If you are reading this blog, thank you for taking the time out of what is surely a busy life to listen to an individual ramble on about themselves and a life changing experience. Much like graduating from school, switching jobs, or even breaking-up with a partner, the process of converting to a new faith, especially one contentious in the current socio-political environment of the United States, is not without moments of bewilderment and alienation. These situations, particularly the last one, however, are not to be viewed as something to shy away from; rather, through them we grow a bit wiser hopefully and realize that we are not alone in our emotions. It is the last situation, my process of conversion into Islam from Christianity, is what I intend to devote this blog to documenting as my spiritual practices evolve.
Although there are plenty of other white converts who have spoken openly about their experiences, I hope to offer a different take on American Islam, one that retains elements of my American upbringing in a middle-class, suburban family and is melded with influences from various Muslim cultures thanks to a variety of experiences. Whereas many of my fellow white converts feel the need to be “more Muslim” than the brothers and sisters born into the faith, perhaps as a means of “proving” themselves, I feel like such a course of action is unsustainable and problematic. For me, being Muslim and what initially attracted me was more about the sense of community that, in theory and sometimes in practice, transcends class, racially, and cultural based discrimination among adherents. These same principles resemble the ideals that I was exposed to in alternative environment, that of hardcore punk music. Religion and punk, go figure that two seemingly diametrically opposed philosophies share a similar ethos? I am sure people in both camps would fight me on that observation, but for me it is clear and has allowed me an opportunity to find peace post-conversion and avoid the radicalism displayed by some fellow white, young male converts to Islam.
With all of that being said, it is my hope that this blog will accomplish a few different things, depending on who is reading it. For family and friends, I hope my writings reveal a side of me that is sometimes hidden under the JCrew shirt and tie combinations or clean-cut look, that of a Muslim punk. Likewise, for Muslim brothers and sisters, this blog will hopefully show how I am attempting to balance “Western” and “Muslim” ideals, practices, etc. I have had my missteps and have emotionally hurt some people while trying to figure out how to best find peace, all of which I wish to somehow learn something from ultimately. So if you are willing to let me meander a bit and unpack almost four years of life experiences for the first time in writing, then al-hamdulilah.