Islam the right choice for Toowoomba mum
ON PAPER Australian-born KJ Clifford Pugh is just like many other busy mums.
She has a brood of five she dotes on; she is actively involved in her community and she enjoys living in the city she calls home.
But there is one part of Mrs Clifford Pugh's life that sets her apart.
Mrs Clifford Pugh, along with her Australian-born children and Anglo-Saxon husband John, is a Muslim.
The 39-year-old found the religion relatively late in life, defying the trend of most Muslims to be born into Islam.
"The majority of Muslims are born into the religion," she said.
Growing up, Mrs Clifford Pugh didn't have a God nor religion in her life.
After a bad experience, her mother raised her family without religion.
Even at a young age she, however, felt the need for God, whoever he may be, to be in her life.
She enrolled in a Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults program, with the view of eventually becoming a Catholic nun.
During her studies to be a nun, Mrs Clifford Pugh learnt about world religions including Islam.
The uniformity of Islam appealed to the pragmatic woman.
After some internet research she soon discovered her affinity for Islam.
"I knew then that I was already a Muslim because I believe in Allah, His prophet and His book, the Quran," she said.
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"I'm not sure exactly how or when it happened.
"All I just knew is that one day, I could not lie to myself anymore."
Mrs Clifford Pugh said she was glad to call Toowoomba home; a place of relative acceptance and tolerance.
"We haven't had any problems," she said.
"Sometimes, someone driving past might yell out something.
"But I think anyone might get that."
Unlike their mum, Brittania, 13, and Jadzia, 14, grew up as Muslims.
Dressed in their hijab, their religious affinity is on display, much like a Catholic wearing a cross.
"I have one for every outfit," Brittania proudly said of her hijab.
The girls are a part of a growing community of Muslim teens in Toowoomba.