I consider myself lucky. My family had opposed my decision but they had not done anything beyond that. They just kicked me out of the house.
The story of a sister who converted to Islam a few years earlier than I did, and the danger she had faced was conveyed to me by more than a person who knew her personally. I don’t have the opportunity to know her myself. Therefore what I’m going to tell here was what had been told to me.
Sister Ann* was a young undergraduate, the daughter of a rich Chinese businessman in Malaysia. She became a Muslim on her own accord, reciting syahadah at the Pusat Islam, the same place where I did mine. When her family found out about her conversion to Islam, they were furious. Perhaps they thought that she was influenced by a ‘bad person’. They might even had thought that she was under a ‘black magic’ spell , as most Chinese families simply refuse to believe that their children wanted to be Muslims because of the truth in Islam. I suppose putting the blame on black magic cast by another person was easier to deal with than having to accept reality.
Anyway, one thing led to another, and sister Ann found out that her own father wanted to force her to go home. Perhaps her family wanted her to be cleansed by their own religious experts and ‘cured of her madness’. I have heard of such rituals, usually performed under the full moon by Taoist monks to cast off the ‘black magic’ cast by an evil eye. However, the tight 24-hour security on campus grounds had prevented her family from forcing her to leave. Therefore her family shifted to plan B. They decided to hire thugs to kidnap her. If those thugs saw her outside the campus ground, they could force her into their vehicle and take her home to her family. As the policy here is to give advice and not to force, sister Ann had the liberty to wear whatever she wanted although she was already a Muslimah. She was not ready to wear the tudung, so she had not looked any different from her non-Muslim days. That made her easy to be recognized by the thugs who had her photographs. Therefore, for her own safety, sister Ann was forced to stay within the campus grounds. She could not walk out of the gate because the men would be waiting.
Alhamdulillah, her plight came to the notice of the university administration and Pusat Islam. As Muslim brothers, they were duty-bound to help her and they did. They met the thugs and warned the thugs to stay away from sister Ann. They protected sister Ann, provided her shelter and treated her as a member of their families. Later, with some assistance from fellow Muslims, sister Ann reconciled with her family. My ustazah said that her family members admitted that sister Ann had become a better person than she was before her conversion. Sister Ann’s own mother became very knowledgeable about Islamic rituals, halal food and fasting although she has not followed her daughter’s footsteps. She herself would remind sister Ann when prayer times approached, even before the azan could be heard. She would prepare halal food for sister Ann. Now I’m glad to say that sister Ann is happily married with her own children.