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BOONE LIFE: A Columbia woman tells how she converted to Islam

6 December 2011 General 13 Comments Email This Post Email This Post
Jessica Fay prays the Zuhr, the second of the five daily prayers of Islam on Oct. 23 in her bedroom. Fay says that what drew her to Islam was the praying. She feels like prayer in Islam is more a “mental, physical and physiological” act and loves taking time out of her day to pray.

Jessica Fay prays the Zuhr, the second of the five daily prayers of Islam on Oct. 23 in her bedroom. Fay says that what drew her to Islam was the praying. She feels like prayer in Islam is more a “mental, physical and physiological” act and loves taking time out of her day to pray.

COLUMBIA — Jessica Fay is a blonde. But you wouldn’t know that from looking at her, and that’s just the way she likes it.

“No one can really judge me straight off, ‘Oh, you’re a dumb blonde, I’m not going to listen to what you have to say,'” Fay said. “When I cover my hair, people can’t judge me right away off of the color of my hair.”

Fay is Muslim, and she wears the hijab, the Islamic veil that covers a woman’s hair. She said there are a many reasons she likes wearing the veil, which is required by the Quran, the Islamic holy book. The veil also comes with a certain dress code that usually includes being covered from head to toe, with most of the arms covered, too.

“It’s kind of nice because when I walk down the street, I don’t see (men) going and looking at my body — they’re looking straight at me,” Fay said. “I feel more a sense of respect and dignity from that, knowing I don’t have to show my boobs to get respect from a man.”

For the past two years, Fay has taken baby steps to become a Muslim. It took her a few years to adopt the veil. She said she was nervous other people would judge her when she started wearing it. She used a pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia to help her transition, and since she returned to America wearing the hijab, she has experienced support and curiosity.

Some would call her process a conversion, but Fay refers to it as her “reversion.”

“In Islam, what they believe is that all babies are born Muslim,” Fay said. “If their family is not Muslim, they learn a different religion or whatever. So they call it reversion because you’re reverting back.”

Becoming Muslim can be difficult for those who weren’t raised in a Muslim family or with an Arab background. Islam, which requires prayers five times a day and prohibits alcohol and some other foods, takes commitment.

As a college student, not being able to drink alcohol can be difficult, Fay said. She added that it doesn’t help that she’s already in an awkward transition in her life, as she started graduate school this year.

Many of her undergraduate friends have left Columbia, and she has a hard time keeping in contact with the ones who still remain, she said.

“It’s hard to find something that your friends are going to want to do with you that doesn’t involve drinking,” Fay said. “But then again, I want to think about: I wear hijab and I don’t want to misrepresent my religion and make people think, ‘Oh, that’s OK.’

“It’s a process,” she said.

Fay isn’t Arab, which leads some people to be curious about her, such as when she’s trying to get a table at a restaurant or is in the supermarket. She said sometimes people are more open to discussing Islam with her because of the color of her skin.

“People may be just a little more curious than if I looked Arab. Then they’d be like, ‘Oh, that’s expected, I don’t have to ask her why.'”

Despite the stereotype, only 12 percent of Muslims worldwide are Arab, according to PBS.

Fay said she hopes that her looks will lead those who don’t understand Islam to ask questions. She wants to be a good representative of her religion, which she said she thinks is often misunderstood.

“I hope to educate them in a way, if only to show that I’m not oppressed by my hijab,” Fay said. “I go to the gym and I work out. I’m going to run a 5K. I’m doing things. I’m also a shy person, but I’m talking out more in class. I want to educate, but I’m not going to pressure anyone.”

Original post: BOONE LIFE: A Columbia woman tells how she converted to Islam


  1. Welcome to the fold sister.

  2. Here is a story about a man who converted to Christianity from Islam.

    Welcome to the fold brother, maybe you can come to the United States and do some speaking if you survive your 15 years in prison.

  3. Criley401: Regrettably this is happens far too often in countries dominated by Islam (the story about a man who converted to Christianity from Islam). I don’t believe that the majority of Muslims who live in the Western world hold these views. But they need to speak out and condemn such actions. It’s no wonder there is so much Islamovigilance (not Islamophobia).

  4. Mormons believe that everyone is born a mormon.

  5. Masha’allah… Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) guides whom he wills, and misguides whoever he wills. The world is waking up to the truth and realizing their is more to life than bowing down to money and more to life than just raising a family (although raising a Muslim family is really important)

  6. For a muslim to convert to christianity is not a big had even started when the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw)was still alive.

  7. “I don’t believe that the majority of Muslims who live in the Western world hold these views. But they need to SPEAK OUT and CONDEMN SUCH ACTIONS.”… WAITING, WAITING, waiting…

  8. Criley,
    There is no problem with preaching the Gospel, in fact, if preaching about Jesus (PBUH) is no big deal becuz Muslims also believe in him. The website you posted shows a very one sided view. It seems to suggest Muslims don’t want ppl to hear about Jesus (PBUH). This is due to Christian missionaries who simply throw out the Muslims belief in Jesus (PBUH) by saying Muslims don’t believe he is the Son of God. They won’t mention about how other prophets are also called Sons of God (David, Solomon, Israel, Adam) or that Son of God can’t be taken literally. They don’t want Muslims to give a Quranic explanation regarding the miracle birth of Jesus (PBUH). If u read the article carefully, and knew what proselytizing is defined as you would know this man was not really preaching Christianity, he was spreading misinformation about the Muslims belief.

    Here are a few verses Christians would never preach about what Islam says regarding the miracle birth of Jesus (PBUH) in Surah Al-Imran.

    45. Behold! the angels said: “O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah.

    46. “He shall speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. And he shall be (of the company) of the righteous.”

    47. She said: “O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man hath touched me?” He said: “Even so: Allah createth what He willeth: When He hath decreed a plan, He but saith to it, ‘Be,’ and it is!

    48. “And Allah will teach him the Book and Wisdom, the Law and the Gospel,

  9. So this man has been in Jail now for 5 years of his 15 year sentence and this is ok? The fact that 7000 Moroccan clerics are calling for the forcible expulsion of all Christians within the country is ok? So in many Muslim countries telling Muslims about Jesus Christ and giving the Christian’s view (not the Muslim View) is ok? I do not think so. Christians do not believe that David and the others is the Son of God and they do not agree that it cannot be taken literally. After all the Christian religion has a different belief set and to get people to convert one has to preach that belief set just as Muslims preach theirs. As far as I know Missionaries do not discard the fact that Muslims believe in Jesus as a person and Prophet but that is not the belief of Christianity and relegates Jesus to a status less than that of Mohammad who Christians do not recognize even as a prophet. Let’s face it if similar Blasphemy laws and laws against Proselytizing were in place in Christian dominated countries Muslims would be bridling against religious prosecution and rightfully so since that is what is occurring in many Muslim countries.

  10. The girl already seems to be wearing her GITMO uniform. lol- F Islam

  11. The point mentioned earlier was that if you don’t know the details about why they arrested him, then why say it is unfair? Do you know what he is preaching? Have you ever seen a dialogue between a Christian missionary and a Muslim? Most quote the Quran 9:5 as proof that Islam is not a religion of peace using this quote. They suggest this is talking about Christians and Jews (since they are unbelievers) but the verse (if read from verse 1) is talking about the pagans of Mecca who broke a peace treaty with the Muslims. And they don’t mention the verse after 9:6. Is that fair? You agree with that?
    The Quran states that if you believe that Jesus is Divine or that he even claimed divinity for himself produce your proof. Seems simple right? The point is if other people are called Sons of God or all peacemakers are called children of God (Matthew 9:5)then why do Christians worship Jesus? Why do they worship a 3 in 1 God? Jesus did not come to change the law (Matthew 5:17-20) makes it clear he did not come to change the Law of the Prophets. He preached of Only one God like every Prophet b4 him. He never said worship me or worship a 3 in 1 God.

  12. The point is not which religion is correct but that there be freedom for people to choose. To a non believer, any religion may look absurd.

  13. Exactly Anon, to be able to worship as you please while tolerating others who are doing the same. That was my point. A person grounded in the Muslim faith would not believe anything a Christian Missionary said or they would take it with a grain of salt. Let’s face it Mr. Bennett I am pro Muslim when it comes to the practice of its faith yet if I espoused my views in most, if not all, Muslim countries I would be arrested or deported.

    Religions should have nothing to fear from each other. It is only when we yield to its most base aspect (which some would call its most grandiose) and decide we know the will of God that serious problems occur. When we use our knowledge of the will of God to “Persecute or Save people through said persecution” we fall short of the ideals of our religion. Christians murdered many in the name of God though the Great Commission does not call for it. I am being told Islam does not call for it. But yet both have done so in the name of God deeming “God wills it”.

    If anyone of any faith claims they know the “Will of God” they are a nut and everything they say should be examined closely and with great skepticism, even if they appear saint like or are otherwise good men. The most basic tenets of our religions tell us not to kill, bar us from committing sexual outside of marriage, and to treat others as we would have them treat us. Any prophet, pastor, or clergyman that entreats us to do otherwise is essaying beyond his religious authority and his following should be suspect.

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