Khedeja Al-Iman, a family advocate and outreach worker in the Muslim community, spent the day cooking and baking Friday.

It was her day off, but she volunteered to cook and bake for some of the clients she served as a caseworker for the Lutheran Community Services of Southern New England.

The food was prepared in her home on Douglas Street, where we met. When she arrived home the night before, she noticed that someone had dismantled a portion of her fence and strewn the parts in the street.

She talked briefly about vandalism and then wearily dismissed the topic, saying, “I know who it is.”

When she was young, she wanted to be a nun. She ran away from home, in fact, to be a nun, and when that didn’t work out, she came across a Muslim woman in a book she was reading, saw the way the woman was dressed and decided that she would convert to Islam.

But if it began as a romantic quest, she has subsequently worked hard and diligently to live the life of a true Muslim.

It hasn’t been easy.

It was a battle getting her Mormon parents to accept her conversion to Islam. She continues to fight suspicions that she is an FBI agent from some in the Muslim community and that she is an abettor of terrorism from some in the general community.

Members of her family suffered because of her conversion. The youngest of her three brothers, a Marine who fought in the Gulf war, took some heat from his colleagues because he had a “sister who was Muslim.”


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