Edmonton

Short film details how one Edmontonian converted to Islam

The short film Aaron’s Faith in Islam describes why Aaron Wannamaker converted to Islam and how he tackles common misconceptions about what it means to be part of the Muslim community in Edmonton. 

New film produced by Amal Mohamud for CBC’s Creator Network

Aaron Wannamaker became Muslim in 2007. This is a photo of Wannamaker at a booth for the Muslim Students Organization at Grant MacEwan in 2011. (Submitted by Aaron Wannamaker )

Before 2007, Aaron Wannamaker knew little about Islam.

It wasn't until his girlfriend had a boss who was Muslim that he became familiar with the faith and it struck a chord. 

One day, his girlfriend brought home from work a small introductory book on Islam. Curious to learn, Wannamaker read the text and within three months, he converted to the religion as the faith made sense to him. 

"I kind of dove off the deep end," he said. 

"I hadn't even finished reading the Qur'an at this point. I hadn't stepped foot inside a mosque."

The short film Aaron's Faith in Islam describes why Wannamaker converted to Islam and how he tackles common misconceptions about what it means to be part of the Muslim community in Edmonton. 

The film was produced by Amal Mohamud for CBC's Creator Network, an initiative which collaborates with diverse producers to amplify Canadian stories. 

While Wannamaker said he did not have an overly religious upbringing, he did believe in one God and Jesus, which is central to the Islam faith. 

"I was very surprised to learn that a lot of what Muslims believe, I already believed in," he said. 

While his family was shocked at his sudden conversion, Wannamaker said his parents were very supportive. His dad would even drive from Leduc to Edmonton to pick up halal food.

While Islam is the world's second-largest religion, there are many misconceptions about the faith, said Wannamaker. 

"As I learned more about Islam, the more I learned how global it is," he said on CBC Edmonton's Radio Active. 

While his family was at first shocked at his decision to become Muslim, Aaron Wannamaker said his parents were very supportive of the decision. (Submitted by Aaron Wannamaker )

Although many Canadians think the religion is most prevalent in the Middle East, said Wannamaker, the country with the most Muslims is Indonesia. 

When converting to Islam, Wannamaker said many people believe it involves changing a person's identity and culture, but he argues that isn't the case. 

"Islam is meant to be practical and practiced no matter where you live and what time you live," he said. 

Wannamaker said he feels united with fellow Muslims through his faith.

"It helped me understand that everyone has a unique story."

With files from Emily Senger

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