The first Muslim woman to ever win the Miss USA title has converted to Christianity and sent a positive message to those who are scared of leaving their religion. Rima Fakih won the title in 2010 and has been an inspiration to many ever since.
Rima is from a family that has always been open to other religions and has been fortunate to have close family members who do not see other faiths as “less” than another. Her conversion came just before her high-profile marriage to Wassim Salibi, who is himself a Maronite Christian.
Her conversion and her family’s acceptance and happiness with it is an important thing…more important than her winning the Miss USA title be far. There are so many Islamic nations that punish Apostasy by death, and in many where it is not illegal, those who leave Islam are often ostracized by their families. She has shown the world that it IS possible to choose your own way in life and still have the respect and love of your family.
Until the Western governments of the world stop dealing with countries that punish Apostasy, it will continue unabated. Which is why more and more we need examples like Rima to show people that they don’t have to be afraid of leaving their faith (any faith, not just Islam), because real families love each other just the same.
According to Christian Today:
The woman who was believed to be the first Muslim to win the title when she was crowned Miss USA in 2010 has converted to Christianity.
Rima Fakih gave her life to Christ last month in the run-up to her marriage in Lebanon next week to Wassim Salibi, a wealthy music producer who is a Maronite Christian. Canadian singer The Weeknd, who is managed by Salibi, will perform at the wedding.
Fakih recently tweeted a verse from Philippians:
Fakih’s faith was Shia Muslim but she attended a Catholic school.
In a Huffington Post interview in 2010 she said: “We’re more of a spiritual family. Religion really doesn’t define me or my family. My family’s been very liberal, and we appreciate all different kinds of religions.”
She added: “My brother-in-law is Christian, and he (and my sister) baptised their two sons. I have an uncle who converted to Christianity, and he’s a priest now.”
She said: “We’d go to church on Easter. We always had a Christmas tree and every year we go the Radio City Christmas Show, and watch Miracle on 34th Street. But we celebrate some of the Islamic holidays as well.”
According to Albawaba, It was only when she went to university in the US that Fakih connected with her Muslim roots: “When I went to the University of Michigan, because there’s more of a Muslim community, my dad wanted me to learn more about Islam,” she said. “I didn’t know much about Ramadan and other holidays, and my dad wanted me to take that opportunity and learn.”
On social media, most responses have been supportive of her conversion.
After she won the top beauty pageant, Fakih was quoted as saying: “I’d like to say I’m American first, and I am an Arab-American, I am Lebanese-American, and I am Muslim-American.” Some Muslim scholars at the time criticised her for entering the competition in the first place.