An American pastor-turned-Muslim preacher has revealed the inspiration behind his embracing Islam: The people of Saudi Arabia.
Shropshire, who now lives in Saudi Arabia, said living among the kingdom's "good people" and witnessing their hospitality and "good morals" majorly contributed to his decision to become Muslim.
The former Christian pastor traveled to Jeddah in 2011 to work as an editor for a new "easy-to-read" English version of the Quran.
Speaking to the Saudi daily, Shropshire said that prior to his trip, he was worried about being discriminated against in the kingdom due to his religion, explaining that media outlets portrayed Muslims, and Saudis specifically, in a negative light. However, he soon realized that what he had seen on the media was flawed due to stereotypes and misconceptions.
"I saw good people, who take initiative to welcome others and treat them with generosity, regardless of whether or not they are Muslim," he said.
The kindness, hospitality, and amity he experienced, alongside his work on the Quran, encouraged him to learn more about the religion and further convinced him to embrace Islam.
Shropshire thoroughly spoke about his conversion to Islam in a video shared on Youtube back in 2017.
While working on the translation of the Quran, Shropshire "had so many questions" and sought to find their answers, he said in the video. He was impressed by how the Islamic holy book holds Jesus Christ and Virgin Mary at a high regard. He added that while living in Jeddah, he was moved by the calls to prayer and the sight of worshipers at a nearby mosque.
"My heart longed to be in that mosque. I felt compelled by God to go there," he said. Months later, he mustered the courage to visit the mosque, where he "felt God's presence," and gradually started learning more about the religion.
He converted to Islam soon after and has been a devoted Muslim preacher ever since.
Who is Samuel Earle Shropshire?
According to IslamiCity, the 70-year-old Muslim preacher holds a Doctor of Theology degree and has dedicated his life to nonprofit causes. He has worked in the fields of human rights and peacemaking, including lobbying the American, Canadian and British governments, as well as the United Nations.
He is also the founder of nonprofit organization Muslim Voice for Peace & Reconciliation, which brings Muslims together to promote world peace, human rights, justice, and religious reconciliation.