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tv   This Is Life With Lisa Ling  CNN  October 29, 2017 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT

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♪ ♪ ♪ >> something radical is happening inside u.s. prisons. >> ala hu akbar. >> how many of you all converted to islam inside prison? >> what was it about islam that resonated with these men? >> they're allowed to be men. >> islam transforms heart, it changes the person totally.
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>> but this isn't just about the lives islam touches in prison. >> we are leaders, we are a community. islam has been in this country for more than a century. >> it's about a community in america that has practiced the faith for generations. >> we are not a new face to islam. >> but here, islam is still deeply misunderstood. >> i do not feel oppressed. [ chanting ]. >> we love our brothers. we do. >> reporter: so yes, something radical is going on. but it's not what you think. ♪ ♪
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♪ >> reporter: islam isn't new to america. it's thought that close to 20% of slaves brought here in chains were muslim. but over time, many were forced to convert to christianity. it wasn't until the 20th century that black americans began to rediscover the faith in what became an historic and controversial movement called the nation of islam. >> ala hu akbar. >> i'm visiting the largest african american mosque in memphis. >> what a cool little museum this is. >> thank you, thank you. >> reporter: where community leader kalima whose father was part of the nation of islam is,
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filling me in on some history. >> the nation of islam was a strategic plan to address the spiritual degradation of the african american soul and spirit after slavery in america. >> reporter: for over fourtd years, the nation of islam was led by anoughauto worker in det. >> the white man, we say, is the devil. >> reporter: he preached that blacks were the original superior race and that white people were devils created to oppress them. >> i said the earth belongs to the black man. >> reporter: it was a message that caught the attention of disenfranchised african americans across the country. >> you're telling me that i can get a share of this earth, just as anyone else? this is not something that is heard amongst the african american community. we saw images of white jesus. we saw images of white men being superior, and then you come with this rhetoric, the black man is
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the original, and it's transforming. >> reporter: when elijah homed died in 1975, his son redirected the movement. instead of black supremacy, he embraced the more inclusive ideas of mainstream islam, and hundreds of thousands of followed him. >> we thank all mighty good for allowing us to be here amongst one another again and to give praise and glorification unto him. >> reporter: 47-year-old ma hajj is an image, a religious leader who presides over worship. >> don't fall into the negative ideas. be industrial. be a productive and enlightened part of this society. >> reporter: he prides himself on his role in the community and his place as a black muslim in american history. >> we are not a new face to islam. we are the indigenous muslims of north america.
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>> reporter: islam first came to america in the belize of slave ships. but the story of black muslims goes all the way back to the prophet muhammad. one of his most trusted companions was bilal, a black slave chosen by the frprophet t be the first man to ever call prayer. >> from that humble man, we had the first call to prayer. and we had to from someone who was oppressed, like i was oppressed, like my ancestors were oppressed. to know that the first voice that said, god is greater, god is greater, ala hu akbar, ala hu akbar -- >> what does that mean to you? >> when that call was given to me, it was a part of my existence. i'm a descendant of bilal. >> reporter: he's been a muslim for 28 years, but his journey to islam started at a young paage.
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>> i was born marvin witherspoon. my mother named bee after marvin gay. >> how would you describe your upbringing. >> my mom had me at a very early age and she was in an abusive relationship. she made me learn to be responsible at a very early age because of -- because of everything that she was going through. >> reporter: ma hajj tells me during the tough times, he was abused by a man from his childhood. >> he raped me and he consumed this. that's really when a lot of things changed. i went from really kinda tender, peaceful type of guy, to, i had to seek a way. >> reporter: did you become a violent person after that happened? >> yeah. between that and watching my
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mother hurt, i was fighting at a young age and i was fighting the hurt in man. you could not -- my mother and my sisters, no, you do whatever you wanted to, to me. i was going to take it. you wasn't doing it to them. not them, not them, not them. >> reporter: ma hajj said he knew his anger would destroy him. but at 15, when he got a school assignment, he saw a way out. >> it was black history month and we had to find a person in black history that was not dr. king, that was not rosa parks, and i checked out the autobiography of malcolm x from my high school. >> malcolm x also had a rough childhood and spent his teen years in and out of foster homes. he landed in prison at the age of 20, and while incarcerated,
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he found allah and transformed his life, becoming a civil rights leader, whose words inspired millions. >> any time you beg another man to set you free, you will never be free. freedom is something that you have to do for yourself. >> i could relate to malcolm on so many levels. and when malcolm transformed and became this person and had this peace, i need to go find that. >> reporter: malcolm x and islam guided ma hajj from the streets of memphis to the navy. at 19, he enlisted and officially became muslim, changing his name from marvin to ma hajj. >> it wasn't until i came to islam and started to seek that peace and had to forgive. i had to forgive my attacker. i had to release that demon that took a part of my existence for so long. >> reporter: with his strong faith, ma hajj was able to put
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the past behind him and build a life for himself. he now uses this experience to guide himself in everything, including his job. >> how y'all doing? good, good, good. today, we got a couple of areas of focus. >> reporter: ma hajj is not only a leader in his mosque, he's also a cop. the first muslim to be promoted to sergeant in the state of tennessee. five days a week he oversees the memphis police department's gang unit. >> we're going to go to the area of looney and dunlop because they've had a lot of problems. >> reporter: i've been invited to ride along with his team as they patrol some of the toughest neighborhoods in memphis. >> if we catch our favorite people and they're doing something they have no business doing, everybody good? okay, we gonna get out of here with a prayer. all knowing, all seeing, all merciful god, thank you for another day in the life that
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you've given us. we ask that you continue to guide, protect, strengthen us. dear lord, return us all safely. amen. >> reporter: it's a moment that catches me by surprise. these men have just bowed their heads to a prayer led by the only muslim in the unit. do you always do a prayer? >> yes, ma'am. every roll call since i've been on the job has prayed. >> all the guys are cool with a muslim leading the prayer? >> yeah, these are gmy guys, gonna eat together, pray together, fight crime together. i don't care if you're muslim, jewish, catholic, presbyterian, profit assista protestant. god is god. we praying to the same god. >> i've never been in a police station where -- >> yeah, we praying folk. >> reporter: ma hajj has been with the memphis police for almost 20 years. on patrol, we make our way back to ma hajj's roots, his old
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neighborhood. >> this is the street that i grew up on. this is where you had to fight for everything, your respect, your honor. the first place i got shot at. [ laughter ] >> reporter: wow. if you hadn't gotten out of here, what do you think would have happened? >> i would be dead. leaving here was my saving grace. >> reporter: what's going on? >> they have a foot pursuit. >> reporter: ma hajj's radio picks up some activity. >> okay, i'mma have to go back. >> reporter: yeah, yeah, let's go. we're headed to a neighborhood known for gangs and drugs. it's a little bit rough out of here. >> it's a lota bit rough out here. >> by the time we arrive the entire has been blocked off and seven young black men have been detained for drug position. >> they got appeals down here. >> okay. >> go ahead and do what you do. >> step out, sir. >> when they rushed out, he had the marijuana and money in his
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hand. >> good job, y'all, good job. >> reporter: after the scene is contained, ma hajj checks in with one of the kids in the back of the squad car. >> what did you run for, brother? >> weed. >> because you had a little weed on you? >> yeah. >> okay, brother. when i'm talking to them, i'm saying, what are we doing? this is not how "we" are supposed to respond. a large majority of time, they've been told, you are worthless. no, you are the best of the best. that's who i want to talk to. >> it's decision-making time. is that more important than you walking around? you can't constantly involve yourself in that dope, brother. you gotta make wise and intelligent decisions. you understand what i'm saying? >> i understand because if it was not for islam, that's me. islam was there for the oppressed. and what is the most oppressive and downtrodden state when you have a man there in handcuffs? if i don't reach back then why am i here?
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my job is to be there for you. >> all right, just hold tight, bro. >> reporter: ma hajj found islam as a young man and it set him on the right path. but many others don't find allah until after they've landed behind bars. >> god knows that i needed to search for god because i was doing wrong. i just wanted some help. i know i couldn't do it on my own. ♪ one is the only number ♪ that you'll ever need ♪ ♪ because one is the only number ♪ staying ahead isn't about waiting for a chance. it's about the one bold choice you make that moves you forward. the one and only cadillac escalade. ( ♪ )
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♪ ♪ >> reporter: i'm headed to explore a phenomenon that has been under way for decades. hundreds of thousands of african american men across the country have converted to islam behind
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bars. to understand why incarcerated black men are drawn to this faith, i have to go inside, beyond the checkpoints and locked doors, to the secure world, where so many have found islam. >> how you doing? >> reporter: first, if i could get a show of hands, how many of you all converted to islam inside prison? so almost all of you. why do you think prison is such a prime place for this to happen? >> i believe that we find islam in here because you have nothing but time and books. once you study, the truth's the truth. >> we don't call it a religion. it's a way of life, it's full of discipline, and it's something we all need. >> you know, we have the example of the prophet and i wanted to be a different man. just being a better father, being a better husband. >> reporter: i'm hearing stories of transformation, but these men
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are felons and now they're embracing a faith that some people have come to fear. >> there's a perception that men convert to islam and then become radicalized in prison. how do you respond to that? >> there's nothing in the koran that teaches us to be destructive or cause harm. it's a peaceful way of life. >> we don't hate all non-believers. we don't hate all non-muslims. we love people, we love safety and security, just like everybody else. so our responsibility as muslims, when we get out, we have to show them that islam is not what they generally see in the media. >> reporter: these men want to share this message with the outside world. and one of them is about to get his chance. tomorrow after more than five years, 34-year-old kevin is getting out early for good behavior. >> reporter: hi, kevin. >> how you doing? >> how are you?
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i'm lisa. >> my name's abdul kareem. >> nice to meet pu upon. >> yes, it means the slave of the generous, because allah has been so generous to me. >> how are you feeling about getting out tomorrow? >> i'm anxious. this is the longest time i've been in prison. >> are these all your books? >> yep. >> and where is your koran? >> right here. it's got the arabic in it. >> have you learned any arabic? >> yes, i learned arabic when i was here. [ speaking foreign language ] these are attributes of the king. guide us on the straight path. >> reporter: wow, i'm impressed. you have great pronunciation as well. kareem has not always been this disciplined and anchored. raised by a single mom, he was the oldest child and expected to be the man of the house, a role he struggled with as a teenager.
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>> i feel like i wasn't the man i was supposed to be for my family. as the leader. i always had an anger problem, i liked to fight. so that's how it started, me getting in trouble in school, suspended from school, fighting. i wanted to hang out on the corner and trying to keep up with the crowd, and that's how i started selling drugs. >> reporter: over the next decade, kareem was sent to jail over and over on drug-related charges. on his short stints behind bars, he encountered muslim converts and flirted with islam, but always went back to the violence and money of the streets. ultimately, his anger would be his downfall. in 2011, a local mechanic refused to exchange a tire he'd purchased. and kareem lost control. >> i let my anger get the best of me. and i punched a person. and he fell and hit his head on the concrete and went into a coma. he had a fractured skull and he
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almost died. so it made me look at myself. i came to the conclusion that i got a problem. i got an anger problem. i got a drug problem. so i started back praying. i started back reading the koran. i started making goals for myself. >> reporter: so you started taking a proactive approach? >> right. because i knew if i didn't handle my issues, that i was going to get out with the same mentality they came in with. and that was not an option. >> reporter: kareem began working with iz mail, a prison chaplain to learn about islam and how it could contain his anger. >> everything i read in the morning is always speaking about patience. >> patience is half the faith. things are going to come to you if you believe in allah and you rely on him. >> reporter: over the past 17
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years, ismael has counselled hundreds of men like kareem, many with violent pasts. what was it about islam that resonated with these men? >> a lot of our problems in this african american community is that men feel emasculated by history and a lot of times, people overcompensate for that emasculation through what i call hypermasculinity. and hypermasculinity is violence. but islam showed us this man who was a prophet who was an excellent example for you to live by and he was a man's man, but he was kind. and he was gentle. and he doesn't use violence. you live by principal and you do what you have to do. >> reporter: islam is founded on discipline and faith.
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alcohol, drugs, and sex outside of marriage are forbidden. moral virtues such as truthfulness, kindness, and patience are guiding principles. [ speaking foreign language ] >> reporter: kareem is his fellow muslims have spent years developing those qualities in themselves. once a week they come together in prayer. [ speaking foreign language ] >> the sincerity and the brotherhood that these brothers show is so strong because that's all we have. >> reporter: for kareem, one of the initial draws to the faith was that the prophet muhammad had companions who were the lowest members of society. >> his followers were outcasts. they were like us. [ speaking foreign language ] >> reporter: in just 24 hours, kareem will part from these brothers and be released. structure and discipline have
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been easy to maintain within the strict confines of prison. but the outside world is filled with temptation. many men try to make it and fail. >> when you get out there, the challenges are going to be outrageous. you're going to be tested. >> just going to try to build new relationships with people who are doing the right thing, people whose worki's working an to school. >> i'm betting on him. i'm praying to god he doesn't let himself down. >> reporter: your brother kareem is leaving here tomorrow. does anyone have any words for him? >> hopefully i will meet you again out in the world. forgive me i'm getting emotional a little bit, you know, because we love our brothers. we do. we really do love our brothers. >> i love you too. >> you got me going. [ laughter ] >> it's contagious.
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>> got me. >> reporter: minimums auslims a to cry. it's okay. >> in prison you supposed to have this manly facade, you not supposed to cry, but we do. things get emotional. >> reporter: kareem is clearly going to be missed. >> you know we love you. >> love you so much. >> reporter: tomorrow he leaves behind this brotherhood and takes his fortified faith and knowledge out into the world. >> reporter: so you're going to walk out of this prison tomorrow a different kind of muslim? >> right. a practicing muslim. it's going to be some more struggles to come. but i got the tools now to deal with those struggles. >> reporter: are you nervous? >> no. i'm anxious. but i'm not nervous. i'm ready.
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♪ ♪ today kareem's mother kitty and her daughter are repeating a pickup routine the family has done several times before. >> that must be the tower over there. >> reporter: for more than 20 years, kitty has worked hard to keep her son from ending up in places like this. >> if i can get your i.d.,
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please. >> my mother did everything in her power to get me in the right place. she was just fighting for me, you know. she knew that prison is the next step. and she was just trying to save me from that. you know, and i didn't understand that at the time. >> all right, thank you so much. i'll give you instructions on how to get to the bank here in just a minute. >> thank you. >> thank you, have a good day. >> reporter: out of kitty's four children, kareem is the only one who's been incarcerated and strayed from the family's christian faith. >> what have the last five-plus years been like for you? >> oh, it's been rough, for everybody. >> reporter: jesus has always had a role in your life? >> that's right. >> reporter: what has jesus meant to you? >> my rock. >> reporter: simple as that? >> yeah, it's my rock. >> reporter: your son converted to islam in jail. what did you think when he told you that he -- >> that he was crazy. >> reporter: why? >> because he was born a
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christian. >> reporter: were you ep set? >> i wouldn't say i was upset. i thought it was a phase. >> how you doing? >> ready to go. >> i see, i see. >> reporter: he says this time is different, that is he is a changed man. do you believe this time will be different? >> i don't know. because i don't know what to expect. it's going to be new for all of us. >> nice to see you. >> nice too see you too. i'm lisa. >> hi, miss lisa. i'm mari. >> are you all excited? >> yes, very. >> reporter: after kareem's longest stint behind bars, kitty now waits to greet a son who follows a religion she knows nothing about. i can't help but notice the jesus hat. >> yes, spend a lot of time on my knees. r r he seems emphatic about how he's coming out for allah. if his new faith, if allah is the reason why he -- >> i'm happy for him and allah
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then. >> reporter: has he told you he goes by a different name? >> i don't know anything but kevin. and that's the only thing i will know, kevin. >> reporter: do you think there's going to be a period of getting to know each other again? >> oh, sure, yes. i'm anxious to see the transformation. when i came to visit him, he has this real long beard. i told him he need to cut it down so they don't mistake him for a taliban. >> reporter: think he'll do it? >> i don't know. i hope he does. >> reporter: well, i'm going to let you all have your moment. >> okay. >> reporter: thank you. >> here he comes. >> oh, he does have it trimmed down. >> that's what i'm talking about. >> i know he's ready to walk out a free man. >> i know you so happy. >> hey, kevin! i'm glad you got that beard all shaved up. good to see you, honey. >> you too.
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>> reporter: it's a bittersweet reunion, full of hope that kareem can finally get his life back on track. he's entering the world for the first time as a true muslim. but while kareem has been locked up, many have grown less and less tolerant of his new faith and its followers. >> growing outrage over the shooting deaths of three muslim students -- >> there's been a 67% increase in hate crimes against muslim americans. >> reporter: i'm about to meet a woman who knows just how difficult this current climate can be. >> i've had family that was almost ran off the road. >> they look at us as if we're terrorists and we're bad, and we're not. help from my friends" ]
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some people know how far they want to go. a personalized financial strategy can help you get them there. see how access to j.p. morgan investment expertise can help you. chase. make more of what's yours. tonight the fbi launching an investigation after at least three mosques were vandalized. >> reporter: the latest figures show that anti-muslim hate crimes have risen to the highest levels since the aftermath of 9/11. >> i found her on the floor, drowned in her own blood, with a letter next to her head saying, go back to your country, you terrorist. >> reporter: in a climate that is so intolerant of muslims, hanifa feels uneasy out in the world. unlike kareem and mahaj, she has
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been a muslim since the day she was born. her faith has been a guiding light. but as a black woman following islam, she's especially vulnerable. >> you just never know what's going through someone's mind. they might not be having a good day. and some people are just cruel and mean. it makes me scared, because it could be me. >> reporter: hanifa is a registered nurse in memphis, but she was born and raised muslim in central texas. while things are bad now, she remembers intolerance even at an early age. what was it like to be muslim in texas? >> growing up was a little different. got made fun of with the names. all of junior high, you know, people would tease me. but that just made me to who i am today. >> reporter: back then, hanifa didn't wear a hijab, a traditional muslim headscarf,
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worn to show modesty in the eyes of god and men. but today, she never leaves the house without it. it's a deeply personal choice she made only three years ago. why did you decide to start wearing it more full time? >> i guess to get that deeper understanding and connection. no one said, wear it, i just did it on my own. i just felt i had to do it. [ speaking foreign language ] >> reporter: some people have said when they wear the his majesty a-- wear the hijab, it changes the way people look at you. >> it does. i do not feel oppressed. it makes me feel free. it makes me feel independent and strong. >> reporter: just given this current climate, do you think that your scarf puts any kind of target on you? >> every time you turn on the
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news, it's always something negative. and then everything with the president and he's talking about putting these bans on. so it puts a target on me. it does. >> reporter: when hanifa gets out of work late, she feels exposed. to protect herself, she carries mace. >> i work 12-hour shifts. sometimes i go in at night. you have to walk across the parking lot, walk around the corner, walk around dark places. i just don't know what people are thinking. i've had family that is in dallas that was almost ran off the road. you know, i don't know if it's because they were african american or they had their head wrapped. i've been targeted before just walking into stores. >> reporter: what do you want people to know about this faith that you profess? >> i want them to know that muslims are peaceful, that this
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is a religion of peace. they look at us as if we're terrorists and we're bad, and we're not. we're just praying to god by a different name, and we want peace. even if someone treated me bad, if they called me a derogatory name, the n word, a terrorist, i would still help them. this doesn't make me, my heart makes me. i just want people to know that muslims are not here to hurt people. they love people. >> reporter: but in a hostile world, muslims, especially women, have had to learn how to protect themselves. hanifa is taking steps to do just that. >> picture me face on, show me, eyes eyes! nose nose! knee knee! >> reporter: today at the mosque
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where she attends friday prayers, she's taking her first self-defense class. >> the first weapon we have, you let them know, i see you. what are you doing! stop! i'm telling you, stop. that's what i want to make sure that i'm doing. >> stop! >> that kinda makes me shake a little bit. >> reporter: for hanifa, this is the first time she's ever physically had to defend herself. >> eyes eyes, nose, nose, knees knees! >> it's like she's fighting for her life. you are fighting for your life. >> you had that mean face. i was scared. >> hopefully i won't have to use t but just in case, i know what to do. [ laughter ] >> reporter: your face is amazing. as a black female muslim, hanifa
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faces more discrimination than just about any other demographic. and yet african american women are one of the largest groups in america converting to islam. in today's conflicted world, what would propel a woman to make that choice? >> when i got my call to islam, it was not a hard call to answer. more renewable and clean energy resources because there are limits to the amount of fossil fuels that we can burn. since 1925, we have depended on diesel generators, burning approximately a million gallons of diesel fuel a year. our mission is to make off-shore wind one of the principle new sources of energy. not every bank is willing to get involved in a "first of its kind" project. citi saw the promise of clean energy and they worked really closely with us,
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>> the burgers. >> mahaj and his wife april have been married for almost 20 years. the two are raising 13-year-old akeelah and 11-year-old issa. >> the secret ingredient is what? >> the secret ingredient is love. >> are you getting full? >> i am full. >> you got the biggest hamburgers. >> i did. and i know i didn't eat that much. >> i eat that much.
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>> yeah, yeah. >> reporter: how did you two meet? >> it was july in memphis. and i see this gorgeous creature come out of the store. she has this long flowing skirt on. it was just her presence. >> reporter: according to the koran, strangers of the opposite sex are not supposed too being l -- look at each other directly. >> reporter: aren't you supposed to avert your gaze when you see a beautiful woman, as a muslim? >> you can take one look, then you lower your gaze and restrain from your passion, but you get one look. i introduced myself to her and i said, if you don't mind, after work, i would like to talk to you. she said okay. i said, but i am looking for a wife. i'm muslim. we don't have girlfriends. we have wives. >> reporter: so this man approaches you and tells you that he wants to marry you. >> actually, he said, was for marriage, not just a player. >> what did you think about that?
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because you weren't muslim. >> he was very grounded and he knew what direction he wanted to go in, and he was following that direction. an i was like, okay, let's do this. >> the two started a courtship. four months in, april converted to islam and two months later they were married. you two are celebrating your 20th year of marriage this year. that's a big deal. >> it is. >> it's a huge deal. >> it's a huge deal. she hasn't pushed me down yet. >> to what do you attribute the success of your marriage? >> islam. >> really? >> yes. >> islam. >> what specifically in islam? >> structure is one. >> yeah. that structure of prayer. [ chanting ] you're bringing your family together in prayer and god consciousness.
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>> allahu akbar thank you for what i gained. wait a minute. slow down. slow down. remember me. let's give god his glory. [ chanting ] >> clearly having a shared faith has helped bind this family together. now, back at home, kareem is trying to rebuild his own bonds with his mother, a christian who may never accept his commitment to islam. >> that's when you took me to the christmas party. >> i remember that. >> do you feel disappointed at all? i mean, you say that jesus is your rock. >> yeah. >> yet your son has chosen someone else as his rock. >> well, what parent wants their child to convert to anything other than but what they've been taught? >> you love your mother and you love your family, but without god they don't exist. i can't put mama over god. i won't compromise my beliefs
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for her, but i love her unconditionally. >> did you know he speaks arabic? >> uh-uh. >> yeah, i can speak a little bit of arabic. i'm not fluent. but i can read it. >> have you heard much arabic, kitty? >> no, i have not ever heard any. >> can you say something? [ speaking arabic ] >> he is alive, the one, the absolute. he is the begotten. >> the fear is the unknown. do i want to know? i don't. >> do you worry about his salvation? >> oh, yeah. but all i can say is that i hope that he will figure it out. >> you mean hope he comes back? >> yes. >> right now, that's not likely to happen. in fact, one of kareem's first stops is the mosque. >> i got to go in front of allah
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[ chanting ]
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it's friday afternoon and prayers are just beginning at the local mosque. kareem, fresh out of prison, is attending his very first service on the outside. his former prison chaplain ismael leads services here. >> islam asked you to examine what is in you, to know who you are. look into your own heart. why is your heart filled with hate and anger? >> kareem is now surrounded by a new community, one that follows the very same principles he's worked so hard to learn and live by. >> we need each other. no man can live alone by himself. all of you are brothers to each other. may we pray as though they may be our last prayer.
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allahu akbar. >> allahu akbar. >> i'm going to take the proper steps that i need to take to keep myself out of prison. i can insulate myself around some good brothers instead of insulating myself around the people who i used to deal with who do things that i don't agree with anymore. >> at the end of the service, i witness something quite moving. kareem is approached by brother after brother. some new faces and others old friends. >> i'm inspired, man. i'm just glad to be able to be here, man. >> he even bumps into some men who, like him, have served time. the men immediately welcome
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kareem into the fold. >> when it's fitness, i got a partner. >> that's what i mean. i nd that. >> it seems the new brotherhood is forming fast. >> when you turn youif and heart around, the sky's the limit. the brother is next. it's his time to shine. we're more than confident it's going to be beautiful. brother kareem, and it's no dream. >> islam gives their life meaning and their life meaning is that mission to uplift others. it's about raising people up, making them better, making them better people. >> so this was the first time you've been in a mosque outside of prison at all. >> right. >> how was it? >> it was beautiful. my brothers were here who were in the prison with me. you see how much love we share out here. and brothers that i didn't even know open their arms to me. >> first time i've really seen you smile a lot since you've been out. >> i'm humbled by this experience because i didn't think it was going to be like
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this. you know? i knew that it was going to be powerful, but i didn't think it was going to be like this. >> so many americans fear islam and what they think it stands for, but on this journey, the people i've met have shown me the power it has to enhance and transform lives for good. what did islam show you? >> to create your community and to find that peace and don't worry about what everybody else is doing. you do what you have to do. that's what islam does. >> oh, you look so good. >> this is my faith. this is my existence. that's what i want my children to know and understand as african-american muslims. >> they have a purpose, and they have to shape it. they have to be the example. they have to stand on the foundation of islam and lead. you're doing it. you're rocking it. >> you are their face. you are their thread. you are that strong fabric of
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islam here in america. be proud of your history. be proud of the journey that we took as african-american muslims. i'm on patrol with some heavily armed men. they're not members of the military. they're not law enforcement. they're everyday people who are exercising their right to bear arms. this is a militia, a private group of armed citizens. and all over the country people like this are preparing for a fight they say is already on our doorstep. >> reload. >> tonight we embed with those americans willing to die to protect their constitutional rights. would you consider yourself an extremist? >> in a good way, yes. most certainly.


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