March 25th, 2011
09:34 AM ET

Christian to Muslim: A change of faith

Editor’s Note: "Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door" features the Muslim community of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where Matthew Miller has lived since age 15. CNN’s Soledad O’Brien chronicles the dramatic fight over the construction of a mosque in the heart of the Bible belt. “Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door” airing at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. E.T. April 2 on CNN.

By Elizabeth M. Nunez, CNN

The actual conversion was brief. It only involved one sentence: “I bear witness that there is no God worthy of worship but God, I bear witness that Mohammed is the messenger of God.”

For 30-year-old Mathew Miller, those words represented the culmination of a long religious transformation from Christianity to Islam.

Miller is a digital media communications major at Middle Tennessee University and works part-time at a golf course. He was raised Christian in California, surfing and dreaming of being a radio DJ.

“My first interaction with Islam was this movie called ‘Not Without my Daughter’. That was my first glimpse into what Western society believed was really going on in Islam,” he said.

"Not Without My Daughter" is a 1991 film in which Sally Field portrays an America woman who flees from Iran with her daughter. The movie, based on true story detailed in a book by the same title, was faulted by critics for portraying a stereotypical view of Iranians and Islam.

But in questioning his own beliefs, and after a conversation with a Muslim friend, Miller’s interest in Islam was piqued.

“I think for the most part I was afraid, don’t really know of what,” he said.

Later, attending Friday prayers at a small Mosque in Murfreesboro, he began to learn more.

“When I put my head on the ground with them, it felt like I could say anything to God, and what I was asking for at the time was guidance. I wanted to know whether what I was doing was the right thing to do.”

His mother had long expected his change of religious faith. “I told my mother I was Muslim in Disneyland. She said ‘I don’t necessarily know if I feel good about it, but if it makes you happy and it’s what you feel is the right way, then there’s nothing I can do.’”

Now he regularly worships at the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro mosque.

Miller, a white convert in a diverse congregation, has heard comments about his faith - and the controversy surrounding his mosque. Once, an Iraqi war veteran told him that the new controversial Islamic Center of Murfreesboro should not be built because it could potentially harbor terrorists.

“I addressed his questions formally and it was funny because at the end of the conversation, he kind of started admitting, 'Well you know, I don’t know anything about Islam.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Interfaith issues • Iran • Islam • Mosque • Muslim

soundoff (3,206 Responses)
  1. Joe

    p iss on ALL muslims

    March 25, 2011 at 11:37 am |
  2. simple01

    He doesn't know what he is looking for! It seems like he is more interested for approval of men than transcendent God (attention from his new Muslim community).
    Bible clearly talks about lost people like this man. He may be looking for something else in near future.

    New Testament was written by the apostles and by the inspiration of God. They were eye witnesses of the Lord's words and deeds. How some believe in history books (even written 5000 years ago) and call The Bible is a lie.

    March 25, 2011 at 11:37 am |
  3. pithymcgee

    Is it sad or funny that the believers regularly get owned by the non-religious when arguing? I vote "funny."

    March 25, 2011 at 11:36 am |
  4. Klsteele

    We have an important fact here. If this idiot is now a disbeliever in Jesus and chose that fake Mohammed and their evil religion then he might as well just give up now, cause he WILL BURN IN HELL FOR THAT!

    March 25, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • Chris R

      Are you acting in a Christlike way when you say things like this? Would Christ say what you are saying? Doesn't the message of Jesus have any meaning to you?

      March 25, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • Klsteele

      to Chris R. We certainly do. Christ says that if you deny him, after you have known him, you will be lost. Christ gave us a free will. My free will says that they are going to destroy America. Your free will might say they will not. You have to live with your free will. Mine is correct – sorry for you. They will burn in hell!

      March 25, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  5. kls817

    Why don't they interview someone who has converted from Islam to another religion? Oh, wait.. that must be because anyone who does that is executed in muslim cultures.

    March 25, 2011 at 11:36 am |
  6. Coexist

    Maybe all of you people that are writing negative comments about Islam, stop being ignorant and getting your info from a TV Box. Go to borders pick up, "the life of Prophet Muhammad" by martin lings! And While your @ it, go pick up the Quran the oxford edition...At borders! And read what Islam is about.

    March 25, 2011 at 11:36 am |
  7. mike

    You are so right. the Quran and Sunnah of the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) are yet to be followed by the majority of the Arabs so peace can be restored in the world and maybe you will see much more converts to Islam if that happens. I am also a convert and not because of the people I met (some of them are great people but some among them forgot about the good manners Islam teaches)...Anyhow, you left because it was a choice you made and I have no doubt that because you didn't realize that a true Muslim is just a better Christian. We belive in the same values the Christians believe in and the only difference between them and us is that we consider Jesus (PBUH) as one of the greatest teachers but we don't worship him and worship the father alone ( we call the father , the creator of all , God , the one described in the verse below) .

    In the name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
    God! There is no God but He,
    the Living, the Self-subsisting, the Eternal.
    No slumber can seize Him, nor sleep.
    All things in heaven and earth are His.
    Who could intercede in His presence without His permission?
    He knows what appears in front of and behind His creatures.
    Nor can they encompass any knowledge of Him except what he wills.
    His throne extends over the heavens and the earth,
    and He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them,
    for He is the Highest and Most Exalted.

    March 25, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • simple01

      Don't confuse. The fact is that, Islam's god, Allah is not the same God Christians and Jews believe.
      Here where the Allah came from.
      ***** Before Mohammad come to scene, the Arab world had over 360 different Gods one for each day of lunar year.
      When Mohammad began to promote his new religion, he realized needed a God, so he chose one of the 360dieties name Allah. And Mohammad declared him to be the true god.
      There is no way you discount the carnage that took place as Mohammad try to establish and spread Islam. Slaughtering thousands of people in his way.
      He would tell his followers “who relinquishes his fate kill him. I have been ordered by Allah to fight with people till they testify there is no god but Allah and Mohammad is his messenger.

      March 25, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • Chris R

      What are you talking about? Of course Allah is the same God as the Christian God which is the same God as the Jewish God. If you are really going on the whole 'Oh but look at the violence they engaged in when they spread over the Middle East and Europe' maybe you can explain the violence in the Bible. You know, the slaughter of Philistines, the destruction of Jericho, the deaths of tens of thousands in the wars described in the Old Testament. So is the Jewish God not the Christian God either?

      March 25, 2011 at 11:58 am |
  8. Sarah

    "Not Without my Daughter" somehow reminds me of Prophet Mohammad's third wifes, Aisha, as describe in Wikepedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad's_wives ...... that's why I converted to Christianity how such as a "messenger of God" can do that.

    March 25, 2011 at 11:36 am |
  9. Frank Sellers

    Matt Miller needs to get laid.

    March 25, 2011 at 11:36 am |
  10. Greg

    That's what Islam is really is not what they say:

    March 25, 2011 at 11:36 am |
  11. Chip

    The belief that a cosmic Jewish zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-womam was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree Yeah, that makes perfect sense!

    March 25, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • kls817

      hey chip-on-your-shoulder. Go live in an Islamic society and see how they treat rebellious people like yourself.
      No, better to live in a Christian dominated society where you are free to thumb your snotty nose at the establishment without fear of being imprisoned or killed.

      March 25, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • Chris R

      Go live in a Muslim dominated society – you mean like heading out to Bali for a vacation? Ya know, Bali, that tropical paradise dominated by bars and discos. The Bali that is part of Indonesia – the most populous Muslim country in the world? Maybe if you understood the difference between tribalism and Islam you'd understand what is going on in the world.

      March 25, 2011 at 11:51 am |
    • Sarah

      Bali people religious most are Hindu they are not Moeslim although Bali is part of Indonesia, as the largest Moeslim country in the world. See this video, how Moeslim people in Indonesia attack Christian

      March 25, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
    • Sarah

      THis the video of Moeslim in Indonesia attack Chirstian: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAE-zK0MLkE

      March 25, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
  12. Brian

    Jesus – Witnessed by thousands of people doing supernatual things..healing diseases, healing the blind, raising the dead.
    Mohammed – Came out of a cave claiming he'd got revelation from God. Hmmmm, isn't that how many cults start? Mohammed was never witnesssed doing any such miracles. Nevermind the many contradictions of the Koran. Mohammed wrote part of the Koran in Mecca, but when he was forced out, fled to Medina.....where his message quickly changed because he was upset. Read it for yourself. There are no doubt many kind muslim people.....but they are deceived.....share the Gospel!!!!!!

    March 25, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • displeased

      And you know of these supernatural things because of your book that was written by men 2000 years ago. You have a lot of room to talk in regards to deception.

      March 25, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • kls817

      Well put, Brian. And those first-hand witnesses of the miracles also suffered greatly to spread the gospel, without any thought of reward.

      March 25, 2011 at 11:50 am |
  13. GERARD

    "Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons."

    Jesus said,"If you deny me in front of your friends, I will deny you before my father."

    This is the unforgivable sin; to deny Jesus the Messiah, who died to give you life.

    March 25, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • Jim

      The christian "Holy Scripture" like the Koran is a work of men. Both works are contradictory and both works contain many disturbing passages that give humanity the "cover" to oppress each other. At some point humanity will evolve and realize that these works and the religions that back them are roots of evil.

      March 25, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • DMerchant

      Most religions say something similar. Of course they do, it is logical for them to say that. You grow in power by growing in numbers. The man said he prayed to God to know if he was doing the right thing. Funny, that's Mormons say to those thinking of converting. And Baptists. And Catholics. And.... "pray, and in your heart you will hear that still small voice". Interesting how that same advice leads different people to join different churches.

      March 25, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • Chris R

      Muslims do not deny Jesus. He's the 2d most important prophet behind Mohammed. The Islamic faith requires a belief in the teachings of Jesus. The only thing they do not accept is that Jesus is God. Being that there is not scriptural support for the Trinity in the Bible I don't see how this is all that bad. They don't deny that he ascended into heaven. They don't deny that he appeared to his followers after his crucifixion. They don't deny the miracles of faith that he performed.

      March 25, 2011 at 11:49 am |
  14. Jim

    Out of one fairy tale and into another

    March 25, 2011 at 11:35 am |
  15. Bob

    This isn't news. It is a story about some loser.

    March 25, 2011 at 11:35 am |
  16. WVlady63

    Another seedling for terrorism.

    March 25, 2011 at 11:34 am |
  17. Nilee Rahana

    I don't see any importance of this silly news to be put on CNN.
    We have plenty of issues in this country need to be presented rather than putting a schizo personality on the CNN

    March 25, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • Chris R

      It's a blog. Do you understand what that means?

      March 25, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • DMerchant

      Good response Chris!

      March 25, 2011 at 11:50 am |
  18. Shawn

    Why has CNN been so far up Islam's ass lately?

    March 25, 2011 at 11:34 am |
  19. kbbcoop

    Who cares, this is news? NOT

    March 25, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • DMerchant

      Who cares if you don't care? Why should you care if someone else is interested? Should CNN only cater to your needs?

      March 25, 2011 at 11:41 am |
  20. RonnieReagan

    How is this front page, center stage news? I think the bigger news is that CNN is in bed with a scheme to undermine the established culture in our country. Anybody with sense would be well advised to watch some videos by Acts17Apologetics on YouTube. Tells the story of conversion from Islam *TO* Christianity; something you'll never see on CNN.

    March 25, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • DMerchant

      Never? Sorry – fail. CNN has reported on people who converted From Islam TO Christianity. Just two instances: "Afghan Christian faces trial for alleged conversion from Islam," November 21, 2010; and "Runaway Christian convert granted U.S. residency," September 7, 2010. That was only after a 1 minute search. I wouldn't be surprised to find more if I took the time.

      March 25, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • Sarah

      Why is CNN compare the story above to the this recent video, how Moeslim people attack Christian in Indonesia: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAE-zK0MLkE

      March 25, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.