Essay, 3 pages (750 words)

Religion interview

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Religion Interview As part of the work we were required to do, I had been able to get in touch with an American friend whom I had known for some years, but who moved away with her family to settle in another country. We had kept in touch by email and online chat, and from this I found out that she had changed her religion only two years ago. We had really never discussed her religion on a deeper level, because I felt she wanted her privacy and I did not want her to feel she had to explain herself or her choices to her friends.
For this assignment, though, I am glad that she had granted me a chance to interview her and ask about very personal things. It happened that she decided to convert from her Baptist faith to Islam, at first because she fell in love with a Muslim boy, and he wanted her to join him in his faith. At first she felt uncomfortable with it, but because she loved him she decided to try it out. She doubted at the time that it would come to a point where she would be convinced to change religions. All she wanted to do was to understand her boyfriend better.
At this point, my friend Amber (my friend) explained that she had to move away with her family to a Muslim country, Kuwait, mainly because the family had a chance to be together with their father. Amber’s dad worked as an executive with a Kuwaiti petroleum company. Kuwait is not an exceedingly strict Muslim country, and women could go about in Western clothing and without a veil, as long as they observed modesty and simplicity. Amber never felt any antipathy towards Muslims, although she did feel a cultural gap particularly in the observance of the holidays, such as Ramadan and Eidl Fitr. She just regarded Islam as something separate and distant from her, and had it not been for her boyfriend, she would not have any interest in reading the Quran, or in studying the tenets of this religion which she had always regarded as foreign to her.
As it happened, Amber was surprised to find out that much of what Islam was teaching were principles she felt she had no trouble agreeing with. Islam taught moderation in living, doing what is right and just to others, and above all to worship the one true God, the Creator of all that exists. For a while she had struggled with the nature of Jesus Christ, who in Christianity is the Son of God, but in Islam is one among God’s holy prophets. In Islam, the Ultimate Reality is the singularity of the one true God. “ The name ‘ Allah’ itself means ‘ The’ (‘ al-‘) ‘ God’ (‘-llah’), and that this name is drawn also from ‘ Elohim,’ the Hebrew name for God,” Amber explained. “ I was amazed at how a Muslim is entirely consumed for love of God, praying five times a day to Him.” On the day of judgement, it is believed that the righteous will be rewarded by Him in Paradise.
Amber and her family have since returned to the States. I asked Amber what it is she would want to tell anybody about her faith. Amber stressed that she wished people would come to see Islam as a benevolent and enlightened religion. Unfortunately, Islam has been identified with the violent fundamentalists, and Muslims are suspiciously regarded as terrorists. “ This is very unfair,” Amber says, “ because when people learn that I have converted to Islam, they either suspect me of being brainwashed, or feel that I am a traitor. I feel so prejudged, in my own country!”
Amber said that she has decided to embrace the Islamic faith not because she was forced by her boyfriend (who, by the way, is no longer her boyfriend), but that she genuinely believed in it. What she wished above all was that her parents would learn to accept her in her new faith. For the last five years, their relationship had been strained because they felt that by turning her back on her faith, she had turned her back on her family, particularly her parent. She knows, however, that they love her very much, and are trying to come to terms with their feelings about this. She trusts that eventually, they will come to completely accept her as she is. On that day, Amber wistfully says, her happiness will be complete, because she loves her parents very much.

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