From Mosman to Islam


By Sarah Price
May 2, 2004
The Sun-Herald

http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/05/01/1083224649513.html

Amirah Ibrahim believes she is the only woman in
Mosman to wear an Islamic headscarf.

"I've never seen another one," the 20-year-old said.

A graduate of the exclusive Queenwood School for
Girls, Miss Ibrahim, or Lucie Thomson as she is
otherwise known, made the life-changing decision to
convert to Islam eight months ago.

Her blonde hair now hidden beneath her religious scarf
and wearing traditional dress, the woman who was
baptised in the Church of England prays five times a
day and has pledged to serve Allah.

It is a choice that may seem at odds with her
surroundings.

Her family and friends have been very supportive, she
said, although when she made the decision to convert
she could not tell her parents face-to-face and did it
by letter.

She said her younger brother gets a little embarrassed
by her appearance when he is with friends.

And her best friend, while supportive of her choice,
still had difficulty with her decision to wear a
scarf, Miss Ibrahim said.

When she walked down the street, she said, strangers
generally nodded and smiled, although she did get the
odd stare from young children.

She laughed off rare comments comparing her to Melanie
Brown, the Australian woman who converted to Islam and
married terrorist suspect Willy Brigitte.

Lucie Thomson's path to Islam began about two years
ago.

She had always believed in God but was never sure
which religious faith was right for her.

She started learning about the Koran because her
boyfriend at the time followed the Druze faith, a
mainly Middle East-based religion which uses the
Koran.

The relationship ended but her interest in the Koran
and then Islam continued.

A Muslim friend took her to a lecture on Islam and she
said it was then that she knew she had found the faith
she wanted.

"It felt right," she said. "I thought, I can't deny
this is right."

Life changed for the better, she said. She is less
aggressive and angry and her religion has given her a
purpose: to become a better Muslim and to serve Allah.

She now wants to go to university to study political
science, a course she has deferred since high school
because she says she has a duty as a Muslim to seek
knowledge.

She converted to Islam with the help of the Australian
New Muslims Association in Lakemba.

There are, on average, about two people a fortnight
converting to the faith at the centre, Khadija
Abdullah, a member of the centre, said. All come from
different backgrounds and their reasons are varied.

Mrs Abdullah, originally from New Zealand, was also
not born into the religion.

The 28-year-old mother-of-two first converted to Islam
in 1998, when she married her Muslim husband.

But she did not really become a true follower of the
Islamic faith until about two years ago. "I was still
learning, I was still questioning a lot of things,
until one day it finally sunk into me what I was doing
was right," she said.

She said she received no pressure from her husband to
become a practising Muslim and believed she had become
a better person.

She finds once she starts talking to people, they "see
through the scarf".

Both women have come to the religion at a time when it
has been getting a swathe of bad publicity.

But that scrutiny has strengthened their belief.

Miss Ibrahim said she believed the religion was being
victimised and said the Islamic community felt it was
being unfairly targeted.

But she said those who behaved badly would be judged
by God.





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