Description: Anthony, now Abdur-Raheem discusses what he saw in Islam and British society which caused him to accept.
By Interview by Islamic Voice
Published on 07 Jan 2008 - Last modified on 01 Apr 2008
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> Stories of New Muslims
Lanky, blonde, green-eyed, middle aged Abdur-Raheem
Greene appears to be a character straight out of a Hollywood movie Ben Hur. The
Tanzania-born Britisher embraced Islam in 1988 and has been a dawah
practitioner [preacher] in Britain since then. He wears a look that instantly
evokes comparison with the popular portrayal of the Prophet Jesus [may the
mercy and blessings of God be upon him] in the imagery of Christian Europe. Greene’s
tryst with Islam took place in Egypt where he mostly spent his vacations. He
lectured in Bangalore in early October on “God’s Final Revelation.” He spoke to
the Islamic Voice while in the city.
I was born to British parents in Darussalam in Tanzania in 1964. My father Gavin Green was a colonial administrator in the still existent
British empire. He later joined Barclays Bank in 1976 and was sent to Egypt to set up Egyptian Barclays Bank. I was educated at famous Roman Catholic Monastic School called Ampleforth College and went on to study history in the London University. However, I left my education unfinished.
Currently, I am working with an Islamic media company
based in England and engage myself in dawah activities [preaching] including
lectures on Islam in London’s famous Hyde Park.
What kept you from obtaining a degree?
I grew totally disillusioned with the British
educational system. It was thoroughly Eurocentric and projected world history
in a way that suggested that the civilization attained its full glory and
apogee in Europe. Having lived in Egypt and seen some of the majestic ruins
which only archaeologists have access to, I found the West’s interpretation of
history totally fallacious. I began a private study of histories of other
peoples of the world, various religious scriptures and philosophy. I was
practicing Buddhism for nearly three years though never formally embraced it.
Study of the Holy Qur’an immediately attracted me. Its
message had a magical appeal and I grew convinced that it was a divine
revelation. I believe only Allah guided me, none else. I don’t know what made
me deserve Islam.
But anything specific that could have appealed to you?
I was dissatisfied with Christianity from the age of
eight. The concept that was taught to us through rhymes such as Hail Mary! Was
not at all acceptable to me. While on one hand the Christians described God to
be eternal and infinite they felt no compunctions in ascribing birth of God
from the womb of Mary. This made me think that Mary must be greater than God.
Secondly, the Christians’ concept of trinity was
puzzlesome for me. The similitude like Canadian Maple leaf being one despite
three sections appeared utterly inapplicable.
The crunch came when an Egyptian started questioning me.
Despite being confused about the Christian belief I was trying to be dogmatic
as most white, middle-class, English Christians do. I was flummoxed when he
led me to accept that the God died on the crucifix, thus laying bare the
hollowness of the Christian claims of eternity and infinity of God. I now came
to realize that I was believing in as absurd a concept as two plus two is equal
to five all through my adolescent years.
The West’s prelaid, programmed life intensely repelled
me. I began to question if a person has to live a life merely to get
strait-jacketed in a rigorous schedule. I found Europeans struggling a lot to
enjoy life. They had no higher purpose in life.
The West’s capacity to brainwash its people became plain
to me when I discussed the Palestine issue with Egyptians and Palestinians. Several
myths-historical, political, economic - were fabricated by the Zionists and
propagated unchallenged by the Western media. How could a land vacated by Jews
2000 years earlier be their homeland? I also came to know that existing Jewish
people were actually Slavs, not Semites and that Palestinian land was always a
green orchard. Israel fabricated the myth of “magical transformation of desert
The American double-speak and hypocrisy began to sink in
as I studied the US role in planting and sustaining despotic rulers in Latin America while punishing the Soviet Bloc.
What contrast have you found between people’s lives in Egypt and the UK?
Egyptians were poor, suffered hardships, yet were happy.
They left everything in the hands of Allah and forget their miseries when they
return home. Prayers help them place their worries before their God. I
noticed humility as well as intimacy in Islamic prayers.
But in England I found people shallow, materialistic. They
try to be happy but happiness is superficial. Their prayers combined songs, dances,
clapping but no humility, nor intimacy with God.
I realized that popular opinion in the West was totally
hostage to the Zionist-controlled media. The question of Palestine was one
among these. My conversation with Palestinians revealed as to how the West had
believed in myths about Israel. First among them was that the Jews had the
right to return to their original homeland in Israel. Secondly they
conveniently described themselves Semitic while the fact was that most Jews of
the world were Slavs who had later converted to Judaism. Thirdly Israel’s economic miracle was theorized to create the economic and scientific myth.
The fact was that I never got to know the Palestinian
side of the issue. I got convinced that the people of the West were brainwashed
by the media. I found that the US was trying every trick to punish nations
indulging in small violations of human rights in the third world but was itself
sending death squads into Latin American nations to liquidate their leaders who
refused to toe the US line. Such hypocrisy is never criticized by the US media.
How do you find life as a Muslim in the UK?
The Western psyche emphasizes one’s individuality. This
is at variance with Islam. Any sincere Muslim feels disturbed. He or she is
constantly bombarded by sex and sexuality. Most girls lose virginity by 13 and
it is normal for girls to have three to four boyfriends.
The dilemma before Muslims in the West is as to how to
integrate with a society so steeped in sex, drugs, drinks and sexual intimacy.
And if no integration, then how to save themselves from ghettoization.
Excerpts from an Interview by Islamic Voice, Volume
11-11 No: 130, November 1997