x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Former Christian minister who converted to Islam delivers speech

An American former preacher who converted to Islam from Christianity shared his views on various religions with pupils at Al Mizhar American Academy for Girls.

DUBAI // A former Christian minister who converted to Islam in 1991 talked to staff, pupils and parents at Al Mizhar American Academy for Girls yesterday about the common ground that Judaism, Christianity and Islam share.

Yusuf Estes, who was born in Ohio and raised in Texas, highlighted Islam's reverence for women. He recounted the Hadith, in which a man came to the Prophet Mohammed and asked: "After Allah and his messengers, who has the most rights on me?"

The Prophet Mohammed was known to have repeated "Your mother" three times before saying, "Your father", Mr Estes said.

"I really enjoyed how he got everyone's attention and emphasised women's rights in Islam, especially since people think that women are oppressed," said Nailah Mubin, a 17-year-old student from India.

Lynda Chmarny-Intaj, a music and drama teacher from England who had also converted to Islam from Christianity, said: "I thought it was delightful and refreshing because as a convert, it's nice to find someone that I can relate to."

Delice A Scotto, the school's principal, said: "There is one thing that we want all our girls to have, and that is to learn to respect and understand each other. They need to be able to sit side by side to work together if they want to be the leaders of the future."

balqabbani@thenational.ae