Before I came to Islam, my life was really focused on drink, drugs, having fun.
The whole purpose of life was just to have fun, have a laugh; the way to make your life bearable until you die, and hanging around with people of similar interests which were not always the best company to keep.
My first experience of seeing Muslims was the 9/11 attacks. I remember I was quite young at that time, I wasn't completely aware of what was going on. In fact, I ran to my friends after seeing the news report, and I told them that the "tourists" have declared war on America, because I had never heard of terrorists before.
As the war was unfolding, I was seeing more and more about the war in Afghanistan, I started understanding that these people are Muslims. The Muslims are doing these horrible atrocities around the world. So, from the media bombardment, I started getting a strong hatred for Muslims. So much in fact. I tried to join the army three times with the goal of wanting to go over there, and kill as many of these people as I could, to do my bit for my country and to make it a bit safer for my family. I thought they were the big evil of the world.
I started hearing a bit more about Islam, the last time I was applying for the army, I came across this radio station, at that time, I was listening to conspiracy theory radio, and things like this. It was a radio station from the American Government called Terror Talk, and it was talking about the life of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).