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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. Harfnab

    No father

    March 25, 2011 at 10:20 am |
  2. Tyler Durden

    Ah... the California education system. Enough said.

    March 25, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • peacppl

      tyler durden.....i like that bro

      March 25, 2011 at 10:23 am |
  3. peacppl

    YOU CANT COMPREHEND THE QURAN.....u ppl r as ignorant as bin laden and his thugs...all 8th grade educated

    March 25, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • The Real Tom Paine

      You spelling and punctuation put you at sixth grade....did you know Bin Laden has an Engineering degree?

      March 25, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • The Real Tom Paine

      Your spelling and punctuation put you at sixth grade....did you know Bin Laden has an Engineering degree?

      March 25, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
  4. Sunny

    Jesus Christ is King and no others but Him.

    March 25, 2011 at 10:19 am |
    • Valerie

      Amen!!! : )

      March 25, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • Clive V.

      Actually Elvis is king..

      Jesus was just a Jewish rabbi who is now the center of a worldwide cult (Christianity)

      I'll take Elvis over Jesus anyday

      March 25, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • Ricky Bobby

      @clive Ah, thank ya very much!

      March 25, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  5. Haemisch

    Greek mythology in the Bible? Funny, when the Apostles went to Athens they were accused of being "babblers" and "preachers of foreign religions" (Acts 17:18). So if the mythology is the same, why did the Greeks not recognize it?

    March 25, 2011 at 10:19 am |
    • The Real Tom Paine

      The books of the new Testement and the Christian were not compiled until well after the deaths of the Apostles. Several centuries, in fact. Read a few books outside of the Bible, and you would know that.

      March 25, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  6. St vincent

    I think its a wonderful thing 2 find GOD & 2 be at peace with your descovery. You have my best wishes. Enjoy your journey i pray it way be filled wit ENLIGHTINMENT

    March 25, 2011 at 10:19 am |
  7. nate

    Why is this even news? People convert or take on other religions all the time. Doesnt even make sense that this would be news at all.

    March 25, 2011 at 10:19 am |
  8. kaaha

    Good for you brother...We are in a time when being a muslim became stigma, and I can't imagine what you being through; however, it takes a lot of faith to do what you did and I wish you the best...

    March 25, 2011 at 10:19 am |
  9. Jeremy

    This. Is. Not. News.

    March 25, 2011 at 10:19 am |
  10. Splendor

    Why don't they do a write up about the MANY ppl who have converted from Muslim to Christianity? I know quite a few of them personally. But of course that would never be talked about here. Everything seems to be anti Jewish and anti Yeshua (Jesus), everywhere you look.

    March 25, 2011 at 10:19 am |
    • The Real Tom Paine

      Then you write them up. If you feel called to do it, take care of it. Otherwise, shut up.

      March 25, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  11. dfwstar

    Has anyone ever thought/wondered, what's purpose of a human life?

    March 25, 2011 at 10:18 am |
    • Valerie

      No.

      We are here to know, love and serve God. All of us. : )

      March 25, 2011 at 10:21 am |
  12. Dr. X

    .......you may believe, but Satan Never lies

    March 25, 2011 at 10:18 am |
    • capnmike

      Satan doesn't exist...just another part of the Big Lie of religion.

      March 25, 2011 at 10:21 am |
  13. cgreen64

    why don't you ever put on the web those that convert to Christianity from Islam??

    March 25, 2011 at 10:18 am |
    • The Real Tom Paine

      Watch CBN, or some other Christian wacko propaganda, if you want to see their conversion stories.

      March 25, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • LetsThink123

      @cgreen64

      Cause the penalty for leaving islam is death. That's why.

      March 25, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  14. Ben Dover

    Most fundies are racist, extremist, unintelligent dolts.

    March 25, 2011 at 10:18 am |
    • Haemisch

      LOL...and you're NOT??? Read your post again!!! LOLOLOLOLOL

      March 25, 2011 at 10:25 am |
  15. M@!

    There's darkness in any religion. Its example is the only way to discern evil from good. And, if I may play devil's advocate, science theorizes that dark matter is what binds the universe. That makes the light just filler and noise.

    March 25, 2011 at 10:18 am |
  16. Samir

    May God help him to stay on the right path and worship one God, and believe on all prophets of Allah.
    “When I put my head on the ground with them, it felt like I could say anything to God, .." This is Islam you are directly connected to the creator.
    Greetings to you and warm welcome from a brother in Islam

    March 25, 2011 at 10:18 am |
    • capnmike

      Another peddler of lies and hogwash. Making people believe that they are part of some "group" or other is part of the brainwashing. Welcome to the fairytale.

      March 25, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • Rags

      Now that you're a brother Muslim, get your knife and start killing infidels!

      March 25, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • ritu sheera

      Another chickenhead welcoming other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a crap

      March 25, 2011 at 11:59 am |
  17. capnmike

    The poor brainwashed person has simply abandoned one set of lies and hogwash for another. It's amazing how gullible, stupid and primitive humans can be, to believe such tripe, even to the point of murdering those who don't believe the same nonsense that they do. Pathetic!.

    March 25, 2011 at 10:18 am |
  18. Hesus

    In the last 6000 years of recorded human history, there have been 2,870 gods and goddesses. YES! 2,870!!!

    You SHOULD either acept them all ... or deny them all ... as they all come from man's colorful imagination! 🙂

    March 25, 2011 at 10:17 am |
    • Haemisch

      Lokk up "logical fallacy, bifurcation."

      March 25, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • LetsThink123

      @Haemisch

      What are you taking about? You worship one of the 1000s of gods that he has mentioned. What does dividing in two have to do with it?

      March 25, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  19. thinking

    All organized religion is a cult of power mongers whom seek to control others. Faith is and should be a personal journey.

    March 25, 2011 at 10:17 am |
    • capnmike

      Faith in what? The original ideas all come from the liars who bring you religion in the first place. NONE of that fairytale actually exists.

      March 25, 2011 at 10:19 am |
    • SIxoh

      Good point. I just wish people would wake up and put LESS faith in their false idol – the government and more in thier spirituality.

      March 25, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • dfwstar

      100% agree! 🙂 One walks alone on the path of Spirituality, not by choice, that's how the nature of the path is! If one tries to find a company on the path, danger is one is waking on someone Else's path!

      March 25, 2011 at 10:29 am |
  20. Jiri

    Islam is a sham – what other religion calls for the murdering of non-believers? Sharia law is the outcome of Islam – where it's ok to kill ones daughter if she strays and marries outside of Islam. People converting to Islam are weak and confused
    souls. The Mullahs rake in the dough and practice mind control on it's followers. God, easter bunny, tooth fairy and santa
    claus are nothing more than false idols. Get over it!

    March 25, 2011 at 10:17 am |
    • Hesus

      – what other religion calls for the murdering of non-believers?

      Almost all of them except for Buddhism.

      Salem Witch Trials, Christian Crusades. Jews vs Palestinians, Native American Holocaust!

      March 25, 2011 at 10:19 am |
    • Haemisch

      Hesus: Give the Scripture where Jesus called his followers to kill non-believers.

      March 25, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • dfwstar

      To be precise..."Except Hinduism", Buddhism is really a child of Hinduism spirituality!

      March 25, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • Clive V.

      Christians who slam Islam as being violent ought not to throw stones in glass houses, given Christianity's long history of Crusades, bigotry, slavery and oppression. If this man can follow Islam, and be a better person for it, all the power to him

      March 25, 2011 at 10:23 am |
    • Alex

      All religions are a scam. C'mon, in the bible it says that we have to stone ppl to death for saying gods name in vain.

      March 25, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • Be_Spiritual

      All Religions are a scam...

      March 25, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • Haemisch

      What, Hesus? No citation? Just hot air, eh?

      March 25, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • Haemisch

      Clive: Whatever evil Christians have done in the name of their religion, not one can point to Jesus Christ and say, "He said it is ok." The same is not rue of Islam.

      As to Buddhism, read up on teh Flower sermon. Mahakasia's "revelation" from the Buddha was nothing but a pure scam.

      March 25, 2011 at 10:33 am |
    • WS

      Well Jiri, The old testament for one. Leviticus is full of stoning and other corporal punishments for sins and disbelief.

      Leviticus 26:18 And if you will not yet for all this listen to me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.

      Glad to know you enjoy casting stones though, you must be without sin! What a wonderful feeling to be absolutely sure you're right and others are... oh wait I forgot about that pesky little original sin thing. Well guess you'll be burning in hell for pride.

      Seriously, try to not be a total hypocrite and understand another culture for once in your life. Just because you were born in the culture that essential controls the world through economics doesn't mean you're instantly superior. Arab and Islamic culture took a huge hit economically and culturally with European colonization and when oil eventually was found, that wealth went to only a small fraction of the population. It took western culture years to give basic rights to women and non-whites and we still face some challenges of gender and racial bias, we just have had the economic and cultural time to put aside most of the more extreme traditions of our culture and religions. Islam will get there eventually too, as is show by the vast majority of Muslims born and raised in western who are peaceful members of society.

      March 25, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • SIxoh

      "Native American Holocaust" is a load of crap – the Indians weren't a bunch of peaceniks frolicking in the fields hand in hand. They were as violent with each other as any other civilization on the planet...and with the Europeans whie defending their homeland (which I respect).
      Drop a little further south and you have all the violent carnage and human sacrifice of the Aztecs.

      March 25, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • The Real Tom Paine

      Deutoronomy, you moron...read it.

      March 25, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • The Real Tom Paine

      @Haemisch: How many times do you think Christian soldiers, after slaughtering a group of non-believers, said it was the will of God(Jesus)? Just limiting your inquiries to the Crusades should convice you that your statement that Christians never said Jesus made them do it is a load of crap.If you are a Christian, than you believe in the Trinity, so by definition, its happened countless times in history.

      March 25, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
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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.