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8419Converts/Reverts: Kanoute Saves Spanish Mosque

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  • Zafar Khan
    Dec 15, 2007
      Kanoute Saves Spanish Mosque
      Fri. Dec. 14, 2007
      IslamOnline.net & News Agencies


      MADRID — Malian Muslim footballer Frederic Kanoute,
      the striker of Spain's Seville FC, has saved the only
      mosque in the southern Spanish city of Seville from
      Kanoute has paid 510,860 euros (some $700,000) so that
      fellow Muslims in Seville would not find themselves
      without a mosque, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP)
      Thursday, December 13.

      The privately owned mosque was due to be sold after a
      contract to use the premises by the local Muslim
      population had expired.

      But Kanoute stepped in to purchase the building.

      The 30-year-old striker has not made any comment on
      the matter.

      But city authorities have confirmed that the property
      has been registered in Kanoute's name, according to
      the BBC Sport.

      It is estimated that Kanoute has spent almost a year's
      salary to buy the mosque.

      Kanoute, , one of the finalists for the 2007 BBC
      African Footballer of the Year award, moved in 2005
      from French champions Lyon to Seville FC, the 2006-07
      Spanish league's third and the holder of last season's
      cup championship.


      Spanish Muslims said they really appreciate Kanoute's
      moving gesture.

      "If it had not been for Kanoute then we would not have
      had a mosque on Fridays, which is the most holy day of
      the week for Muslims," a spokesman for the Islamic
      Community of Spain was quoted as saying by BBC Sport.

      Kanoute, who has also created a foundation in his
      motherland Mali to help orphans, reverted to Islam 10
      years ago.

      Last Ramadan, he impressed Spanish football fans by
      his unique performance though he was fasting.

      Kanoute was crowned last year the league's top scorer
      with 20 goals, outperforming football legends such as
      Brazilian Ronaldinho.

      Kanoute, a practicing Muslim who regularly performs
      his prayers even in the locker room, refused last
      season to wear a jersey advertising for an internet
      gambling site, because gambling is forbidden in Islam.

      His team had to give him a brand-free jersey until he
      accepted wearing the sponsored jersey in return for
      money to an Islamic charity.

      About to Lose Faith
      A Brazilian Linguist Finds Islam
      By Hagar


      [Are those who know equal to those who know not? It is
      only men of understanding who will remember.]
      (Az-Zumar 39:9)

      These were the first words from the Qur'an that
      touched me. And when I read that I could not stop
      thinking about it. I wondered what should I really
      know to understand? What really is knowledge?

      What is it in reading books and studying theories,
      philosophies and thoughts if at the end we still do
      not find any meaning for our existence? Western
      answers for this dilemma just made me frustrated,
      uncomfortable, hopeless and, at the end, depressed.

      At that time I could not believe in God nor pray
      anymore. How it happened? I do not know.

      What I know is that it was like in one day I believed
      in God (I was Christian – a Protestant) and the next
      day to think about the existence of a God, Creator,
      was like nonsense to me.

      I used to read part of the Old or the New Testament
      every day and also make studies of it. I found nice
      words there, but unreal ones. I mean, without
      applicability. I have never seen anyone living in
      accordance with these words.

      Observing the way people live, the way things happen,
      the way deals and arrangements are done around the
      world to make ones superior to others, I, in my mind,
      concluded that this is a very unjust and unfair world.
      The Bible's words, so nice, were not more than some
      man's invention.

      Religion was not more than a way to keep the poor and
      the oppressed people calm, satisfied and submissive,
      like cattle. It was verily the opium for the people.
      It was a way to keep the uncontrollable mankind under
      some rules that allowed him to live without kills each
      other at least openly.

      In this point it was easy to lose my faith, my belief.
      I thought, "If there is a God, he is cynical and
      unfair. I do not make deals with unfair people, I do
      not make deal with an unfair god."

      I wished I had never learnt how to read and wished
      just be like other people around me. Going to work,
      coming back home, watching TV (and accepting all what
      is said there), reading Sidney Sheldon, buying
      clothes, etc. I thought maybe I could be happy living
      in that way. Alienated.

      But I was in a path without return. What I have seen,
      read, observed was me and I could not find any reason
      to be alive anymore.

      I stopped making questions and chose one definite
      answer: this entire world and the whole creation were
      by chance and full stop. Done. The problem of the
      creation was solved and the mankind was just pathetic
      and ridiculous.

      But for some reason at that time I could not nominate
      (and now I call destiny) I still could not sleep well
      seeing injustices and manipulation practiced for some
      groups above others. I chose a side and a cause to

      I chose to learn more about Muslims and defend their
      cause. I could choose another "minority" or oppressed
      people, but, for reasons that Allah knows better, I
      chose Muslims.

      I had never heard about Islam before, but I was
      curious to know who was those that the western world
      was calling terrorists. I knew if the TV was showing
      them as evil, it was necessary to investigate because
      something was hidden on the whole story.

      To know about Muslims and Islam I should be in touch
      with Muslims. In Brazil, my country, we do not have
      too many communities. Then I went to the Internet and
      met many in chat rooms.

      One young Saudi Muslim told me about Nizar Qabbani and
      I researched about him and found a poem called "I am
      with Terrorism". The poet quotes many events and
      places totally unknown to me and I realized how
      ignorant I was. I had never heard about any of those

      One day, I was chatting with a chat friend (today a
      loved brother) and he showed me a site where I could
      read the Qur'an. I opened it and random a surah
      (chapter) to read.

      The title was in Arabic and I asked him the meaning in
      English and he told me it was the "Day of Judgment".
      He told me that he was wondering why I chose exactly
      that surah, that should be an advice.

      I remember I said to him if there is a God and if He
      is Omniscient, Omnipresent, Omnipotent, He knows that
      words of punishment cannot affect me at all. Instead I
      am looking for words of hope, reasonable and effective
      words of hope.

      At that time I remember that every night I had the
      same wish: I wish I could not wake up tomorrow. But
      the next day my eyes were opened again. It was
      reaching an unbearable level.

      I left Brazil and came to Germany.

      One day I was really desperate. I made ablution the
      way I read Muslims do, I prostrated the way I knew
      Muslims do and said "God, if You are real, release me
      from this situation. Show me the way."

      Al-hamdu llilah. He did. I felt peace in my heart.
      Such peace I was looking for.

      In my German class there were some sisters and I asked
      them some instructions. They gave me some books and my
      first Qur'an. May Allah bless them all.

      I read the Qur'an. And there I found:

      [And I created not the jinn and the mankind except
      that they should worship Me (Alone).] (Adh-Dhariyat

      [And We have made some of you as a trial for others;
      will you have patience?] (Al-Furqan 25:20)

      And all the answers I was looking for were there.

      My life didn't change. It was still hard most of the
      time. What changed was my attitude facing the life. I
      still have more "no" then "yes" from Allah. The
      difference is that now I know that He is my Lord and
      my Wali (Guardian), and His "no" is better to me. I am

      Hagar is a 42-year-old Muslim convert. She holds a
      degree in linguistics and literature and is a
      specialist in Portuguese language and literature.

      A Young Moldavian Woman Chooses Islam
      By Reading Islam Team
      Tue. Nov. 13, 2007


      In Moldavia, one of the European countries, Lina
      started to learn about Islam. It all started with her
      at school when she was interested in the Islamic
      culture. She decided to research about Islam even
      though some of her teachers tried to prevent her from
      doing so.
      Now, Lina is a Muslim for one year and a half. She
      says that it is hard for her to know about Islam
      because of the restrictions put on the Muslims in her
      country. Mosques are not allowed to be built, no one
      can pray in public places, and so on.

      Click here to watch Lina talking about how she chose
      Islam and how she is trying to overcome the
      difficulties that she faces because of being a Muslim.


      A German Teenager Discovers "Cool" Islam
      By Yahya Schroder
      Tue. Sep. 11, 2007


      My name is Yahya Schroder. I am a "European" Muslim. I
      became Muslim 11 months ago when I was 17. I am living
      now in Potsdam, Germany and I want to share my
      experience with you as a Muslim in a non-Muslim state.

      As a convert to Islam, I think it's much easier to
      follow the deen (religion) than a born Muslim who is
      been raised up here. Almost all young born-Muslims I
      know want to become German. For them Islam is only a
      tradition and they think that they have to give up
      their tradition (Islam) to be accepted by the Germans,
      despite the fact that the Germans won't accept them
      even if they gave up their religion.

      I grew up in a little village. I lived with my mother
      and my stepfather in a huge house with a big garden
      and a big pool. And as a teenager I "lived a cool
      life;" I had some friends whom I used to hang around
      with, do stupid things and drink alcohol like every
      young German teen.

      The life of a Muslim in Germany is quite difficult
      than one would think especially for me as a German
      Muslim because when someone asks a German what they
      know about Islam; they would tell you something about
      Arabs. For them it's like mathematical operation Islam
      = Arabs.

      They still don't know about our big nation. When I
      converted to Islam I had to leave my family and I
      moved to the community in Potsdam near Berlin. I left
      this huge house and all my material valuable stuff.

      When I lived with my mother and my stepfather I had
      everything; a big house, my own money, TV,
      Play-station. I was never concerned about money, but I
      wasn't happy. I was searching for something else.

      When I turned 16 I met the Muslim community in Potsdam
      through my biological father who became Muslim in
      2001. I used to visit my father once a month and we
      used to attend the meetings of the community which
      were held on Sundays.

      At that time, I was interested in Islam, and my father
      noticed this and told me one day that he wouldn't
      speak about Islam when we are together because he
      wanted me to learn from people of greater knowledge so
      that other people won't say: "Oh he became Muslim just
      because he's 17 and does everything his father does."

      I agreed and I started visiting the community every
      month and learned a lot about Islam but at that time
      something happened and changed my way of thinking. One
      Sunday, I went with the Muslim community swimming and
      I broke my back twice by jumping in the pool and I hit
      the ground with my head.

      My father brought me to the hospital and the doctor
      told me:

      "You have broken your back quite bad and if you did
      one wrong movement you'll become handicapped."

      This didn't help me much, but then just a few moments
      before they bought me to the operation room the Ahmir,
      one of my friends of the Muslims community, told me
      something. "Yahya, you are now in the hands of Allah,
      it's like a rollercoaster. Now you are on the top
      enjoy the ride and just trust in Allah." This really
      helped me.

      The operation took five hours and I woke up after 3
      days. I couldn't move my right arm but I was feeling
      like the happiest person on this earth. I told the
      doctor that I don't care about my right arm I'm so
      happy that Allah has let me survive.

      The doctors have told me that I have to stay in the
      hospital for few months. I stayed for only two weeks
      there, because I was training very hard. One day a
      doctor came and said: "today we will try to take one
      step on the staircase," the exercise that I did on my
      own two days before the doctor told me.

      Now, I can move my right arm again and I was just two
      weeks there Al-hamdu lillah. This accident changed a
      lot in my personality.

      I noticed when Allah wants something; the individual's
      life can be turned over in one second. So, I took life
      more serious and started thinking more about my life
      and Islam, but I was still living in this little

      My wish to become Muslim became so strong that I had
      to leave my family. I left my stepfather, my mother
      and the nice luxury lifestyle to go to Potsdam. I
      moved to my father's apartment which is rather small
      and I had to stay in the kitchen but it was okay
      because I had nothing just a very few clothes, school
      books, and some CDs.

      It must sound for you like I lost everything but I am
      very happy, I'm as happy as when I woke up in the
      hospital after the dreadful accident. The next day was
      the first day of Ramadan. The day after this was my
      first school day in my new school.

      The day after my first day in school I said Shahadah
      Al-hamdu lillah. So, everything was new for me, new
      apartment, new school, and first time without my
      family. Like in my school when they first noticed that
      I am a Muslim they started to make jokes at me.

      I think this is usual because of what they learned
      from the media. "A terrorist," "Osama bin Laden is
      coming," "Muslims are dirty," some people thought I am
      just a crazy guy. And they even didn't believe me that
      I am German.

      But now after 10 months the situation changed. I made
      a lot of da`wah to my classmates and now I even have a
      praying room although I'm the only Muslim in my

      My classmates changed from making jokes to asking
      serious question about Islam and they noticed that
      Islam is not a religion like the other religions. They
      noticed Islam is cool!

      They see that we Muslims have Adab (manners) in
      dealing with each other. They noticed that we are
      independent from all this peer pressure, we just keep
      it real we don't need to be in a special group like in
      my school.

      At my school there are three main groups: the hip hop
      guys; the punks; and the party people. Everybody tries
      to be a member of one group, so as to be accepted by

      Except me! I can be friend with everybody. I don't
      have to wear special clothes to be "cool." So what
      happened is that they are always inviting me and my
      Muslim friends to their barbecue parties.

      The special thing on this is that they respect me as a
      Muslim and even more, they get Halal food especially
      for me and they have organized two barbecue grills one
      for them and one for us Muslims! The people here are
      very open for Islam.

      Struggling Against Homosexuality, Finding Islam
      By Ayub
      Wed. Sep. 19, 2007


      [And He found thee wandering, and He gave thee
      guidance.] (Ad-Duha 93:7)

      Homosexuality has become one of the most widely
      discussed social issues of our day. Some communities
      around the world are embracing and accepting its
      More and more societies are making room for those who
      are convinced that God made them gay and that they
      have no choice but to accept it. This has even begun
      happening within the Muslim community.

      I am telling my story because I found a different
      path. I am an American man who through Allah's grace
      was able to loosen the grip of same-sex attractions
      and find my way out of the homosexual lifestyle.

      I did this by embracing Islam.

      I want to share my story, not to fan the flames of any
      political debate, but because I believe it could be a
      source of help and comfort to Muslim men and teenagers
      who want to leave same-sex attractions behind.

      I also pray that my words might provide guidance to
      the families of those who are struggling.

      My Story

      For all of my adult life I have struggled with
      attractions to other men. The attractions began during
      my early teenage years and strengthened over time. I
      finally gave in to these urges in college and embraced
      a homosexual lifestyle.

      I lived as an openly gay man for five years and had
      many same sex experiences.

      I embraced this lifestyle because I thought this was
      who I was. It was a mystery to me exactly where these
      attractions came from.

      Anyone struggling with same-sex attractions feels this
      at some point. The attractions are so deep-seated and
      arise in such an uninvited way that they seem beyond
      our conscious control.

      At a certain point, in order to live with ourselves,
      many of us begin to accept these feelings as normal.
      And we start demanding that others accept them in us
      as well.

      But I soon discovered that there was another way to
      see this. While living as a gay person, I was also
      searching for answers.

      All my life I felt I was destined to find something
      more, something special that would better explain who
      I was and why I was here. The Christian religion I was
      raised in never really satisfied that yearning.

      During and after college I also explored Buddhism,
      Hinduism and non-religious forms of meditation. None
      of them did it for me.

      Then when I was 25 I had a life-changing experience
      that led me to Islam. It suddenly became clear to me
      that what I had been seeking had a name: Allah, that
      all-encompassing Grace that had created me and
      everyone and everything else.

      Allah, that Light, that same Light, which spoke and
      continues to speak to man through His Messenger (PBUH)
      and all His other prophets.

      Allah, that Resonance, that same Resonance, that has
      been delivering His message to mankind since the
      beginning of time.

      It also became clear that in order to follow the path
      to Allah, I would have to give up the homosexual
      lifestyle. It was shown to me through several
      experiences, both internal and external, that
      homosexuality was wrong and that continuing to
      practice it would block my spiritual progress.

      I didn't fully understand why at the time. I had to
      accept it on faith. But I knew deep inside that this
      was the truth.

      Several difficult years followed, but my determination
      to become free of same-sex attractions was strong. By
      Allah's grace I was first able to cut all external
      ties to my previous life. I also learned, little by
      little, how to control the urges that kept drawing me
      back to what was haram.

      To this day I am still vulnerable to these attractions
      in weaker moments. But I had only one more experience
      after embracing Islam. That was nearly twenty years
      ago. It was the last one I will ever have.

      How I See My Struggle

      After years of struggling, the battle has become
      easier. I have come to see same-sex attractions not as
      a curse, but as an opportunity.

      Some people work for years to figure out how they can
      serve Allah. For me this question was answered a long
      time ago: control same-sex attractions and share what
      you have learned.

      I have come to think of my life this way: whatever
      else happens, if I can stay free of this craziness and
      perhaps help others become free, I will have found
      success in the central jihad of my life.

      Others may not agree with the approach I have taken,
      and that's fine. But for those who are struggling, I
      offer these words from my own experience: You don't
      have to settle for a life that is contrary to what
      Allah has prescribed for us. You don't have to accept
      a definition of yourself that is compromised or any
      less than what He has ordained for you as a Muslim.

      And most of all, you don't have to live with the shame
      of rejection by your family, friends and peers. There
      is another way, and there are brothers (and sisters)
      out there who can help you, as they themselves have
      been helped.

      Tips and Techniques

      Here are some techniques that I and others have found
      helpful in controlling same-sex attraction.

      1) Make the intention to change. You have to want to
      change, and you have to believe that you can. Allah is
      there to help you, but you have to make the intention

      Ask Him with all the sincerity you can muster to help
      you battle this thing inside.

      Develop the certitude that this is your own personal
      jihad, and make a commitment to Allah and to yourself
      that you will see it through to the end, no matter
      what happens.

      2) Cut off all associations with friends and
      activities associated with "being gay." Do not
      underestimate the power of outside trappings and
      "friends" who will pull you back in.

      Make a clean break, it will help immensely in your

      3) Develop strong, healthy male friendships. Put
      yourself in the company of guys who are NOT same-sex
      attracted and learn how to get along with them. This
      process can be difficult at first, but ultimately it
      is essential. It demystifies other men, cutting the
      tendency to see them as objects.

      4) Do regular Salat and Dhikr. Read the Qur'an. As
      Allah and His Messenger have said over and over, there
      is special power in prayer. That extends to
      controlling base desires of all kinds.

      5) Get some help. Seek out counseling with a
      professional who respects your decision NOT to indulge
      in same-sex experiences. Or join a support group.

      Straightstruggle at
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/StraightStruggleis an
      online group that caters exclusively to Muslims who
      are battling same-sex attraction and their families.
      It is a safe, private and compassionate environment to
      address all issues relating to this struggle.

      A Word to Family and Friends

      Finally, a note for family members of brothers and
      sisters dealing with same-sex attraction. Compassion,
      love and understanding are the best medicine for
      anyone struggling to control same-sex attraction.

      You need to have patience beyond patience and do your
      best to reserve judgment.

      In my experience, people are best able to learn and
      change behaviors when given the love, support and
      space in which to do so.

      Faith: Is It Reason or Belief? Part One
      By Reading Islam Team
      Mon. Oct. 29, 2007


      Meilna started to know about Islam when her sister met
      a Muslim man whom she married. All she knew about
      Islam is that Muslim women were obliged to cover, and
      they have to walk behind their husbands. She knew that
      Muslims worshipped Muhammad and that they don't
      believe in Jesus.

      Then what made Meilna, the typical American woman who
      was raised in a Christian family, change her mind and
      accept Islam as her way of life? Click here to find


      "I remember when I was considering getting married and
      convert… It was really difficult to face prejudice and
      misconceptions of what people had to say to me."
      Meilna knew that choosing to become a Muslim wasn't
      the easiest thing to do, she feared the social outcast
      because of the belief. "You have to make a lot
      sacrifices and you have to face a lot of prejudice."