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My big Jihad on the way to Islam

By Bayynat editor    

When one’s religion fails to provide answers for inquiries and questions that touch our life, then he would realize that there is a need to start investigating some new faiths. That is the case with sister Tone Kristin Kirkeng who resorted to Islam after realizing that the concept of God having a son is simply illogical. The following is the text of the interview conducted with sister Kirkeng:

Q: Why did you make the choice to convert to Islam? Could you please describe the exact moment in which you decided to embrace Islam?

A: I started to read about Islam after I got married. Then, I started to view my own religion critically. I talked to my local priest, a professor from the theological faculty in the University of Oslo and  a professor from the college in Ostfold in religion. In addition, I had long studies with the Latter Days Saints, the Jehovas witnesess. No one could answer my questions. However, Islam could. My main reason to convert was the fact that God had not any need for a successeor. He did not need a son. A son is someone who is going to take over.

Also when you read in the Bible, it says that Adam also is son of God. If that was the case, then why did not Jesus get a soverighn title? Suddenly, Jesus was not the only one with this title. Everyone denied this at first,but after showing them the evidence in the Bible,  they started giving me reasons which were simply precarious.;not to mention how much time it took them to answer my questions.

The concept of the Christian Trinity was also a problem for me. I knew it is not mentioned in the Bible, but was put in after a church meeting in Nicea in the 3rd sentry.

There are many more things, but my main reason is that I basically believed that there was only one God.

I cannot recall the exact date in which I embraced Islam. I started to live according to the “outer rules” as I call them when I married my husband, but did not start my big jihad until 2004.

Q: How do you feel about being a Muslim?

A: I am proud to be a Muslim! It has become a big part of my identity. I define myself through Islam. Others define me through Islam. But of course it is hard sometimes; if I am among Muslim women, I am different, because  I am a convert. And if I am with Norwegians, I am also different. It is tiring sometimes. Not to mention the fact that it is hard to defend myself and my beliefs taking into consideration what other Muslims do. When it comes to my identity as a female Muslim, I believe that Islam regards women highly; however, the behaviour of some Muslims do not reflect that.  

Q: When you first became a Muslim, what was the reaction of your family, friends, and surroundings?

A: They did not like it of course. I turned my back to what my mom and dad had taught me to be right. My brother he did not think what I did was right, but he said that if I was going to do this, I had to do it right, not half way. “That is the way we do things!” he said.

When that is said, I am brought up to think for myself. They of course stand behind me no matter what. I am their daughter and sister. We support each other of course.

Q: how do you regard Hijab: a personal choice or a religious obligation?

A: I wear Hijab with pride, and I think that Islam has ordered women to wear it. I do not think this is the most important rule in Islam for women.

Q: How hard was it for you, being a Muslim convert in a Western country, to wear Hijab?

A: When I put on my hijab, I totally lost my identity. I had to rebuild myself completely. I found myself to be very visible, at the same time as I felt that I disappeared. This was the hard part. When it comes to other people’s reactions, I have had very few bad experiences. I have had no trouble when it comes to work. I am a teacher, and both my pupils and their parents has been positive.

Q: What is the difference with regard to your daily life between your previous religion and your Islam?

A: I used to love to go swimming in the summer. This is something that I do not do as much, since I have to swim with clothes. Other than that, I do believe that Islam is not a restraining religion, but rather a liberating one. I feel I can do what I used to do. I did not live my life very different from what I do now. The ethical rules that I am brought up with are actually very close to Islamic ethics.

Q: How important do you think it is for non-Arab Muslims to learn Arabic?

A: I think it is important to a certain point. It is important to read the Quran in its original language, but I think it is important that it does not take over your life to learn it. It is hard, and I think it is also hard for a Arabic-speaker to understand the Quran. I see it as almost impossible to learn it satisfyingly. On the other side, it would probably be easier to get along if all Muslims spoke the same language.

Q: What is attractive about Islam that thousands of people are converting yearly regardless of the distortion campaign against it?

A: For me it is the logic in the dogmas. The rules are not the selling point. I love system and order. Islam gives this. The only way to see the beauty of Islam is to disregard  the media.