the Desk of:
Chaplain Yusuf Estes
TO: Takashi Settai
Staff Writer for Nikkei (Japanese Newspaper)
New York, New York
RE: Your email request for more information on former Christians
coming to Islam
[email copy below]
Peace be unto all those who follow right guidance.
Thank you for your kind letter and for your offer of publishing the
story of my "converting"
from Christianity to Islam.
Before I begin,
I must mention that I am leaving on a flight from here (Washington,
DC) to Atlanta in 30 minutes to speak at a special event there. You
had requested information on how a Christian priest (a Catholic priest
friend of ours named Peter Jacobs), a preacher (myself) and a reverend
(my father came last) came to Islam. This email
will serve as our permission to publish any information published
on our website or in this email for your newspaper. You may feel assured
that we are most happy to cooperate with you in any way possible.
I could perhaps begin by saying, that I have personally witnessed
many "converts" coming into Islam in this country (and Mexico as well).
But many people consider my own personal experience to be rather unique
in that it was not simple one person changing their religion, but
rather an entire household of very religious Christians of three different
denominations [Catholic, "Born Again" and Protestant) all "converting"
reason I choose to put the word "convert" in brackets is because the
understanding as taught by the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him,
is that all children are born in a state of "Islam" (surrender,
submission and obedience to Almighty God) and it is their parents
who raise them up as Jews, Christians, Fire Worshippers. So, Muslims
consider it more like returning or "reverting" to Islam.]
But please do not get the wrong idea, although we entered into Islam
within a close proximity in time we each individually came to the
conclusion that Islam was our own personal choice and it was not an
instant decision as a group coming over to Islam.
While we would all agree that there are always going to be a certain
number of people who, for whatever reason, will change from one religion
to another, we must also quickly agree that it is highly unusual to
find a number of priests, preachers, reverends and holy men (and women)
from various faith groups, simultaneously entering the same faith
around the world.
My own personal story begins on the Texas/Mexican border in December
of 1990. I was born a white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant and at that time
I was working very actively toward preaching "Born Again" Christianity
to anyone and everyone that would listen. I was definitely NOT LOOKING
FOR ISLAM. In fact, religious leaders of Christianity and Judaism
would have us believe, that Islam is a cult of some kind with the
followers worshipping a black box in the desert and kissing the ground
five times a day. Additionally, we have been programmed by the media
to classify most Muslims as "terrorists," "highjackers" and "kidnappers."
So why would anyone even look at Islam???
question . . .
All my close friends at
that time were either preachers, ministers or very much active and
involved in preaching a message of
"Saving Grace by blood
sacrifice from the Holy Trinity of Jesus."
One preacher I knew used to carry a huge (12' long) cross on his back
and walk alongside the highway to attract people to "come to Jesus."
Another preacher used to take me into Mexico and we would preach in
the square or market to individuals about the "salvation of Christ."
We were even arrested in the night by the Mexican Federal Police and
investigated (Mexico is predominantly Catholic and does not encourage
Ah alas, I feared that I would run out of time before completing this
story for you. I must go immediately to the airport now....
feel free to write to me and to discuss this subject and other stories
of priests and preachers coming to Islam...
Best Regards and May Allah Guide us all in all that is best, Ameen.
Yours Very Truly,
National Muslim Chaplain.
Today Islam Project - USA.