"The day before I graduated, my father died" - Mazhar



"I grew up in a small, rural village in India. And at the time, education was not easily available. We had to struggle, walk long distances and work hard. Our parents supported us very much. And then, I made it to study at Aligarh Muslim College, a prestigious university in India, and the day before I graduated, my father died. It was so difficult because I had so many plans. I was always thinking of what was after my school so I could support and help them like they did for me in my education. It was very difficult.

When I left India, I was flying to New York City. This was my first time coming to North America. Sitting next to me was an American and an Irishmen. The plane was descending and we could see the cars on the streets as we came close to landing. They asked me what I thought about America. We hadn’t landed yet and I had never been to America before but I saw that the cars were driving on the right side of the road. In India, the direction is from the left. So I told them, ‘America is always right’!"

~ Uncle Mazhar

"Death scared me and I still think about that." ~ Nicole

"Since you’ve become Muslim, what do you enjoy most about Islam?"

“I enjoy being around family and the community. And when you see any Muslim, you can say ‘salam’, which means ‘peace’ and you can strike a conversation with people you don’t even know. I love that."

"What has been the most difficult time in your life as a Muslim?"

“Losing my father was one of the saddest things I’ve experienced. He wasn’t Muslim, but he had a need to know what happens after death and I didn’t have the opportunity to talk to him about it from my perspective. He was looking for someone to talk about it, but I was too afraid to talk and whenever it came up, I kept changing the subject. Death scared me and I still think about that."

~ Nicole