SYDNEY: Rachel McLellan, fiancée of Australian cricketer Usman Khawaja has spoken out about why she made the decision to convert from Catholicism to Islam.
The couple, Rachel McLellan, 22 and her Muslim groom Khawaja will tie the knot the next month, discussed everything in an interview to from their unlikely relationship to racism on the cricket field and Ms McLellan’s decision to convert to Islam last year.
Rachel McLellan has opened up about her decision to convert from Catholicism to Islam to marry Pakistan-born batsman – who became the first Muslim to ever play cricket in Australia, she loves. Leaving behind her Catholic roots, Rachel made the decision to convert to Islam last year.
Appearing on 60 Minutes, to be aired on Sunday night, the bride-to-be admitted she believed the misconceptions of the faith before she met Khawaja.
Rachel was not forced as she made the decision on her own to convert to Islam last year.
“I felt no pressure from him, not any pressure from his family. I just knew it was so important to him,” she said.
‘Ussie was the first Muslim I’d ever met,’ Rachel said, adding; “I was very ignorant around Ussie, I will admit to that. I only listened to what I had heard on the news. All I read was well, terrorists and awful things.’
The Pakistan-born batsman – who became the first Muslim to ever play cricket in Australia – said his faith has always come first in his life, adding that it came as a surprise when he fell in love with the Catholic school girl.
Despite trying to challenge the stereotypes of the religion, Khawaja said the pair have faced outrage since going public with their relationship.
Khawaja proposed to his then-girlfriend – who was born into a devout Catholic family – during a romantic New York holiday in July 2016.
As their relationship blossomed, the batsman said he never put any pressure on Rachel to switch religion for him – and insisted the decision was entirely hers to make.
‘I never was going to put a gun to Rachel’s head and say you have to convert,’ he said.
‘I told her I would prefer her to convert but she has to do it on her own. Unless it comes from you, comes from the heart, then there is no point doing it.’
By sharing their story, the pair seemed determined to break down the social barriers that still permeate society.