Gang member reforms after converting to Islam

By Abby Lee April 23, 2010

A former Latino gang member told a story to a group of UH students Tuesday of how converting to Islam saved his life, and he described why Latinos are more likely to convert to Islam.

As part of Islam Awareness Week, the Muslim Student Association welcomed Mujahid Fletcher, who moved to Houston from Colombia at age 8.

Starting in middle school, Fletcher led a troublesome life after he began his own gang based on self-defense.

“If it weren’t for Islam and their rehabilitation of the Islamic lifestyle, I don’t even know if I’d be here today,” he said. “I may be in jail, or I may be dead. I used to have people calling my house and telling my mother at three in the morning that they were going to kill me.”

Mujahid said that these phone calls came when he was between 13 and 16 years old.

Believing Fletcher’s future was in peril, his mother sent him to school in Colombia. Surrounded by a different group of people, Fletcher excelled in school. When he returned to Houston years later, he longed for the slower pace of life in Colombia.

However, he soon began to fall into the same habits that got him in trouble many times before. He knew it was time for a change.

After many years of living a fast-paced life, Fletcher began reading about Kabbalah and Buddhism and even his own religion, Catholicism, but he said he found “holes” in them. With his father’s encouragement, he began searching for life’s meaning.