Offering help to a victim of domestic violence has led a British policewoman to revert to Islam. “I wasn’t looking for any religion at the time but for every question I got answered about Islam I just had five more,” Jayne Kemp, a police community support officer, told Manchester Evening News. “I think I fell in love with it.”
The 28-year-old Briton came to know about Islam while helping a victim of domestic violence in Eccles, Salford “It started when I had a woman approach me at work who was experiencing honor-based violence,” she said. Interested in knowing more about the faith, the mother of two began speaking with other Muslims on Twitter.
“Where I work in Eccles there’s a big mosque and big Muslim population, so I thought I should find out more about it,” she said. Jayne, who now goes out on PCSO patrols while donning hijab, recalls that she has always heard that Islam exhorts persecution of women.
“I’d thought Islam was all about women being forced to slave away in the kitchen,” said, Jayne, who pronounced the Shahadah (proclamation of faith) in April and plans to change her name to Aminah. “But (I) found out it was about being generous with your time, patient and respectful of others.
“As I looked into it I saw similarities with Catholicism and also values like looking after your neighbors and valuing the elderly that older people say younger people don’t have any more.”
Jayne says her decision to revert to Islam has been welcomed by her colleagues and family. “I was worried about what my colleagues would think but they have been so understanding,” she said. “People in Eccles have been great too – most don’t even mention it.” “My family in general are supportive. As long as I’m happy, they’re happy,” Jayne said.
“I was very open about my reading and studying Islam. My sister said the other day I’m the happiest she’s ever seen me.” The Muslim convert says that she would not impose her new faith on her two children. “If my children had struggled with me covering my hair I wouldn’t have done it,” she said. “They have both asked a lot about it but I would never push Islam on them and they will be brought up Catholic.”
The policewoman was helped to know more about Islam by Muhammad Manzoor, who runs Muslim Twitter account Local Masjid from his Whalley Range home. “I was humbled Jayne was asking me these questions as it made me find out more about Islam too,” he said. “She has found this religion for herself and hopefully it shows Muslims can mix in society without compromising their faith.”
Jayne hopes that her reversion to Islam would help clear misconceptions about Muslims and their religion. “I just hope by speaking out I can show it is OK for a Muslim woman to work in the police force and also change negative stereotypes about Islam.” Britain is home to a Muslim community of nearly 2.5 million.
A Financial Times opinion poll showed that Britain is the most suspicious nation about Muslims. A poll of the Evening Standard found that a sizable section of London residents harbor negative opinions about Muslims.