Films document ex-dealer from Hackney's conversion to Islam after jail sentence
PUBLISHED: 14:17 24 May 2018
A Hackney drug dealer's remarkable journey out of crime and conversion to Islam has been documented in a pair of films.
Community group Engaged Believers has produced the clips, which can be seen online.
Jibrayil Sadiq, previously known as Jibrayil Brown, joined the religion in 2008, having been caught up in a life of violence and drugs for years.
He had found selling drugs was a quick, easy way to make money, he said. But in 2003, he ended up in prison for the first time.
“The hardest thing was not being around friends and family,” he told the Gazette. “It got quite lonely.”
It was then that he came across the Quran and its references to nature.
“I’ve always been inquisitive, so stuff like that really gets my mind sparking,” he said.
Despite being intrigued by the Quran, he never saw himself converting to Islam.
That was until he faced a much longer sentence in prison and promised himself he would change once he got out.
Jibrayil said he’d always had morals, but Islam had “reintroduced them” to him.
He also reckons it helped him with his current job as a personal trainer.
“Many people think the Quran is quite strict,” he said. “But I like to see the positive in it.”
Jibrayil said that when you set a goal, like you would in fitness, you need to be disciplined. Islam provides that and gets him in the right mindset every morning.
Raised Christian, he did find it difficult to explain to his family that he converted to Islam, but once they saw the miraculous change, they were encouraging.
“They all support me,” he said. “I’m quite lucky,” he said.
Since converting, Jibrayil also mentors people who may find themselves in a similar situation to the one he was in more than a decade ago.
He’s also worked with Engaged Believers, a community group that aims to foster critical thinking skills among Muslim youth, which is how the films came about.
“I thought it was an opportunity to get my story out there,” he said.
“Even if it’s just to help one person.”
You can see the films here.