Islam in American Armed Forces - American Soldiers who Converted to Islam
Richard Cramdon, 47, was raised in a Catholic family in New Jersey. He was involved in the church, but he had questions.
He enrolled in a three-year Bible study class. That didn't appease him either.
"If God is supposed to be omnipotent, why would he create a human being as a son?
"If we can go all of our lives and sin and then say, 'I accept Jesus,' and I'm saved? I can't buy that.
"If you live a bad life and you get the same thing as someone who lived all their life to do the right thing, why do you both get the same reward?"
Cramdon, who works as a vendor for Home Depot, had questions but no answers.
About six years ago Cramdon, of Grandview, would stop by to see a friend of his and sometimes pick up the friend's Qur'an.
Eventually he asked his friend if he could borrow the book. He did and he liked it, so he attended Friday night service at the mosque with his friend.
�What really did it for me was when I heard the call to prayer. I heard this beautiful, melodic voice that could only come from somebody who believed in God.�
Cramdon thought God was saying he was in the right place.
�I said, �I think I want to become Muslim.��
But he had concerns. �I thought, �Am I going to be profiled as a terrorist? What is my family going to think?� Then I had the whole Jesus issue.�
His whole life he was taught to believe Jesus was the Son of God. But he came to terms with Jesus as a prophet. His family is still a little iffy about his conversion, but they�re getting better.
Then there was giving up pork and alcohol. Declining pork ribs has been harder for Cramdon than giving up his once-preferred drink, English ale.
But when he prayed five times a day, he felt like God was listening and his prayers were answered.
To officially become a Muslim, Cramdon declared his faith in a low-key ceremony and took a private, ritual bath.
�I felt that everything in my past that had been a weight in me had been taken away.�
He could more easily accept the answers he found in Islam to the questions he had. For every good deed a Muslim does in life, that deed is counted three or 10 times by God. Every bad deed counts only once.
�You get more credit for your good,� Cramdon said. �That fits better.�
The issue that remains is finding a wife. He wants to marry a Muslim woman, but is having difficulty finding a good match.