Justin L. Peyton, events of "Black September" led me to Islam

Written By jieenk on Tuesday, June 28, 2011 | 12:35 PM

He grew up and educated in the U.S. middle class families who embraced Christianity, although not a member of a particular church or regularly attending services every Sunday and is involved in various religious activities. The only moment which they celebrate to show their religious identity is the celebration of Christmas.

Although not a Christian is a churchgoer, his parents taught clearly and firmly about the "morality" that must be complied with, in order to become a man of character and well behaved. On the other hand, the interest of both parents to the history and culture of diverse nations in the world to create an environment that taught him to be tolerant, respect and admire the customs and beliefs of others with different beliefs espoused. And this is an environment such as contributed big for him to accept and eventually embrace Islam.

That's the background of the life of Justin L. Peyton, a African-Americans from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Journey to Islam came from the events of 11 September 2001. He is so much more to read about Islam and Muslims from the mass media after the incident, although preaching tends to negative. But he admitted a negative portrait of Islam and Muslims that the Western mass media diumbar not affect its interaction with a Muslim friend or neighbor.

"Preaching the negatives were never interfere with my desire to take the time to study Islam," said Peyton.

With an attitude of openness that instilled his parents, he decided to do their own research, find facts about Islam and find a common thread between his personal experience with Muslims associate with a negative mass media coverage of Islam and Muslims. Since that time Peyton was still a student, then the internet becomes the first media which he used to do a "search and review" it.

For several months he had access to information from the Internet, knowledge continues to increase gradually. Peyton read numerous articles began to basic knowledge about Islam and Muslims until things are more deeply about the concept of God in Islam, prophets, Quran, Day of Judgement as well as instructions regarding the procedure for performing prayers, fasting, pilgrimage and other knowledge about Islam and Muslims as the concept of family in Islam, pernijahan and stories of new Muslims. The story of those who convert to Islam is an article which he most liked.

He then bought the Al-Quran with translation in a bookstore and began reading the Koran. Within a day, Peyton can read pages and pages of the Quran and make a list of the contents of the Koran that most sparked his curiosity is more about Islam. "What I read, giving the sensation in my soul," said Peyton.

Accessing the Internet and read the Koran did not make him feel enough to know and understand more about Islam and Muslims. Peyton decides to visit a nearby mosques in Philadelphia. "I contacted a mosque 45 miles away from home, talk with the leaders of the mosque and set a schedule to come and discuss about Islam with Muslim communities in the mosque," he said.

On the appointed day, Peyton come and spend a lot of time with a Muslim at the mosque. The meeting and conversation it inspires her, until his second visit in the summer of 2002, Peyton believes that Islam is the truth. It was also Peyton utter two sentences creed and a week-long stay in the mosque to learn the prayers and obligations that must be done alone as a Muslim.

Two months after converting to Islam, Peyton menandatagani letters to join the U.S. Marine Corps and have lived in military barracks. As someone new to Islam, Peyton admits that military life is not conducive. For example, schedules and long latiihan which sometimes makes it very difficult to fulfill obligations of prayers or fasting during Ramadan.

Even after running the training as a Marine, Peyton place in an area that there was no Muslim community, which makes it more difficult to strengthen the faith she embraced the new religion. Only three years later, Peyton meets with fellow soldiers who are also Muslims, who can teach about Islam and led him to live as Muslims in U.S. military service.

The summer of 2007, Peyton completed the task in the army and returned to Philadelphia, his hometown. He was later active in a mosque and with the ability he has, he got a job in the largest Muslim organization in the U.S., Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

"Over the past two years as part of the Muslim community and worked at CAIR is an incredible learning experience, making me growing and interested to learn Islam more deeply," he said.

In 2009, Peyton register with the Hartford Seminary in Connecticut and earned a master's in studies of Islamic Art, Muslim-Christian relations and certified in the field of Islamic da'wah.