muslim community in Australia faces its toughest scrutiny, hundreds of men and women like Mashalla Fogg are turning their backs on Christianity either by marriage or conversion.
A Saturday Daily Telegraph investigation over seven weeks has found that just one Muslim association in Lakemba has overseen almost 500 conversions of non-Middle Eastern people in just three years.
Two-thirds are women? Choosing to don the veil for Allah.
They have helped propel the rapid growth in our Muslim population, up from 200,885 at the 1996 census to 281,578 today.
While this 40 per cent increase comes largely from immigration, it is also due to women such as single mother of three Mashalla Fogg.
Her long search for peace ended when she converted along with her three children.
The softly spoken nurse packed up her children and left the Hunter Valley two years ago to move to Lakemba. Now she wears the the hijab and abayah and smiles as she describes the joy Islam has given her and her children once known as Blade, Kayla and Jessica and now called Bilal, Amatullah and Yassmine.
"My mother is C of E and my father Catholic so I grew up exposed to both religions, but Islam is the first that has given me all the answers I have sought for such a long time," the 31-year-old said.
"Christianity never added up and Islam just did."
Yassmine, 10, began wearing the hijab a week before her mother and said she was odd one out at school when not wearing it.
For the past seven weeks The Saturday Daily Telegraph has been investigating why so many young Australians are turning to Islam when it is the most feared and scrutinized faith in the world.
Most new Muslims come from Christian backgrounds and have been ostracized by their families, while others fear to identify publicly for fear of being labeled terrorists.
Said Kanawati from the Australian New Muslim Association who runs the introduction to Islam classes said new converts were introduced by school friends, work colleagues and neighbors.
The Qantas engineer and father of three said average Australians had little understanding of Islam and he believes Muslims can never fully integrate into this society.
"We can watch the rugby, but not in a pub surrounded by alcohol and we can go to the beach but our women cannot wear bikinis," he said.
Islam is the fastest-growing religion with estimates of about 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide.
Source: The Daily Telegraph
Please visit www.nzmuslim.net website for info and contacts of the Muslim community in New Zealand.
May this help.
For once an article that is not filled with the author's own opinions, it outlined the feelings and thoughts of some Muslims and the reason why they converted, or reverted.
One issue that should be clarified is the comment by Said Kanawati, "...we can go to the beach but our women cannot wear bikinis ..." While Muslims can go to the beach, it is not recommended if there are women running around in bikinis for either the man or women to go to the beach.
Mr. Kanawati comment "...Muslims can never fully integrate into this society." Is true, because we should not participate or be in areas that have been deemed wrong or off limits for the Muslim by either the Quran or the Sunnah.
J. Bernal, Calif. Hispanic Revert
Nothing besides the creator Allah is more than the prophet Muhammad (not Mohammed) SAW. Therefore nobody searches for any thing greater than anything, we search for the truth, and the truth Brother is that the Imamuz-zaman, the Wali, the Mahdi etc all bow down to Allah using the final message of submission as delivered to all of us, by the greater than ALL creations our nabiyy, our sayyid, the noble prophet Muhammad SAW.
Iza ja'a nasurullahi wal fath.... Let's follow the way of the prophet and do tasbih to Allah for his mercies and blessings, may He continue to guide us unto that path that is straight to Himself, ameen.
Christianity, Judiasm and other religions also speak of the truth, that there is one God. Isn't this a sort of a Miracle.
Are people searching for something more than Moses, something more than Jesus, something more than the last Prophet Mohammed Rasul-Allah. Are they searching for the Wali ? Are they searching for the Mahdi ?
Asalamualaika Ya Imam-uz-Zaman
This article is quite a window on the world and its interaction with Islam. It is one more testimony that people are embracing Islam as a religion of peace, a way of life, and a way of understanding the world in its true sense. Islam with its view of Judaism and Christianity has always had a positive impact on those who have decided to convert. It is the promise of the Almighty Allah that Islam will make its way through the hearts of humanity. It is the only religion which tackles life's issues from so many angles with its analysis of the other Divine religions (Judaism and Christianity) that many of those converts always conclude by saying, "This is exactly what I have been waiting for for so long and, therefore, I feel at peace with my existence under a Bigger Power called Allah, our Creator."
Thank you for the article.
God bless you all.
It is sad that Muslims especially get the "bad rap". This is mainly due to how the media reports acts or terror. The media will say and write things such as, "And the Mulsim extremists have done this bad thing or terrible acts". Or things like, "The Muslim Hezbollah has claimed this or that..." People that have no true knowledge or understanding of Islam will therefore associate Islam with terror.
As a recent convert to Islam from being a Protestant Christian I know how easy it can be to be mislead and to become judgmental. I think that the answer to this lack of understanding is to offer Diversity and Community Relations classes for all Junior High and Hish School aged children so that they can have an opportunity to get out and meet the different cultures and religious people within their community. I took such a class in my community college and what a wonderful eye-opener to a better life-that of true understanding of humanity. I think everyone should take the class if for nothing else, a fun class of learning.
Really now, only God can judge and yet this too seems problematic. Too many people thinking that their way is the only way (I know because I was thinking like this when I was a Christian and that you went to my church or you were following false God and were doomed to hell) anyway, you were of the same faith or you were a bad person. Too many people out there making judgments upon others. For true peace between people there needs to be an understanding. Also another potential solution-people need to concentrate on their own personal union with God-or Goddesses or whatever-to just find peace for themselves in their chosen faith. Really, it matters not what religion, race, ethnicity, financial status, male or female whatever, we all have same needs of food, clothing, shelter and the giving and receiving of love and acceptance. The same sun shines upon us all. I wish for everyone there be peace. Asasalamu Aleikum