As New Zealand attempts to recover from a brutal attack on two mosques that killed over 50 Muslims, it has been revealed that a U.S. veteran who was planning to murder and injure over 200 people at an Islamic center has become Muslim after learning about Islam.
Before becoming the President of the Muslim Student’s Association at Ball State University in Indiana, and the Vice-President of the Islamic Center of Muncie, Richard McKinney was a decorated veteran who had joined the Marine corps for his love of the “Rambo” action films and served for years in the Middle East, which he said has contributed to his eventual hatred of Islam and Muslims.
“I didn’t hate Islam then, but many of the things I saw were a reason why I felt the way I did later on,” said McKinney.
After he returned home, McKinney came extremely close to conducting a terror attack after planning to make his own improvised explosive device (IED) and blow-up a mosque with the intent of “killing and injuring hundreds of Muslims” as he watches from a nearby parking lot.
Luckily, his wife stumbled across his plans, paving the way for the FBI to investigate his actions, but that failed to quell his hatred for Muslims, until one day his daughter was disgusted by comments he made about the veiled mother of one of his granddaughter’s classmates.
“My hatred of Islam. It was the only thing that was keeping me alive,” he said.
The incident pushed him to seek answers from a local mosque that provided him with a Quran, and eight weeks later he embraced Islam.
“I started spending hours and hours in there, and things just made sense to me. I knew I wanted to take my Shahāda – I wanted to become a Muslim.”
Since then, he has grown in strength in the community, and has become an inspirational and integral part of people’s lives. Three years after his conversion, he became the president of the Islamic Center of Muncie.
He now continues to work on promoting Islam and the Muslim community, correcting any misinformed thoughts and feelings that many have.