JNN 12 June 2016 Brussels : Muhterem Aras, a Green Party politician, took the post in Baden-Württemberg from a member of a populist anti-immigration party on Wednesday.
“We wrote history today,” she said after sweeping in with a significant majority.
Ms Aras, 50, said her victory sent a message of “openness, tolerance and successful integration”, The Local reported.
Born in Turkey, she moved to a town near Stuttgart with her parents as a child and studied economics before founding her own tax advice firm.
Her political career started in 1992, standing for the Greens on the local council and rising through the local party to become its local leader and enter the Baden-Württemberg state parliament.
She was elected as “Landtagspräsident” by 96 local MPs, becoming the first Muslim woman to take the office.
The election came amid continuing tensions over religion, immigration and extremism in Germany.
“I love Islam”: Australian Christian Woman
I grew up in the north shore which you probably know is one of the most racist parts of Sydney, Australia in my opinion. I grew up thinking Muslims were bad and women beaters. My ex who was a white Australian (like myself) HATED them, and ironically, he ended up being abusive to me. I have never been so hurt in my whole life.
After having to leave and move, I ended up seeing and meeting some Muslim women at my kids’ school and my hairdresser’s. They were such beautiful nice people. The funny thing is, if I passed by a Muslim woman, I would never think of her as a drug addict or slept around. All I could see is modesty and elegance. I was so fascinated by their hijab and niqab. So, I started researching Islam and the Quran. I questioned my hairdresser for hours and absorbed everything she was saying like a sponge.
I remember going past a $2 shop and seeing a slip on hijab. It was on my mind for weeks. So the next time I was there, I spent my last $5 on it. I remember I couldn’t wait ’till I got home and slip it on. Before I even got onto the main street, I felt like a new person. I felt protected. Since then I have been slowly on my path… I do not want to take the shahadah (testimony of Islamic faith) until I absorb everything. So, I can proudly wear the Islamic name without bringing any shame to its name. As a result, it can be beautiful to others.
I love Islam and it excites me so much
Attracted by Adhan, Quran, Scot Converts to Islam
He says he was attracted towards Islam when he for the first time heard Adhan – call to prayer, and later ended up becoming a Muslim after reading the Holy Quran.
“For me, it all started when I heard the call to prayer from a local mosque while on a beach holiday in Turkey. It woke something up inside me, and inspired me to begin a spiritual quest”, Alan Rooney wrote in a self-written article published by the Independent.
“Back home in Inverness, I went to the local bookshop, bought a Quran and started to read. While reading, I always asked God to guide me on the journey I had set out on”, he added.
He says he continued reading the Holy Quran while doing “a lot of praying, and a lot of time on his knees”.
“The Quran really shook me. It’s quite a scary book to read because it tells you so much about yourself. Some things that I found out about myself I didn’t like. So I decided to make some changes”, he added.
“I knew that I could stop reading the Quran and halt the process at any time, but I also knew that would mean giving up something really important.
“And I knew what the end result of this process would be: I would be a Muslim.
So I kept on reading. I read it three times, looking for the catch. But there was no catch; I was quite comfortable with everything”, he added.
“I would spent time conducting searches online, looking for the stories of people who had gone through this experience themselves. Nothing ever seemed to quite fit the bill – each person’s journey, of course, is unique.
“It is good to know, however, that others have gone down this same path as you. Put simply, I turned to these resources when I became afraid I’d be seen as an oddball”, he said.
“Working through this process took me about 18 months. Some people take less time, some people more. And I was doing all this on my own, with no-one to help. I still hadn’t met any Muslims.
“After those 18 months, however, I considered myself a Muslim. I was praying five times a day, fasting for Ramadan, and eating and drinking only what was considered acceptable according to the teachings of the Quran”, he further wrote.
“It was only then I found out that there was actually a small mosque in my town. I popped along, knocked on the door and introduced myself.
“They were surprised to see me and didn’t know quite what to do with me at first, except to give me the mosque door combination and to welcome me to their community. I was accepted from the very beginning, however, and am now a constant within the community”, he wrote.