This site is in response to creepingsharia.wordpress.com and all its ilk. I believe I can offer a unique perspective.
I am an American, born and raised within spitting distance of the nation’s capital by first-generation Americans of obvious European descent. My family had palatable immigrant overtones however; they were Alsatian German and Estraxarja Sinti (Roma, or gypsies) from Slovakia. I was raised Byzantine Catholic with a parent-induced dabble in Methodism before I was ten. I left that establishment in my twenties to follow a path of pantheism. God was never the question, it was how he manifested himself, in part because my familiar background included an unhealthy dose of bigotry that I bitterly ate myself at first.
As a Muslim, I was minted in 2015, a non-negotiable term laid out over Skype in a language that required translation, by my soon-to-be father-in-law, to marry my now-wife. She, of course, is a Muslim and herself will be a newly minted American in the near future, God willing. I can not offer any more reason to become a Muslim than love for her. If any one good reason exists to make such an important commitment [marriage and the acceptance of a new path], it is love, though some may say I lead with my left foot rather than the right one.
Returning to God in this way, for love, seems natural, but returning to such a structured path is fraught with challenge. I faced challenges as a Catholic too that Islam offers solutions too, and the path I have taken before this has led me to become what I believe to be, simply, a good man. It is all that I have to present to God when all is said and done and, since my relation with God is personal, all that I expect is important. Having passed my 50 year mark, I am not without the maturity to know that there are aspects of Islam I will struggle with and only ask for God’s grace in doing so. Chief among them is a complete lack of knowledge of the Arabic language. Luckily, my wife speaks very good English and is patient.
The transfer to Islam is not without familiar and cultural struggle as well. In announcing my reversion I lost the support and understanding of family members. I also face a very communal body following my newly chosen path that represent a grand multitude of nationalities and belief nuances that I find difficult to know at face value and are, at times, judgmental of who I am externally. And because of the language barrier, it is nearly impossible to engage in the question-asking and intense discussion that would expedite my understanding.
It is the way the world has become and my biggest challenge will be how I face these as a man. To define that man, I am a middle-aged white American civil employee; a prime target for insecurity in this modern world. But as an American I feel ashamed of what I hear and read from other Americans about Muslim culture; it is fraught with morsels of misunderstanding that are fed on voraciously by those starving for an enemy.