Islamic faith source of peace, comfort

Hoang Long Le was only 10 years old when his family fled Vietnam for America in search of a better future. As he grew older in the states, he tried to escape the suppressed society that he had grown up in by expressing himself through religion. In Islam, he found comfort and companionship.

“I was on my way of finding a faith for myself,” Le said. “So I was always talking to a lot of religious people but I was still confused about certain things.”

Le grew up in an Atheist family. Though his family was not religious, he said he was always interested in different types of people. In college, he met many Christian students and decided to learn about their faith. After a few months of studying the religion, Le said he didn’t agree with some of Christianity’s main tenets and continued his spiritual journey.

In 2010, as Le was passing through the Philip Guthrie Hoffman Hall breezeway on campus, he noticed the Muslim Student Association’s information table. Curious, he paused to ask the organization’s members a few questions about the religion. After discussing Islam’s main tenets, Le decided that he wanted to research the religion more. He began reading the Quran and realized that Islam was more in line with his ideas.

“The Quran made sense to me,” he said. “I just have to believe in one God and not relate him to anyone else. I felt relieved after learning that. I knew if I accepted Islam that I would have to start thinking about living my life differently, but I felt really happy.”

Then in April 2010, Le converted to Islam — like 20,000 other Americans every year. UH MSA’s religion outreach manager Shuruq Gyagenda said that last year alone, six students converted to Islam. Many students who convert are often searching for a spiritual connection in their lives, she said.

“Because of what people see in the media today, Islam is the last religion people searching for a faith seek out,” Gyagenda said. “But with those who convert, I think they find what they need. They’re spiritually connecting with something that’s based in their heart.”

Though Le is satisfied with his decision, he said that telling his family wasn’t easy.

“(My mom) didn’t want to believe me,” he said. “She was very upset, and I was torn apart.”

He and his mother seldom discuss his new faith, making it difficult for him to openly pray. For Le, who works with his mother at a Houston barbershop, it’s hard to lead two lives inside and outside of home and work. He can only hope that she will accept him for who he is now, he said.

“No matter what, I’m always going to be (my mother’s) son,” he said. “Nothing has changed between us.”

At school, however, he’s allowed to pray and practice his faith more freely, finding comfort with his Muslim friends.

But with the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, he worries about how American Muslim students are viewed.

“Of course it’s hard being Muslim today,” Le said. “But the reward is that I believe it’s the right thing to do, and I did it for myself.”

Le said the only thing he can do now is pray to God to make his decision easier.

“It’s important to just be yourself and the person you want to be,” he said.

To provide a support system for student converts, MSA is in the process of setting up weekly sessions with religious speakers from the Muslim American Society that will focus on the importance of Muslim community and faith.

“It’s difficult because we don’t want to cause any friction at home if a student is going to an MSA event,” Gyagenda said. “But we want students to know that they have support at school. Students have a right to practice their faith.”



    Mohammed was the 7th century version of Warren Jeffs or Charles Manson. A violent pedophile, a child rapist whose goal was to spread his tribal patron deity over the world by genocide and murder.

    To have the Daily Cougar lying about and promoting such a filthy cult is just an insult to the sane students of campus.

    • Martin Luther said that if he had to baptize a Jew, he would hang him from the Elbe bridge. The ancient Levites suggested capital punishment for a number of non-violent crimes and prophet Elijah had bears rend apart children who heckled him. That Mohammed had multiple wives, some of whom were underage by our standards, is disturbing, but must be viewed within the context of 8th century peninsula culture. Many religious figures have blemishes, some quite severe by our standards, but these do not necessarily detract from the greater theology or philosophy. Religion is complex, and it is an equally vexing task to frame the social mores of a pre-modern society in our own terms. We should be aware of their faults, and not let them slide, but we must also realize that the world has developed since then, and few, if any, modern Muslims revere Mohammed for his filial relations.

        • Perhaps further reading into the life of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) will not only help clear misunderstandings about his marriage to Aishah (May God be pleased with her) but also enlighten one on how to respectfully comment on Daily Cougar articles.

        • the marriage was not consummated till she was 9,10 or 18 years ago(different sources claim different ages). In those days it was hard to keep age of people. Mary was 11 when she married Joseph.

          • Hey Wait,

            Please provide reference to such claims. What "guest" is trying to say is the consummation of Muhammad's marriage to Aishah did not occur until after she reached the age of puberty. Please stop these hateful comments.

      • Perhaps reading into the life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) will give one a better understanding of Muhammad's marriage to Aisha. As a result of reading the life of the Prophet one can also learn how to respectfully carry a conversation.

  • Islam doesn't seem to bring any peace or comfort to his family, but that doesn't seem to concern Le. Perhaps he selected that faith specifically because he knew it would upset his mother and he is seeking attention.

    Peace, like charity, begins at home.
    –Franklin D. Roosevelt

  • This is Islam from the horse's mouth:

    As "No" wrote above it's dispicable to see the Daily Cougar promoting this supremacist cult almost every day.

    Does anyone know whether the Daily Cougar is an arm of the Saudi media empire?

    (Am I allowed to write this? Does the First Amendment still apply to the Daily Cougar?)

  • Even as an atheist, and anti-theist I still find many of the comments on this article disrespectful and unwarranted. If your going to criticize Islam, and any religion as a whole, by all means feel free to do so with my support, but before you instigate arguments it would be advisable to have actually read the entirety Quran, or other respective religious text so your are informed and objective as possible. A few quotes from the Quran taken out of context and speeches from extremists help nobody and prove nothing. Furthermore ignoring one religions flaws, critical or otherwise while attacking another, is hypocritical in the most annoying way.

    And feel free to argue the horrors and subjective immorality of the prophet Muhammad, bring texts from the past, and state facts. What Muhammad has done in the glory days I do not know, and did not see. But what I do hear and see now, and on other articles of the same nature are comments that are bordering on hate speech and bigotry.

    Le made a choice, I disagree. His choice not mine. I'll only go as far to wish him luck in finding what he's looking for.

    • I won't follow or condone a religion founded or led by a pedophile. That goes for Peoples Temple Agricultural Project, Fundamentalist LDS, Islam, the David Koresh compound, or any other religion in the same sort of line.

      Fair enough?

      • What about a religious movement founded by an anti-Semite, like Martin Luther? Even Calvin has suspicions. How about a religion that reveres one of its central figures who almost sacrificed his son? While we talk about hadiths, I'm pretty sure there's a midrash that says when Abraham raised his blade, it was as if he had killed Isaac.

  • bunch of muslims work for the dailycougar huh?………. all these articles related to islam makes it seem like they are trying to promote a faith…….

    • Stop being so insecure. Christianity is promoted from day one in the public school system.

      UH is a diverse institution and Muslims aren't going anywhere so it's best you read a few more books.

  • Hey I know Long very well when we went to high school together. Those of you who wanna bash the religion, Long is what he is and there's nothing that any of you pinheads can do about it.

    Long, I'm real glad you found comfort and peace no matter what person says otherwise. I've known ya since middle school and all through high school, I always knew ya were a weird dude but it's finally clear that you are just being yourself when I was there because you have guts, you have a respectful passion towards others including our mutual friends, and you got a long way to go finding your right path with passion, peace and love. God bless you, bud and good luck! xD

  • I'm not sure how I feel about this one: "He began reading the Quran and realized that Islam was more in line with his ideas."

    It seems like it is saying we should pick a religion that lines up with our ideas, making it right. I think that we should pursue TRUTH whether it is in line with our ideas or not. The saying "Truth hurts" has some merit, in that truth is a light in our darkness, revealing the evil of our lives. Thoughts?

  • How interesting… any mention of the truth of Islam is now missing from the comments page.

    Almost like the Daily Toilet Paper is practicing censorship on behalf of Islam now isn't it?

  • Here is what one man said about Islam and peace:

    John Quincy Adams on Islam

    "The precept of the Koran is, perpetual war against all who deny, that Mahomet is the prophet of God. The vanquished may purchase their lives, by the payment of tribute; the victorious may be appeased by a false and delusive promise of peace; and the faithful follower of the prophet, may submit to the imperious necessities of defeat: but the command to propagate the Moslem creed by the sword is always obligatory, when it can be made effective. The commands of the prophet may be performed alike, by fraud, or by force."

  • Here is an honest Muslim who indicates just how peaceful Islam is:

    "We reject the U.N., reject America, reject all law and order. Don't lobby Congress or protest because we don't recognize Congress. The only relationship you should have with America is to topple it. . . . Eventually there will be a Muslim in the White House dictating the laws of Shariah." — Muhammad Faheed, Muslim Students Association meeting, Queensborough Community College, 2003

  • Here a Muslim implies just how peaceful Islam is:

    "Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on earth." — CAIR cofounder and longtime Board chairman Omar Ahmad, 1998 (denial noted and full story explained at link)

  • And here is what one man who experienced Islam first-hand says about how peaceful it is:

    Gregory Palamus of Thessalonica on Islam

    "For these impious people, hated by God and infamous, boast of having got the better of the Romans by their love of God…they live by the bow, the sword and debauchery, finding pleasure in taking slaves, devoting themselves to murder, pillage, spoil and not only do they commit these crimes, but even – what an aberration – they believe that God approves of them. This is what I think of them, now that I know precisely about their way of life."

  • Finally, here is one more man who came to know Islam well. Religion of peace? What a joke.

    Patriarch Cyrus of Alexandria on Islam

    "I am afraid that God has sent these men to lay waste the world".

  • Oh my god y'all are PATHETIC. I'm talking to the old men : Arafat, Bo Bojangles and everyone else who literally sit around every day trying to encourage Islamophobia and hatred towards Arabs and Muslims and probably all kinds of none european peoples. You are really, really pathetic and only help create more sympathy for these people by showing the bigotry of people who hate them. You have made other jews, Israelis and Americans fight even harder against your fascist, insane ideas. Get a life and do something productive with yourselves.
    With that said, this article is rather pointless and preachy and reminds me of something FOX news would report on (except with Christianity). I understand you are trying to fight the rampant, insane islamophobia in the country, but still…this isn't really news. But neither is most the stuff on here…

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