Born to a Sicilian family in Philadelphia, Salahuddin Decero quest for religiosity after a life of worldly pleasures has transformed him from a young teenager whose life was centered around women, alcohol and marijuana to a Catholic priest and a Muslim at last.
"From the age of 13-17, my life consisted of very few things. Women, Alcohol, Marijuana, crime, and money. I quickly fell into a life of worldly pleasures and comforts,” Decero told the Deen Show.
“The only times I ever went to church were Baptism and first Holy Communion. So throughout my youth I was very innocent, but when I hit my teenage years my family was very shaky and dysfunctional.”
Living in a shaky and dysfunctional home, the young man found himself indulged with the wrong people who introduced him to the life of confusion.
By 17, Decero was sick of his life style and wanted to change. Asking a friend, the friends said he found God.
“I laughed because I did not believe in God at all ! But again he said I found God. I went home that night and suffered great temptations to run back to my usual life ways,” he recalled.
“The next day out of fear I went to this man and said to him I am willing to find God but I don't know who God is! He said Jesus Christ is God and Savior and he died for you.”
Talking about his travel along the different religious experiences, Salahuddin Decero said, “I started feeling great and I was developing deep faith. I became very religious very fast in the beginning. I started having thoughts that I wanted to be a priest and monk but I was hesitant to express it to anybody.”
“About 10 months after I started practicing my Catholic faith I went to live in the monastery a life of a monk in Philadelphia and began studying with the intention of becoming a priest,” he added.
“I was moved from Philadelphia to Minnesota after about 3 years and I lived there the same life. Then my studies took me as far as Rome, Spain, France, and Italy!”
The final stage of Decero’s quest for true religion started when he met an imam after 8.5 years in a monastery who shook his beliefs with simple questions.
“He asked me questions about the church, Jesus, Mary, and history! Some questions he asked me I had never thought about before and I was amazed,” he recalled him first meeting with the imam in Philadelphia.
“He kept asking me where Jesus said I am God! Yet I could not answer him because Jesus does not say that! I had never thought about it. I was told Jesus was God and that was it but I never stopped to just think about if he says the words I am God!”
His simple questions shook the beliefs of Decero, who decided to search more about Islam.
“I went home after that thinking about what we talked about. I spent all night pondering it. I began reading the Qur’an and must had read it 2 times in a row. I began reading some Seerah of Muhammad, and the hadith which I really liked,” he said.
“I began investigating how Muslims prayed. But most of all I began looking into the Bible to see who Jesus says he is! After about 4 months I came to the conclusion that Jesus was not God, Son of God, or Trinity! I came to the conclusion that Original sin does not come out of Jesus' mouth.”
At this stage, he decided to become a Muslim.
“So for the first time in November I went to a Mosque in Philadelphia near my mother’s house and told the Imam I wanted to become a Muslim. He asked me what I knew of Islam and I said little,” he said.
“He taught me so much about Islam right there for about 2 hours. Around 12 PM I became a Muslim and took Shahada and said I testify that there is none worthy of worship but Allah(God), and I testify that Muhammad is his messenger. From this moment my life changed again!”
While talking about his feelings, he intimately said “When I became a Muslim I asked Allah to help me learn Islam more than I ever knew Christianity and Islam has changed me to the person that I truly wanted to be!” The Deen Show reports.