Wales: Support group for new Muslims

Wales: Support group for new Muslims

A CHRISTIAN who reverted to Islam has founded a support group to help newcomers to the faith tackle negative stereotypes about terrorism.

Abdur Rahman – who was brought up as a Christian in Cardiff and became a Muslim six years ago – said the scheme was aimed at helping people come to terms with the effects of their decision.

"We are helping people cope with a whole new belief system," the 57-year-old from Cathays told the Echo.

"People may find themselves with reduced social outlets because they can no longer drink. They may also have problems with their family and friends adjusting to their decision."

Mr Rahman, who founded the group in the city's central Butetown ward, calls converts to Islam "reverts" in line with the belief of many Muslims that humans are naturally born in a state of submission to Allah.

He said:"As a revert to Islam, people may have to cope with negative reactions because of the way the media often portrays Muslims as terrorists.

"As with all belief systems, you will get fanatics who interpret things badly and perhaps use religion as justification for their actions.

"But that is simply not true with the vast majority of Muslims."

Mr Rahman said the New Muslim Project Wales (NMPW) came about after a core group of reverts who meet regularly "kicked around the idea".

Based on the UK-wide New Muslim Project set up in 1993 the NMPW – an off-shoot of the Islamic Social Services Association Wales, based in the Unity Centre, Loudoun Square – aims to find and reach out to Muslim reverts across Wales who may be isolated and in need of support.

"We want to help people in their early years come to terms with Islam," said Mr Rahman.

"There can be a lot of problems, especially living in a Christian world where people have misconceptions.

"We are not converting people. These are adults who have already made that decision and just want to know where their nearest mosque is, where they can buy halal meat or if they have to wear funny clothes, which they don't."


Source: Wales Online (English)

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