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Hugh Fitzgerald: The Story of Eamon Bradley, One Convert to Islam

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Here is one example of an ISIS fighter, enduring his mental disarray and seemingly permanent  despair, that was “cured” by conversion to Islam.

His story was first published in 2014 but, in all its telling wretchedness, it does not date.

A Derry man who is in Syria with rebel fighters regularly took LSD at primary school and says his conversion to Islam saved his life.

According to a blog apparently penned by Eamon Bradley, he grew so depressed and anxious after leaving school 10 years ago, he tried to take his life several times.

But the 25-year-old, from the Creggan area of the city, said he turned his back on drink, drugs and crime when he started to read the Qur’an.

He said: “I used to run around with people a lot older than myself so I was into heavy drugs very early, including LSD in primary school for example.

“When I was a kid I used to steal a lot. It was a normal thing to do with my friends. In fact we would laugh about it then go and buy some drugs and get high.

“I would steal from churches, family, school and stores and places like that. I was with another friend once and stole fireworks from a shop and went up to the church and caused a couple thousand pounds worth of damage.

“We got caught for it. The priest brought us back to the chapel and into his little house beside it to question us.

“We didn’t mind so we put our feet up on his table and ate some of the sweets we’d stolen. I think I must have been around my year five then.”

Eamon’s story appears on a blog called Revert2Islamtoday, a site which aims to share Information about Islam, the Qur’an and the prophet Sunnah.

It also claims to share each new Muslim’s journey to Islam “to both Muslims and not yet Muslims.”

An introduction on [sic] Eamon’s story says: “Amazing story of brother Eamon Bradley from Ireland who reverted to Islam.

Brother Eamon reverted to Islam on his own without meeting a single Muslim brother or sister, but from YouTube videos and reading online Qur’an.

“Read further how Islam helped him to mend his ways… Alhamdulillah!!!”

His conversion to Islam four years ago led to him joining rebel forces in Syria last March.

The Irish Mirror understands the police are investigating potential Islamic terror activity and Eamon is now on a list of people of interest held by MI5 and MI6.

Eamon said: “As I got into secondary school things seemed to get worse, I would skip school and get high a lot.

“Education at the time meant very little to me. I was always very nervous and shy.

“The first couple of days into my last year at school I got thrown out with two other friends.”

As life looked increasingly grim for Eamon, he suffered lengthy fits of uncontrollable crying.

He said: “I did nothing until the next year. I went to some useless course that wasted another two years. After that it was just partying every weekend.

“Sometimes I would go out on Thursday and come home on a Monday, coming in and out of the house for a change of clothes or to get washed and stuff.

“But I was living a lie, I was empty inside. I used to just cry for no reason and I didn’t know why.

“I would just wake up in the morning sometimes and just cry uncontrollably. By this stage I think I was just drinking and smoking to die. I would try to overdose on prescription drugs.

“It was around this time Allah Most Great showed me the way. When I was in secondary school they gave everyone a Bible.

“I of course at that time I threw it behind my back in my room in some boxes out of the way.

“I then found it and started to read some for a half hour every day until I eventually started to believe in it.”

“And he swapped the Bible for the Qur’an after watching YouTube coverage of the Twin Towers 2001 attack.

“Eamon said: “I then started to read the Qu’ran from the internet every night and I knew it was truthful. Alhamdulillah. (Thanks and praise to God).”

Eamon Bradley led a hair-raisingly awful life from the age of five, when he first began to steal. A life of “drinking and smoking to die,” of LSD and drugs and prescription drugs too, of total academic failure, of constant theft, petty crime, and endless crying jags, and many attempts to overdose on those prescription drugs — a life of absolute, near-suicidal horror. He finally “started to believe” in the Bible that he had been given in school. But after he saw on YouTube the Twin Towers attack, he turned not to the Bible that he had recently taken to reading, but to the very book regarded as holy by the 19 terrorists, the commandments of which they were following — to “kill the kuffar wherever you can find him” and to “strike terror in the hearts of the kuffar” — the Qur’an. He began avidly to read that Qur’an, and knew that it was “truthful.” He abandoned the Bible, said the Shahada, and became a Muslim. How curious that a mass murder by Muslims was what led him first to read the Qur’an, and then to become a Muslim. A bizarre conversion, indeed.

And it was as a Muslim that Eamon Bradley, formerly the most miserable of souls, finally found an inner peace.

It was while watching videos on YouTube of people Eamon describes as “good brothers and sisters” that he started reciting the “shahada”, the Islamic creed which states, “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger.”

After denying God to himself and his friends, a random domestic incident changed his mind that God existed.

Eamon said: “I used to like doing what was wrong and I would say to my friends that there was no God. I remember once when I was putting my clothes out on the line, it started to rain so I brought them in. But the rain stopped so I brought them back out again, and then it rained again.

“And I remember shaking my fist in the sky at my Lord in rage saying some things which I would not repeat again.

“So maybe after all I did believe and it was just arrogance holding me back.”

“Indeed if Allah wills he can guide anyone the way he wants.”

How’s that for a profound theological argument?

“God exists,” Eamon Bradley realized, because he shook his fist and swore at Him. Oh why? Because he had hung his clothes out on a line to dry, and then it started raining, and he’d brought them back in, and then it stopped raining, and he brought them out again, and then it started raining again, and Eamon Bradley shook his first at the sky and said some unprintable things about God, and that’s when he realized he did believe in God, except that his God, the one who can “guide anyone the way he wants,” turned out to be not the Christian God but the Muslim Allah.

And that’s how Eamon Bradley Became a Muslim, which also meant that all kinds of wonderful things happened to him. His soul was healed. He who had started ingesting LSD in elementary school now had no need of any drugs or alcohol. He stopped drinking. He stopped thieving. He now had Islam. And Islam gave him Everything. It gave him an Instant Community of Believers, his brothers in the umma. It provided him with a Total Explanation of the Universe. It imposed order on his most disordered existence with its Complete Regulation of Life, telling him how and when and where to pray, what to think of, and how to treat, non-Muslims, when it was possible to help himself to the “Jizyah” of state benefits or property stolen from Infidels, what foods he could eat and what foods he had to avoid, what his womenfolk should wear, when a girl was old enough to be married, how to discipline a wife should he get married, how to do almost everything … those rules even extend even to the most intimate details of personal hygiene, as set out by Muhammad himself.

There is no area of life that remains unregulated by Islam, and if Bradley needed the answer to any question where an interpretation of a verse or verses was needed, he could simply consult online the many sites where Muslims can address their questions to clerics who will tell them, based on the Qur’an and Hadith, and classic Qur’anic commentators, what they must think or do in any given situation. In Islam, there is no need to rely on your own judgment: almost everything has been set out, and in those cases where interpretation by Qur’anic commentators has been needed, their judgments have also long been fixed in amber. There are, of course, questions that are prompted by recent technological innovation: for example, can the triple-talaq be faxed and still be valid? But those questions are easily answered by the clerics manning the online question-and-answer sites. He who all of his life had been overwhelmed by life’s complexity could now find his salvation in a faith that commanded what he must do and what he must not do. A life reduced to the need to follow what is laid down in the Qur’an and glossed by the hadith, informing Eamon Bradley at every step what is commanded and what is prohibited.

For the lost souls of this world, such as Eamon Bradley, Islam is, by the very comprehensiveness of its rules — some  might say its totalitarian nature — a great relief. He thrived by being subject to strict rules. And thanks to Islam, he has given up drinking, smoking, stealing. He has given up the drugs that for so long were his solace. But he has also given up any possibility of independent thought, or skeptical inquiry, or unfeigned friendship with non-Muslims, all of which are discouraged in Islam. And having given up conventional drugs, now he is in permanent thrall to another drug, dangerous in a different way, and not just to Eamon Bradley.

That other drug is Islam, and there are no known detox centers that have worked for Adult-Onset Islam. As for all those expensive programs of “deradicalization,” run by governments, none have been known to succeed. Let’s hope Bradley can somehow find a way to get off this latest drug, as he did before with others, of a more conventional kind. Perhaps he might look again at that Bible he had started to read, but precipitously discarded when, as his peculiar response to the 9/11 attacks, he took up the Qur’an, where inner peace is attained through outward warfare. Far less violent and aggressive in message than the Qur’an, the Bible has worked wonders for hundreds of millions of Christians. And unlike the Qur’an, the Bible’s texts and teachings do not inculcate hatred for anyone. You come out a Believer, but not a True Believer, not someone with a dangerously aggressive and fanatical faith. It might just be worth a try — even by the likes of Eamon Bradley.

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