Sat Sep 25, 2010

Despite post-9/11anti-Islam sentiments in the US, figures show thousands of Americans convert to Islam each year.

About 20,000 Americans convert to Islam annually, a Press TV correspondent in Washington said.

“It was learning about God and our creator that really inspired me, from Malcolm X and from what I read about Islam, to come back to our natural state of believing,” a recent convert to Islam, Umar Abdul Wahab, told the correspondent.

Wahab who was formerly a Christian, now attends Dar Al Hijrah Islamic Centre in Falls Church, Virginia.

“To me Islam is total submission to our creator, total submission to what he wants us to do, [and] following the way of Prophet Mohammed,” Wahab added.

Wahab says he converted to Islam after realizing he was meant to follow a different course. Letting go of old conventions in pursuit of an individual path, however, was not an easy task.

“My parents [eventually] saw that Islam made me a better person than I was previously and they came to respect that… they really admire me for standing up for my beliefs,” he added.

However, anger spurred by anti-Islamic hysteria has been sweeping through America in recent weeks, as shown by a Florida pastor who had called for holding a “Burn a Qur’an Day” on the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

But the ability to exercise religion freely has always been a part of the American dream that every one is entitled to, says Imam Johari Abdul-Malik, director of outreach at the Dar Al Hijrah Islamic Center.

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