A former Catholic Sunday school teacher has spoken about why she was moved to convert to Islam.
Cheryl Dacey, was born into an Irish Catholic family. After meeting some Muslims through her job in New York City, the mother four became interested in their religion and eventually converted to Islam.
“I thought it was totally a foreign type of religion from what I believed in,” Daceyl said in an interview, published on OnIslam.com.
“I didn’t realize that we have the same prophets and that much of the information that we have been taught is actually the same as what Muslims were taught. So I really didn’t know much about Islam.”
A former Sunday school teacher, the New Brunswick resident had a strong Christian faith.
“I believed very strongly in what I believed.”
“I was teaching hundreds of children about Catholicism. That’s why I find it such a miracle that I converted to Islam! People argued to get their children into my Sunday School class!”
Dacey recalls her Muslim friends told her that the same God and the same message came down over and over again to the different prophets.
“What happened I think is truly a miracle. I couldn’t sleep, and I have been given a book by a Sheikh from the Masjid (mosque) who came from Syria, he was just visiting. And the book was entitled “Miracles of the Quran” and I couldn’t sleep at all that night. I had it for two years but I never read it.”
“One day I just picked up the book and I read it. And once I read it I got this really fighting feeling that 'Oh my Gosh, now I know it’s the truth.' I had no choice. And I knew that it was going to be so hard because it’s not really that easy to change your religion. You have to consider your family, how they are going to take it, and it’s very frightening.”
When Dacey converted to Islam, many of her friends and family had mixed responses.
“A lot of them moved away from me,” she said.
“My brothers and sisters took it differently. Some of them accepted it better than others, but nobody gave me a hard time.”
“My mother had a little bit of a hard time every time I tried to tell her she would escape the discussion. She knew, but she was afraid to discuss it. And that was about 3 and half years ago, and today she is happy about it. She said “I’m glad you found a beautiful religion.”
Dacey added: “I haven’t been able to convince her to be a Muslim yet.”
In an bid to get to know more Muslims, Dacey started a program at the Islamic society of Central Jersey called “Muslim by Choice” program.
“I started this program because I as a convert in the Masjid was someone isolated. As loving and wonderful Muslims are, they are a little bit protective too. So when you have no Muslim family, it has to be the Muslim sisters and a brother in the Masjid, but initially it’s hard to be accepted there.”
Dacey says despite the negative image being portrayed in the media about Islam, many women are still accepting of the religion.
“The number of Hispanic Muslims is really climbing,” she said.
“What I think happened sometimes too is focus here in the negativity and they are smarter than that and they say that can’t be right that can’t be true, what they are saying about Muslims can’t be right and this made them go and investigate it.?”
Watch the interview below:
The Irish pub that became home base for 9/11 ground zero rescuers