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Monday, 20 May 2013

Journey of an American lady...........................56513


Journey of an American lady borned in a christian family and embraced islam but later entered into Hinduism




I was born Katherine Marie Berry to a Christian family in North Carolina, USA. I grew up a Christian, was very active in church in my early 20s and then started to question my faith. I explored concepts of God in all religions and became a Muslim in 2009. I later changed my name to Sakina Amal Zahraa (legally) and practiced the faith until January 2013. During my time as a Muslim woman I often felt like a square peg trying to fit into a round whole; very out of place and disconnected from God. I always thought it was a lack of faith on my part, that this was why it just didn't feel right. I still think that the religion of Islam is beautiful but my experience with other Muslims has not been. I had 3 spiritual marriages during this time. While the religion does not promote mistreatment of women, that has not been my experience. I was also raped by a Muslim man and fled my home state because the backlash from the Muslim community was so terrible. While in Atlanta, GA (where I moved to after being raped and ostracized) I drove past the BAPS temple in Lilburn, GA several times and was mesmerized by the architecture. I thought it was a mosque and drove up to the gate only to discover that it was a Hindu temple; I turned around. Something pulled me back; it was as if I couldn't leave without going inside. So, covered, wearing hijab (the muslim woman head covering and overgarment) with my 3 year old daughter, also covered at the time, we turned back around. The feeling was so intense that I wanted to run into the temple from my car but I resisted. It was as if I was about to discover something BIG. I thought I was going crazy or something. LOL! No one, not one person, looked at me like an outsider, or like I didn't belong. I hadn't experienced this in a while and it was quite refreshing. As soon as we got inside the shrine room, I felt the most profound sense of serenity that I have only felt when I am at the temple. I didn't understand what was going on inside me or around me for that matter. I had been there for an hour but it felt like only 20 minutes had passed. I didn't want to leave. Every time I passed the temple, I had to pull in. I came back to North Carolina a few months later and visited temples in my home state. For a year I still practiced Islam, but I was learning about the Hindu philosophy. I got married to my last husband (the third spiritual marriage in Islam) and once again was treated terribly. I was 5 months pregnant in January of this year (2013) when he decided he didn't really want a family. While it hurt, it was as if the internal spiritual battle had ended and I left the Muslim faith once and for all. I stopped covering, and started practicing the faith I had learned about for the past year, Hinduism. I chant while I clean my house. My daughter and I go to Krishna dinner on Thursday nights and chant together. We have visited several temples now. I never considered myself to be oppressed when I was a Muslim but it is profound how liberated, spiritually liberated, I feel as a Hindu woman. There is so much freedom in the faith. The hardest thing about embracing the faith is becoming a vegetarian. In the South (meaning the south part of USA) we are meat and potato people. Every meal there is a meat. I am slowly learning how to prepare vegetarian food. I am starting to meet other western devotees in my community and trying to make small changes.
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