Join the mailing list

Click here to read our privacy policy


Subscribe to emel's RSS Feed Subscribe to emel's RSS Feed


Face to Faith - Omar Weston

Face to Faith - Omar Weston

Issue 100

He would spend hours each day perfecting his art, cascading through the waters of different seas and lakes as a champion water skier. Yet, shares his metamorphosis from Mark Weston, the water ski champion, to Omar Weston, the founder of Muslim Centre de Mexico.

“To understand who I am now, it is important to know who I was before. I was born in England but emigrated to South America with my parents at the age of fi ve when my father was sent there to establish the family business in photo booths that my grandfather had invented. I attended a British school and began water skiing at the age of seven. It was my life. I was one of the top five junior water skiers in the world and was taught at the best ski schools in America. However, my behaviour outside skiing was ‘not in line with social expectations’, and I was expelled from one school in Florida into which my father had poured a lot of money for my coaching. At this period, there was a major earthquake in Mexico and I lost contact with my entire family. Not knowing where they were and whether they had even survived the quake shook me. In the deep recesses of my mind I began to think and wonder about life, but this intellectual calm did not last long as I plunged into another escapade.

Having been expelled from the fold of the skiing institution, I was persuaded by two friends to drive up the Pacifi c Coast for a surfi ng trip. We set out with a few possessions and each day we drove out into the ocean and caught the waves. We had a supply of marijuana in a biscuit box that we smoked when we were not on the water. We led this carefree vagabond existence until we had no more money and had sold all our possessions except for a camera and binoculars. We reluctantly started to drive in-land when we stumbled on a drunkard who was keen to sell us drugs. We declined as we already had our biscuit box supply. Later on that evening, in the middle of nowhere, we were suddenly surrounded by a group of soldiers with guns. The drunkard had informed on us. It really was like the movies. We were lined up against a wall with our hands up in the air, no questions asked, a fi ring squad behind us with guns charged and poised. I had never been so terrifi ed in my whole life. I rehearsed the act of death repeatedly in my mind as my bones shook against the muddy wall. People sometimes disappeared in these parts without even a soul knowing about it. We were held against the wall for several hours until at last we were thrown into a cell. As we pondered whether we would face that fi ring squad again or rot in this dungeon, a guard came in with some food. It was a hard tortilla with a rat on the top. Next day the commander questioned us one by one, establishing that we were not drug dealers and that one of my companions was the son of an important business man associated with the Mexican President’s family, he decided to let us go. We even managed to sell him our camera and binoculars.

After this hair-raising adventure, I managed to get into another ski school, but soon slipped again into the depth of emotional and psychological turmoil. It was so serious that I was put into a psychiatric hospital and rehab centre. My misery there was insurmountable. It was only after endless ranting and pleading that I finally persuaded my father that I was not mad. He took me out of the mental institution and with the help of another Mexican Ski Team Member I got a job at a ski school in California. The school owner’s wife gave me a copy of the Bible and a book written by David Wilkinson, a young missionary priest talking about the existence of God. This book left a deep impression on me. I started praying, going to church and picked up skiing again seriously, winning the open men’s Mexican championships at the age of 18.

 Amidst all this I received a call from my mother asking the whereabouts of my brother who was studying in Florida but had just disappeared. It later transpired that he had become a Muslim and had gone to England to find Yusuf Islam, formerly Cat Stevens. I was fascinated by all this and was curious about my brother's new found religion. 

 He gave me Jesus, The Prophet Of Islam by Ahmad Thomson and talked to me about Islam. I realised that this is what I had wanted in life. I walked into the central mosque in Orlando, Florida and declared my shahadah. I decided to devote my whole life to Islam and gave up skiing, indeed to the despair of David Benzel, the best-known ski coach in America, who believed that I could have become one of the best water skiers in the world. I had always wanted to succeed in life, now I wanted to succeed in Islam, may God accept my intention.

 Immediately after my Shahadah I travelled around the US with a group of Muslim brothers for 40 days, then I returned to Mexico where I graduated with a BA in Psychology. I then went to study in Medina for a couple of years before returning to the tiny Muslim community in Mexico. I could find but a handful of Muslims with whom I would pray with on Fridays. I saw that my role was to spread the message of Islam. At a conference on ‘The Oneness Of God’, I was approached with the question, ‘Why have I not heard about this before?’ It is a daunting question.

 I believe that God can bequeath unto us no greater favour than giving us guidance that ensures a life and a hereafter of success. I believe it to be my duty to share the beauty I have found with others and in order to do this we have opened a Dawa Center in Tequesquitengo, Morelos known as Dar as Salaam. I would welcome any lecturer who wishes to join this effort in Mexico. After September 11th we had immense media interest in Mexico, people wanting to find out more about Islam and the general public was very sympathetic towards Muslims. It is a grace from God that we are able to place a billboard in Mexico City where thousands of passers-by can see a sea of Muslims in prayer with the slogan, ‘Prayer is for God alone’.

 For me personally, this advert and its slogan are fitting reminders that all my actions are to worship God, and this life is indeed like the time sat under the shade of the tree...” 

Bookmark this

Add to DIGG
Add to
Stumble this
Share on Facebook

Share this

Send to a Friend
Link to this

Printer Friendly

Print in plain text




Leave a comment


Sign in or Register to leave a comment