Peace to Ummah...from Brazil!

By Sarah de Andrade Siqueira


I have always kept interest in the Muslim world; it passed to me a sense of peace. On the Brazilian Educative TV I watched a documentary about the life in some Muslim country. Those mystery women dressed in those beautiful long clothes and veils raised my curiosity. When a Muslim woman mentioned that it is not a matter of culture only but that her religion was a complete way of life (Deen), I wanted to know more.

The idea of a religion ruling all aspects of humankind’ way of life is not common where I live, not to mention having anything to do with economy, politics and social issues.

I decided to look into Islam. My first question was: How could I do this? No books were available at my University or in the bookshops.

1999 I earned my Bachelors degree in Languages. It was a moment that brought tears in my eyes, because my beloved family always did a lot of efforts to provide me with the best education they could, despite of our humble life. The present my parents chose to give me upon that was a computer. They saved long months to be able to pay for the gift they thought would enable me pursue a career. When I saw those big boxes in my room I felt such gratitude to them.

Now I could access the Internet and be able know more about Islam. I was surfing on the web looking for information when I came across Yusuf Islam’s (formerly Cat Stevens) website. After I read about his journey to Islam and how a famous pop star could give up the great world of music and find his certainty on the straight path. He chose Islam as a way of life based on pure love, charity, humbleness and the submission to the one and only God. When I listened to Yusuf’s lecture named “One God, One Community” my appreciation for Islam became greater than before. Since that day I have been studying Islam with an eager will to learn about the pillars of Islamic faith and way of life as well.

When I had a blessed opportunity to read the Holy Qur’an which narrates with scientific accuracy the development of the baby in mother’s womb, since his first moments of life; I have decided to embrace Islam. Beyond this, I also have to say that the submission to only one God and the complete way of life established by Allah through his last Prophet Muhammad had touched my heart.

During my “web Islamic research” I have met in an Arab chat room some Muslim friends, who helped me a lot in my journey to Islam, Alhamdulilah. The one I met first was a Sudanese Muslim student, who taught me my first words in Arabic language and always was by my side (with the famous web instant messengers), despite our distance, to solve my doubts in respect of Muslim women issues. The other one was a brother from Egypt, who was amazed with my path to Islam and gave me a blessed help shipping to me the Holy Qur’an (a bilingual version in English and Arab), the prayer carpet, books about Islam and even Hijabs, to allow me to practice the beautiful and honored concept of Islamic Modesty. My parents, are Christian, however they never opposed my religious choice-God bless them.

I thought there were no Islamic Centers in my Brazilian city. All websites about Islam I had visited were not Brazilian either and few of those I’ve found in Portuguese refer to Islamic Societies far away from my home. Hence, Allah and my Sudanese sister were my witness that I had embraced Islam.

After sometime, Alhamdulilah I have found an Islamic website developed by a Brazilian sister, who gave me the brilliant information that there was a small, but very serious and lovely Muslim Society in my hometown. She introduced me to The Imam and sisters there. It was a beautiful moment of my life, to get know a part of our Ummah in the city I was born and live in.

My mum is now considering converting to Islam. May Allah show her the right path. The last thing I would like to say from the bottom of my heart is:

“Ash Hadu Anlaa Illa Allah wa Ash Hadu Muhamadan Rasululah”

May Allah bless our Ummah!

Dedicating A Life To God

By Ælfwine Acelas Mischler


The Prophet’s Companion that I identify most with is Salman Al-Farisi. He grew up as the son of a wealthy man in Persia and was a devotee of fire until he overheard some Christians worship. When he wanted to join their religion, his father imprisoned him, but he managed to escape and travel to Syria to become Christian. He worked as the servant of various bishops and holy men in order to learn the religion. Finally, one of them told him to seek the final prophet in the city of palm trees (Madinah). Salman sold all he had to join a caravan headed to Madinah, but the caravan betrayed him and sold him as a slave. He did eventually reach Madinah. There he heard of a new prophet arriving. His last mentor had told him of the signs to seek in the prophet, and when Salman saw those signs in Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), he immediately joined Islam.

My own journey to Islam is nowhere as dramatic or difficult. I did not actually travel in search of the truth. But I felt at one time-when I no longer believed in Christianity but had not yet found Islam-as if I was in a boat adrift, not knowing which way to go, where to find God (Allah). I wanted to know Him but I was lost. I understand Salman’s search. And, like him, once I knew the truth, I embraced it.

I grew up in a large Roman Catholic family and attended Catholic schools for twelve years. As a child I wanted to be close to God, though I could never talk about this or other personal matters with my family. For many years, even through my first year of college, I wanted to dedicate my life to God as a nun, either as a teacher or missionary to foreign countries.

As a teenager I was active in my parish. I played guitar at the folk Mass, was a lector at services, helped count the weekly collection, and taught weekly religious education classes for three years. But all the while I was having doubts about my religion.

I know that my doubts first started when I was about 11, and when I was 12 I didn’t want to be confirmed because of my doubts. I said that I didn’t believe in God, but I didn’t really doubt His existence-I never did-but I was beginning to doubt what the Church was telling me about Him. But at that time I couldn’t express all that, and for many years I don’t think I had a clear idea of just what I disliked or doubted. I think a lot of it was instinctual, “at the gut level”, rather than rational.

In high school, I continued to have doubts on and off. At that time I was particularly concerned with Right and Wrong and found it confusing that I could get such different answers from two priests who represented the same Church. One would tell us that there was an objective law that had to be followed while another would take a humanistic approach and say that moral issues were relative.

It was during my first semester of college that I recall having my first clear idea of what I disliked about Christianity. I briefly joined an evangelical organization. I didn’t know what “evangelical” meant, but I wanted to join a Christian group. This organization takes the Bible very literally and they believe that you have to accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior or you will be damned to hell. I went with them as an observer on one “mission” to talk with students in their dormitory.

But when I asked these evangelicals what would happen if a person never heard the message but was a morally good person, their answer was that they were damned. I couldn’t accept that God could be so unjust, and so I left them at the end of only one semester. Years later when I was asking about Islam, that was one of my first questions.

Two years later I took an introduction to cultural anthropology course. It made me see whites (my own race) in a different light. I saw what a lot of damage they had done to the world in spreading their religion and culture and I even felt ashamed of being white (but never expressed it to anyone). I remember asking my favorite priest about it: what right did Christians have to do so? His answer didn’t satisfy me and it was the last I saw him. That was January of ’77. (After I became Muslim I stopped identifying myself as white. I am Muslim before all else.)

During the seven years I took to complete my bachelor’s degree, I tried attending Catholic Masses at different places where the services were geared towards young adults with different music or gimmicks. I also attended a Pentecostal service once-this is where people often “speak in tongues”-with other Catholic young adults. It seemed that to be close to God you had to keep on an emotional high, but I couldn’t maintain that intensity of feeling. I think more doubts came in with the emotional lows.

The last time I attended Mass was New Year’s Day 1978, and I walked out in the middle. The confusion and doubts I felt were giving me abdominal pains.

I remained agnostic, believing in God’s existence but not believing in revelation. I thought that God had created the world and then gone on permanent vacation. I knew from a course in college that the Old Testament had been written and pieced together over centuries and so doubted its truth. Everyone had a different idea of Christianity, of who would be saved. And of course there were Buddhists, Hindus, etc. If everyone had a different idea of what was the truth, I reasoned that there was no truth. (Now I know that there is one truth, but that some people have distorted it.)

I knew there was only one God, but I didn’t know Him. Every now and then I would pray for guidance. Not often, but I wanted to know Him if possible.

It never occurred to me to look into Islam at that time, probably because of what we had been taught about it in social studies. We learned the Five Pillars of Islam, that Muslims don’t eat pork, drink alcohol, or gamble, that they can have four wives, and that Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) wrote the Qur’an based on stories he had learned from Christians he met in his travels. Al-Hamduilillah (all praise be to God) that I didn’t look into it at that time, because the only books I would have found would have been written by non-Muslims and full of lies and distortions.

So I drifted for four years. I became interested in Islam during my third semester of a two-year master’s degree program. I was teaching English composition to undergraduate international students. Most of them were Muslim, most from Malaysia. Two young Malaysian men in my class were very outgoing and started talking to me about their country and a bit about Islam. I have always enjoyed learning about other cultures and religions, so I found it very interesting.

A few weeks later I was in a bookstore and saw a translation of the Qur’an and bought it. It was a translation published by Oxford University, done by a Jew who had re-ordered the surahs and said in the introduction that it was written by Muhammad. But it was the only one I found and I was curious. I knew that I’d probably have Muslim students later in my career (I was getting my masters in Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and I wanted to know what they believed.

If anyone had told me then that I would end up becoming a Muslim and even wearing hijab, I would have laughed. It was the farthest thing from my mind. I only wanted to understand my students better.

But God has His ways. On November 14, 1981, I started reading the translation of the Qur’an. The first time I read the translation of Al-Fatihah I heard a voice in me say, “Believe in Me.” “Who is this?” I asked. “Is it Jesus, or the Christian concept of God, or the Muslim concept of God, or the devil?” The more I read, the more disturbed I became, wondering if this was true. Yet I couldn’t stop reading for several days until finally I had to call one of those Malaysian guys and ask him about it. “But I don’t believe in revelation!” I said. “But maybe this is a sign that it’s real,” he replied.

I kept reading and then I started asking them questions. One thing that impressed me was that when they didn’t know an answer, they didn’t make one up as the Christians had. They said, “We don’t know and we can’t answer because if we say something wrong we’ll be in trouble with Allah (God). You have to ask someone who knows more.” After a few days I had to say, “Show me someone who knows more.”

So I called one of the two Saudi doctoral students who were serving as the imams in that town. He had me to his house (with his wife there, of course) and answered my questions-I even asked about how to pray-and lent me books. Unfortunately, I couldn’t keep the books and I didn’t think to record their titles and authors.

One of my first questions was about what happens to someone who never hears the message of Islam. His answer was that we are all born with an innate knowledge of God and if we are honest with ourselves and look at creation, we will acknowledge the Creator, so even if someone never hears of Islam, he has the chance to be saved. That seemed fair.

Another question was why women receive half the amount of inheritance as men. When he explained that they don’t have to spend that money on their support, it seemed fair.

The books I read, and also what these two friends told me, showed me that Islam was not just a belief and a few prayers, but that it was a whole system, social, political, economic, et cetera. That, I think, was the main attraction of Islam for me. All the pieces fit together and made sense.

So I kept reading. Within a short time I knew that I would become a Muslim, but I wasn’t ready to commit myself yet. I had to know a lot about it, to know what I was getting myself into. Within a month, there were only a few questions remaining in my mind.

I remember phoning my little brother on December 13 and telling him that I wanted to join a non-Christian religion and asking him how to tell Mom and Dad when I went home at Christmas. He asked why I was attracted to Islam. I remember telling him that it was logical, all the pieces fit, that there was no priesthood, no mediators to God, that the scriptures remained as they were originally revealed. He wisely suggested that I should not commit myself yet but drop hints about it when I was home.

But the next morning, when I started reading before going to the university, I found the book I had opened had two chapters on the very questions that were remaining: jihad and slavery. I read from 6:30 to 8:00 and when I closed the book at 8:00 I just said, “Yeah.” I knew that I was a Muslim, but it was nearly an hour before I could actually bring myself to say the Shahadah (testimony of faith) aloud, as if saying it aloud made it something I couldn’t go back on.

So on December 14, 1981 at 8:00 a.m. I became a Muslim. I went to the mosque at noontime and talked to a Malaysian student who was a sort of secretary there and was told to come back at Maghrib (sunset) to testify in public. “What! I have to say it in public?!” I was so excited and nervous.

But I have never doubted Islam since then. And I will say that there are only two decisions in my whole life that I never regretted: changing my name to Ælfwine in 1978 and accepting Islam in 1981-although I’ve always felt that I didn’t really decide to be a Muslim. I didn’t have to debate whether or not to accept Islam once I had all the information I needed. It just came, it was natural, it couldn’t be held back.

During that month that I was learning about Islam, my Malaysian friends told me not to judge Islam by what Muslims do because they are not perfect, but to judge it by the Book. That advice has served me well over the years.

And I’ve always remembered the words that a Malaysian sister said to me on that night that I reverted to Islam. She told me, “The words you have just said are ‘I bear witness that there is no god but Allah (God)…’ not just ‘There is no god but Allah (God)…’ And you bear witness by everything you say and do: how you dress, how you walk, how you talk, how you eat, what you eat, et cetera.” I’ve tried to live by that advice.

And over the years I have come to appreciate Islam more and more. I really appreciate that the Qur’an has not been altered, that the hadiths (traditions of the Prophet) are available in books, that a person can go to the sources of the religion. He or she has to learn Arabic to read them all (not all have been translated and we take translations with a grain of salt), but they are available in bookstores throughout the Muslim world, not locked away in some Vatican-like library. I was taught early on that whenever anyone told me something was halal (lawful) or haram (unlawful), I should ask for the source of that, so having the sources available is of great value to us Muslims.

Another thing I have come to appreciate is that we Muslims schedule our lives around the prayers. I can remember in high school and college that the main topic at dinner on Friday was which Mass we each were going to go to on the weekend, according to our other plans. A Muslim puts the prayers first and schedules things around them, not the other way around.

It wasn’t until I was Muslim (and only gradually) that I came to understand God’s majesty and that as the Creator He has the right to make laws for us. The Church seemed to focus so much on the human nature of Jesus (assuming he had a dual nature) that it brought God down to our level. I can’t do that as a Muslim. I recognize my right place in the universe.

As a young adult I kept looking for some sort of “religious experience”, an ecstasy. As a Muslim I don’t seek those emotional highs. Islam is much more stable. Being close to God doesn’t mean having an ecstasy but remembering Him in everything you say and do, remembering Him frequently throughout the day. And I have tried to dedicate my life to God, though in a different way than I imagined doing so as a child. When possible I’ve worked for Islam, in schools, publishing houses, web sites and non-government organizations (NGOs).

Salman Al-Farisi’s last Christian teacher told him signs by which he would recognize the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). And once he saw those signs, he accepted Islam immediately. I wasn’t given any such signs, and I had to do a lot of reading to know what it was I was accepting. But once I had all the answers, I accepted Islam right away. I can’t say that I’m anywhere near as good as Salman was, but like him (and many others), I found the Truth after a long search.

The One And Only

Diane Charles Breslin - Ph.D.

When I am asked how I became a Muslim I always reply that I always felt myself to be a believer in the ONE AND ONLY, yet I first realized what that meant when I heard about a religion called Islam, and a book called Qur’an.

But let me first start with a brief synopsis of my American overwhelmingly traditional Irish Catholic background.

Catholic I was Indeed

My dad left the seminary after a three-year stint to train as a missionary. He was the oldest of thirteen children, all born and raised in the Boston area. Two of his sisters became nuns, as was his aunt on his mother’s side. My dad’s younger brother was also in the seminary and quit after 9 years, just before taking his final vows. My grandmother would wake at dawn to dress and climb the hill to the local church for early morning mass while the rest of the house was sleeping. I remember her as being a very stern, kind, fair strong woman, and rather deep, unusual for those days. I’m certain she never heard mention of Islam, and may Allah judge her as to the beliefs she held in her heart. Many who never heard of Islam pray to the One by instinct although they have inherited labels of various denominations from their ancestors.

I was enrolled in a Catholic nursery school at the age of four and spent the next 12 years of my life surrounded by heavy doses of trinity indoctrination. Crosses were everywhere, all day long - on the nuns themselves, on the walls of the classroom, in church which we attended almost daily, and in almost every room of my house. Not to mention the statues and holy pictures - everywhere you looked there was baby Jesus and his mother Mary - sometimes happy, sometimes sad, yet always classically white and Anglo featured. Various and sundry angels and saints pictures would make their appearances, depending on the holyday approaching.

I have vivid memories picking lilacs and lilies of the valley from our yard to make bouquets which I placed in the vase at the base of the largest Mother Mary statue in the upstairs hallway next to my bedroom. There I would kneel and pray, enjoying the pleasant scent of the freshly picked flowers and serenely contemplating on how lovely was Mary’s long flowing chestnut hair. I can unequivocally state that I never once prayed TO HER or felt that she had any powers to help me. The same was true when I would hold my rosary beads at night in bed. I repeated the ritual supplications of the Our Father and the Hail Mary and the Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, all the while looking upward and saying with my true heart—I know its only You, one almighty You-I’m just saying this stuff because it’s all I ever learned.

On my twelfth birthday my mom gave me a Bible. As Catholics we were not encouraged to read anything except our Baltimore Catechism, sanctioned by the Vatican. Any comparative introspection was denied and disparaged. Yet I fervently read, seeking to know what I hoped would be a story from and about my creator. I got even more confused. This book was obviously the work of men, convoluted and difficult to grasp. Yet, once again, that’s all that was available.

My prior faithful church attendance dropped off in my mid teens as was the norm for my generation, and by the time I reached my twenties I had basically no formal religion. I read a lot on Buddhism, Hinduism and even tried out the local Baptist church for a few months. They were not enough to hold my attention, the former too exotic and the latter too provincial. Yet all thru the years of not formally practicing, a day never passed when I didn’t “talk to god” especially as I fell asleep I would always say thanks for all my blessings and seek help for any problems I was experiencing. It was always the same certain ONE AND ONLY whom I was addressing, sure He was listening and confident of His love and care. No one ever taught me anything about this; it was pure instinct.

The Others

It was in my preparation for my master’s degree that I first heard of the Qur’an. Up until then, as most Americans, I knew only of “the Arabs” as mysterious, dark predators out to plunder our civilization. Islam was never mentioned-only the surly, dirty Arabs, camels and tents in the desert. As a child in religion class I often wondered who were the other people? Jesus walked in Caana and Galilee and Nazareth but he had blue eyes—who were the other people? I had a sense that there was a missing link somewhere. In 1967 during the Arab-Israeli war we all got our first glimpse of the other people, and they were clearly viewed by most as the enemy. But for me, I liked them, and for no apparent reason. I cannot to this day explain it except to now realize that they were my Muslim brothers.

I was about 35 when I read my first page of Qur’an. I opened it with the intention of a casual browse to get acquainted with the religion of the inhabitants of the region I was majoring in for my Master’s Degree. Allah caused the book to fall open to Surat al-Mu’minun (The Believers) verses 52-54:

{Verily, this your nation is one nation and I am your Lord so keep your duty to Me. But they broke up their command into sects, each one rejoicing in its belief. So leave them in their error until a time}. (Qur’an, Al-Mu’minun, 52-54)

From the first reading I knew that this was certain truth- clear and forceful, revealing the essence of all humanity and verifying all I had studied as a History major. Humanity’s pathetic rejection of the truth, their unceasing vain competition to be special and their neglectfulness of the purpose for their very existence all set forward in a few words. Nation states, nationalities, cultures, languages- all feeling superior when in fact all these identities mask the only reality which we ought to rejoice in sharing- that is to serve one master, THE ONE Who created everything and Who owns everything.

I Still Love Jesus and Mary

As a child I used to say the phrase “Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen” found in the prayer “Hail Mary”. I now see how much Mary has been maligned by the misrepresentation of her as the mother of the godhead. It is quite enough to view her as chosen above all women to bear the great prophet Jesus by the Virgin Birth. My mom would often defend her constant pleas for Mary’s help by explaining that she too was a mother and understood a mother’s sorrows. It would be far more useful for my mom and all others to contemplate how the most pure Mary was slandered by the Jews of her time and accused of a most despicable sin, that of fornication. Mary bore all of this, knowing that she would be vindicated by the Almighty, and that she would be given the strength to bear all of their calumnies.

This recognition of Mary’s faith and trust in Allah’s mercy will allow one to recognize her most exalted position among women, and at the same time remove the slander of calling her the mother of god which is an even worse accusation than that of the Jews of her time. As a Muslim you may love Mary and Jesus, but to love Allah more will gain you the Paradise, as He is the One whose rules you must obey. He will judge you on a day when no one else can help you. He created you, and Jesus, and his blessed mother Mary as He created Muhammad. All died or will die-Allah never dies.

Jesus (`Isa in Arabic) never once claimed to be the godhead. Rather, he repeatedly referred to himself as being sent. As I look back on the confusion I experienced in my youth, its root lay in the church’s claim that Jesus was more than he himself admitted. The church fathers formulated a doctrine to invent the concept of Trinity. It is this confused rendering of the original Torah and Injil [Gospel] (scriptures given to Moses and Jesus) which is at the core of the issue of Trinity.

In honest fact it is enough to simply state that Jesus was a prophet, yes, a messenger who came with the word of the One Who sent him. If we view Jesus in this correct light, it’s easy to then accept Muhammad as his younger brother who came with the very same mission- to call all to the worship of the Almighty ONE, Who created everything and to whom we shall all return. It is of no consequence whatsoever to debate their physical features. Arab, Jew, Caucausian, blue or brown eyes, long or short hair -all totally irrelevant as to their importance as bearers of the message. Whenever I think of Jesus now, after knowing about Islam, I feel that connectedness which one feels in a happy family -a family of believers. You see Jesus was a “Muslim”, one who submits to his Lord above.

The first of the “Ten Commandments” state:

1. I am the lord thy god, thou shalt not have false gods before me.

2. Thou shalt not take the name of the lord thy god in vain.

Anyone who knows the correct meaning of “la ilah ila Allah” (there is no god but Allah) will immediately recognize the similarity in this testimony. Then we can really start to bring together the real story of all the prophets and put an end to the distortions.

{And they said the Most Merciful has taken a son. Indeed you have brought forth a terrible evil thing. Whereby the heavens are almost torn, and the earth split asunder, and the mountains fall in ruins}. (Qur’an, Maryam (Mary) 88-90)

My Journey to Islam

It took three full years of my searching and studying Qur’an before I was ready to proclaim that I wanted to be a Muslim. Of course I feared the changes in clothing and habits such as dating and drinking to which I had become accustomed. Music and dancing were a big part of my life, and bikinis and mini skirts were my claim to fame. All the while I had no chance to encounter any Muslims as there were none in my area except a few immigrants who could barely speak English an hour’s drive away at the only mosque in the state at that time. When I would go to Friday Prayer, to try and check out what I was considering, I would receive furtive glances as I was perhaps suspected of being a spy as was the case, and still is, in most Islamic gatherings. There was not a single Muslim American available to help me and, as I said, all the immigrant population were rather chilly to say the least.

In the midst of this phase of my life, my dad died of cancer. I was at his bedside and literally witnessed the angel of death remove his soul. He was gripped by fear as tears rolled down his cheeks. A life of luxury, yachts, country clubs, expensive cars years for both him and mom, all a result of interest income, and now its all over.

I felt a sudden desire to enter Islam quickly, while there was still time, and to change my ways and not to continue blindly seeking what I had been raised to believe to be the good life. Shortly thereafter I came to Egypt and involved a long slow journey through the miracle of the Arabic language and the discovery of the clear truth -Allah is One, the Everlasting Eternal; Who never was born or gave birth and there is nothing at all like Him.

It is also the resulting equality between humans that attracted me most to that religion. The Prophet Muhammad said that people are like teeth of a comb -all equal- the best being the most pious. In Qur’an we are told that the best are the pious ones. Piety involves love of and fear of Allah alone. Yet before you can really be pious you must learn who Allah is. And to know Him is to love Him. I started learning Arabic to read the word of Allah in Arabic as it was revealed.

Learning Qur’an has changed every facet of my life. I no longer wish to have any earthly luxuries, neither cars nor clothes nor trips can lure me into that web of vain desires which I was so caught up in before. I do enjoy a fairly good life of a believer but as they say… it is no longer embedded in the heart...only at hand. I don’t fear the loss of my former friends or relatives -if Allah chooses to bring them close then so be it, but I know that Allah gives me exactly what I need, no more- no less. I don’t feel anxious or sad anymore, nor do I feel regret at what has passed me by. Because I’m safe in the care of Allah -THE ONE AND ONLY whom I always knew but didn’t know His name.

A Prayer For America

I pray to Almighty Allah to allow each and every American the opportunity to receive the message of Tawhid (Oneness of Allah (God)) in a simple, straightforward fashion. America is not Satan, nor are most of its inhabitants “Kafirs” (covering the truth while knowing it) as so many try to claim. Americans are for the most part grossly uninformed in regards to correct Islamic theology. The stress is almost always on politics, which focuses on the deeds of men. Its high time we concentrated on the deeds of the prophets who all came to lead us out of the darkness and into the light. There is no doubt that darkness is prevailing in the malaise affecting America now. The light of truth will serve us all, and whether or not one chooses to follow the Islamic path, there is no doubt that the blocking of it or the hindering of others from following it will surely lead to further misery. I care very much for the healthy future of my country, and I’m quite certain that learning more about Islam will enhance the chances of my hopes being fulfilled.