A mum-of-two has told how she was inspired to convert to Islam – after helping a victim of honour-based violence as part of her job in the police.
Police Community Support Officer Jayne Kemp, 28, decided to find out about the faith while helping a Muslim woman suffering domestic abuse.
After speaking to other Muslims on Twitter, she was inspired to give up her Catholic faith to fully convert last year and now lives a completely Islamic lifestyle.
She now goes out on her PCSO patrols in?Eccles, Salford, wearing the traditional hijab headscarf and makes time up at the end of her shift to attend Friday prayers.
Jayne, single mum to a son, nine, and daughter, seven, formerly converted in a Shahada ceremony last April and now plans to change her name to Aminah.
While her children spent Christmas Day at their dad’s so they could still celebrate, she went round to her mum’s – but had to cook her own dinner so it would be halal.
Jayne, who joined GMP in August 2009 and lives in south Manchester, said: “It started when I had a woman approach me at work who was experiencing honour-based violence.
“Where I work in Eccles there’s a big mosque and big Muslim population, so I thought I should find out more about it.
“I’d thought Islam was all about women being forced to slave away in the kitchen – but found out it was about being generous with your time, patient and respectful of others.
“As I looked into it I saw similarities with Catholicism and also values like looking after your neighbours and valuing the elderly that older people say younger people don’t have any more.
“I wasn’t looking for any religion at the time but for every question I got answered about Islam I just had five more – I think I fell in love with it.”
Jayne made the decision to tell colleagues she had converted when she wanted to start wearing a hijab to work – and says they have all been supportive.
She is now working with the Greater Manchester Muslim Police Association to design a regulation police hijab and tunic – as one has never been needed before in the force.
Jayne said: “I was worried about what my colleagues would think but they have been so understanding.
“People in Eccles have been great too – most don’t even mention it.
“If my children had struggled with me covering my hair I wouldn’t have done it.
“They have both asked a lot about it but I would never push Islam on them and they will be brought up Catholic.
“I just hope by speaking out I can show it is OK for a Muslim woman to work in the police force and also change negative stereotypes about Islam.”
Jayne, who grew up in Wythenshawe, said: “My family in general are supportive. As long as I’m happy, they’re happy.
“I was very open about my reading and studying Islam. My sister said the other day I’m the happiest she’s ever seen me.”
Jayne was helped to find out about Islam by Muhammad Manzoor, who runs Muslim Twitter account Local Masjid from his Whalley Range home.
He said: “I was humbled Jayne was asking me these questions as it made me find out more about Islam too.
“She has found this religion for herself and hopefully it shows Muslims can mix in society without compromising their faith.” (Manchester evening news)