Saturday, May 29, 2010


Hello and Happy Saturday Everyone!

First up, I want to thank Casey Kochmer for his post last week. I think he did a great job, thanks for sharing Casey!
This week we have a new post. Please welcome Ange.
Ange is a Muslim convert and has a very interesting post that I know you will enjoy!

Here Is Ange's Introduction:

Name: Ange
I am a 25 year old Australian woman who was brought up with an Irish Catholic background but eventually converted to Islam after discovering the similarities between Islam and Christianity and believing Islam was the more complete continuation of my belief as a Christian. I work as a teacher and am married to a Muslim man whom I met six months after I had converted. I have a few blogs that I manage in my spare non-working time:
A hijab blog (Islamic Fashion):
A lifestyle blog of my thoughts and experiences:
A silly novel thing I am currently writing:

1) What religion do you practice?
I am a Muslim.

2) Did you convert or were you born into this religion? If you converted, what did you need to do to convert? And what did you practice prior to converting?
I am a convert to Islam. Since birth I was a Roman Catholic but wasn't very involved with it, hardly ever thought about God and never went to Church. I didn't really fully believe in it.
To convert to Islam I didn't really "need to do" anything except to have a strong belief in it. Once you have that and are ready to convert you have to declare your shahada in front of some Muslim witnesses - saying you believe in Allah/God and that Muhammed is his messenger.

3) Would you consider yourself a moderate, conservative or other.
Hmmm... I am probably somewhere in between moderate and conservative – though that is open to interpretation. I am practicing but I seek to be in the middle ground. I don't think it is right to be over-the-top strict about it or to be lazy about it and be Muslim in name only and not in deed. Islam is supposed to make our lives easy and not a burden so the middle ground is the right way for me.

4) In your opinion, what makes you moderate/conservative/other?
It is all subjective really. We all have different standards of what constitutes being moderate, conservative, etc. They are just labels that don’t actually mean anything in regards to our beliefs.

5) What's your heaven/paradise like?
Gardens. Bliss. Peace. The way it sh
ould be.

6) In your opinion, does everyone make it into heaven/paradise? If they do not, why?
No. It all goes back to good vs evil. You do good deeds then you get rewarded. You do bad deeds you get punished.

7) What makes your religion a good fit for you?
Well being Catholic I always found little holes here and there - the trinity for example. I could not wrap my head around it and no one could answer the questions I had regarding it. Plus, knowing the history of the Catholic Church and its beginnings I knew Catholicism had a lot of inventions into it - such as the trinity - which Jesus himself never spoke about. A lot of things didn't sit well for me even though I still believed in the basis of it.
Then, without looking for religion, Islam came along and nicely plugged up all the holes I had doubt in. It seemed to be a continuation of Christianity yet was a more truthful one - one I could make more sense of. Muslims believed in Abraham, Moses, Jesus; etc - so I felt like it was a continuation of my belief as a Christian.

8) What are your holy days and what do you do to celebrate them?
The main ones are our two Eid days and the month long fasting of Ramadan. For any Muslim Eid usually involves a get-together of some kind, congregational prayer and lots and lots of food.

9) Do you consider people of other faiths to be your friends?
Yes. My whole family is Catholic and a few of my friends are as well although most of my friends now are actually Christian reverts to Islam. I don’t believe that religious beliefs should dictate who you are or are not friends with. There are some Muslims I don’t get along well with and some people of other faiths who I get along very well with.

10) Would you ever join people of another faith to celebrate one of their holy days? Please explain why?
I would join them but not to celebrate in the sense that they would because then I would be straying from my religion. But if someone was being baptised or so on and I was invited then I would witness it. To me we are all celebrating and worshipping God - just through different paths. And I love interfaith activities. Even now I am always reading about Judaism and Christianity because I love that our paths are so similar. We believe in pretty much the same prophets - give or take a couple - and have similar ideas of God and how to worship him.

11) What are your thoughts on the burka, and Shariah Law?
The burka is just a type of head covering - we have many different kinds and in fact I don't know anyone who wears the burka. The burka is basically the type of covering typically seen coming from Afghani related news stories. Most women wear the hijab which allows full exposure of the face and a few choose to wear the niqab - which allows only exposure of the eyes. My interpretation is that the hijab is the compulsory covering and thats what it comes down to – interpretation of the rule in the Quran, supported by the Hadith (sayings and rules of the Prophet Muhammed – peace be upon him).
As a non-Muslim I thought all Muslim women must be so oppressed because they were forced to cover blah blah blah - but when you read about it and understand the reasons behind you come to realise its actually a deterrent. I have never been forced to wear it – it was all my own choice as I saw it as another outlet to physically worhip and obey God.
I don't get hit on, I don't have men whistling in the street or looking me up and down like a piece of meat because to them some part of my body is attractive. The whole point of it is to take our sexuality away from the eyes of people who it doesn't belong to. It belongs to your husband and not to some man you pass in the street who likes the look of you in a mini skirt. It guards our physical modesty and forces people to take you for the woman you are and not the body you have.

Regarding the Sharia Law - I believe in it. To an outsider or someone who hasn't studied it - it is easy to say "Sharia Law is barbaric and harsh" but when you learn about it you understand it and see its merit. It is all about making society good and preventing the types of acts and behaviour that can destroy society. For example - cutting off the hand of someone caught stealing will of course seem harsh - but if you know that this is the certain punishment for that crime than you will be greatly deterred from committing that act because you don’t want to undergo that kind of punishment.

In some ways I think it is fairer than the current Western system we have now where someone can take an innocent's life and only get 15 - 20 years imprisonment. Is that all another person's life is worth?

At the same time I understand Sharia Law is only for Muslims and do not see it ever coming into practice in mainstream Western countries. Even the so-called “Islamic” countries of today do not practice it truthfully. I think some countries try to but either go way over the top and or do not implement it at all.

Sharia Law compliments the lifestyle and beliefs of practicing Muslims and is there to guide us in what is wrong and right for us based on our religion.

12) What are your thoughts on women not being allowed to become priests?

I think whether we like it or not - men are the natural leaders. Of course there are circumstances and times where women have stepped forward to be the community leader but the majority of the time men have been. I think it is natural for them to step up. That is why all prophets to my knowledge have been men, the vast majority of world leaders are men and the same with religious leaders, etc. Of course us women can get the job done just as well, but God made us with certain natural roles and responsibilities and being the leader usually falls upon the man - no matter what the issue is.

13) Does your place of worship segregate? If yes, how does this make you feel?

When we pray we are. The men pray at the front and the women pray at the back - with or without a screen. It doesn't bother me and I actually prefer it because we are very physically active when we pray and there is a lot of bending - bums in the air kinda positions - I wouldn't be comfortable doing that in front of men. I don't think any woman would.
Actually most of the time we are segregated but I get comfort in that. It stops the whole “I have to look good because the men will be there” thing that I experienced as growing up as a non-Muslim.

14) How much does your religion affect your daily life and how much thought do you give it when making a decision? Does it affect in any way your decision on abortion, gay marriage, etc?
Everything in our day goes according to Islam. We pray five times a day at appointed times, we say "Bismillah" (in the name of God) before we eat or do something, we pray a certain prayer when we are trying to make a decision, we eat certain foods, we dress a certain way, etc. I feel more involved in my religion because of all the daily rituals we need to do.
And yes - it does affect my decision on abortions, gay marriage, etc - although the way I feel about those two issues hasn't changed at all - regardless of religion. I have always believed that it is not natural to kill and not natural to be in a sexual relationship with someone of the same sex. My religion has only supported my beliefs.

15) How would you react/feel if your child wished to marry outside your religion?
Of course I would prefer that they married a Muslim but at the same time their life is their life and they are in charge of it. I went against what my parents had in mind for my future by becoming a Muslim and marrying a Muslim man six months after I had converted. They were upset but eventually accepting of the fact that I made my own decision regarding my life as an adult so I guess it would be hypocritical of me to be unaccepting if my child did the same.
In the end - despite what we want - we have to realise people make their own lives and we can't do anything except continue to love and care for them and be respectful of that.

16) In your opinion, if someone is not of your faith, will they go to hell?
No. We go to hell/heaven based on each of our own deeds. Muslims can go to hell or heaven, just the same as everybody else.

17) Who do you think is not a practicing Muslim in your religion and why? ie who in the public domain claims to speak for your religion? Do you agree with them or not?
Someone who isn't a practicing Muslim is someone who doesn't pray. It is the main aspect of worship for us and if you don't do it then how can you be called a Muslim?
I don't think there is a certain someone or group of people who speak for our religion. Religion is a personal thing between one person and God, so I have never been comfortable with someone else stating that they represent me because we all have different experiences of God.

18) Have you ever been the target of a hate crime? Please explain.
I have had people of my own race give me bad looks, say nasty things, etc all because I wear a piece of fabric on my head – that is the only thing that separates us. I even had one guy try to tackle me down in the street. He was drunk, screamed out something stupid about terrorists and then proceeded to barge me down with his shoulder - but I saw it coming as soon as I saw his face and quickly side-stepped him. It left me wondering “who is the real terrorist? The Muslim woman walking peacefully down the street, minding her own business or the drunk guy screaming out insults and trying to physically attack a woman he doesn’t know?”
I also recently had two men say derogatory things about me while I was sitting in my parked car and then walk away but I followed them into a cafe and yelled at them in front of the other customers; confronting them about their behaviour.
Some people have their own issues and can be really rude - especially when it goes unprovoked.
I think a lot of people don't bother to understand a religion and prefer to live in uneducated ignorance which then naturally turns to distrust and fear - thus them acting out like this.

19) Do you ever feel like your religion devalues you?
No. I actually feel more valued as a human being and a woman. Islam gives me so many rights as a woman and as a wife. For example in Islam I don't have to work - it is my husband's responsibility to provide everything for me (no matter who earns the most money) and if I do choose to work (which I do) then every cent I earn is mine to keep and can not be spent on the house bills and what not unless I choose to do so.

20) Does your religion give you peace of mind?

21) Do you believe in reincarnation? Why or why not?
No. Once we die we are buried and that is it. We are in God's hands (so to speak) after that.

And just to add – if any of your readers wanted to ask me any private questions about my beliefs then they are free to email me at


  1. "There are some Muslims I don’t get along well with and some people of other faiths who I get along very well with."

    I couldn't have said that better myself (substituting "Pagan" for "Muslim")!

    I also want to say that I checked out the hijab blog. I like seeing different styles of clothing and so I always like seeing the different hijabs some women wear where I live, and I think it's neat to find a blog that's dedicated to hijabs. :)

  2. What a wonderful post! Thank you for sharing your beliefs with us! I have an American friend who lives in Saudi with her husband and children and takes a lot of flack for following certain rules there - which she does voluntarily to be respectful of the culture and her husband. She hasn't converted, but her children have been raised Muslim and they are awesome kids. I really enjoyed reading this!

  3. great post,nice answers,true to your belief,close to readers(my) heart.
    jazakallah khair

  4. Excellent! You couldn't have said it better :D

  5. hm i liked what you said I would disagree with you on some parts but hey that's me.