Wednesday, September 23, 2009

American Survivor of Mumbai Attacks converts to Islam


By SEAN O’SULLIVAN The News Journal
WILMINGTON– After surviving a terrorist attack in Mumbai, India, 10 months ago, when armed men targeted westerners in two five-star hotels, Greenville resident Dennis O’Brien did not turn to hate.
Instead, he sought to understand the root faith the people behind the attacks claimed to practice and discovered it had been twisted by the gunmen.
Eventually, he came to embrace it.
On Sunday, standing before a crowd of thousands, following prayers to mark the end of Ramadan, O’Brien, a Catholic, embraced Islam in a testimony of faith called Shahada, where he publically declared that there was only one God and the Prophet Muhammad is his last messenger and servant.
O’Brien, who heads up the education committee of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Wilmington, said the move was a surprise, even to him.
But said he was at peace with it.
“Today I feel free of sin,” he said.
After several months of studies and asking questions of Muslim friends and associates, “I feel comfort in Islam,” he said.
O’Brien said he wanted to express solidarity with Muslims, even though extremists who say they practice the faith “tried to kill me.”
Pastor John F. McGinley, of St. Anthony’s, said Sunday he had not heard of O’Brien’s embrace of Islam.

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