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From Neo-nazi To Muslim

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From Neo-Nazi to Muslim[using large font size is not allowed]

By Abdul Aziz ibn Myatt

 

Bismillah Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem

 

“And remember Allah’s blessing upon you when you were enemies, and He brought your hearts together, so that by His blessing you became brothers.”

Quran 3:103 Interpretation of Meaning

 

Islam – submission to the will of Allah. I converted to Islam because there came a time when both my mind and my heart accepted that there was no god but Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala and that Muhammad (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was His Messenger. All that I had believed and upheld before this conversion is at worst wrong, and at best irrelevant. My duty now, the purpose of my life, is to submit to the will of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala – to live, InshaAllah, as a Muslim in the way that Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala has decreed, through His Prophet and Messenger, Muhammad (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). One of the many wonderful things which occurred on the day I converted was when the Imaam of the Masjid explained that by accepting Islam I had begun a new life – Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala had forgiven me my past, and it was as if I started my life again with my Book of Life, the record of my deeds, empty.

 

“It is not for the believer – man or woman – when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter, that they should have any option in their decision. For whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has indeed strayed into plain error.” 33:36 Interpretation of Meaning

 

Thus did I acquire a new life, a new identity – for I am a Muslim, and all Muslims are my brothers, wherever they happen to live, and whatever race they are said to belong to. How was it that I, a Westerner with a history of over twenty-five years of political involvement in extreme “right-wing” organizations – a former leader of the political wing of the neo-Nazi group Combat 18 – came to be standing one Sunday outside a Masjid with a sincere desire to go inside and convert to Islam? The simple answer is that it was the guidance of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala – He guided me there. As for my political past, it belongs to the past. All I can and should do, as a Muslim, is to trust in Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, The Most Merciful, He Who Often Forgives.

 

In terms of the ‘Western’ explanation that most Westerners will seek in order to try and understand my conversion, I suppose my journey toward Islam began when I first went to Egypt – over ten years before my reversion to Islam – and, as a tourist, visited a Masjid. The Adhan – the call to prayer – had begun and I was struck by its beauty. It is fair to say my heart responded to it in a way that, at the time, I did not understand. Then, I knew little about Islam, and at that time I did not investigate it further, returning to my life in England, and my political activities. Yet something of that moment of beauty stayed with me, in the months after my visit – as did the image of the Sun rising in Cairo over the minaret, the dome, of a Masjid as I cycled along the dusty road from the airport toward the city, heading for the desert.

 

Less than a year later, I returned to Cairo with my wife. We spent two weeks travelling, visiting the usual tourist sites – but it was “Islamic” Cairo that we both enjoyed the most, and we spent several days wandering around there, she suitably and modestly attired (in a garment she had made herself) and I with my Tweed cap, long baggy trousers and rather bushy red beard. Everywhere we were greeted with friendliness, and I was in some ways sad to leave, although I did not know then why I felt sad. I did not at that time make any connection between the way I felt, and Islam, even though I once had spent an hour or so outside a Masjid waiting to hear the Adhan again and even though, while browsing in a bookshop in Cairo, I had bought a copy of an English interpretation of the Quran. I just felt, vaguely, that I wanted to know more about the people and what I considered was their culture. My wife (who did not share my political views) and I even took to eating, while there, with only our right hands so as not to give offence, for, like her, I considered that manners were important, and – unlike her – part of being English, as if the English had some kind of monopoly on manners.

 

The next year, we returned to Egypt again, as we returned the year after that, although two months after our last visit my wife fell ill, to die six weeks later of cancer. Yet each time we returned to Egypt we both learnt a little more about the people, and what I still regarded as their culture, and each time, after our visits, we returned to our English way of life: she to her rather quiet, unassuming, life and I to my political activities and my pride in being English. In those days, I believed that it was our nation, our national culture, which defined us and which therefore was of supreme importance, and I felt I had a duty to fight to preserve this culture, and the identity I assumed went with it. Thus, I was staunchly – and in the previous decade, violently – opposed to non-White immigration into Britain and had twice been jailed for violence in pursuit of my political aims. In addition, I regarded Western culture, and what I called Western civilization, as superior to any other, and was very proud to be English. Had we not built the greatest Empire, the most civilized Empire, the world had ever seen? For over two decades I had been active in various nationalist political organizations, and various para-military groups, as I had written several articles, and essays, about nationalism and National-Socialism. Indeed, it is true to say that I was a National-Socialist – a nazi; someone who admired Adolf Hitler and who sincerely believed that he had created a good, and honourable, society for the German people, and that a campaign of lies, disinformation and propaganda had been directed at him, and at National-Socialist Germany. I really did regard him as a good man, an honourable man, just as I strived, in my own way, to be honourable – to do my duty to my people, my nation, believing that sometimes hard choices, hard decisions, have to made and that violence was justified, and indeed necessary, to achieve my political aims, for how else could our nation, our race, be saved?

 

 

 

Not long after the death of my wife, I went back to Egypt – to wander into the desert, and to find a kind of peace there. Back in Cairo, an Egyptian I had met invited me into his home and I spent a very happy evening there. We talked, briefly, about Islam, but I was too enwrapped in my own life, my own personal concerns, to discus the matter further. But the people, the sights, the sounds, the smells of Egypt – the sound of the Adhan – lingered in my memory, month after month, following my return to England.

 

It was around that time that the violent National-Socialist group Combat 18 came to public attention, and I enthusiastically helped them for over three years – often by writing racist articles; often by giving speeches and attending various events. And yet I could never quite forget the sound of the Adhan, the feeling of being alone in the desert and what I can only describe as the wonder of Islam. It was as if I had caught a glimpse of something strange, and beautiful: a fleeting memory of another world; a memory of something sublime, sacred, which made my own life, and especially my own political aims and views, seem small, insignificant, and maybe even unethical.

 

Years ago I had experienced – or believed I had experienced – something of the divine, the sacred. This was when – following my release from my second term of imprisonment for violence – I went on a retreat in a Nazarene monastery, following many months of thinking about politics, religion, and life in general. I eventually stayed two years at the monastery, becoming a monk – more drifting into it, than out of conviction. Toward the end of my time as a monk I began to believe that I was shirking what I still regarded as my duty to create a better world, by means of politics. Thus I left, to travel and wander for a while, before returning to nationalist politics, to my pride in being English.

 

 

It was during my time with Combat 18 that I decided to return to Egypt. It was an Egypt-Air flight, and I spent well over an hour listening to the Quran, which I found was being broadcast on one of the channels of the “in-flight” entertainment system. Immediately, in Cairo, I felt at home, at ease, and I really did sense, then, that I belonged in such a place with minarets and the Adhan around me. I have always loathed cities and large towns – but Cairo was somehow different. I liked it (and still do) – despite the overcrowding, the noise, the traffic, and it was during this visit that I began to appreciate the difference between Arab nationalism, and Islam, for I talked to several Egyptians, and several Muslims, about their land, about Islam, about life in general.

 

 

I returned to England to find bad-manners, arrogance, materialism, decadence, and for the first time in my life I did not really feel comfortable among my own people. But gradually, over the coming months, the feeling faded, and I continued with my political work – believing I could and should make a difference; that the answers of nationalism and National-Socialism were right. For I was still in thrall to my own ego, my own Western way of life.

 

Reversion to Islam:[using large font size is not allowed]

 

My conversion/reversion really begin when I started a new job, working long hours on a farm, often by myself. This followed my arrest by a special Police team from Scotland Yard who were investigating me for incitement to racial hatred, and conspiracy and incitement to murder. Prior to my arrest, the founder and first leader of Combat 18, and one of his close friends, had been arrested for murder, and both of them would be convicted of murder and sentenced to many years in Prison.

 

I was released, while the Police tried to find sufficient evidence to convict me in British Court of Law. In the end, they would spend over three years trying to gather this evidence, and their investigation involved the Police forces, and the intelligence services, of Canada, France, and the United States. I was arrogantly determined to continue my political work and that of Combat 18, but I was losing my enthusiasm – not because of my arrest, or my pending trial, or anything similar, but rather because I had glimpsed that other world again: the world of the divine, of God. The world that I felt on hearing the Adhan; that I felt on hearing the Quran on my flight to Egypt; the world I felt when alone in the desert, knowing how close I was to death, how slender was my own thread of life. It was as if in the desert, on hearing the Adhan, on hearing the Quran, on talking with a well-mannered Muslim, I felt the reality of God.

 

“Allah (alone) has power over, and is the (sole) master of, all things. The creations in Heaven and Earth, the very change of Night to Day, are Signs for those gifted with intelligence, those who whether sitting, standing or reclining on their sides, give praise to Allah and who frequently recall these creations in Heaven and Earth, (saying): ‘You who are our Rabb – You created all these things for a purpose; the achievement is Yours alone.’ “ 3:189-191 Interpretation of Meaning

 

“This present life is only like water which We send down from the clouds so that the luxuriant herbage sustaining man and beast may grow; until when the Earth puts on its lovely garment and becomes adorned, and its people believe that they are its masters – down then comes Our scourge upon it by night or in broad day, laying it waste as though it had not blossomed yesterday. Thus We make plain our Signs to thoughtful men.” 10: 24-25 Interpretation of meaning

 

The close contact with Nature I encountered on the farm, the toil of manual labour, really did restore my soul, my humanity, and I became slowly aware, over a period of many months, of the Oneness of the Cosmos and of how I was but part of this wonderful Order which I felt God had created. In my heart and in my mind I was began to feel that this Order had not arisen by chance – it was created, as I myself was created for a purpose. I felt the truth of the one and only Creator in my heart and in my mind. For the first time in my life, I felt truly humble. Then, as if by chance (but I assume it was the guidance of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) I took from my bookcase one of the copies of the Quran I had bought after one of my visits to Egypt. I began to read it properly – before, I had merely “dipped into it”, reading a few verses, here and there. What I found was logic, reason, truth, revelation, justice, humanity and beauty. Then, with a desire to find out more about Islam, I “surfed the Internet” for Islamic sites. I found one with audio files of Adhan and Salat and Suras from the Quran. Again, my heart responded. There was no need for words.

 

In the next few days I found more web-sites as I read all I could about Islamic beliefs, travelling to Oxford, and London, to find books about Islam. Stripped of my prejudices, my arrogance, my belief in Western superiority, here was everything that I myself felt, and always had felt in my heart to be true: dignity, honour, trust, justice, community, truth, an awareness of God on a daily basis, the need to be self-disciplined, the spiritual way before materialism, and the recognition of how we, as individuals, are subservient to God. I marvelled at the life of Muhammad (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and at the spread of Islam – at how those early Muslims, once “rough and ready” nomads, had through only the words, deeds and revelations of the Prophet, created perhaps the most civilized civilization there has ever been. I became enthralled reading about the life of the Prophet Muhammad (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), for there was something remarkable here: he seemed to represent everything I felt in my heart and my mind to be noble and civilized. In fact, he seemed to me to be the perfect human being: the perfect example to follow.

 

The more I discovered about Islam, the more it answered all the doubts, all the questions, of my past thirty years. It really did feel as if I had “come home” – as if I had at last found myself, as if I could see things clearly for perhaps the first time. Now, I would sit for hours listening to recordings of the Adhan and the Quran in Arabic. Truly, here – I felt – in Islam was the numinous, the sacred; the way for us to become, to behave like, civilized human beings.

 

Thus, my own conversion became not a question, but a duty. For I had found and accepted the truth that there was no god but Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala and that Muhammad (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was His Messenger.

 

So it was that I came, on Sunday morning, to be standing outside a Masjid with the sincere intention of converting to Islam. For nearly half an hour I hesitated – for these were the people who, twenty five or more years ago, I had been fighting, on the streets. These were the people I had swore at and had used violence against – indeed, one of my terms of imprisonment was a result of me leading a gang of skinheads in a fight against “Pakis”. These were the people I had spent thirty years trying to get out of Britain. How would they react to the former leader of the neo-nazi NSM walking into “their” Mosque?

 

At first when I, very nervously, entered there seemed to be no one around. Out of respect, I removed my shoes and knocked on an inner door. The Imaam opened it – but he could not speak English, and I tried to say something in Arabic but the only thing that made sense was Shahadah. Soon, someone was fetched, who translated, and the Imaam embraced me. They were so pleased and so friendly – so brotherly – that it brings tears to my eyes now as I remember it, and I thank Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala that I found the true Way in the end.

 

Nationalism, Race and Islam:[using large font size is not allowed]

 

Prior to my reversion to Islam, I had a great pride in what I regarded as my own culture, my own people, my English ancestry, and my own nation. Indeed, it is true to say that I regarded what I termed the “Aryan” peoples of the world – and the civilizations I believed they had created – as superior. Furthermore, I believed that “race” and “nation” were important, and worth fighting for and – if necessary – dying for. I also defined myself through such things – considering myself an Englishman with a great heritage.

 

Now, I know I am a Muslim – that is, I look to Islam, to Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala and His Prophet and Messenger, Muhammad (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) to provide me with all the answers, the identity, I need. I define myself in terms of submission, in terms of obedience to Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala and His Prophet and Messenger, Muhammad (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) – for my Shahadah was and is a life-long oath of obedience and loyalty to Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala and His Prophet and Messenger, Muhammad (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). Thus, I am duty-bound, honour-bound, to obey them. I have no choice – I do not want a choice, for as Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala says:

 

“It is not for the believer – man or woman – when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter, that they should have any option in their decision. For whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has indeed strayed into plain error.” 33:36 Interpretation of Meaning

 

Thus, I now know and understand that, for a Muslim, such things as “race” and “nation” and one’s ancestral culture, are not important. Indeed, they are ‘Asabiyyah. As I wrote in my essay Nationalism, Race, Culture and Islam:

 

“Asabiyyah is a loyalty to, or a feeling of kinship with and a belonging to, some group, or grouping, distinguished as that grouping is by some criteria established by some person, or idea, or non-Islamic way. ‘Asabiyyah is a dividing or division of people according to limits, or boundaries, or standards which are not Islamic. Why are they not Islamic? Because these limits, boundaries or standards do not derive from Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala but instead belong to Jahilliyah, the Ages of Ignorance. In addition, ‘asabiyyah demands or implies two things: first, obedience and loyalty to other than Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala and such loyalty obedience is at best ignorance, and at worst a setting up of some idea, or ideal, or way, or loyalty, or group to compete with Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala; second, ‘asabiyyah demands or implies judging others and ourselves by other than what Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala has revealed.”

 

It is Islam which is my culture and which is sufficient for me; it is Adhab Al-Islam which shows me how to behave, in private and in public – not the traditions of my ancestors; not the so-called culture of the West. Now, all Muslims are my brothers and sisters, regardless of the colour of their skin, regardless of where they were born or who their parents were. For me, this is one of the great beauties of Islam – a source of our strength and our unity. As I wrote in another essay:

 

“Since reverting to Deen Al-Islam, Alhamdulillah, I accept that all Muslims, whatever “race” they may be deemed to be, are my brothers and sisters and that the only distinction we Muslims should make is between Muslims and the kuffar.

 

Our aim is to obey and submit to only Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala – racial separation is a Taghut which many of the kuffar, in their ignorance, see as a worthy cause, a worthy goal, just as many of these kuffar judge people according to their alleged or presumed “ethnic origin” and give their loyalty and allegiance and obedience to a cause, or some organization, or some person, who seeks to separate and judge people according to their alleged or presumed “ethnic origin”.

 

The criteria we use to judge someone – the criteria we should use, for example, to find a good wife or husband, the criteria for friendship – is the criteria of Taqwa, of obedience to Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, of being Muslim. The assumed or presumed “ethnic origin” of the person is irrelevant, as is the culture of their ancestors, as is the place of their birth.

 

To make things perfectly clear – I reject nationalism, racism, racial separation and the ideas and concepts which underlie them and the behaviour and attitudes which accompanies a belief in them, regarding these things as incompatible with Deen Al-Islam.” (Questions For Abdul-Aziz ibn Myatt)

 

Narrated By Abu Hurayrah: The Prophet (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Allah, Tabarak wa’tala, has removed from you the pride of Jahilliyah and its boasting about ancestors. A person can be either an honourable believer or an ignoble sinner. You are sons of Adam, and Adam came from dust. Let the people cease to boast about their kin and kin-folk.” Abu Dawud, Book 36, 5097

 

“Those who have experienced the beauty that is Al-Eeman are those who are content with Allah as their Rabb, with Al-Islam as their Way of Life, and with Muhammad (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) as their Messenger and Prophet.” Narrated Al-’Abbaas bin ‘Abd Al-Muttalib (Shahih Muslim)

 

Abdul-Aziz ibn Myatt

(David Myatt)

5 Rabi Awal 1427

(Revised 2 Shaban 1428)

 

(This is a much revised and enlarged version of an article I wrote on 20 Jumad Awal 1419 entitled My Conversion to Islam)

 

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