From Neo-Confederate to Muslim Convert, Vincent’s Reversion to Islam is a journey of many facets.
As salaam alaiykum,
My name is Vincent Skipper; I have lived in many places, mostly in the southern U.S. From the age of 12 to the age of seventeen I lived in a small town north of Memphis, TN called Munford. While in Munford I made a very particular friend who was very big into Confederacy ideology and I attended a church called Munford First United Methodist. While attending church, my interest in religion began to increase and I studied the Bible fervently. My goal, at that time, was to go into seminary. I attended two church camps and a special seminar for youth looking to go into the ministry. It was around this time that the twin towers were hit and I became acquainted with a new religion, Islam.
I didn’t spend much time investigating things on my own and what knowledge I did have was given through news cast like Fox News and CNN. Life went on and around 2004 I began to become more interested in the Confederacy, it started as an article on the Confederate flag. I began wearing Dixie Outfitter shirts and I would regularly read up on things involving the former Confederacy. Eventually it evolved to the point that I was regularly following the articles of the League of the South. Several times I tried to start neo-confederate cliques of my own but it never went far. We would gather members but lack of financial funding and real desire on the part of members caused it to eventually fall off. By this point I was extremely anti-Islam.
After years of jumping from job to job I decided that something needed to change so I enrolled in Crichton College, a Christian college I had wanted to go to since I was a teenager. However the 2009 economic collapse forced the school to convert from a traditional to a fast track program so I transferred to another college. My destination was Belhaven University, yet another Christian college. During this time I had become an avid fan of Fox News and the Glenn Beck program. I found myself agreeing with a lot of what was being said and was becoming more anti-Islam as time progressed. I eventually moved on to Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, AL as I had aspirations to work I the ministry and JSU was my grandmother’s alma mater. It was while attending J.S.U. that my life took a turn I never would have expected.
I attended religious services regularly and even went to the Baptist Campus ministry once a week. I went back to reading my Bible more, prayed frequently and had even begun a Facebook page for Christians. The Facebook page was very crusader minded, I wanted to emphasize the last days and show my fellow Christians that a final war was coming. As time progressed I began to believe that the battle would be against Islam and its adherents. I saw Islam as an invasion in the Confederacy and the south as the last region of the U.S. willing to stand for the Bible. Around December of 2011 I decided I was going to prove once and for all that groups like the Taliban and Al Qaeda were not radicals, but were in fact devoted followers of an extreme religion. I figured that going to established anti-Islamic websites would do nothing; I decided that I needed to use Islamic sources.
I began by searching for a copy of the Qur’an and in that search I ran across a YouTube video entitled Most Beautiful Azan Ever Heard. I was completely unfamiliar with the azan and did indeed find it beautiful, but I was still determined to prove Islam wrong. While there, though, I posted a comment that I was trying to find a Qur’an. The response was almost immediate. I got several web addresses sent to me through private message. Among those web addresses was Why Islam and Islamreligion.com. But, someone also linked me to a YouTube video of Yusuf Estes and his sermon on “A Preacher Becomes Muslim.”
I remember clearly that it was a Wednesday night, but I found the belief system so intriguing that I stayed up all night researching online. For every fact the Islamic sites mentioned I double checked and with each time I found it to be accurate. I was weeping before morning came around because I realized this was the true religion of God. Not only did it match what I naturally believed, but it helped the Bible to make more sense. When morning came around I was mentally exhausted, yet I was determined to find their church and talk to someone. I eventually did find it thanks to a brother at a gas station and it was on that day I took my shahada and completed my reversion to Islam.
I found as time went on there were still lingering issues in my mind, reversion was the beginning of a new journey for knowledge. I struggled for a couple of years because of my background and the amount of time I had spent entrenched in studying Christian scripture. However, for every time I found an issue I always found the answer in Islam and an explanation that not only explained my inquiry but was also logical. Now there is no question that could shake me from my walk in Islam. I no longer drink alcohol or eat pork. I pray five times a day (minimum). I believe thoroughly that it was my quest to know absolute truth that ultimately led me to Islam and I see now how blind I really was. I may falter but I will keep trying for I have found that Islam proves itself through the Qur’an. For those who wonder about how to deal with the naysayers I say tell them to do as I did and test the Qur’an.