Aminah asSilmi ialah seorang bekas Kristian Protestan dari kumpulan Gereja Southern Baptist. Beliau juga merupakan seorang aktivis dari kumpulan pembebasan wanita yang radikal dan pernah bertugas sebagai seorang wartawan penyiaran. Beliau merupakan seorang pelajar yang pintar dan mendapat pelbagai anugerah kecemerlangan ketika berada di sekolah. Ketika di kolej beliau terpaksa belajar dengan wanita-wanita Arab yang rata-ratanya memakai tudung. Beliau menganggap mereka sebagai “golongan yang menjijikkan. ” Akhirnya beliau mengambil keputusan untuk berdakwah kpd mereka agar mereka menganut agama Kristian.
Untuk tujuan itu beliau telah mengkaji Islam dengan mengkaji al-Quran, Sahih Muslim dan 15 buku yang lain. Kajian terhadap Islam ini berterusan selama 2 tahun dan akhirnya persepsinya terhadap Islam telah berubah. Ketika itu barulah beliau menyedari betapa Islam merupakan agama yang amat memuliakan wanita. Pada tanggal 21 Mei 1977, beliau mengucap dua kalimah syahadah. Selepas memeluk Islam beliau berpakaian menutup aurat dan tindakan itu menyebabkan beliau kehilangan kerjayanya sebagai seorang wartawan penyiaran di Denver. Malah mahkamah memutuskan beliau dipisahkan daripada anak-anaknya disebabkan keislamannya. Akhirnya, dengan izin Allah, anak-anaknya, ibu bapanya dan bekas suaminya memeluk Islam…
The Aminah Assilmi Story
Former Baptist explains why she is now a Muslim
By Rebecca Simmons, Abilene Reporter-News, Saturday, November 1, 1997
She was a Southern Baptist girl, a radical feminist, and a broadcast journalist. She was a girl with an unusual caliber, who excelled in school, received scholarships, ran her own business, and were competing with professionals and getting awards – all these while she was going to college. Then one day a computer error happened that made her take up a mission as a devout Christian. Eventually, however, it resulted into something opposite and changed her life completely around… She wears the traditional Islamic hijab, which includes a head scarf, covering her hair and neck and modest clothing with long sleeves….
Meeting her first “real life Muslims” when she took a college theater class some years ago, Assilmi said she almost dropped the class when she walked into the room and saw some Arab students in traditional hijab. In the handbook she authored, “Choosing Islam,” Assilmi writes, “There was no way I was going to sit in a room with dirty heathens. .. I shut the door and went home.” After her husband encouraged her to go back to the theater class, Assilmi said she felt it her duty to “convert the poor, ignorant Muslims.” Hoping to convert the students to Christianity, Assilmi began to study the Koran, the holy book of Islam, in a quest to prove that Mohammed was a false prophet and that Islam was not a valid religion. But the more she read, the more she became interested in Islam. She was particularly interested in what the Koran had to say about men and women. Islamic women, she thought, “were freely beaten by their husbands and tossed aside.” Assilmi says she had based her opinion on stereotypes; and soon found out those ideas were not in keeping with the Koran. Through intense study, she said she learned that Islamic women are equal to men and are paid according to the job they do regardless of their gender. Both men and women have equal rights to education. Islamic women have had the right to own property for more than 1,400 years. And when a woman marries, she does not change her last name, but keeps her father’s last name. “For two years I studied in order to convert Muslims to Christianity, ” she said.
For Assilmi, taking Shahadah in 1977 was the first step toward a a deeper understanding of Islam… “I gave up being a women’s liberationist — it wasn’t fulfilling — I became a Muslim … Liberation, yeah, that’s Islam,” said Assilmi who adopted her name during the Iranian hostage crisis in 1980.
An award-winning broadcaster in the Denver market, Assilmi lost her job when she began wearing Islamic dress. She says the persecution is intense. “I’ve been forced off the road before — beaten up — and I’ve never lifted a hand against anyone,” Assilmi said. The defining moment came when she tried to cash a check at her bank wearing the face veil. A bank security guard drew his gun preparing to shoot if she made any questionable moves. For Assilmi, her job as a broadcaster was not the only thing she lost when she first chose Islam. Her marriage over, she also lost custody of her children because the court decided that the “unorthodox religion” would be detrimental to them. But since then, Assilmi says her children have converted to Islam and so have her parents and her ex-husband.. ……… .