Confessions of a Traitor

When I was young my mother had a close friend from Cyprus. I grew up hearing her tell horrifying stories of the Turks' invasion of her home. This woman was very beloved to me. When told her in 1992 I had become a Muslim, the look of shock and anger on her face was hard to bear. "No, Randy, no!" she wailed. She had known me since I was in my mother's womb. I knew I had let her down, sold her out, betrayed her.

Your bad character can drive Muslims out of their religion

When you hear about someone leaving Islam, you may imagine it has something to do with religious beliefs. On some technical level it surely does. But I think the reason usually has nothing to do with, say, rational rejection of one of the six pillars of faith. Rather, most people I've known who left Islam did so because they became disillusioned. And nothing causes a Muslim to feel disillusioned about Islam but the bad character of other Muslims.

Pursuing Justice and Neglecting the Heart

I converted to Islam at a stage in my life in which I was obsessed with the struggle for social justice. This was the era of Iran-Contra, the first Gulf War, and the Rodney King riots. I’d taken my knowledge of history from Noam Chomsky and of current events from the Dead Kennedys and Public Enemy. At that time I’d been having a lot of debates with a Muslim friend of mine over the existence of God and the value of religion. Through very subtle and beautiful arguments he awakened in my soul the awareness of God’s reality. And he advised me that I should become a Muslim, in part, because Islam was the best way to achieve justice in a society I felt was sorely missing it.

Why I Am Sometimes Critical of Muslims

When I was transferred in 2015 to a new prison, I met a young Pakistani brother that I took a liking to. Like me, he had been convicted of providing material support to the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, although I’d been in prison much longer than him, and the “support” he’d contributed was so ephemeral that it rendered his 13-year sentence a mockery of justice...