By Amira Al-Shariff
Oct 27, 2005 - Vol.VIII Issue 43
SANA’A - The number of foreigners who come to Yemen to convert to Islam is increasing, according to Abdul-Karim Al-Kohali, the Media Director of the Cultural Center for Foreigners’ Call. He said that 120 foreigners have converted to Islam from the center in the past two years alone.
He said increasing numbers of people decide to convert to Islam as they believe being a Muslim results in a meaningful life. The center helps prepare foreigners to convert to Islam, providing lessons on the Holy Qur’an, Arabic and the Islamic way of life.
Mohammed Abdullah, an American at the center, says he decided to convert after reading the Holy Qur’an. "I converted to Islam, after I had completed studies of my own religion, Christianity, and found many areas to be missing," he said. "So I began to ask a brother in Alaska about Islam, and became convinced that Allah (Subhanhu wa Ta’ala) is the one guide. He gave me the Holy Qur’an and I read it. Then I converted to Islam."
Haron, a convert also from America, said he became interested in Islam after talking to a friend when in prison. "I got into trouble and was sent to jail, where I made a friend who was a Muslim. He told me the positive things about Muslims, as well as telling me that having a girlfriend was not allowed. I thought about Islam, making comparisons between the Bible and the Qur’an and the differences between Christians and Muslims. Slowly I came to believe that the arguments I read in the Holy Qur’an were right." Haron says that being a Muslim has taught him exactly how he should conduct his life. "It told me what to do to be a good person. I had read stories in the Bible but it never taught me why I have to be good," he said. "But the Qur’an told me exactly what to do to be a good person. It also taught me about how I should act towards my wife and in business."
Naeem Harry, also from America, says he decided to convert to Islam while playing basketball. "I embraced Islam when I was in college playing basketball. I used to memorize the Bible, but sometimes I found I had difficulties in understanding parts because I thought there were contradictions. I would ask my preacher if it was a mistake, but he said I just had to believe. It made me question many parts of my life." It was then Naeem started to turn Islam instead. "I started studying the Holy Qur’an and converted to Islam. What amazed me about Holy Qur’an is that any question a person has, the answer is in the Holy Qur’an," he says. "That was the main reason that encouraged me to convert to Islam. One of the other things that amazed me in my college was that Muslims didn’t have mosque to pray in. Instead they prayed in the snow. I asked why they did so, and one replied that it was their duty to pray together. He gave me a book about monotheism, and I read it three or four times in a month. After that I told him I wanted to be a Muslim."
"I remember watching a TV debate between Muslims and Christians," Naeem continues, "where a man called Ahmed called people to Allah (Subhanhu wa Ta’ala) and said Islam had an answer to every question. One member of the audience asked him what answer Islam gave to what God was going to do with all the excess women in the world. He replied that because in Islam men can marry more than one woman, that was is one way to solve the problem." His friend Waseem, from the United Kingdom, converted to Islam four years ago. "When I was teenager I spent time in prison, where I heard about Islam," he said. "It made me think, and I decided I needed to follow it. Now I thank God who gave me this religion and changed my life, as I believe a life without Islam is meaningless."
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