Abdullah Mohammed was not born into a Muslim family. In fact his childhood in Trinidad was very strongly Christian.
His faith was so strong that his catholic church chose him as the right person to investigate Islam and report back on his findings and what the Catholic response ought to be.
Once he started to look into Islam, Abdullah found himself more and more convinced that it's beliefs and practices answered his own questions and needs, more so than the Faith he'd been brought up in.
He studied, travelled to The States, Egypt, the Middle East, to walk he said, in the footsteps of The Prophet.
Family connections eventually brought him to Derby. he's keen to make sure that the local Muslim community communicate clearly amongst themselves and with non-Muslims. Otherwise, he argues, extreme opinions get into the press and misrepresent the majority.
"If, before I became a Muslim, someone had said to me: "It is OK. Islam says that you can go on a bus, on a plane, and blow people up" - men, women and children who you have never met before, who may if they know of your grievance, even give you support - if this is Islam, I would not be a Muslim today."
Jamilla was the name Julie was given when she became a convert, or as they say in Islam, a revert, to Islam. She'll tell you that really she still prefers to be Julie and that the name changing isn't compulsory.
|Pilgrims gathered at Mecca for the annual haj|
She describes her search for a faith that would tell her what would happen to after she dies. This was a question she'd brooded on from about the age of eleven.
Her family wasn't at all religious. She auditioned Christianity along with lots of other belief systems, including astrology, as she grew up and went through university.
She studied languages and law as she thought these were the tools that would help her to make a difference to issues such as poverty and third world debt.
It was when she joined an anti-apartheid group that she met Muslim friends who began her introduction to Islam. It offered her everything she'd been looking for. The woman who used to down beer and whiskey in the Irish bars, adopted the scarf, the scriptures and the lifestyle of her newly chosen religion.
Like Abdullah, she thinks communication between people is the key and she will happily explain why... well, why she is happy!