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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. Bender

    From one crutch to another. Ignorant brainwashed jaggoffs learn to stand on your own two feet.

    March 25, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • Chanselor Jenkins

      If you are so happy with your way of life then why to you attack other people for living the way that makes them happy. Why not live and let live?

      March 25, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
  2. Machughs

    Of course we do not see many Muslim converts to Christain stories...as teh Muslims
    kill them!

    March 25, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  3. Duane - St.Pete FL

    hey.....look at me......I want attention......I converted to.......WHO CARES!!!!!!!

    March 25, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  4. watch islamspeak

    Let the videos speak for islam.Not sure you will watch it.If not then you do not know the true islam.

    slaughtered American contractor Nick Berg. Sitting in a chair, Berg made the following statement: “My name is Nick Berg, my father’s name is Michael, my mother’s name is Susan,” the man said on the video. “I have a brother and sister, David and Sarah. I live in … Philadelphia.”The video then changes to a scene of masked men, with Berg sitting in front of them. After reading a statement, the masked men were seen pulling the man to his side and putting a large knife to his neck. A scream sounded as the men cut his head off, shouting “Allahu Akbar!” – “God is great.” They then held the head out before the camera.THIS IS THE REAL FACES OF ISLAM.http://barenakedislam.wordpress.com/2009/06/26/american-nick-bergs-beheading-warning-graphic-images/

    March 25, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  5. Becca

    WE CAN LIVE OUR WHOLE LIFE ON THIS EARTH BUT IF WE DON'T KNOW CHRIST, IT IS FOR NOTHING'

    March 25, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • Luposian

      AMEN! A M E N ! ! !

      March 25, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • fundies

      I am devoted to my wife and beer.

      March 25, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  6. Maurice

    PROPHESY is the ultimate evidence God leaves for mankind to recognize the counterfeit. We are living in the 'beginning of sorrows' with prophetic proof predicted by Jesus and prophets of old. Gird yourself because next is the GREAT TRIBULATION!!!

    March 25, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  7. A Muslim

    @Dave
    Please do me and yourself a favor.
    Find the verse in the Quran that says, and I'm quoting you here "non-Islamics should be murdered if they don't convert" and read the verses preceeding and following it.
    Your right to bear arms in this country should not be based upon contextomy (i.e quoting out of context).

    March 25, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • watch islamspeak

      HERE! Let the videos speak for islam.Not sure you will watch it.If not then you do not know the true islam.

      slaughtered American contractor Nick Berg. Sitting in a chair, Berg made the following statement: “My name is Nick Berg, my father’s name is Michael, my mother’s name is Susan,” the man said on the video. “I have a brother and sister, David and Sarah. I live in … Philadelphia.”The video then changes to a scene of masked men, with Berg sitting in front of them. After reading a statement, the masked men were seen pulling the man to his side and putting a large knife to his neck. A scream sounded as the men cut his head off, shouting “Allahu Akbar!” – “God is great.” They then held the head out before the camera.THIS IS THE REAL FACES OF ISLAM.http://barenakedislam.wordpress.com/2009/06/26/american-nick-bergs-beheading-warning-graphic-images/

      March 25, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  8. Amir Ali

    SubhanAllah, I'm glad to read this news coz another guy is saved from fire, may Allah give him blessings n strength to stay on his right path along his coming generations.

    March 25, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  9. Tom

    I don't care which religion one chooses to follow as long as it is not a religion of hatred. Islam certainly is NOT a religion of hatred. If one chooses a religion for the right reasons, namely to benefit oneself and others, to seek out the good for the sake of seeking out the good, for the sake of doing good, for the sake of abandoning hatred and prejudice – then it seems to me that one has chosen well.

    March 25, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  10. There is no God

    There is no God. There is no Muhammad. There's no great deity. The sooner you accept this, the sooner you can get on with living your life.

    With all the science that we have today, how can anyone still believe any religion? I understand that people wish there was an afterlife and wish that they could live forever in another form, but it ain't happening.

    Religion is the biggest fraud ever. They say that money is the root of all evil. In actuality, religion IS the root of all evil. All religions have their hands covered in blood. The Catholics are perhaps the most guilty. And look at the atrocities still occurring today in the Middle East.

    It blows me away that people donate money to organized religion. People, you are only enabling lifestyles and allowing preachers to continue to spew rhetoric that is designed to keep having you donate money by preaching gloom and doom. Religion, like media outlets, rely on FUD; fear, uncertainty and doubt. It's how they get you to keep coming back. Rubbish!

    Atheism is more prevalent amongst those with higher intelligence. Given the amount of very stupid people in this world, I guess I shouldn't be surprised that religion still exists today.

    March 25, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • Luposian

      "The fool hath said in his heart... there is no God." So, basically, anyone who says there is no God... is a FOOL! Now, where is your hat with the bells and your jester's uniform... get it on, quickly... the king is waiting for your next performance!

      March 25, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • realtiy

      Thank you! I am so happy that people are actually starting to speak up about the absurdity of religion! Just the fact there are many religions just gives further evidence that is all BS. I encourage everyone to read and think for themselves. Atheists are not spewing garbage or attacking people personally. We are trying to inform, get you to think critically, and not just accept ideas because they seem nice (heaven, afterlife, your enemies suffering eternal punishment etc)

      March 25, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
    • Anon

      "intelligent" people tend not to believe in God because they are arrogant. The truly intelligent understand science well enough to understand that there is still a great deal that science cannot explain. For example, the Big Bang is widely accepted as the moment at which our universe was created through the explosion of an infinitely dense particle of matter. Where did that particle come from? Evolution is accepted as fact by the scientific community yet scientists cannot recreate the most basic of principles on which evolution was founded: the forming of a single stable protein in the accepted conditions found on Earth prior to the explosion of life. There are millions of proteins found in a single strand of DNA and one single protein will not form itself. How can an intelligent person be expected to believe that a complicated organism (even a single celled organism has millions of molecules that must be aligned in a perfect order to live) formed when a simple protein cannot stabilize? We must all make our choices in life, do not be so naive as to believe that anything is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt.

      March 25, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
    • Joel

      Without a God, there is no standard and therefore no reason for you to worry about blood on anyone's hands. There is no consequence and we are all just a collection of chemicals. Bad is arbitrary and good is relative.

      March 25, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
  11. barbara

    Now that CNN has run this story about one where a Muslim converts to Christianity. Of forgot.... you get hunted down and killed for doing that.

    March 25, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  12. Onthesearch

    I was looking for faith, maybe even religion. But, after reading just 2 pages on this forum, I really dont think any faith represented on this forum will teach me to be a better person, enrich my life, or show me truth. I've never seen so much hatred in all of my life. I'll keep looking up at the stars and questioning my purpose. For me, I would never dream of treating another human being the way you all do. I'll continue showing love. respect and kindness to humanity and be content with fear of the unknown. I'm sorry for all of you. Really am 🙁

    March 25, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • Hatim

      My friend, I can honestly tell you to ignore all that is been said above...all extremists. I can honestly also tell you that Islam makes aloooot of sense!!!! Read the quran and don't listen to islamaphobes or terrorists who hijacked Islam to commit their awful crimes. Read the quern for your self...I swear to you it's magic, it makes sooo much sense.

      March 25, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • ONE TRUTH

      Stop looking for faith and look at God. Pray to the One True God and his Son Jesus Christ. God will show you the answers you seek. Also don't look at your fellow man to determine what the truth is or what good is. Because ALL men have fallen short of the glory of God and our righteousness (goodness) is as filthy rags to an almighty righteous God. Even the men who penned the Holy Bible were not perfect and they couldn't have wrote or did what they did without God and his Holy Spirit speaking to them. Good luck my friend and I will pray for you to find peace and the truth and may God’s Spirit find you.

      March 25, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • Chanselor Jenkins

      people hate, but God does not. Open your heart to him and you will not care what peoplpe say. Just ask God to reveal himself to you. You will be very suprised.

      March 25, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
  13. Tim

    The sad thing about this story is if it was in reverse, the Muslims would be calling for the death of this man. Let's see if he ever wants to leave Islam if they do a follow up story on this man. Islam is taking over parts of this country and we as American's don't even care. I care, and will not let them establish Sharia Law here in America!!! Stand up people!!!!

    March 25, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Yes... one crazed national religion is quite enough...

      March 25, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  14. Wulf

    Man, this kid is just grasping for answers left and right, didn't find it in one fairy tale, might as well try the next.

    March 25, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  15. Hani White

    Luv this report...“When I put my head on the ground with them, it felt like I could say anything to God" this is the truth!!!

    March 25, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  16. Keith Alaska

    Nice that you can change your mind about Christianity. But now your Muslim, apostasy in Islam means death my friend so there's no going back.

    March 25, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  17. Propaganda Again and again

    Surprise Surprise. CNN has another anti Christian article pop up. What is this now, Once a day? Its gotten to where I can't keep up with them all!

    March 25, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • fundies

      Are you really Gomer Pyle? it's cool if you are. You can really sing.

      March 25, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  18. Akabaka

    Sura Al-Fatiha
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful (1)
    Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, (2) The Beneficent, the Merciful. (3) Owner of the Day of Judgment, (4) Thee (alone) we worship; Thee (alone) we ask for help. (5) Show us the straight path, (6) The path of those whom Thou hast favoured. Not (the path) of those who earn Thine anger nor of those who go astray. (7)

    March 25, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • M-TX

      For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son. That whosoever would believe in him.. will not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
      For it is through grace by faith that you are saved. not that of works; lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
      Trust in Jesus now before it is too late.

      March 25, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • Timber

      Your moon goddess "Allah" cannot hear you. She doesn't exist.

      March 25, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • Becca

      GET BEHIND ME YOU SATAN, IN JESUS NAME

      March 25, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  19. fundies

    "heaven can wait, this is paradise".......an episode of Looney Tunes.

    March 25, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
  20. Zinale1966

    Sorry, another EXORTCIST.
    You made a wrong choice, you might loose your soul to Satan. Hundred of scientistss lost their souls . Don't ever think all scientists smart in every thing , just some.
    Pray for them, who made a wrong choice. I won't be able sleep to night for these stupid choice.
    a lot of people has degree but dump, even a scientist. Satan took over them.

    March 25, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • Janine

      Shouldn't you be in school?

      March 25, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • zalisa

      You know, Zinale 1966, you remind me of a Christian Reformed minister we had when I was 9 years old....he told me, a NINE year old girl, that I needed to stop listening to Barry Manilow records because he was Jewish, and that all people that were Jewish were going to Hell because they did not believe in Jesus....after years of fearing that, I realized that that minister, that 'sheperd' of Christ, was nothing more than a racist pig....congratulations on being right up there with him!!!!

      March 25, 2011 at 3:29 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.