I'm an ex-leftist and after time came to see the moral contraditions of leftism and its ultimate goal of destroying western civilization. I learned much and had questions answered by reading David Horowitz and other writers. Politically I'm a conservative (and disappointed Republican because the GOP has internalized a good amount of liberalism). Part of our website we have dedicated to exposing the subversive program of cultural Marxism which is prevalent in western academia, media, and film.
My interests are wide and varied, Among the things I ticked in boxes in the interests section here I am also interested in computers and related technologies, nature, and photography (and will try to get some fun shots at the upcoming Democratic National Convention).
I stumbled upon the Beliefnet community when looking for a place to debate Islam with Muslims. Since I considered conversion to Islam back in 1996, I have read much on this topic off and on since then. I first had contact with "Islam" in 1994 due to an accidental association that I developed for a time with a member of the local Nation of Islam mosque, whose storefront I unknowingly wandered into. I went from reading the Final Call and the Nation of Islam's whacky and hilarious theology over to reading some about traditional Islam. From this member of the Nation of Islam, I purchased a Muhammad Ali translation of the Quran which I still own, and which the Nation of Islam uses as its standard text. I went to see Farrakhan speak in 1997, which was both interesting and odd. From that I went on to read about more orthodox forms of Islam, mostly on apologetic websites, which led me to consider conversion in 1996.
Previous to 1996, I had mostly positive views on Islam, which I think was partly due to my political liberalism of that time (which is why I was not revulsed by the Nation of Islam), and also because one can develop a positive view of the religion if her reading is solely of Islamic apologetic websites which are designed for the western reader. These sites omit copious amounts of Islamic texts without explanation (in fact they give you no indication that these texts exist), and once I discovered these omitted Hadiths and Tafsirs, as well as reading Quran directly (I find the Maududi translation more blunt in some of its wording than the softer translations common in the west), my positive view of Islam began to crumble. From Hadiths, I learned that women are "toys," "lacking in intelligence and morals," and that in Quran believers are "slaves of Allah" who beat disobedient wives and engage in slave trading. When looking at Quran, Hadiths and Tafsirs, the picture of Islam as a (compulsorily) violent religion comes together. I have purchased several translations of Quran (Asad Muhammad, Yusuf Ali, Muhammad Ali, Pickthall, NJ Dawood, Maulana
Maududi, Al-Hilali & Muhsin Khan) and have spent much more time reading Islamic texts rather than learning rituals, which I think most westerners learn instead of the important things. Of course there are Muslims who do not believe in violence (that Jihad is an inner battle is a half-truth), and I tend to view these people as the liberal (western) wing of Islam who are acting as untrained Mujtahid and choosing themselves what to accept and discard. This (nearly) non-violent Islamic liberalism I believe is inconsistent with traditional Islam and countless recorded acts of Muhammad, and 1400 years of Islamic teachings from theologians.