My name is Abdullah Al-Kanadi. I was born in Vancouver, Canada. Parents educated me in Roman Catholic spirit up to 12 years. For six years now I am a Muslim, and I would like to share my history with you.
Probably, any story is better to start from the beginning. So, as a child, I went to a Catholic school, where, along with other subjects, I studied religion. Lessons of the Catholic faith were best given to me. My parents wanted me to become an altar boy, which pleased my grandmother and grandfather. But the more I learned about my religion, the more questions were born in my head. Once I asked my mother: “Is our religion correct?” I still remember how she answered; ‘Craig, they are all the same, all are good.’ It seemed to me not quite right. Why should I study my religion, if they are all equally good ?!
I was twelve years old when my grandmother discovered cancer. After several months of desperate struggle with the disease, she was no more. Then, at such an early age, I decided to become an atheist and take revenge on God. I was angry with the whole world, with myself and, worst of all, with God. As a teenager, I tried in every possible way to impress my new school friends. Very soon I realized how different the public school was from the Catholic school. Here I had a lot to learn. Here I acquired the habit of scoffing at all who are weaker than me. No matter how I tried to join the company, I could not. I was bullied, the girls laughed at me … For a guy of this age, this attitude was just deadly. And I shut myself up.
Further years of solitude followed. My parents tried in vain to talk with me. I did not want to listen and generally disrespected them. In the summer of 1996, I graduated from high school. It seemed that everything should improve, because it could not be worse. I was accepted to the local technical college, and I decided that to continue studying – in my own interests: I can earn a lot of money, which means I should be happy. To pay for studies, I settled in a fast food restaurant.
A couple of weeks before the start of the studies a few friends from work invited me to move to them. It seemed to me a wonderful idea: at last I could leave my parents. But they were against it, saying that I was not ready yet. But I was already 17! I was rude to my parents, which I regret until now. Sudden freedom blinded me: now I was free to do whatever I wanted. Having moved to friends, I did not talk with my parents for a long time.
Friends introduced me to marijuana, and I just fell in love with it! I liked to smoke in the evenings after work. It was so relaxing. I smoked more and more often. One weekend I smoked so much that I woke up only on Monday and thought; ‘Well, I will miss the day of study, they will not even remember me.” I did not return to college any more. And why? In the restaurant, I could steal as fast food as I could, smoking marijuana as much as I pleased.
My life was just beautiful. At least that seemed to me. The reputation of the “bad guy” attracted the girls – it was not like at school at all. I tried stronger drugs, but, alhamdulillah, I escaped the most dangerous of them. But it’s strange, when I was not drunk or stoned, I felt lousy. It’s like I’m worthless, useless and completely empty. I stole at work and friends, turned into a paranoid, believed that behind every corner I was waiting for the police. I’m completely unstuck. I needed help. Religion could be a good solution to the problem.
The once seen film about witchcraft influenced my choice: it could be a good alternative for religion. In the house there were books about Wicca and Adoration of nature. They approved of natural drugs, which I had to taste. People asked if I believe in God, and I answered: “No, I believe in a lot of gods, not as perfect as myself.”
A friend of mine, a Christian, did not leave me. I responded to all his calls with ridicule. And he was the only friend who never condemned my behavior. One day a friend invited me to a youth camp, and I did not refuse. I hoped to have a lot of fun, laugh at all these “believers”. On the second evening of my stay in the camp, Christians played musical instruments, praising God. I watched as men and women, young and adults shed tears, praying to God for forgiveness. I was struck to the core of my soul and quietly whispered a prayer; ‘Oh Lord, I know that I was a terrible person, but I ask You, help me, forgive me and let me start again.” Emotions overwhelmed me, and tears rolled down my cheeks. Then I decided to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I lifted my hands to heaven and began to dance (dance!) Surrounding people were watching me in surprise: a guy who came to laugh at their stupidity for believing in God, now danced and praised the Lord!
Back home, I refused women, drugs and alcohol. I told my friends,
How important it is to be a Christian, because only so they could be saved. Their refusal simply shocked me, because they always listened to my advice. As a result, I returned to my parents and began to incline them to Christianity. It seemed strange to parents: they were already Catholics by Christians. But they were wrong, true Christians could not worship the saints. I again decided to move out, but now everything went peacefully. Grandfather, wishing to support my “healing”, offered a job. I began to visit the Christian “youth home”. Most of the young people came here, who, far from family problems, could talk about Christianity. I was older than most of them, so I told them more often and tried to make sure that the young people felt comfortable. And despite this, I felt like a traitor, because I again began to drink and meet women. Teenagers I talked about Jesus and his love for people, and spent the night in a company with alcohol. And even then my only real friend tried to keep me on the right track.