‘Romanian convert has traveled to 156 countries to spread peaceful message of Islam’
Being a Muslim is not only about long beards and short dishdashas, according to Dr Mohammad Stefan Leca. Leca is a Romanian who converted to Islam in 1993 when he went to Turkey and was hosted by a Muslim who shared his house with him and treated him kindly, as mandated by Islam. Leca, a father of two, then decided to go on a global journey to teach about Islam, along with his supportive wife. The Romanian couple is on a mission, and their main objective is spreading the message that “Islam is Peace”.
Leca was invited to Kuwait by his Kuwaiti friend Nader Al-Essa after his car broke down in Sudan. Essa and his mother Shafeqa Al-Mutawa welcomed Leca to give him the support he needs to continue his trip. Kuwait Times spoke to Leca to learn more about his spiritual journey to promote a better understanding of Islam.
Kuwait Times: When did you become a Muslim and why?
Leca: I converted to Islam on January 17, 1993 after a Muslim presented the real Islam by his actions and sharing his house with me. After that, I started to read about Islam – I read the Holy Quran and discovered that Islam completes the Bible. A true Christian knows that the Bible forbids eating pork and drinking wine. In the Bible, Jesus (PBUH) said “someone will come after me”, while Mary (PBUH) dressed like Muslims. A lot of other things made me reach the conclusion that Islam is the right religion.
KT: Is your family Muslim? How many children do you have?
Leca: Yes, my family is Muslim now and I have two children.
KT: How many countries have you been to?
Leca: I have been to 156 countries.
KT: What does it mean to be a Muslim in Romania today?
Leca: Islam has been in Romania since ancient times. You can find some haters, but no one listens to them. We have half a million Muslims in Romania.
KT: How do you plan to serve Islam?
Leca: I’m trying my best to deliver the message of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). He was a man of peace who never destroyed a temple and never killed an innocent person. Islam is not about having a long grubby beard and thick scary voice, or accusing people of not being Muslim if they make a mistake. Islam is about love and peace. I hope to plant the seed of knowledge to a better understanding of our wonderful faith.
KT: How many people have you converted to Islam?
Leca: I can’t give you an exact number, but a lot of people around the world have been amazed by what I offer, and sometimes people get my email address from my car and ask me about my mission. When I go to any country, it takes me 10 days to study the people and their culture, language and religion. Only then do I speak with them about Islam.
I’m not a man of religion – I’m not a sheikh. I see some Muslim missionaries have good intentions, but they are offering Islam in a boring and alarming way. Muslims should not tell a Christian that “my religion is better than yours” and talk to him with the “angry eyebrows” look.
KT: What has been your impression of Kuwait?
Leca: My Kuwaiti friend Nader Al-Essa supports most of my trips and helped me in improving my Arabic to call the azan. He was there to correct my Arabic pronunciation when everyone else accused me of not being a Muslim because of one mistake. When I visited Kuwait after the invasion, people were nicer. Now all they do is play with their mobiles. I was at a diwaniya, and people asked me to speak about my trips, but then got busy with their phones. That was my first and last time in a diwaniya.
KT: What bothers you about Muslims?
Leca: I’m bothered that Muslims are the main obstacles I face while spreading Islam. They accuse me of using Islam for personal interests. They talk about me behind my back, and stopped funding to build a mosque in Romania, which is 70 percent complete.
KT: What are your future plans?
Leca: I’ll put my car up for auction, and use the money to complete my mosque in Romania.
By Faten Omar