My Journey To Islam – Yvonne Ridley
Channel: Yusha Evans
File Size: 53.86MB
Surrey Islamic Society hosted an event entitled “My Journey to Islam” with Yvonne Ridley and Yusha Evans (Formerly known as Joshua Evans) as part of their Islamic Awareness Week 2011.
So, a very
warm welcome to the
brothers, sisters, friends, family alaikum.
journey to Islam began in the unlikely surrounds of an Afghan cell. When I was captured by the Taliban in September
2001, it was shortly after 911, the drums of war would be seen ever louder from Washington Britain, towards Kabul. And I was with 3000 other journalists in Pakistan. And
I decided that the best story to be had would be in Afghanistan, to speak to ordinary Afghan people about their hopes and fears and what life was like under the Taliban, I certainly didn't expect
my story to develop the way that it did. But I had sneaked into Afghanistan. I'd been there for two days. And I was heading back towards the border when a sequence of events happened, which ended up in my arrest by the most brutal evil regime in the world. At least, that's what george bush and Tony Blair told us, and they wouldn't lie to us, would they? So, there I was, arrested, having entered the country without a visa without a passport, no papers. And there, there I was captured by this regime, who I also understood, hated women. So I just thought, you know, I'm not going to get to see the sunset tonight.
I was taken to the Taliban headquarters, the intelligence headquarters in Jalalabad.
And I was asked to write down any details about my life that would prove that I was a journalist, because they frankly, weren't by in the fact that I was the chief reporter of the Sunday express the I decided that I was an American spy. And I was trying to disguise my American accent with this strange accent that I had. And I said, you know, we don't all talk like the queen.
And I told them, I come from the north of England. And then I said, it's like the tribal areas. And they quite like this idea. And I said, I come from a tribe called the jordiz.
were hated by the people in the south. And again, they quite like this idea. And they could identify with that.
But I had to write down as much as I could to try and prove to them that I was indeed a journalist.
As I say, I really didn't think that I would see the sunset that night. They say the biggest weapon of the oppressor is the oppressed mind. And I was truly terrified. I had bought into all of the propaganda about these people. I just thought there is no way that they are going to release me. They'll probably torture me first, and then they'll kill me I'll either be shot in the head in Kabul and in the soccer stadium or I'll be put an addiction and stoned I was convinced that
that this is what would happen to me. So on the grounds that you don't kiss the hand that sucks you. I decided to try and accelerate my demise because it's I don't know if anybody's ever been locked up before but you're not in control of your life. You're handing control over to somebody else, and that control is taken away. So I just wanted it to end because I was convinced that I was going to die anyway and sooner rather than later. So to bring about my demise, I decided to be the prisoner from hell.
much to my captors, surprise, I spotted them. I swore at them. I threw things at them.
I refused to eat the food.
And you would think that they couldn't really care less about this behavior. Except maybe it would give them an excuse just to shoot me or abuse me or just do something. But instead, they kept saying to me, Why are you behaving like this? You are our guest, we want you to be happy.
And I'm saying what is wrong with these people? What don't they understand about the job description of being brutal and evil.
And I just thought, it's a trick. They're trying to be nice to me. And as soon as, as I let my guard down, that's when the the torture will begin. That's when the electrodes will come out. That's when they will start burning me with cigarettes. And this is, this is what is going to happen. The fact that I went on hunger strike again, you wouldn't have thought would have bothered them. But every morning, noon and night, they would come into my cell, they would lay out a cloth with delicious smelling freshly baked flatbread. This was indeed torture, because it really smelled delicious. I'm salivating thinking about it now. And they would have some rice and some stew. And they would bring
in a jug of water in the bowl, and they would wash my hands. And they were telling me again that I was their guest, and they wanted me to eat. And I would say to them, can I use the telephone? And they would say no. And I would say, well take the food away. The third day, they even brought in the cook, a wissen little man with a really leathery, wrinkled face, he had one big black tooth in the middle of his mouth. And he couldn't speak English. But through the translator, the translator was saying, Tell this man, why you won't eat his food. And he's putting his hands out. And this great big tear came rolling down this heavily lined face. And they and there was the chef or the cook,
crying because I wouldn't eat his food. And I'm thinking what is going on with these, these people.
The doctor came later that day, I felt hungry, but otherwise fit and well. And he took my temperature check my eyes, my ears took my blood pressure. And I thought they do this don't they on death row in Texas for some bizarre reason. They're likely to be nice and fit and healthy before they flick the switch. And I thought this is what they're doing. This is my so that, you know, they say well, before we stoned her, she was really fit to live but there's something the other.
And there was something that bothered the doctor about my blood pressure. Well, I did suffer from high blood pressure. And I said to him, my blood pressure will be through the roof. I he trained in Europe, and he spoke a little bit of English and he said no, your blood pressure is normal. I said how can it be normal? I've been captured by the Taliban, it must be through the roof. And he took it again. And he said no look, and I looked at the monitor and my blood pressure was normal. I said there you go three days with the Taliban and you've cured my blood pressure. Thank you very much. The fourth day, the translator a young man called Hamid came running in to see me and he was very
excited. He said Look, you're famous. You're famous and they're on the front page of the equivalent of the Jalalabad bugle was this story with two pictures although pictures were banned. There were two pictures of me on the front page and headlines which went right the way down the paper in a tiny little bit of editorial at the bottom and I said you know what does the headlines say? And he said the headline says the Taliban have killed Yvonne Ridley's blood pressure and she's very happy.
Not the catchiest of headlines. But it was quite interesting. Nevertheless.
During those six days in Jalalabad, I was interviewed.
I wouldn't use the word interrogation, but I was questioned, at length every day by these really scary looking men. Now under the Taliban, the more pious and observant you are, the bigger the turban and these guys that came down from Kabul to interrogate me all had massive big black turbans and big black beards, and they would sit down cross legged on the on the floor.
I would sit opposite them and Hamid would
And these men would look at the ceiling, they would look at the carpet, they would look anywhere, but at me. And I thought, yes, this is a sure sign of their guilt, they've already decided that they're going to kill me. And they feel so guilty. They can't even look me in the eye. That's how shifty these guys are. When in fact, as I discovered later in their culture, they were showing me respect. Of course, being an arrogant and ignorant Westerner, I didn't recognize any of the signs.
The main questions that they were asking me in those early days was, who is your father? Who was your father's father?
And where do you work and who you employ by and general sort of questions. And I would write down
all the information they would require, Hamad would then translate it. And it was the same questions. Maybe even just an hour or so later, back to the same questions again, and it's so easy to do when you're telling the truth, which is what I was doing. But the one thing that I didn't know, was the first name of my grandfather, on my father's side. I only knew him as old man Ridley, apparently, you know, every family has its black sheep. And my grandfather on my father's side was it. And he was never, ever discussed only in reference, as old man Ridley Well, I didn't want to write that down. And I didn't want to make up a name either just in case, and you know believably,
they've managed to get hold of my grandfather's full name. So I just put down Mr. Ridley, and by the third or fourth day, they looked at this, and they said, What is the first name of your father's father?
And I said, I don't know. They recoiled in horror. And they talked amongst themselves and looked at me as though that found something nasty on the bottom of their shoes as though she doesn't know her father's father, what sort of woman is this? What sort of person can she be? And, and they seemed very taken by this and very fixated by the fact I didn't know my the name of my father's father, which is Incidentally, Joe. I do know, now, but I still don't know why he's the black sheep. So don't ask me.
But they were very fixated by these. These simple, what I thought were simple questions. And then on the fifth day, they came in to see me and I could tell that they were agitated, but they, they looked as though they knew something that I didn't know and,
and the lead one through Hamad, the translator said, You have lied to us. And I said, Everything I have told you is the truth.
And they said, you never told us you had a daughter. I said, you never asked me if I had a daughter. Another one said, but you said you weren't married. I said I'm not married. And another one slammed his fist down said well, how can you have a daughter?
And I just thought of all the single mothers in Britain today and what they would think and
and then I explained the concept of divorce in in,
in Britain, and but it was, it was quite a funny moment. They just couldn't get their heads around the fact that that I'd said I wasn't married, and that I didn't
and that I had a daughter. And then one of them asked, Why haven't you remarried? Why aren't you married almost accusingly.
And I said, I have my own job. I have my own money. I have my own car, I have my own home. Why on earth would I want a man and the translator gingerly translated this back. And they just all got up and walked out and disgust they were just couldn't you know, these Western women were even worse than anything that they could have imagined.
And all the time I'm playing this very sort of aggressive, loud mouth, vulgar woman and Hamid, the translator was saying to me for goodness sake, will you please be respectful these people terrify me and they should terrify you and want
They will take their anger out on me and not you for your angry words.
On the sixth day, Hammad came to see me and he was shaking with excitement. He said, You have a very important visitor.
And I said, well, who is that? He said, He's very high. He's very respected. Please, you must be respectful. Please don't shout, please don't say what you've said in the past, please be respectful. And I'm saying, well, who is this man? You know, it's Mullah Omar. And he's going, he's very high. And then I saw this, it's been laudon.
And he, he just said, Please just be respectful. And he went out. He returned a few minutes later, and there was a knock on the door. Although I was the prisoner, I had the key.
And so I unlocked the door.
I know I kept saying, you know, this is
they, they didn't live up to their job description. And so I unlocked the door, open the door, and they're standing in front of me was a man who made my blood run cold. For six days, I had answered their questions to the best of my ability. For six days, I had told the truth. And for six days, I had avoided the subject of religion. And there in front of me, was a religious cleric. Now everything I see in Afghanistan was dusty or torn or ripped. And there in front of me was a man who was wearing the most immaculate ivory gown. And unlike the Taliban, everything they wore was above the ankles, this man his feet were hidden, the gown went right down to the ground. And he had a big
ivory turban. He had a very light brown, modest beard, by Afghan standards and light brown eyes. And there was something else about him something that I had never seen anywhere before. He had a light on his face. But the light wasn't shining on him. It was shining out of him. And I didn't know what this was. And I'm thinking What is this? It really freaked me out, I now know this light, this natural light coming from him is called the new the natural light, which emanates from somebody who was particularly pious, and you can see these people with their shines on their face. I have seen it since but never to this degree and intensity. And as I say, I didn't know what it was. And it really
freaked me out. So I stood back and he walked in he while he glided, he was very elegant. He glided in and sat down, and I sat opposite him and hammered acted as the translator. And he said to me, what religion are you? And I thought, Oh, here we go. I said, I'm a Christian. And he said, Yes, but what sort of Christian?
Are you a Roman Catholic? Are you a Protestant? I said, I'm a Protestant from the Church of England. And he said, What do you think about Islam?
Well, what I knew about Islam, you could write on the back of a postage stamp. And all of that was a load of nonsense as it turned out. And he said, so what do you think of Islam? And I said, Oh, it's wonderful. It's absolutely fantastic. And then I then went off in praise of his faith, which I knew nothing about. And he had this smile on his face. And he said, Yes, Islam is a beautiful religion. Oh, I said, I couldn't agree more. And again, I went off in praise of this faith that I knew very little about.
And then he said, so you would like to convert? I thought he's trapped me. He's led me down this blind alley, and he struck me if I turn around and say, Yes, I'll join your club. Just give me the papers and I'll sign them and become a Muslim. He probably accused me of being an insincere, fickle woman, and he'll probably say, Take her away and tougher stoned. And then I thought, but if I turn around and say to him, I'm not interested in joining your religion, he will probably say, How dare you insult Islam, take her away and have a stone so I'm sitting there with white knuckles trying to think what am I going to say? And then I said to him, thank you so much for your kind offer, but I
can't possibly make such a life changing decision while I'm in prison. However, if you release me, I promise I will study Islam and read the Holy Quran when I get back to London.
And he smiled. And he didn't say anything else. And he got up and he glided out, and hammered. went running after him. And then Hammad returned a few minutes later. And he said, You're going, you're going home on a Red Crescent plane. Well, I punched the air and congratulated myself for having treated this cleric so cleverly, and within half an hour, I was on a truck bound for Kabul. But when we got there, we went straight past the airport and into what I can only describe as one of the grimmest Third World prisons that you can conjure up in your imagination. And I was taken into this, this prison. And I was telling them, you've made a big mistake. I'm from the Sunday Express, you
have to put me in a hotel, I don't stay in prisons, and they said, you were a very bad woman, you came to our country without a passport and visa and you must be punished. And they opened this cell door and I refuse to go in and I'm shouting and screaming at them and cursing them. And just then another cell door opened, and six women came out, all wearing scarfs. And one of them said to me, are you from the Red Cross?
And I said, No, but I said, You speak English. And she said, Well, I'm Australian, these two are American. And the other three are Germans. And I went, Oh, I've heard about you guys. You're the Christians who've been trying to convert Muslims. And they said, Well, that's what we've been accused of. But we're here working for a charity.
So they said, come into our cell and stay in our cell for the night. And we'll try and sort out this problem in the morning. And I just thought, Well, I haven't had female company for over six days, they speak my language. And if I ever get out of this hellhole, I'll have an even better story to tell. So I went into the cell with them. And I looked around and there was just concrete floors, bars at the window, some wafer thin mattresses and some rickety bunk beds that looked riddled with woodworm and I suddenly realized not only am I still in Afghanistan, not only am I not on a flight back home, but I'm deeper into the country than ever before. And I'm probably never going to get
out. And I finally broke down and started to cry. And like any nicotine addict, in a crisis, I reached for my cigarettes, although I had gone on hunger strike, I was still smoking and the Taliban supplied me with a pack of 200 American cigarettes. So I pulled out my cigarettes and was just about to light up. And I said to my six new companions, does anybody Mind if I smoke? And one of them said, Yes, this is a no smoking. So
I thought, How do I find the only no smoking cell in Asia? And what sort of Christians are they, they can see that I'm crying and upset? And another said, Look, if you must smoke, you can go outside into the courtyard and smoke. And I was about to walk away. And she said, we're going to have a meeting. And I said, a meeting? And she said, Yes, we have two meetings a day. And I'm looking around in this cell thinking, what do they talk about? What meetings
it's the escape committee.
They're planning an escape, and I'm looking for the stove that moves to one side, you know, where the tunnel is. And I'm wondering where they're throwing the soil and, and I said, Do you mind fine, stay for this meeting? And they said, Not at all. So I sat on the edge of this rickety bunk bed and the women's sat in a circle. And they pulled out Bibles. And one of them started reading very loudly from the Bible. And I'm thinking, What are they doing? They've been charged under Sharia law with trying to convert Muslims to Christianity.
And now they're reading from Bibles. Any minute now that cell door will fly open, those talents are going to come in with those whips with the metal at the end and we'll all get bitten a little bit collective responsibility. And I'm going to be roped into this and, and I'm sitting there as they're reading from the Bible. Of course, what I discovered later, is this in the Quran, it states
That Muslims must protect people of the book and allow them to worship freely. People have the book being Jews and Christians. And this is exactly what the Taliban were allowing these prisoners to do. But I didn't realize that I'm sitting there with my heart and my mouth waiting for them to come charging him
20 minutes after
reading, they then pulled out pieces of handwritten paper. And they then started singing now i said before I was a Christian, and
from the Church of England, I went to church, maybe twice a month, which is bordering on fanaticism in Britain, let's face it. And the hymns that we would sing would be quite somber Victorian songs or hymns. And these women started singing this sort of Southern Baptist style, hallelujah type songs with all this happy clapping and.
And so at that point, I went out into the courtyard, and I smoked three cigarettes of the trot and the singing is still going on. And then the zone or the call for prayer began in
on the other side of the wall, and I just thought, my family will think that I am going through an enduring the most horrendous torture.
And indeed, in some ways I am but not what they expect. I've got nothing Muslims on that side of the wall, and they've locked me up with these fundamentalist Christians. And I feel as though I'm trapped in a, in a,
in some sort of weird Andy Warhol movie.
After the rousing him singing session, they then started praying, and again, as a Christian, I was used to quiet contemplated
prayers led by a vicar or a priest. But this again, everybody was shouting in different directions and
almost indistinguishable. And I'm just thinking, How can he hear all of all of this and all these different cries and,
and that went on. So in total, these two meetings a day would go on for an hour.
And although I make light fun of the women, I still keep in touch with some of them, and their face undoubtedly got them through their ordeal, which went on much longer than nine.
It was the seventh of October. And I'll tell you why. I remember the date quite clearly in a minute, but it was the seventh of October 2001.
And I had been in prison now for about nine days, still on hunger strike, still refusing to see a civil word to anybody in a turban or a beard. And the
Taliban officers came in to see me and they said, I had a very important visitor, and it was the foreign minister and Mr. McCotter, who was the Taliban Foreign Minister? And he said, you know, we need to ask you a few questions, just a few more questions, and tomorrow, you will go home inshallah. I said, What is this inshallah you put on the end of every sentence? Because when you say it, it never happens.
Of course, I now know it means God willing, and
and there's a lot of truth and not, unfortunately, at times. And I said, I'm not answering any more questions. I've told you people before, I'm not eating your food. I'm not having anything to do with you. You don't like to take me away and shoot me, but just don't talk to me. And then I gave him a string of
Northern abuse, and rounded it all off with something I've never done in my life before. And I'm not particularly proud. I then turn round and spat at him.
I then went back into the cell. And one of the krisztian said, Did you just spit at the foreign minister of Afghanistan? And I said, I did.
And she said, you know, you really have pushed too far. And I said, I realized that and one of the female prison officers came in and she said to me, in past to the the girls understood what she was saying and translated, and they said that I was going to be whipped for abusing the foreign minister in this way. Of course, by this time, I'm beginning to curse my big mouth.
The bulletin The head is one thing but being whipped to something else. It sounds much longer and torturous. So I'm standing there shaking and cursing myself for having done this.
And we heard the gates go for the prison about 15 minutes later. And one of the girls the American girl has a came running in and she said Mr Afghani, who was the right hand man of the foreign minister, I used to call him the smiling assassin. She said, Mr. Afghanis come in. He's going to whip you and I stood there and two of the Christians jumped down and grabbed my clothes and went Oh, Lord Jesus, don't let Yvonne feel any pain and I'm standing there thinking, you know, goes you're not making me feel any better at all with all this. And then the door swung open. And the smiling assassin, as I called him, walked in. And he had in his hand, the one thing that I wanted the one
thing that I'd gone on hunger strike for originally, he had in his hand, a telephone, a satellite telephone. And he theatrically marched around the sell parade in this telephone. And he said to the Christians, you can all bring home, every one of you can bring home, you can bring your loved ones, your mother's, your father's, your brothers, your sisters, you can bring all your friends on this phone, everybody apart from her, the English woman, she's a very bad woman, and she must be punished.
And that is how they decided to punish me. And I have to say it was quite effective, because while I was pleased for my cellmates, I looked at the total joy in their faces as they spoke to their family for the first time since their arrest in the August. So by this time, we're into October.
And they were obviously overjoyed. And then one of the German girls went to the smiling assassin and said, Please, please let Yvonne ring home, you know, which was her daughter's birthday yesterday. He said, I can't she really is a very bad woman, and she has to be punished. And so as I say, that's how the most evil brutal regime in the world decided to punish me.
Earlier in the day,
I had decided to do some washing. And the you you sort of got the water out of this hand crank pump, and the water would come out and there was no hot water. And I had a pumice stone, which I'd seen and heard about them and seen them in museums. And there I was actually using one to wash my clothes. And then I hung my clothes upon the washing line. And the prison governor,
a man with the biggest black turban I've ever seen, and a big black beard came running into the courtyard. And he said, remove, and I said this is my washing, and it's drying in the sun.
He said cover it.
I said, you stupid man. You've obviously never done the washing in your life. How on earth will it dry if it's covered.
And he was shaking with rage at this point. And he said, cover those and he threw his head so dramatically. One way I thought he was going to tilt over and fall over. And he went like that, and I followed the line of his hand. And he was pointing to my underwear. Well, without going into too much detail. We're not talking salacious, Lacy little numbers here. We're talking big comfortable Bridget Jones style underwear. The sisters know what I'm talking about. And he said remove those. And I said, No. If you don't like them, you remove them. And I thought he was going to implode on the spot. And he went away. And he came back with the smiling assassin and the foreign minister of
Afghanistan. And they set about trying to persuade me to remove my washing from the washing line.
I said this is the female prison. This is the female courtyard. If you lock go away, nobody will see my underwear. And the foreign minister said no, no. He said you don't understand the Taliban asleep above the female wing of the prison. If they look out of the window and they see those items. They will have empty
So I said this an easy way to settle this. He said, I knew you were a reasonable woman. I said, tell you man not to look out of the window. He said, This is impossible. And the argument went on for much longer than I mean, my clothes are dry by the time we finished. And I just thought, this is the foreign minister of Afghanistan, the Colin Powell, equivalent of Afghanistan, and then said, have been involved in international shuffle diplomacy to stop the war from happening in his country. He's been involved in a route over my underwear on the washing line, to protect the soles of his his soldiers. It was quite astonishing. And then I thought America doesn't have to bottom these people.
All they need do is flying a regiment of women parachute, the men waving their underwear and the Taliban will run up straight away.
It's a really remarkable story. But it needs to be told to show you what their priorities were, what their principles were, how they behaved. That night. The reason why remember, it was October the seventh that night, the war started. And Britain and America dropped more than 2013 I think it was 50 cruise missiles in Kabul alone, civilians were killed with these bombs. And for the very first time, although I'd covered wars before, I've never been bombed by Britain and America before, it was truly terrifying. There's nowhere to run, there's nowhere to hide. Bombs don't discriminate. I don't know why I hadn't thought of it before. But they can't tell military from civilian man, woman child.
And these bombs were being dropped in a civilian area.
And I just thought, if I ever,
ever get out of this place alive, I am going to go anti war. And in fact, I did take part in one of the the big anti war demonstrations. When I did get out the next day, true to their word, even though their own people had been killed. While they held on to other Westerners, they did release me and they let me go, they drove me down to the Pakistan border, I still didn't trust them, I still thought that they were going to kill me. And it was only when the Taliban soldier said to me, You are free to go. As I got out of the people carrier, I got out backwards. So I could keep my eyes on them just in case they were going to shoot me as I made a run for it across no man's land. And as I
got out, I turned towards Pakistan. And there were the assembled Pakistani media, very excited cameras going off flashing and everything. It was a nighttime, and they shouted, how did the Taliban treat you? And as I was walking over, I'm thinking how did the Taliban treat me? And I thought they treated me with courtesy and respect. And then I realized that their behavior had indeed been courteous and respectful. Whereas mine had been absolutely shocking. And I wanted to go back to see guys, I'm really sorry. But you know, it was pretty stressful for me. But I thought if I turn around and go back, they'll say, Oh, my god, she's coming back, and then they probably would shoot me.
two critics who say, oh, Ridley, she's a victim of Stockholm Syndrome. Trust me, there was no bonding between me and my captors. And I don't know who was happiest to get over into Pakistan, me or them to see the back of me. But when I got back to London, I thought about the experience.
I had learned obviously quite a bit about the culture of the pashtoon as the the main ethnicity of the Afghans who helped me I learned quite a bit about their systems. And I thought I really need to read the Quran. A I've given a promise and I tend to think if you give a promise on something you should try and keep it but be as a journalist covering the Middle East and Asia. I really needed to know more about Islam because quite clearly for these people, it is a way of
Life, not something that
I'd experienced as a Christian, you know, turning up to church doing my bit on a Sunday, and that was, you know, the tick box for the week. For these people. It was the way they ate, the way they slept, the way they breathe, the way they dress to wear everything. It was, in fact, a way of life a code of life for them. So thought, How can I write with any authority
about these people, unless I know what makes them tick. So I started reading the Quran, it was very, very easy for me, I had an English translation by a family.
I had been a Sunday school teacher. So the language I found was quite biblical. A lot of the
well, all of the prophets in the Bible were there in the Holy Quran, all of them, with the exception of one the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. And I started reading about him as well and got lots of biographies written by non Muslims, because I wanted to be objective.
And I read about this amazing human being this amazing man, the most perfect human being to have walked the earth, a man who
gave us a great example for a way of life. And
something began to wrest resonate with me, people. When I did embrace Islam, people said, How could you make such a great leap of faith and I said, I was already a practicing Christian, I already believed in God, I already believed in most of the things that Muslims believe in. It wasn't a great leap of faith for me.
I happen to think that Christianity was a great springboard for me, it worked for me to then move on to Islam. And I then embraced what I consider to be the biggest and the best family in the world. Today, we're under fire from all directions. But there is this unity and adversity among the oma, as it is called.
There were many things in the Quran, which really took my breath away, not least the treatment of women. And the Quran makes it crystal clear that women are equal in spirituality worth and education.
But it wasn't a rash decision I made.
I embraced Islam more than about two years after the Taliban experience, people say again, you know, she took on the faith of her captors. It wasn't like that at all. But it was something that I took very seriously. I spoke to senior figures in the Church of England and spoke to some renowned scholars in Islam and compared and asked more questions. And I went back to read the Bible again. And I realized the Bible is a wonderful compendium of stories written by men of God, but the Holy Quran is the word of God. And that is why it has never changed since the first Quran was compiled together into a book form, and actually given to a woman to look after and protect.
So that's what essentially convinced me that, that Islam was the right move. For me. I'm not saying I was a bad person before.
But I am a different person. Now. I think that I'm more fulfilled, more thoughtful, and,
and more focused on the work I'm doing, I still hold the same politics. I'm a working class girl from New Castle.
I'm still have my left wing politics, I still have my beliefs about Palestine beliefs that I've held for 30 years, but because I now wear a hijab on an extremist in the radical and,
and yet, I was allowed to hold these views before I became a Muslim. So I've also encountered some of the
Islamophobia and some of the attacks for nothing more than really the headscarf I'm wearing, because my beliefs haven't changed a great deal. My political beliefs haven't changed. A great deal. Might
style of dress has my little black dress has now been replaced by a big black dress my
I now wear a hijab, which is part of my uniform, which tells the world that I'm a Muslim woman.
My dress is the main change my outward appearance. And that is what people don't like.
And, you know, it's it's very sad because I never expected to account to be on the receiving end of this sort of, well, it isn't racism, but it's probably the nearest thing that I would experience to racism. And
it also provides some amusement a couple of years ago, somebody shouted at me in Westminster, why don't you go back home? And I said, Well, I do as often as I can I go to Newcastle, you know and visit my mum. And he sort of looked and didn't expect to get a Geordie accent. So you know, we
there are some amusing things.
I hope you've enjoyed listening to my story. There's lots more I could say I'm sure you've got questions, and hopefully we'll we'll cover any missing bits. But I hope it explains more about,
about my journey, where I came from, and why I embraced Islam, thank you for being so attentive.
The mean, very All praise belongs to the one true creator, all that exists. What stood out the most to them,
and made the Peace and blessings of the Creator be upon his Most Noble Messenger, amen.
And his family and his companions all together.
And I bear witness that nothing has the right to be given worship except the Creator.
Who is one alone without a partner? Why should
I be a witness that Muhammad is indeed a messenger?
Now, forgive me for a little bit of my delay.
Earlier, when I came from the United States, I was on Central Standard Time, CST. And then I came to the UK for the past month, and I've been around GMT, Greenwich Mean Time, I think my watch has become reset in St. Muslim Standard Time.
At about an hour a minute. So
now, as a disclaimer, my story would take literally an hour and a half, if any of you have seen the video online or know
why this so long. So to do it in 45 minutes, and I'm going to have about so please forgive me for that. In the beginning, I'm going to be very vague about some topics which I used to get into detail on. But know that if you have any questions later on that the holes can be filled in, if you wish, if you want to see me.
Now, I was born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina, which is a very small town in the war zone in the south United States in the beginning of the bible belt in the very beginning.
I was born and raised a Methodist Christian, my grandparents were very strict in my upbringing, very religious upbringing. My grandfather was a full blooded, Native American Indian from the Cherokee tribe. So I understand it.
Go back home, go back
sold the Irish and how I ended up last names is beyond me but
but I was brought up in the church, you know, being very, very easy to go to church. It was only about two hours away. Sunday school service.
The only thing
that I learned in Sunday School, which were the beautiful stories of life,
and the flood stories about Abraham and Isaac, which is the Bible.
Stories of Moses in the tune of Israel, the bond of Egypt, the stories of David and Goliath Jesus and the feeling of fire
you tired, etc, etc, etc. This was all I really knew about religion growing up until I turned 14. And when I was 14, I started to go to youth, church and other organizations called young life. Young Life is a very active, youth orientated Christian organization all throughout the United States, and now it has become global. Now, at the age of 14 to 16, I became very, very heavily
involved in my faith. It was at this point in my life that I thought that I had become saved by grace rather than by chance. I became very involved in wanting to emulate the youth ministry at my church, I wanted to emulate the youth ministers and young life, I wanted to grow up and become a minister and their full ordained minister, missionary. And when I went to high school, my best friend who was our youth pastor, started to attend a Bible College in town, which is more renowned. It's called Bob Jones University, and Bob Jones University is well known Most Christian academia all over the world. And his major studies beyond his normal seminary and theological studies was textual
criticism of documents, meaning that he wanted to know the Bible and its originality or the best that we can accomplish the original form of the Bible. And to give you even a synopsis of what textual criticism is, we'll take another hour.
But for the understanding of my brothers and sisters here, and the novels from the blindness, and context, that a textual critic
takes the statements of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him and tries to determine their validity, and are a number of Sciences numbering in almost 40, to 50 sciences. To verify one particular IP is a little bit tougher though, because 100 has to learn.
a textual critic has to learn a number of
Hebrew, every green land, Syrian, so on and so forth. And the other problem that comes with textual criticism is that there is no original to verify any information from and there is no chain of narration. So you're in a big conundrum for the beginning. But nevertheless, I can't go on too much into that will lose time. He wanted to preach the Bible with authority. And the greatest authority he could find was to know the Bible from its original languages, from its original documents, and from assignments place in origin, and so on and so forth. Now, I decided to emulate him in this being that I was, he was my mentor.
So I enrolled into Bob Jones University, my sophomore in high school. Now, in summer of 96, my life change. In the summer of 96, Benjamin came to me and he asked me a question and he said, Joshua, which was
you not changing is just every combination
is the very same name. He said, Joshua, have you ever read the Bible? At this point in my life, I had begun doing his job
as a youth pastor, because he was able to keep up with it. And I was pastoring in LA, and so on and so forth.
He said, Have you ever read the Bible? I said, what kind of cynic question is this? You don't remember that you left your job. And now you're asking me if I've ever read the book.
At that time, I was reading from a Scofield Reference Bible, which is a very beautiful Bible and King James Version. I have read
as much as necessary. Yes, I've read the book. He said that you really read it.
He said, Have you read the Bible?
For instance, you read a novel, you read it from beginning to end, you can tell me what it is about, you can tell me the plot, you can
tell me the formulation of the story. Its low point, its high points. If there are any subplots going on, you can tell me how. And you need to summarize.
Do you know the Bible like this? I said, No, I never read the Bible from Genesis revelation. I mean, that's just not the norm. Not saying that no Christians have done it. It's just not the norm. You don't.
And it's very difficult to read, because you're talking about Bible which is coming from
a Latin word, which means a collection of books. So it's tough to read one book after another after another after another.
So I said, No. So the challenge he made to me was let us read the Bible in the summer of 1986, and see what God's word says. Because at this point in my life, I truly believe that God was one in three unique personalities, Father,
spirit, and when one accepted Christ into their life, and accepted the sacrifice of sharing his love of sin, then you would give it
that gift of the Holy Spirit and
therefore God's word should be able to speak to you directly. So he said, let us both read God's Word from beginning to end, and see what plays out with both
of us. So I said, Okay, this sounds like a very good place to start a mission of wanting to
work. So let me start at the beginning. So I began Genesis. And again, if I told you every single thing that I saw a change of ideology and theology
in the morning, I've been trying to author DVDs and publications on this
which I'll be teaching this for hours on the introduction tomorrow.
Now, I'm just going to give you the highlights, and even that
So I'm going to try.
But I will give you the main reference point that really made me question a lot of things. And the beginning was this, the stories of the prophets in the Old Testament, and these were the same stories that I wrote on Sunday school.
And when I thought of prophethood, and messengers, I had a certain commentation, online regarded chosen people to deliver the message to humanity, therefore, they were distinguished, distinguished, honorable people, they were good people, they were high people, they were chosen, favorites, so on and so forth. Now, unfortunately, this is not the story that is predict the things that are most testament to the story of Noah, which I'm going to go through the picture.
There's another story about Noah after the flood is not not as great is the story of what Noah found out, apparently. And if you take
drink, it makes you feel very good. You know, it's called wine. And what At what point in Genesis chapter nine, knows two sons.
And they say that we find our father drunk, passed out on the floor of his home completely. And this is the way he saw
one of the first patriarch prophet after they saw this father know passed out on the floor.
And they covered him.
Now, this was a stopping point for me, because it just seemed to not fit with a conversation. And
not only that, but psychologically it went to the root of credibility of an individual. I mean, if someone is telling you, you know, that, or if you see them in this condition of pass out on the floor, drunk,
way too hard that
now for the same person to come to you the next day, or even the same day or a couple of days, and thank God 70s into this, and he must do this, and so on and so forth. Okay, aren't you the same guy?
Are you sure that is God speaking to you.
So this just goes to
reminding myself of the ideologies taught to us by Paul, that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and God in us, even though sinful people who use them to his advantage. And it was that very silly nature that we inherited from Adam, which necessitated
this problem. So I continue to read, I got to the story of luck. There's a story around Genesis on a loss. We don't know what he said. And now he is not referenced as a prophet in the Bible. I give that credit where credit's due, and because most scholars do not use a profit on most scenarios, but nevertheless, law was important enough for a big chunk of the book of Genesis and secret Allah and people of Sodom and Gomorrah. Now, he was a preacher to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah.
There's another story about
do we have anyone under the age of 18?
Then what I have to do?
The reason I'm asking is because I cannot
because it is not proper language for you to be here. I have to reword the stories and I have to tell them in my own language.
So what we're going to do is say that Locke was an old man, and he had no son. He was an old man, he had no son, his two daughters became worried about this issue because a man to die with no sons in India, no lineage, and the daughters were worried about their condition because to their father to die without a inheritor, then their rights could be taken in a certain way.
And so on, so forth. So they decided to fix the problem. The way they decided to fix the problem was that the oldest daughter got the father
became pregnant by him, just fix the problem.
And then just to make sure the youngest daughter did the same thing the next night. So
now I'd like to say, you know, okay, maybe not is not a prophet. But why your rule is a story this explicit, you know, even in God's word, you know, this is there's no real moral behind this story, unless you want to assume the moral of business is wrong. But that has to be your last assumption.
Now I go to ask Benjamin about this money faster. And I said,
No, don't do that. Just continue to read the book. Just
read, not to come to me every, you know, 1020 pages and ask the question, just read it. And then when we get to the end, you can tell me what it said. I said, Okay, I continue to read and read and read and read now get to the source. Get home. So can wrap this up. In some time, I'm going to tell the story about David.
David. Firstly, you have solid solid references. One of the great things that is one of the greatest kings of Israel established a simple model, so on so forth, and he was known as one of the greatest patriarchs of procuring the law of Moses on world for the law of the Torah. Now, there's another story about Solomon, and it's this completely completely out of line. And it is the story of Solomon and one of his wives instead of
what is right hand for this. And one of those wives and concubines was an idolatrous worship idols. And through her attachment to Solomon, she had enticed him into worship items along with her, and he gave in and the answer was that he established and built temples of worship, to these gods built temples of worship, so that these gods could be worshipped.
Now this was a conundrum to me, not only did it ruin the credibility of Solomon, because Solomon is supposed to be preaching God's message in the greatest event messages that he wrote.
And the first commandment is that about before me,
our rule, but the conundrum comes in is that the children of Israel were also commanded to Applebee's promise that they were to obey God and they will obey the messengers. Now, my conundrum was what the children of Israel be right? Or they be wrong if they followed the worshipping idols, because they wouldn't be giving obedience to their Prophet, but it would be breaking the cardinal rule, because Solomon is doing you symbol, so apparently, he is not only doing this for himself, but he is probably the worship of all files. How can this be, I can understand, okay, sinfulness. That's one thing. But this is
this is a direct contradiction to the very message, we just spoke again to humanity.
Audience ask questions,
and other pastors. And I'm told that this is really an issue that is going to cause you more trouble than an answer is worth.
So I continue to read without getting into too much detail.
Now I get to the story of Solomon. I mean, David, David.
David and Goliath in the Bible is very beautiful. The way David
in the battle between him there's another story about David that really is is nowhere near this actually
is a story of David and a woman named Bathsheba. Bathsheba was known as a very beautiful woman. She was gorgeous. David saw her one day on her balcony and asked and
so and this is we find these two stories and
so they had Bathsheba. And he decided this woman was so beautiful. We had had her.
Unfortunately, this woman's already married, and her husband is named Ryan. And Ryan happens to be a commander and
so they realize he's committed the sin of adultery, which is punishable by death, according to his very law, but he is supposed to be established.
Now they realize the problem that needs to be fixed, so he fixes it. Now he does not repent at this point.
This now happens, David fixes the problem by writing a letter to the army. And the letter says that when the battle becomes fierce, put Uriah on the front lines and then win the battle.
Stick. Everyone said that in the UI by himself so you can kill him. And then he can have Bathsheba.
Now, that's bad enough. But the real treachery comes in who David gives the letter to to be delivered? Who do you think he gives it to him, he
he makes your rider deliver his own death sentence to the army and in your eyes.
Now, this is a point where I stop and I say, Okay, enough is enough. This is getting out of hand.
Because now, David, not only committing adultery, he's also covering that up by committing murder, which is also punishable by death. But even beyond that is so treacherous, that it makes oh man at the very man he wants to be murdered, deliver his own death. And that's just evil on a very, very, very, very low level. So now I'm really lacking these questions need to be answered, I don't want to take this, you know, it's going to college.
And of course, it is reiterated to me again, that all have sinned as
human beings, and inherited the sin nature of our father, Adam. And this sin, nature made it impossible for us to live up to the law that God has since therefore the law needed to be abolished and fulfilled through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ so that we can become righteous before God because it was no way we were going to be righteous and the prophets were the best examples of this. Now, there were two problems with this with me two problems. The first problem was that I understood that
God is perfect in a respects, and therefore anything coming from God will be perfect. It just by the very nature of who it's coming from, must be perfect for you to tell me that the law God sense makes it unattainable for human beings to obtain righteousness before by by the very law, which he has said for 1000s of years, that law is imperfect, it is flawed, to tell me that God would send a human being something that is flawed, or that anything that
could come from that.
It was very hard for me to to rationalize. Secondly, if God wanted to show the sinfulness of human beings through the prophets, I mean, that could have been done on a much lesser matter than the depth and breadth of what was done by some of the prophets. I mean, I have a five year old son, I will not leave him alone with no during those time, if I see no
community naked at home, I wouldn't leave it alone with my son.
myself, he wouldn't have to worry about the Lord, take care of
my wife. I
it's a thing that this is God's profits, and I can trust your mind, my children, my wife, and I don't want you anywhere near me. We have a problem, and how can I even trust you credibility is growing. Now I don't even know. You're telling me to follow God's law. God's law. Now if you are the one who's getting it, why couldn't God pick somebody else? I mean, seriously, there has to be better people than you. So this is the season.
Now my friend Benjamin is getting angry. Now. He is telling me did not tell you to keep reading the book. The book is not making sense. He said, for sure. A lot of books don't make sense. If
you ever read a thriller, or a drama, or watched a thriller or drama, sometimes there's so many things going on that every five minutes you can
anything and you realize nothing.
everything falls into place at the very end. He said maybe everything will not fall into place, even at the very end.
You have to understand that
this is all No, this was it. It wasn't making a break it for me. So I decided and my pastor told me that if you want to study someone's life, example, it goes study like Jesus Christ, because he is perfect.
That was sacrificed for the sins of the world.
But I made a promise to Benjamin to finish the Old Testament. And now in Old Testament were a few things.
Without doubt crystal the
number one most crystal clear fact about the Old Testament.
There was no ambiguity.
He was and what is nature was and the greatest of that was to
the Lord your God and there is a
God and there is there enlightens me that you can make a comparison with. God reiterates this fact over and over again, I can give you verse after verse after verse, verse, the gods you need one. Now that one is described about God in the Old Testament in the Hebrew language is very beautiful. It is a unique one. It's not assumed you don't want to miss it.
Unique, unified oneness now for the connotation of our brothers and the sisters and our mom's friends, you will understand this very beautifully from the way it is common, commentating and
very similar structure. Now in Arabic, what is the word for one?
Now if you take walk in and add it to walk
now there's the word what is the word?
Online me one,
hold one long.
One, extremely significantly, purely, uniquely one. Now if you think
it's impossible to add anything else, because the very word I had signifies one without the possibility of one without the possibility to be added to or subtracted from one another. And this is the very word that is used and similar language in Hebrew.
Now what has also appeared from the Old Testament is what God wants you to be. What does he want, he wants to be worshipped. He wants to be worshipped and respected as God you give God is do rites of worship, respect, adoration, devotion, sincerity, everything belongs to God alone. Also, what God wants for human beings is to be obeyed. He wants obedience, what he says to do you do it, what he says to stay away from you stay away from it. And if you don't, there's gonna be problems. But if you fall short of that, and you committed sin, or you make a mistake, God is also very clear,
which is repentance. You repent to God, you show him your repentance, also two things which he asked for, such as the sacrifice and the merch offerings, which was not a physical medium of nothing, but was a showing of the heart to be obedient to the Creator. And it was that which earned one forgiveness.
Now, when you get to the last book of the Old Testament, it's a book called Mad Cow
in a book called Molokai and in Malahide is a very beautiful statement as a farewell message to humanity Old Testament, the same goes as us, I change not, therefore, the sons of Jacob are not consumed. God says to the tutor is not change, I do not change, this is the reason I have not destroyed you, the sons of God,
I do not change, meaning that I have made a covenant with you, and I'm going to uphold my end of the bargain, I have upheld my ends, it is you who have broken it. And the reason for that
is because of your ad being broken, because the money might not change. This is a very beautiful
reminds the children
that I made with you, God is reminding them that I have appealed my end up to this very day, I am still up
to the company that you are willing to do so at any time. Very beautiful now, so I go to the New Testament.
I begin with the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and john. And if I were just to go through these four books, and what I saw, I would keep the usual
without talking without stopping winks.
But I have to be very brief. Now the first thing I came to realize, because I don't want to put too much weight on the text itself, is the very weakness of the text itself. Now, the reason I say so
documents and how critically and give them the historical records. Once we look at the back books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and john, the first thing I'm going to tell you that you lost everything in translation,
you have lost everything, almost everything translation, because we're reading in the English language.
Now in the English language is being translated.
Mostly, there is a lot,
a lot of times going back
as far back as you can go. Now when you translate Greek over into English, what happens? You lose a lot of the meaning because the translation is up to the interpretation
as to what a word may have meant or what this may have meant, or what that may have meant. It's completely up to the translator themselves to derive meaning from the text. So once you get an English language is the interpretation of the meaning from whoever decided to translate. Now we have a big problem. The problem comes in the fact that Jesus is the Greek he spoke, Aramaic
or Ma, which is also exists.
Do you have
structure? So now you have a translation from me?
over into Greek so now you're having another translation interpretation
being translated into Greek who someone else came and translated from the Greek open to English where they thought the interpreter.
So now you have a real problem to decipher. Okay, what did Jesus really say? What did he mean by anything? So we have a problem right here just
came in over originals, we still have problems. Not only that, but when you take Matthew Mark, is believed to have been four people, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and john, which we now know that is
a resource, we so called Matthew, Mark, Luke, and john are supposed to be four people telling the same story.
Understood. Now the reason that most people will get that compensation is the way you read it. If you read Matthew, how Normally he started.
Then he started chapter one,
etc. Now, the way a textual critic examines these documents, and is the way that his
law examines witnesses, if you have many witnesses saying and thinking about the same incident, what is the very first way to decipher what it said, and what is done, who's right, who's wrong, you weigh the witnesses against one another, you take the statements and weigh them against one another. And the way you do that, through the New Testament is you take the first story, Matthew,
Jerusalem, you will find that story mark, you will find it in door and you will find it in john.
Now, you might not find every story's not
going to happen. But what you do when you do this, and you go into this parallel manner, reading all the
fashion is you come to realize a very stark fact that it is not for people telling you the same story and for doorways and for people
in different ways. And what what happened here, what happened here may not be the same thing. What happens is you see or
hear, when Jesus did this, Jesus did I miss
this book, what happened to Judas is
all of these things come into clash, and sometimes
that is irreconcilable. But nevertheless, beyond all of that, we have what we have. So what is what we have seen, what is what we have seen, this is what I'm going to try to wrap it up again towards the very end. But
what did we have say? What did Jesus say? Now, Jesus was very clear
about who God was, and explicit.
Anything that is taken to the right that Jesus was God, anything that has taken to derive that Jesus wanted to be a fire and worship and so on, I'm going to tell you very clearly, and with no
challenges on any level, it's very, very implicit, meaning that it is stated in America convenient target in many ways, and this is why there are different opinions about Jesus
on Christianity and always has been because this revolves around what Jesus said.
Versus, but if you look at the explicit verses of Jesus when he spoke here without any you know, a way to interpretive we find a few minutes
Firstly, we find a very beautiful statement in john 17 and three of explicitness about God when Jesus said that this is like eternal that they know you the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent a very clear statement that this is like the turn, they may know you the only true God and Jesus Christ we have sent. And another case in Matthew chapter five, verse eight, I believe it is, we see Jesus make the statement that I do with no work that
I do with no words of my own, but it is him through him to accept me, meaning that it is God working through me doing everything I do, on my own. One man came to Jesus and asked him Oh, good Master, he recorded and said, Why do you call?
On another occasion we see when Jesus taught his disciples to pray. He taught them praise us, Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as in heaven. And another place we see a scribe come to Jesus and ask Him, open Master, we seem to very good things. What is the greatest commandment? Jesus said, I'll tell you the greatest commandment. The first one, and the first one. Here, oh, God is one and then you should love that.
And then you should love your neighbor as you love yourself and upon everything else.
beautiful principles, which by the way, are the foundation principles of
writing and give you
two categories. But
did Jesus say he was gone? Yes. Okay. He said that I'm the Father
and the Father are one. He said, Before Abraham was I am. He said he might see me I've seen the Father is bringing some conundrums to us. Because Jesus also said in the book of john, that no man has seen God behind. Nor have you ever heard his voice. No, have you ever heard his voice. And there is another reading of of who we're sending, you're seeing that there is a document two or three of them that say, you've seen me, you've known the father, but the
reason and also when Jesus was asked about the Day of Judgment, which every prophet is then asked about, Jesus said that they don't
Only the Father's Day. So when I make a long story short, what I'm coming to realize through reading the Gospels now is analytical likes to see what God says to me rather than me trying to tell God what I want
to find with the book
itself, and realizing that Jesus was teaching that God was one he himself was the earliest that he itself was meaningful of that one true God and he came to preach a message. You worship Him, you obey Him. And when Jesus was asked how to go to heaven by the rich man and Lazarus, he was responding, the man said, obey the law of commandments, very clear that he did not set back on
condition. So why was the crucifixion necessary? This I'm going to take a little bit of time.
Because this is where Christianity and Islam diverts that before this point, we are very, very much in agreement on many things, and very few differences already Christian exam.
Until we come to this point of who Jesus was what Jesus meant, this is where it all breaks apart. Now, Jesus said to the to this, we know a lot about Jesus himself that he that I have not been sent, but to the mercy of the house of Israel.
We do see some statements about
Very, very weak narration with very, very little verification.
Anybody else could be wrong, I'm here.
Now, he was sent to the children of Israel, and Jesus referred to the children Israel as a murder,
and adultery physician, and when it came to the children of Israel, they had fallen far from the message of God. God's religion is almost a empty type of ritualistic worship. And they did this, they did that and
that, and they become very much attached to this life.
Now Jesus came to rectify that as he wasn't,
he wasn't, he wasn't the chosen Messiah. And this is what Paul the apostle, john the baptist preached.
The Messiah is coming straight away.
Now Jesus came and claimed himself the Messiah. But very clearly, we have a problem here because it's not accept that guy, because number one, Jesus was not the Messiah.
They expected a noble birth Messiah, who would come from a great lineage and will sit on the throne and ruled over the world with the law of Moses and the Torah. Jesus had no normal birth, he actually had over
the river to marry. So he had no lineage to back himself up with. He was in a poor man, carpenters from a very poor city called Ghana, beyond the Red Sea. Number two, he is not sitting on the throne lording over the world with the Torah, he's actually coming to me revise that law, and give it some perfection when they said, Why are you breaking the law? He said, I'm not comfortable making a different film, and not one period of camo pattern at all. me.
What Jesus came and tried to show them was that this world meant nothing. He kept showing and reiterating
God, not the kingdom of this life, The kingdom of God is in the Hereafter, not into this life. But of course, they weren't going for that. He was not meant to be that he had to go. But that was not really the worst thing, really not only the worst thing. The worst thing was that within the children, they were underwhelming all the time. They were under the rules wrong, but they were allowed to conduct their own affairs. And within the Jewish society, there were two groups that are
off the top. And these were the Pharisees, the Pharisees, who were the scribes of the Torah, they wrote the Torah and the whole reason
The law, the scholars of the law, but then use this position and privilege to give themselves undue merits, they begin to load on the people, they begin to enrich themselves of the people, they began to become here. And Jesus called them difficult to stand on a street corner so that people can watch them pray. They use that as a piratical type of position opposition, so they rule over the people and enrich themselves and have some kind of honor and dignity or people. But they themselves were breaking and changing the very law which they were supposed to be entrusted with. And Jesus came to see him into that he came to remove them from their position, and put everyone back on equal footing
in front of God.
up with the Sermon on the Mount is a view of the
medium. Now all of this, we see this, this is a huge problem. And let me tell you something very clearly
that no matter what your message is, I don't care how beautiful it is, I don't care how much it's going to help society, I don't care how great it could solve every one of society's problems. But if the message which you're bringing implicates that it seeks to bring it in to the room, that is it present ruling, which a few of the world are using their position to Lord over and enrich themselves entirely, we rule over people in subjugate them through their position, if what you are bringing seats six and into that type of system, you will have a problem, you are going to
become a nuisance, you're going to become a problem that needs to be dealt with, and you will become priority number one. This is the role that every single Prophet and Messenger put themselves in. This is a lesson focused on Islam, which is the real problem is the implications of the snap on the system. As for the dead, and Jesus put himself in that position.
Because his message is very dangerous. So what they decided to do was, since they cannot discredit the message, the message can never be discredited. It's too beautiful. You have to discredit the message, you have to
discredit him, then you take down the whole system with it. This has been the way that has been done against every messenger in profit. So they began to try to trick Jesus by asking them to implicate themselves in many matters. They use words that he said an implicit statement that he said to say that he was calling himself deified and so on and so forth. But this would not work. We see this because this was not the chart that he was brought up on crucifixion, he was brought up on the charge of saying that he was the kingdom of the Jews in town, from Caesar. And they tried to get him to say that very clearly, on many occasions, one of them they came in, they said, Jesus shouldn't be
paying taxes to Caesar. This is a trick trick question. Because of Jesus, no, don't give taxes.
to Caesar and his role. He didn't play games with China. You challenged him, it didn't matter if you his firstborn son.
And Jesus knew better than this. So he said, Give them to God, but we lost the God and you get to see them.
But nevertheless, he had to go and the perfect way to your children with crucifixion, crucifixion, why? How do we know this?
And I'm always very understanding of the doctrine of the law in Christ's fiction, because he himself was a faricy. He himself was a scholar of the law.
He says in relation that Christ was cursed on behalf of the law, to remove us.
from Deuteronomy, which according to the Hasidic Jewish law, the old law, laudatory equals
and you hang them on a tree, don't let them stay on the tree overnight, but take them down that very same day,
to be crucified as a Christian God in this life, and whatever came up the next life was not for you. It was a proof at first and humiliation is
one of the
people who treat African American in the 60s.
Now, Jesus realized this, so what do we see from Jesus Christ when He realizes that he's going to go on the cross? We don't see.
This, we see around both the gifts on his face and ask God Father if we let this cup pass from me, meaning
Now, what I learned
when I got time, Jesus realized that crucifixion was a detriment to his message, and that he was sent to Save the Children of Israel. And if they crucify him as a criminal, his message, his flaw, his message and failed, if I go to the cross, then they are right in their rejection of me, this is what Paul says, the crucifixion is a stumbling block of the Jews, because they cannot have crucified Messiah. Very Lord, Jesus is saying he is preaching and teaching, and they realize this very smartly.
But I really comes down to what Jesus taught what Paul taught, taught what I believe so on and so forth.
But I went to the one of the textual critic professors at Bob Jones University. And he told me that the Bible is the product of the head of the work of men and women, and that they have tried to reiterate this information through 1000s and 1000s of years, mistakes in the copying the mistakes, the translations, sometimes.
And installers have done the best they can do to go back to an original original, which
he said, but what you have to believe them by faith, and that faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, is the justification for wanting to obtain salvation is that faith alone, which allows people to have that righteousness before God. And I reiterated the same thing that I said before, there are certain things that will entail from God is going to be perfect, since the prophets were not perfect.
And this ideology
can only be defined by saying it is a mystery.
Because God gave me a logic, he endowed me with an intellect to understand the world around me. So I find it very, very odd that I need to turn out and to just sit that to the side in order to understand the creator that created me and the way he wants me to live cannot be done with his intellect, it needs to be done. And
this is a problem for me. So I left Christianity began selling other religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, paganism, Confucianism, we can feel.
But there was a difference. I had a different standard. Now, my grandfather told me something as a young man, which is an old Native American adage, he told me, he said, no matter the truth, is very unique. You don't know why? Because the truth always comes with proof. Therefore, if someone gives you the truth, and
so I wanted proof, no, I didn't want you to tell me what to believe I didn't want to hear it, I want to see it. You need some tangibility. Now.
Right here, my two hands to prove to me what you wanted out of life. So I have all the world's religions, I did not find that place to improve. And I did.
And getting wives and they have a hobby, and that
was to kill a non Muslim. And we
didn't care what proof Muslims had, if they were
to stay away from the
World Trade Center, and bombings, and so on.
So I left religion and only 17. At 17, I became very frustrated and angry with God. And I decided to make a world of religion, my religion became to fulfill what was here my desires to make me happy to do what I wanted to do. And whenever I wanted to do it, however, I wanted to do it. And that's a very flawed ideology. That is a flawed ideology from the outset, to fill your desires with things of this world, and electronics to go down to the beach and fill the ocean,
you will never be able to do so I don't care how hard you try and how long you do it. You will not be able to feel the desires of the heart, anything in this life.
The more you do it, the bigger the bigger the capacity comes. So there were two things that changed that because I was a very advocated very evil person and a few minutes, a couple more minutes to the fire. But I'm going to ask you permission to take about five extra, but I cannot give you all the things but I came a very evil person. I just think markers.
I was getting into fights getting kicked out of school and arrested for being a young man.
A father with a criminal court judge. So I was messing up that I turned off,
broken the switch and thrown it away. There are two things that change that though. The first one was a car accident that I got into on the way back from a frat party University. I should not have listened to nor my friend. We both fell asleep. I fell asleep in the passenger seat on the way back and
you really can't do that. Now when you're doing 70 miles an hour on the highway. So we completely destroy your car we shouldn't walk away from
the accident said that when I see accidents like this, usually the corners of the
home or their loved ones. But for you to stand here and talk to me means as Parliament's meeting the God has a reason for you to still be on this earth. If not, they're very well.
I didn't want to tell him
I didn't think about how to
So I didn't pay any attention. A couple of weeks later, maybe a month later, I went to New York City.
And in New York, a machine to withdraw money. And I turned around and there was a guy with a gun. This is a very normal occurrence in New York City.
It becomes abnormal when you're on the other end of the gun.
They looked at me and I was ready to
ask for it. He pulled the trigger on the gun isn't.
His intention was to blow this young man said I'll take the money wrong, which is also not normal.
pull the trigger, and
for whatever reason,
God's will is done no matter what you desire. But regarding golf, I realized that if I didn't do something, and then and then I was not gonna take that chance too many times.
he was lying in front of me.
And I begin to have very bad nightmares about these incidences that turn into nightmares, which are the worst nightmare you can have. Like, what do you like?
It's very, very lucid dreams. When you smell you taste up a color.
Finally, one morning, my grandmother asked me why you screaming in the middle of the night and I told her what happened. She had never raised his voice in her life.
She screamed at me.
And she said, You're an idiot, if you want
to be here, and I'm not
home. So we'll get out of my house.
And I'm asked where I was going to go, she said going to be so
excited to live with my best friend at the time.
The other day,
I tried to be a better person at this point in my life. And I realized, okay, I kind of need to fix something. So I tried to be a better person, but
it's very hard to come out of that can be very much involved in the hip hop culture, which is very common.
For lifestyle. It's very hard to just, you know, just unplug yourself from
wired my way. So I'm trying to be better person. And so
in this story, the five extra minutes I'm asking you for a medical system that I had known for years.
And it was home on numerous occasions after school and has
in America. He is from New York, his name was booster, but we call it
the number one
and number two, he was the local marijuana salesman.
I thought that all they did was
we But anyway, I was in his house one day and subject to religion came in and he asked me is very your accent, your son you ever heard about it?
Repeat to you all emerges that's explicit as well. That is pretty easy.
So I told him the book I read.
He got angry. He got very, very angry. He said that everything he said was not true.
He said no, no, I can
barely do my five saloner.
Should I do what I'm supposed to do? And you see what else?
No problems. He said what?
He said he told me to the mosque on Friday.
Okay, Friday, I thought oh my god. What do you mean? He said a mosque is like a Muslim church, and
there's just no chairs. I said, Okay.
Where are we going to hit
the boulevard which is the main road
on the road.
I live on the road. I grew up there my whole life. There's nothing to churches on the road. He's a missionary.
In the classes to become a missionary there,
So I went one o'clock.
So I go and I sit on a chair of the church and see who goes in.
And I can only see the men's entrance who goes into the mosque.
So I'm like, okay, I was the
only one. And now it's 120 books, it doesn't show up. So I texted him. phones were their cell phones on that particular time paging and he's not responding, because he got raided by the Drug Enforcement Agency that morning, went to jail.
All of a sudden, my
dress, and he asked me Can I help you? I said, Yeah.
Very happy to have you. Here.
It was hard for me to say no. And it was a young
curtain wall wall behind me and there's women.
Why are they behind this curtain? And I thought maybe sell means.
Now that I thought of myself, I've seen the movie
in the desert with a bunch of women.
And it's called the second minute.
not here. Why did he asked you to come here not show up. And then myself and myself. I said,
This guy is always talking about getting dirty money from New York and doing money laundering and drug
dealings in New York. Unfortunately, I said this
and everybody got fired.
I didn't realize this because
I said okay, let me see.
only thing missing the only thing missing from this anonymous.
out you guys are I mean, this is just what I thought
said, you know,
I'm running out of the building.
Before I had the chance to get out
the door, the man starts screaming. And
he said, I translate all
that exists. We praise Him all we see is
we seek refuge from the one true God that from the evil that lies within our own souls and our sinful actions, whoever created that.
Material cannot get it back to
At the old part of
town, it's very beautiful words.
Two, three, it sounded very nice.
Now his whole sermon that he was on forgiveness of God, forgiveness of the Creator is open to anyone, anytime, anyplace without discussion, and that there are only three things.
The first of those things if you worship something other than the Creator, knowing that and then
number two is your soul has reached your throat in the time of death is approached you, you're not forgiven after that point. And number three, the sun has written for which I now understand they have judgments has approached in a major science, he said,
the single thing, and he quoted a very beautiful statement, a lot
he said that God said, no matter what you're done, no matter how great the mass of sins that you have, even if your sins are as massive as the world, and everything that is contained within it, if you meet your Creator, having not worship anything, but
most of worship him and him alone, then he will bring a forgiveness the like an equal
shot. I had never heard any type of rhetoric like this, but read it.
Afterwards, I said, you need to do some more evaluation as religion goes, because it's not an acid proof. So after the book was great, which I realized was not prayer. It was worship, I realized,
Abraham, this is the way Moses prays to David.
So I went to the man Afterwards, he started to try to give me some data.
There's nothing you want to tell you that intrigues me. But
do you have proof? Do you have tangible evidence to prove what you're saying? He said, Yes. He took me to his office.
He gave me a line. He said, this is our proof.
That before, and then he started to tell me what it's about. Let me see the book.
I figured the book will give its own evidence.
Because when I opened the first page of Iran, which when I first went backwards,
the first chapter was very similar to the Lord's Prayer, because the Lord's Prayer of Jesus and auditing the two quarters of the first portion praising extolling the Creator. And
I did not realize that the challenge of the validity of the book would come in
the next phase, I turned 7am.
But the second verse was so profound To me, it changed me. It said, this is the book that contains no doubt. This is the book that contains no doubt, and is a guidance. If you fear God, you have to understand how bold that account is, that is the beginning of a religious stance, there is no challenge like this, in the beginning of a religious text that I've ever been presented with. This is the book that contains no dummies after this page, you will not find out if your god this book, he said, Oh, really, I found out every book. So my initial challenge was to prove it the least.
There's no way I began to read the book. And the same chapters tell me that if you're in doubt about this book,
if you can't actually call anybody you want to help you. And if you can't do
stones, I mean, you have to understand how we do these challenges are there. Again, in chapter 17, this is the book
got questions and says, If this happens, you will find it
challenging find a contradiction. I dare you. I dare you. And what I did was I began to read the book.
I saw no I saw Abraham, I saw a lot I saw. I saw Jesus, I saw all of them.
And I said, I know these from my childhood. But
they were not only God's chosen people to humanity to deliver the revelation, but they themselves were the epitome of the revelation. They were the living example, embodiment of the message. And they not only gave the revelation, but he exemplified it and commanded people that if you want to know how to live right before God,
say if you love God,
this is the most logical, intellectual, rational way to send messages with people who exemplified it for us to know how to put it into practice. Beautiful message.
This goes along with it goes on my blog goes along with everything. So I'm sure all of the holes that the Bible put into my mind will feel one by one in the book, which the book is saying that we have come to clarify and verify that it was 74. And I learned something very valuable, that the statement
was true. Sometimes you don't understand the story.
Sometimes the story really doesn't come together, and all of the missing pieces don't fall into place to finish the story. And I realized that the Bible was not in the Old Testament was not the end of the Old Testament, it was 44, yes, and it was pointing to Jesus, and yet Jesus didn't come and he himself said,
but I must go, so that spirit of truth can come. And when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you.
And he will live with you all goodness, and He will speak not that which he wishes, but whatever,
wherever he is that he will speak, and realize that the message was sent. And the story was done, when it
was completed the message,
the last and final test,
and the challenges there.
And for 13 years,
each and every single day, to me, that is this is the book.
I said to myself, this is the book that has no gaps in the guidance for those who fear God. And I said to myself, I cannot.
so I'm gonna go.
So I went to the command the next day.
I said, I've read it.
He said, Why? I said, because your book is what it says it is the truth, it is what I've been looking for all the time.
So this is the book, he said to me, there's only one God worthy of worship, that God said that to me. And he said, that's what we have in becoming a Muslim. The second, this is one of the most other.
He said, the second half is that you must be leaving the Prophet Mohammed peace be upon him. She said, so let me come and give you some information about the Prophet.
Mohammed gave us this book, he said,
this is an assessment,
and a collection of emails when we said all miracles
are what I've been given us a revelation, and that revelation.
And I found myself.
So in December of 1998, I accepted Islam. And I want to give you a very last reminder that I don't have a chance to see you again, I'm not come here to entertain you with my story. I did not that's a waste of time, not entertainment, you could have seen a better one here on the big screen is much better.
What I do and why I do this is so that you wake up to the reality that there are so many people like me, there are so many people like in 1998, looking for the truth, wanting to know tired of the status quo, looking for another way looking for our solution, but unfortunately, they do not know how to find you, unfortunately, and unfortunately, even if they knew how to find you they have been given so much misinformation, disinformation that they will not desire to live
in is you must become proactive. We are failing in that task, we are failing to do the job and it is my view.
We are failing and responsibility lies upon squarely no one but ourselves. the blame for our condition cannot be
it cannot be placed upon the government, economic society economic placed upon individuals even shaped from itself cannot accept this is very squarely on our shoulders. And it must become our responsibility to
hold the weight of our Lord with wisdom and with fair preaching for our guests.
My very, very fine elastic and as an apology, and I'm unapologetic.
But it is my apology to you that the Muslims of this world have not done as a great job as we shouldn't have to show you the beauty of the message of Islam. I sincerely apologize on behalf of all of them that we have not done our job. We have shown you a very warped image of the beautiful messages sent to us but we are going to do
Our best to rectify that condition very soon, we are going to do our best to become a living embodiment of that message following upon the character there was no man who ever walked this earth.
And if we don't do better than hold us accountable questions, tell us, let us know that if we are telling people that Islam can solve the solutions of the world's problems, that we should be using it to solve our own problems, we cannot push it upon them. If we are not even using it and exemplifying it in our own lives, we need to turn the tables around and begin.
shares in the mirror every single day, we have forgotten that the creator of all that exists has told us that I will not promise that I will not change your condition, it will not no matter what you do, no matter how many per hour, as you try to accomplish in this world, I will I will not change your condition until you change. What is the meaning yourself and you become the change which you want the world to see if you don't do that. And if you don't do that, then all of this confusion
will come as of no consequence, if what is not coming is not the beautiful message in the family environment or God's law on the earth that we failed. Do not fail because God loves you so much. Allah the creator loves this so much that he's given us opportunity after opportunity after opportunity to gain the spotlight even in begging for for decades, we've been begging for a lot to give us a platform to tell the truth. And unfortunately there are many times is given to us to falter and stumble and fail but I love you so much that has given you time and time again, the spotlight is in your face the same microphone. What do you want to say?
Thank you very much.