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. Andrew Wallace

    Wow! Let's continue to preach that Islam..thank you CNN for atleast getting that right is Peaceful. This is a religion that says that the only guaranteed way of getting to heaven (filled with virgin boys and girls...cough pedafile cough) is by dying in a holy war...which apparently is everyone they come into contact with from Western civilization.

    March 25, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
  2. James Quinn

    I deal in the world of possible and probable. I think all things are possible but in reality many things are not probable. It is possible that there is a God or even many Gods. However I don't think it's probable. Even if there is a god or gods I don't think it is likely we have any ability to understand such a creature. So no I don't think anyone who claims to know the truth actually knows anything but in truth just strongly believes that he/she knows the truth... Still this much I do know that simply believing something even with all your heart and soul does not make is so.

    Pagan jim

    March 25, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
  3. openminds

    Why can't a prophet come after Jesus? Does it say anywhere in the bible that Jesus was the last prophet? There are clear indications in the bible that Mohammad was to follow Jesus and complete the chain of prophets from Adam, Abraham, Noah, David, Moses and all the others. Read your bibles with open minds. Don't deny Mohammad out of arrogance like Jews did to Jesus (May peace be on all these prophets). Read this link to see where in the bible Mohammad is mentioned. http://www.islam101.com/religions/christianity/mBible.htm

    March 25, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
    • it is finished

      Allow me to explain. There neither has been nor will be another prophet since Jesus' time because his life fulfilled the prophecy contained in scripture. The former covenant (found in the Old Testament) was foretelling of Jesus and in his life (found in the New Testament) he completed it and there was a new covenant. There was/is no more need for prophecy. Once for all. Nothing more to be added. The only thing left is for Jesus to return for the church. 🙂

      March 25, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
  4. ade

    He was may be a christian in the flesh but never in the spirit. He does not know what he has walked into......yet

    March 25, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
  5. JWH

    I have been to TN, anything can fall off the cart. He bears witness? Exact same thing Mormons say, they too had a false prophet with many wives.

    March 25, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
  6. Civilization

    "Men are the managers of the affairs of women for that God has preferred in bounty one of them over another. Righteous women are therefore obedient. And those you fear may be rebellious admonish; banish them to their couches, and beat them.” Quran, 4:34

    March 25, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
  7. strong belief2

    Before anyone says religion is "BS", go to Google and type in Zeitun Egypt, 1968, and see what comes up. There is no way that apparition of the Blessed Mother is a fake.

    March 25, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
  8. Magick

    hahaha, funny joke, Becca. Thanks, we needed some comic relief.

    March 25, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
  9. Eddie

    FBI chief confirms ties cut with U.S. Muslim group

    Agency bans outreach due to terrorist links

    Posted: March 18, 2011
    2:00 am Eastern

    2011 WorldNetDaily
    Robert Mueller

    In stunning testimony on Capitol Hill, the head of the FBI explained his agency has cut off ties to the most influential Muslim organization in America due to concerns over its leaders' association with terrorism.

    Since the Justice Department linked the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations to a 2008 terror-finance case, the FBI has refused to work directly with the group's national office or any of its 30-plus chapters across the country.

    Get "Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That's Conspiring to Islamize America," autographed, from WND's Superstore.

    Wednesday's hearing held by the House Judiciary Committee marked the first time FBI Director Robert Mueller has narrowed down the cause of concern to CAIR's "national leadership."

    "We have no formal relationship with CAIR because of concerns with regard to the national leadership," Mueller testified.

    CAIR's current executive director is Nihad Awad.

    Wiretap evidence from the Holy Land Foundation terror-finance case put Awad at a Philadelphia meeting of Hamas leaders that was secretly recorded by the FBI. Participants hatched a plot to disguise payments to Hamas terrorists as charity. Wiretaps also record them stating the need to deceive Americans about their true aims.

    The secret meeting, held in the 1990s at a Courtyard by Marriott hotel, was called to order by CAIR founding chairman Omar Ahmad. Both he and Awad launched CAIR not long after the meeting.

    Mueller acknowledged the wiretap evidence during the House Judiciary Committee hearing.

    The Justice Department designated Ahmad and CAIR as unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land trial, the largest terror-finance case in U.S. history. A federal jury convicted Holy Land's leaders on all 108 counts.

    Ahmad stepped down from CAIR's board of directors shortly after his federal designation.

    Among other evidence collected by the FBI, the names of both Ahmad and Awad – who remains at CAIR's helm and regularly appears on Fox News and other media – appear in a secret phone book alongside key Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzouk, whom the government says directed and coordinated Hamas terrorist attacks on civilians in Israel. Hamas also has murdered more than 17 Americans and has been listed as a U.S.-designated terror group since the 1990s.

    During the Holy Land trial, U.S. prosecutors alleged that CAIR's ties to Hamas are "ongoing." In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, FBI Assistant Director Richard Power suggested Ahmad and Awad remain under federal scrutiny.

    Last year, federal prosecutors subpoenaed boxes of internal CAIR records uncovered by the authors of the "Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That's Conspiring to Islamize America." The bestselling book exposes the inner workings and finances of CAIR and other front groups for the radical Muslim Brotherhood in America. The Brotherhood, a worldwide jihadist movement based in Egypt and funded by Saudi Arabia, is the parent of both Hamas and al-Qaida.

    This month, for the first time, both the Associated Press and Washington Post published stories confirming CAIR's links to terrorism and its federal designation as an unindicted co-conspirator.

    House Judiciary Committee member Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, said he was dismayed FBI headquarters only recently cut off outreach to CAIR, when its case agents had gathered evidence of the tax-exempt group's terrorist ties years earlier.

    "I'm just surprised that it took the evidence that the FBI had being introduced at trial in order to sever the relationship with CAIR," Gohmert said.

    In a 2009 letter to Mueller, Democrat Sen. Charles Schumer of the Senate Judiciary Committee requested that the ban on CAIR be enforced "government-wide."

    March 25, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
  10. Mike

    Why not have a story on someone who converted from Islam to Christianity? Oh wait, they killed him for apostasy.

    March 25, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
  11. NYCmuslim

    wow; its one thing to quote the Quran and another to Misinterpret..and thats what alot of you guys did LOL
    now im not saying im the perfect muslim, no cause even i overlook certain aspecct of the religion but what i do know is that islam is PEACE; think about it we are all born muslim...hear me out why do people need to be baptized in order to be christian? im just a silly college student who is still learning but it does make you think.
    And actually Islam is a growing religion, and all you guys who went to wikipedia for your information WOW thats the most crappiest source you can use...half of the info on their is BULL
    & really most of these people who think ISLAM IS ALL ABOUT HATRED is really brainwashed by the media. haha and hear i am thinking brainwashing was fake but my god yall proved me wrong..
    but hey you guys did make my day..ignorance sure does spread like wild fire

    March 25, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • jedi

      Such as your defense Muslim always about no coercion in religion written in quran 2:256 and then the quran contradict its principle in verse 4:89 as "Whosoever turns back from his belief (irtada), openly or secretly, take him and kill him wheresoever ye find him, like any other infidel.

      March 25, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
  12. fuyuko

    Personally if this is what he wants to do, more power to him.

    I do think there are those who are inclined to 'believe' in religion and others who are simply not. It is a personality trait like being grumpy or liking french fies. Some have it others don't. This is the way we are designed. I'm glad we're not all alike.

    March 25, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
  13. Sal

    I don't trust these people at all. And if you want to know why it is because their allegiance is to that darn religion of theirs and not to this country. 

    March 25, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • HonestlyNow

      Unless you're an Atheist, In which case please disregard this whole thing. I'll work with the assumption you're a Christian who are you more loyal to Our Lord or your country. If the two ever bumped heads are you saying you're loyalty will be with your country as opposed to doing what Jesus teaches. Sorry, buddy, my loyalty will always be with The Creator(God, or in Arabic ALLAH).

      March 25, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
  14. Believer

    I am a Muslim, Alhamdulillah, and i have the following questions ask anyone that has doubts about Islam.
    1.If the Bible is the word of God, why has it been altered by men through out history (i.e Old Testament, New Testament)?
    -The Quran has never been altered in almost 1500 years.
    2. Why is Jesus considered by Christians as their Lord,but then at the same time he is the son of the Lord?
    -Mohamed is not the son nor the Lord-he was sent by Allah to guide all of mankind.
    3. Can anyone give me a religion other then Islam that says "yes" we believe that (Mohamed,Jesus,Moses,Noah and all the other prophets were messengers of ALLAH).

    March 25, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • joe

      1. Your book was written by a pedophile warlord in little segments after supposedly listening to an Angel. He also had the foresight to make it so you could only read the Arabic version. Also death and torture was threatened on virtually every page.
      2. M-dawg was a warlord using fear and faith to amass troops. It was also used as a guide to deal with business transactions. Containing such gems as 2 women need to be a witness in the absence of a man, because they are incapable of remembering all details.
      3. I'm sorry... what? Most religions were created hundreds if not thousands of years before M-dawg was born. Why would they mention the guy? And considering the evolution of Islam came from Christianity, which came from other small religions... what concern is it who is or is not mentioned?

      Islam, just like Christianity are books. They are characters made up to explain life at the time. Both are violent and judgemental, both use fear to garner compliance. Christianity has more original and entertaining stories, and in most cases have learned to grow up. The same cannot be said in regards to your religion, and I cannot even count how many times your book instructed you to kill non-believers. Well, guess what? You can only scare people so long before the truth eventually seeps into people.

      March 25, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
    • Mudfoot

      And you read it 1500 yrs ago? Or is that what you've been taught to believe? Get real

      March 25, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
    • chuckmartel

      You just don't get it muslim. Secular non muslims don't take your dark age style religous ways literally or even seriously in most cases. This country alredy has more than its share of religion. The last thing this country needs is a bunch of rag headed religous fundamentalists who have to whip out rugs and pray 5 times a day, censor US cartoonists under threat of death, and blow someone up every day. At least the bible bangers are not running around exploding and you generally can't tell when they pray. Your qustions are only of concern to dark age funamentalist types in general. You don't belong here.

      March 25, 2011 at 8:16 pm |
    • Pancho villa

      You're half rigt,bilbe is been changed trought history but the catholic bible is the original , and Jesus the son or God performed many miracles , named two that mohamed performed, if you read the bible you will find the truth.Now my church has commited many mistakes, and we will pay ans are paying for that,we will never kill a muslim brother for reading the Quram , I can not save you but I can show you the way, and you can save yourself, now tell me what will hapen to a catholic reading the Bible in Iran or Pkistan, there so ignorant that they want to impose there religion on to others.If have acces to internet you have acces to the Bible , read it.
      Gob Bless you.

      March 25, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
    • chuckmartel

      Pancho, why does someone with your handle believe in the wishy washy peace love christain stuff. Well, at least you won't be running around trying to blow people up, kill cartoon people, etc.

      March 25, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
  15. Mookster

    Sweet more pro-islam propaganda from CNN. Between Fox and CNN, I am not sure if its even possible anymore to read an article that doesn't have a hidden agenda.

    March 25, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
  16. Tony

    So he jumped out of the frying pan and landed in fire!

    March 25, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
  17. Joe F


    March 25, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • Civilization

      Always funny how atheists are so passionate about religion. What are you running away from, my friend?

      March 25, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
    • antireligiousfreak

      He's running away from the folks who constantly want to cram their beliefs down your throat but can't have an honest factual debate about the contradictions and inconsistensies in said religious texts. Is that about right Joe?

      March 25, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
    • Itissimple

      Dear Civilization, when a robber got into your house wouldn't you be passionate about getting him out? It's the same with not religious people fighting the religious intruders who want to control their lives.

      March 26, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  18. Tare

    You are getting sleepy. Sooo sleepy. You are feeling peaceful......calm.......sooo serene.....You are now a Muslim! When you wake up, I want you to imagine that you are in the Middle East. Okay...now wake up!!!

    March 25, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • Annunaki

      Aw &#83&#72&#73&#84...I'm still here!

      March 25, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
    • BG

      Here, let me help. Push the red button...

      Now you see him -

      Click. BOOM!

      Now you don't.

      March 25, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
  19. OnanismO

    FOLLOWERS of any Abrahamic religion (Judaism, Xianity, Islam, Mormon - Xian Science not included since it's really science fiction) make me laugh.... (and cry because they're so pitifully stupid). They can't allow themselves to ponder how illogical it would be for a god to wait SO LONG in the course of human history to deliver such a paramount message as how to be saved, delivered into paradise, avoid eternal damnation, etc. Humans have been on the planet (according to the irrefutable proof of the carbon-dated fossil record) for about 30,000 years. Why would god wait 25+ thousand years to say anything about this topic? Neanderthals were around before 30,000 years ago, and also according to the fossil record, died out/integrated into the modern human race at around the same time that modern humans appeared. Were Neanderthals also subject to the laws of any of these various religions when they obviously had no way of knowing about them? That's absurd! Were Native Americans subject to the laws of Christianity when there was physically NO WAY for any follower of Xianity to make it to the "New World" before Lief Ericson or Christobal Columbus. THINK!

    March 25, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
    • justiniowa

      People who are SO TERRIFIED of another person's fairy tales really needs to take a deep breath and a long look in the mirror.

      March 25, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      OnanismO wrote: "THINK"

      I'm afraid that for most brainwashed religion followers that's impossible...

      March 25, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
    • agrl4god80

      I really wish you would read the Bible and understand it before making comments like that and judging people in the same manner that you criticize us over. The Bible states from the moment Adam and Eve were created and even clearer with Abraham, how to be saved...it didn't take hundreds of years. The prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus Christ....but "how to be saved" wasn't revealed with Christ...it was revealed at the beginning of time....that it's by faith you are saved. Please don't make comments about religions unless you actually know what they believe vs what you think they believe. Thanks! Blessings!

      March 25, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
    • holyguac

      @justininiowa – You mean like the people who are so scared that they have to use the euphemism of "fairy tale"?

      March 25, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
    • holyguac

      @justininiowa – You mean like the people who are so scared that they have to use the euphemism of "fairy tales" when talking about others beliefs?

      March 25, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • OnanismO

      agrl4god80: If faith was allegedly required from the beginning of time.... then faith in WHAT? Judaism and any of its offshoots require that you follow their set of laws, call their god by whatever name, eat or don't eat certain things, etc. The laws of your religion define your faith. If faith was required since the beginning of time as you say, and Judaism and the rest didn't come around until 25+ thousand years after modern humans arrived on the planet, then what rules were they supposed to follow for the first 25 thousand years? Please explain.

      March 25, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • OnanismO

      agrl4god80: I have read the bible all the way through and some parts more than once. I understand that the Jews ripped off the idea of Hades from the Greeks. It's actually called literally "Hades" when it is first mentioned in the OT. There is NO fire and brimstone at this point. It is an underworld for all dead, just like in Greek mythology. It only turns into a place of torment much later. You have to take into account that the individual books of the bible were written over a period of thousands of years. The concept of hell evolved and became especially integral in the Christian message. Read your fairy tale book again and see.

      March 25, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
    • Civilization

      Wow, so much misinformation in one post. First, there is no human history beyond 10,000 years or so. Second, carbon dating is very unreliable. Third, the Bible history describes God's dealing with man from the very beginning and details several covenants (Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, et. al). Fourth, Neanderthal DNA is unrelated to human DNA. God made humans his children and animals his pets/food source.

      March 25, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • OnanismO

      Even if you don't believe the carbon dating, your limit of 10000 years still leaves a huge gap of time for humans to be just wandering about with no direction....since apparently they needed religion to guide them, right, FOLLOWER?

      March 25, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
    • AmericanPiex

      God has provided man a path to worship since the beginning of time. Before Abraham God had told mankind how to worship, and since Abraham God has outlined again how he wants to be worshiped. Abraham was just another prophet from God as were those before him and after him. Islam lets man know that there people before who were guided and that God didnt wait thousands of years to contact man to tell him how to live. You may have read the Bible all the way thru but what about the Quran?

      March 25, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • OnanismO

      Neanderthal DNA has been proven to be a part of Ozzy Osbourne's DNA, which means they integrated with modern humans at some point.

      March 25, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • OnanismO

      If you are going to stick with the Adam and Eve story, please explain where all the other people came from when Adam and Eve were thrown out of the Garden? Who were their parents? NOT ADAM AND EVE!

      March 25, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
    • rrb333


      Your questions have answers. Christians (many exceptionally brilliant) have though about your questions many years before you formed them, these brilliant theological minds not only maintained their faith but were confirmed by the answers they found. You can responding with "atheist internet sarcasm" but please don't patronize with the whole "THINK you Christian idiots" mantra.

      March 25, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
    • Get real

      Um, you do know carbon dating is flawed, right?? Look it up. As for the guy in the story, he exchanged truth for a lie. Really sad.

      March 25, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
    • rob

      You can't be a true Christian and then convert to something else...the guy was never truly a Christian

      March 25, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
    • OnanismO

      Carbon dating may be flawed but not to such a degree that 6,000 years could be mistaken for 30,000. Sorry, you lose that one.

      March 25, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
    • OnanismO

      Furthermore, it is not merely based on carbon dating. It is also a matter of indisputable fact when you can look at the layers of rock and see how far down one fossil type is in relation to another.

      March 25, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
  20. iftikhar khan

    Brother Chris converted to Islam today, at panama city fl,
    Welcome Brother

    March 25, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
    • holyguac

      Hey, don't get too excited there. bro. It's probably just a stopping point before he moves on to the next "real" truth – buddhism. After that, it's anyones guess where he will end up.

      March 25, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
    • James

      iftikhar khan, I'll bet you ARE celebrating his arrival into your "faith" since it means that there's someone other than you to detonate now.

      March 25, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
    • zameer

      Welcome to Islam Brother Miller, Only religion in the world where you can see beyond race, and as everybody as human being.

      March 25, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
    • Andy

      Thousands of Christians have been forced to flee their homes in Western Ethiopia after Muslim extremists set fire to roughly 50 churches and dozens of Christian homes and perhaps it is hard to find on this website but I could not see any information on that matter but what I do see is a conversion story. Please I could care less about any religon but what I do care about is the truth and what is right but I am concerned that oil money kills the truth and buys perception that will sooner or later enslave all truths and freedom of thought.

      March 25, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
    • Jack

      Yup..another one of those people who "found" the truth. People that buy into what other people say without actually receiving that information from God are not steadfast people. Like someone said: tomorrow he will find another "real truth"

      March 25, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
    • Mudfoot

      One more passenger on the Straight to Hell Express! All aboard!!!!!

      March 25, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
    • Jim


      March 25, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
    • Peedy Oor-ree-on

      I urge you to check out the website, http://www.IslamQA.com. The answers are made by "Sheikh Muhammad Salih al-Munajjid, a well known author and lecturer, using only authentic, scholarly sources based on the Quran and sunnah, and other reliable contemporary scholarly opinions.”

      Go to the section on politics. The first question is regarding democracy. The answer is that "it is contrary to Islam..."

      Every good Muslim is urged to do everything he/she can to implement the shariah of Islam. If this means working within the system to "overturn the system of government..." and implement the sharia, then this is what Muslims are ordered to do.

      Other shocking statements:

      "Men are superior to women..."
      "It is forbidden to play music or to stand for the national anthem or salute the flag..."
      "All other religions are either fabricated or false or abrogated..."
      "Muslims fight to free people from the injustice of other religions..."

      This website reveals that Islam is not just a religion. It is a theocratic dictatorship, ruling every aspect of life. There is no religious tolerance, no acceptance of any other system of government, no personal freedom of choice.

      This website makes it clear. The goal of Islam is world domination.

      March 25, 2011 at 8:11 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.