I wish I could somehow convey the beauty of Islam to people in the west. In a time of so much fear, I think back to what changed my feelings of fear about Islam into feelings of love. And I know what it was. It wasn’t falling in love with Abde, it honestly wasn’t, I was able to love Abde and have distrust of Islam at the same time, and for a while, I did. It was going to Turkey, actually. When I went to Turkey and heard the call to prayers from the mosque, and saw how happy Abde was to be in a place with halal food everywhere, like he was a little kid again, and how comfortable and happy he was there, that made me love Islam. It was in Turkey that I started to see long flowy skirts as beautiful and feminine instead of frumpy at best or oppressive at worst. It was climbing through the mountains of Turkey, stopping by a little hut where a village man made us bread and Abde talked about his qur’anic school in the mountains of Algeria, that I felt a peace I have literally never experienced before, like all of the white noise had been erased from my mind and I could be happy. I’m sure it was, in some way, still linked to loving Abde. Because I enjoyed seeing for the first time how living in a place where Abde was really free to be a Muslim completely and beautifully released his full potential, but it was also the beautiful and calm feeling it gave to me personally. That wasn’t when I became a Muslim, but it’s when I started to see Islam as a source of love instead of a source of fear.