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From Isolation to Islam

Jenna Govan was born into an Australian family. Her parents divorced when she was young, and she grew up with her mother and younger brother. This small family went to church every Sunday until Govan was 10 years old. At first they used to go to the Seventh Day Adventist Church, later they went to the Baptist Church.

Sometimes her grandmother would take Govan to Sunday school, and there Govan would hear the stories of the prophets that she loved. However, religion never entered her everyday life as she observes that praying was something she only did in church.

When Govan was 10 years old, her mother remarried and the little girl had problems with her stepfather for some years. In her teen years, Govan started to rebel and got involved in drugs. It was then that she met her first husband who was a Muslim but was not a practicing one. Govan was in year 11 and he was in year 12.

At that time, Govan recalls that she did not know anything about Islam or Muslims. However, her husband’s friend, who was practicing Islam, gave her books about Islam and told her about the scientific miracles in the Qur’an.

Govan remembers how she had never been convinced about the concept of Jesus from the Christian point of view, and she found the Islamic version very simple and logical. She made Shahadah when she was in her late teens and her husband proposed to her on the same day.

Govan found herself in the Malay community in Australia, but the reaction she got disturbed her and made her feel sad. They said to her husband that marriage with an Australian girl would never work. Govan came to realize that many Muslims like to stick to their own communities, and she felt quite isolated.

While she was married to her Malay husband, neither Govan nor her husband practised Islam. However, they had friends who were practicing Muslims, and sometimes she would wear hijab when they were with them, but her husband would tell her that she could still be Muslim and stylish, so she gave up the idea of hijab at that time.

Govan was quite confused about what Islam meant to her and how she should live it. She ultimately decided to leave her husband because he refused to practise Islam and teach her anything or encourage her to be better. He did not want to give up clubbing and drinking. Even though she knew only a little about Islam, she knew that such behaviour is wrong. The marriage was over. He did not even try to get her or their son back. They went their separate ways.

Govan then got her own place and started to make friends with practicing Muslims. She learned more and more about Islam, met other new Muslims, and started attending Islamic classes once a week.

Two years ago, Govan remarried and her new husband is a practicing Muslim. She has another baby and currently studies commerce at university and still attends Islamic lessons. She is determined to try and help new converts.

Govan says that her new Muslim family are very happy with her and have a "live and let live" attitude. They respect her for the hardships she has gone through and for the commitment she shows to her husband and children.

Govan’s mother thinks she is a bit fanatical, because she prays five times a day and wears hijab. Her mother came to this conclusion because she had seen so many other people who call themselves Muslims but did not do these things.

However, Govan’s mother likes the way her daughter’s new husband takes care of her and the children and how he is so responsible and kind. Her mother has noticed that Govan is a better person. (

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