Many thanks to Ayesha & Asma Ahmad and the George Mason University MSA for inviting several Muslim converts including me to speak about our experiences for their Conver(t)sations event in early March.
My Journey to Islam: The Mormons helped me become Muslim
Converts need support because without a real understanding of their relationship with God they can easily fall out of Islam even if they have the external Muslim “name” and “look.”
Avoid using the word “kafir” or its plural “kuffar” in the pejorative sense to refer to all non-Muslims. It’s hurtful for us to hear our families, friends, and loved ones denigrated in that manner by other Muslims. I prefer to use people of other faiths or “poofis” as I once heard Imam Johari Abdul Malik say.
Side Note: I cringe like most people when I hear my recorded voice, part of that is a natural shyness and part of that is from being criticized for not sounding “black” enough when I was younger. I can definitely empathize with Jordan Shumate, a high school student rebuked by his teacher for not reading a poem by Langston Hughes in a “blacker” manner.
The topic of race and racism amongst Muslims deserves a talk by itself. Four years ago, during the previous presidential election, I tried to work out some issues relating to being seen as both authentically black and Muslim here and here.