SHAFAQNA – As many as 158 Oman residents have converted to Islam in the last three months, officials announced.
According to an official at Oman’s Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs, 158 individuals converted to Islam in the months of April, May, and June.
The individuals were of various nationalities, including Ugandan, Filipino, Sri Lankan, and Indian converts. A majority of those who converted to Islam were women.
The Times of Oman spoke to three Muslim converts, who recently embraced Islam at a Ramadan event targeting non-Muslims and individuals, who are new to the religion.
For many Muslim converts living in Oman, finding Islam was the answer to their anxiety-ridden worries and troubles, and an entryway to a welcoming community of family and friends.
For Jubelyn Alto, a resident from the Philippines, her discovery of Islam took place in the span of a mere two months, before she decided that converting was the right step for her.
“I came to Oman two and a half years ago, after living in the Philippines. Two months ago, I decided to read about Islam, because I felt heavy every time I had a lot of problems.
“I realized that Islam gave me many new feelings. I felt light, and happy about what I was discovering. Reading the Holy Quran made my hair stand, and I knew in my heart that I believed in the worship of Allah.”
Alto’s Muslim friends in Oman helped her with reading material, and sources on Islam.
“I eventually asked my friends on how to convert to Islam, and they weren’t sure how. I eventually found out about this introductory event (organized) by the ministry. I signed up online, and I just attended and converted.”
“After converting, I don’t feel as heavy with the weight of my problems. It is an amazing feeling; I don’t have to think too much. I have started reading, and I pray five times a day, and I feel complete.”
Another Oman resident from the Philippines, Vanessa Bonsico, saw Islam through the lens of her sponsor family.
“I first came to Oman to work at a household nine months ago, and I saw the relationship the family has with each other. They were very close, and they had good values. We started speaking about Islam, and they told me about events where you could attend and learn about Islam,” she said.
“I attended the events, and I started talking to other Filipina sisters about Islam, and one particular Filipina sister who works at the Grand Mosque to learn more. I decided to join Islam like the other sisters, but nobody forced me or convinced me. It was my own decision. I’m really happy, and I feel grateful and peaceful for all that Islam has given me,” Bonsico added.
Ruth E. Cruz, on the other hand, joined Islam after being married to a Muslim man for many years in the Philippines.
“I married a Muslim Filipino man when I was 27, and we have two daughters at home as well. I was already familiar with Islam, but when I came here, I asked my sponsor family to help me learn more about how to be a Muslim. I learned about how to pray, and how to follow other guidelines, and then finally decided to convert officially.”
“I’m happy to join my family in Islam, after many years, and I feel that I have learned a lot about Islam through Oman,” she added.
A total of 15 people converted to Islam during the Islam introductory event held in Ramadan. The event drew wide participation, as it targeted non-Muslim communities in the Sultanate, including a number of ambassadors and dignitaries.