Michele Nicolle is a Muslim born and raised in Jersey who chose to follow Islam as an adult. She says she had always been confused about religion although she knew she believed in God. She says she was always confused about her Catholic faith but wanted to try to find out the truth about God.
“I always was very confused about certain issues of the Catholic faith; of the Christian belief. The fact that on the one hand they would say “In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” and then they would say “Who is the Son of God.” and the two didn’t quite make sense because of course how could God be a Son and at the same time be the Almighty? And how could God be a Man? These kind of questions, very naive questions that a child would ask themselves.”
She found herself on a spiritual quest which led her to study the history of Christianity and into Eastern Philosophies including Budhism and Hindusim. But this didn’t fulfil her quest to establish the truth about God.
“I’d really been through every religion that you could think of and really gone into it in great depth.”
In all this time and despite living next to a mosque in Birmingham Michelle had still never met a Muslim.
Feeling lost and as though she had come to the end of the line, she found to her surprise when she read the Qur’an she agreed with everything it said.
“For me it really hit me between the eyes.” There was nothing there to equate God with a human being; God was almighty, nobody knows what God looks like, nobody has heard God speaking to them. This is what the Qur’an said and I thought ‘well this is fantastic’ because certainly if there was an almighty God then who are we as mere mortals to think that we can see him, or to think that we could hear Him?”
The experience proved life changing and within a few months she had taken the decision to dress in the hijab and jilbab the Muslim scarf and dress. As for her family’s reaction, well they had seen her go from being a Christian to a Buddhist to a Hindu, was this to be another passing phase in her life?
“My mother, she understood better because she’s quite a religious person anyway; my father perhaps felt this was taking things a bit too far!”
Although there have been Muslims living in Jersey for several decades, as Michele reports there’s still a lack of awareness about them but steps are being taken to change this. Now Jersey’s Muslims are finding a voice, they’ve set up an Islamic trust and are creating a website for information for anyone wanting an introduction to yet another one of the diverse communities living in this multi-cultural island.