“Through reading the Qur’an I became aware of the presence of God”Name: Ingrid Mattson
Birth: 1963 in Kitchener, Ontario, USA.
Education: Philosophy and fine arts at the University of Waterloo, Ontario (1987); Ph.D. in Islamic studies from the University of Chicago, USA (1999).
Occupation: Director of the Duncan Black Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations and Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations at Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut. She founded the Islamic Chaplaincy program at Hartford Seminary, the first Islamic chaplaincy program in the United States. And, the Chair of the Islamic Studies Program at the Anglican theology department of Huron University College of The University of Western Ontario (2011).
Activities: Canadian Muslim convert professor and activist; Volunteer for Afghan refugees (1987-1988) in Pakistan; An adviser to the Afghan delegation to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (1995); Vice President (2001) and President (2006) of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA); Educating Canadian Muslims to become active participants in Canadian society at large; An advisor to the award-winning, PBS-broadcast documentary Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet (2002), produced by Unity Productions Foundation; and Guest lecturer at such institutions as the US Naval Academy.
Works: The Story of the Qur’an: Its History and Place in Muslim Life (2007),
Awards: Recipient of the Dr. Betty Shabazz Award (2007), Chicago Theological Seminary Awards Honorary Degrees for her commitment to interreligious engagement, understanding and collaboration on a range of justice issues (May 2012).
Spouse: Aamer Atek, an Egyptian engineer, with two children.
Previous faith: Roman Catholic
Reason: “Islam bringing me back to believe in God. I grew up in a Christian family in Kitchener, Ontario. My father was a criminal lawyer and my mother stayed at home to raise seven children. But I stopped attending church at age 16 when I realised that I just didn’t believe what I was being taught. I left religion entirely and studied philosophy at the university, embracing existentialism… In a way, that philosophy (which emphasis of the individual to make choices in a meaningless world) was good preparation for being a Muslim. What you choose defines what you are, and while people may be limited in the choices they have in life, there is always the opportunity to choose good. So the emphasis in Islam on human responsibility (for choosing right over wrong) made a lot o sense to me – it didn’t absolve people from responsibility for their actions or give them an easy way out. But when they embrace that responsibility, it gives them a sense of peace… Most important, though, it was through reading the Qur’an that I became aware of the presence of God and was convinced of it – that it was what touched my heart.”
Wikipedia; whyislam.com; http://www.irfi.org; Newsweek; womeninislam.org; ctschicago.edu; muslimconverts.com
Islamia/The Brunei Times
Friday, 3 August 2012