I am Selwyn Herewini Richards
from Tokoroa New Zealand
currently living in Geelong Australia.
Life before Islam.
I was your typical mischief kid.
At 9 years of age, I was sneaking alcohol when there were partys.
I would give one bottle for mum and dad and stash one for me. I was an alcoholic when I was18 years old.
My cousins and I got up to mischief from stealing and vandalizing in our neighbourhood.
My first encounter with a Muslim.
My Australian wife was a revert, she told me about Islam and I liked what she was reading and telling me.
I did my Shahada in front of my wife in 2018, she read it and I repeated it after her
What do I love about Islam?
I love the peace I feel praying the 5 prayers and having the connection with Allah, as I have always been spiritual and believed in God.
I love the hospitality of the people, I went to the Coburg park with my 3 children, some Muslims were having a barbeque so I went up and gave my selams and told them I was a new Muslim. They shook my hand and invited me to eat and kept piling up my plate, "eat eat" they kept saying.
They were so welcoming, kind, warm and friendly.
I think they were Somalian because they were eating their food with banana and gave me banana to eat with the food, now I like eating banana with my meal.
How has Islam improved me as person?
When I am practicing. I am more positive and at peace.
I have my ups and downs and personal problems like everybody and days when I'm lazy and slack to pray.
Sometimes life bulldozes you down and you have to put all your broken pieces together again piece by piece. But I still hold on to my faith.
My family likes my changes.
My family have been supportive and told me to go for it, their also more mindful of their language around me.
As a Māori Muslim what challenges I have faced?
Not having enough Polynesian Muslims around to draw strength and inspiration from, I feel alone as the community's huddle in their cultural groups and I don't have one.