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Why I embraced Islam
4:27pm Friday 25th January 2013 in North of England news
A woman who converted to Islam is to be the subject of a TV documentary about the religion.
Vicky Inaya Westerman, aged 28, was brought up as a Christian in Helmshore, but started reading the Quran as she battled depression.
The BT customer services worker is one of six women featured in 'Make Me A Muslim', due to be screened on BBC Three next Wednesday.
Miss Westerman was followed by camera crews for two days as the programme explored the growing number of British women embracing Islam.
The former Haslingden High School student, who was not a regular church-goer, became a Muslim in 2008.
She said: “At school I had lots of Muslim friends and when I went to their houses I always got a sense of peace and nothing fazed me.
“Their parents didn’t know me and I thought: ‘Why are they treating me so nicely and being so welcoming?’.
“I went and researched the religion on my own, but never really thought any more of it.
“I was just like any other teenager, going out and getting drunk.”
Miss Westerman said family problems in her late teens led to stress and, after unsuccessful counselling sessions, she turned to religion.
She said: “I was in a real state of depression.
“The Quran saved me during all that trouble.
“A female friend from school had also converted and she explained the benefits she had found, and I just agreed with everything.
“I’ve been learning Arabic now for three years, although I can’t attend the mosques in Hasling-den because they are male-only.
“I’m such a positive person now and my fam-ily has been really supp-ortive.
“My mum has changed the way she cooks and they’re really open to it.
“Some of my friends reacted differently bec-ause Islam is portrayed in a negative way somet-imes by the media, but my true friends are brill-iant.
“Sometimes we have to compromise on things, but they never pressure me.
“It was very exciting to be part of this programme, but a bit nerve-racking too as I’d never done anything like this before.”
The programme will be shown at 9pm on Wednesday.
By Chris Adams
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