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Kith and Kin

Kith and Kin

Issue 4 Mar / Apr 2004

My three sisters, mum and step dad have all been very supportive of me, which made me realise the meaning of unconditional love. As we were growing up, Dominique would always say that she felt something missing, I think I understood what she felt. Islam has filled that gap in her life.

Dominique Jocelynne Kaenzig and Danielle Storm Kaenzig are 18-year-old identical twins, they both strongly believe in god and one of them is a Muslim, they are still very much like two peas in a pod.


Dominique Jocelynne Kaenzig

Daniella and I were very naughty children and we got into a lot of trouble as we grew up. Our parents separated when we were two, so for a few years it was just us and our mum. Despite this, the memories I have are all happy ones, even though we had our share of trouble and hardship as we were growing up. In terms of personalities, I was the tom-boy and Daniella was the girly girl. Now it is the exact opposite!

Our ties are very close and as children we were inseparable until we started primary school, when we were split up and placed in different classes as the teachers thought we saw enough of each other at home. That was difficult and during every break and lunch time, we would find each other and stay together while we could. As we grew up, we remained friends in the house as well as outside, and developed a group of friends around each other.

Our childhood antics were dangerous on occasions, like the time we decided to swing off the washing line in the garden. We fell off quite forcefully and were both knocked unconscious. I came round first, and had a cut on the top of my head which was bleeding. Daniella had a deeper cut on her forehead which was streaming with blood. We went into the house to look for our mum and I recall Daniella wiping the blood off her face on all the cushions on the sofa one by one. I never quite knew why she did that! We had to be rushed to hospital, but we lived to tell the tale.

As I grew up, I always spoke to God and prayed to Him. When I first started learning about Islam, my prayers became more intense. Thank God I was guided to Islam and became Muslim at the beginning of Ramadan in 2002. My search for knowledge began after a conversation with a Muslim school friend about the religion. Everything he said made sense and he came to speak to me day after day so that I could ask as many questions as I liked. I spent a year studying Islam and talking to Muslim people before I decided to become Muslim.

My family have been truly spectacular. I came home one day and told my mum that I thought Islam might be the right religion, but I wasn’t sure. Before I could go on, she said “follow your heart”, and that is exactly what I did. My three sisters, mum and step dad have all been very supportive of me, which made me realise the meaning of unconditional love. My real father took longer to accept my faith. His wife is Brazilian and was born into a Muslim family, however, she doesn’t practice the faith. It’s sad to think that her experiences may have turned her against Islam, but it just proves that we should all look at Islam itself, not just the behaviour of Muslims.

I was fortunate as many people helped me to find Islam and learn about it. At the beginning, it was very emotional and I wanted to be the perfect Muslim overnight, so I tried to change everything at the same time. When this became difficult, it upset me but I soon relaxed and did things at a manageable pace.

I have never been as happy as I am now. Every time I made a change in my life for Islam, I felt so close to Allah which is an indescribable feeling. When I started praying the ritual prayer, it was so beautiful to me and brought me peace and contentment that no other prayer ever has.

Daniella and I spend a lot of time talking about religion. I discuss Islam with her when I can as I really want her to find what I have. She has been a great source of strength for me, and has never wavered in her support. When I was considering wearing hijab, she was always encouraging and whenever we go out, she is very protective of me.

Wearing the hijab was a battle. I knew I should do it, but felt such nervousness at the prospect. Then I prayed to God one night that it would be made easy for me. The next morning I woke up feeling calm and just decided to do it. It made me feel so happy inside, and I remember walking down the street with a huge smile on my face, which had spread from the smile in my heart.

My becoming Muslim has brought Daniella and I closer together in many ways even though we don’t do some of the things we used to do. I do think it makes sense to her, but she realises that there is a lot she will have to give up if she becomes a Muslim and she is not ready for that yet.

I’m still considering what to do in the future. In the long term, I hope to work within the care profession, and may consider working with young children. I hope most of all for a happy and successful marriage to a practising and understanding Muslim, as that, and Islam is the key to a happy life. I also pray that my sister follows the path I have, and I have faith that she will. Recently she had a bad time, and when we were speaking about it, she said “Allah will help us”. I think He is already in her heart.


Daniella Storm Kaenzig 

Being a twin means that I always have a best friend around. Dominique and I were always able to depend on each other as we grew up and even more so now.

We were extremely naughty children, and made my mum despair when we did things like empty out whole cupboards and pour the contents of every jar on the floor. One mess was so bad that my mum looked at it, and just went back upstairs crying. She even took a picture of it because she couldn’t believe it was so bad! It must have been hard for her, but she never gave up on us.

It wasn’t a big surprise to me when Dominique became Muslim, as I knew she was looking into it, and so I was expecting it to happen. As we were growing up, Dominique would always say that she felt there was something missing. I think I understood what she felt. Islam has filled that gap in her life.

When Dominique was researching Islam, she became very emotional when it really made sense to her. I told her that I would support her no matter what, and that is what I have done. It doesn’t matter to me what religion she is, she’s still my twin sister and that will never change.

I can’t think of any down sides to having a twin, it has always been a positive thing for me. I’m older by seven minutes, and as we grew up I did feel a little like the older sister. However, since Dominique became Muslim, she has become very mature and sensible so the roles have switched a little.

There are many differences in our personalities.

People say I’m the one withmore confidence and maybe that is true. I like challenges and really push myself. I am currently completing a diploma in  Uniform Services, which is equivalent to 3 A-Levels. I really hope I can become part  of the Army Police for a couple of years, then maybe a normal police woman, but eventually I want to go into CID. I was originally interested in being a lawy er, but after I worked in a solicitor’s officeI changed my mind. It was a lot of paper pushing and I want something that is hands on.

I joined a Marines course which gave me an idea of the intensity of the training to go into the army. It was so difficult! We had to sleep on the ground in our sleeping bags without tents, and there were insects and spiders everywhere. I ended up going to sleep with my hand over my mouth and my head covered to stop them crawling on my face.

My ambitions are different to Dominique’s, but that doesn’t impact on our relationship. I have thought about Islam, but have not really researched it for myself yet. I pray to God every night and do believe in Him, and my prayers are similar to Dominique’s. I have recently started using one of Dominique’s prayer mats and have prayed to God while being in prostration like she does. I had a close Muslim friend although he isn’t really practising, and we did discuss learning more about Islam, but it didn’t work out that way

I have complete respect for Muslim people and for my sister, and I am so proud of her because of her courage, especially when she wore the hijab. She has a lot of respect from her friends, especially the Muslim ones. There is the odd person who thinks she’s mad, but they’re just ignorant really and you can’t let them get to you. I guess my biggest concern about being a Muslim is all the rules that apply; I’m not sure if I could keep to them.

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