He set out to disprove a faith, woo a girl and now he loves both

Carlos Sandoval Bashair Alazadi

When they met at a 2007 Washington camp for scholarship winners, Bashair Alazadi was 16 and wore the traditional headscarf of all Muslim women. Carlos Sandoval was 17, Catholic and a smartass.

“I grew up in Tacoma, and I’d never seen a Muslim,” said Sandoval, a graduate of Mount Tahoma High School. “To me at the time — Arab, Islam, Muslim — it was all the same.” Born in Iraq, relocated with her family to Everett at age 4, Alazadi was used to questions about Islam. Especially after the events of Sept. 11, 2001. She wasn’t all that impressed with the depth of Sandoval’s inquiry.

“He asked why I wore the scarf,” she said. “He wanted to see my hair.”

The two stayed in touch — first by email, then telephone — and went to college together at Pacific Lutheran University.

A relationship that began as a challenge, Sandoval admitted, changed his life. “Initially, I hated Islam. I tried to convince her she’d been brainwashed, that her religion was oppressive,” he said. “I bought a Qur’an so I could read it and stump her with questions. The more I read, the more I learned, the more I came to appreciate Islam.” Read the rest of this entry »

Arnoud van Doorn embraces Islam

arnoud

Former leading member Arnoud van Doorn, of Dutch politician Geert Wilders’ anti-Islamic party who became Muslim, was recently in Madinah praying with the Muslims. He reverted to Islam after he studied it. He is now our brother in Islam! He is praying in the raudah area of the mosque!

Thus we are reminded:

“And the disbelievers planned, but Allah planned. And Allah is the best of planners.” (Qur’an 3:54)

Allahu Akbar!

American converts to Islam defy stereotypes

Despite a growing culture of Islamophobia in the United States, around 20,000 Americans convert to Islam every year. Many converts face discrimination in their everyday lives, but say they don’t regret their decision. In the nine years since 9/11, these converts have seen bans on Muslim religious clothing and racial profiling against Muslims at airports. They say the mainstream media doesn’t help portray a good image of converts and only reports on the small number of extremist radicals.