STOCKHOLM – The goalkeeper for Sweden national team under 19, Ronja Andersson, has converted to Islam, after years of studying the religion.
“I’m proud to be a Muslim,” she said in an interview with Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, Expressen.se reported.
Andersson, a member of the Uppsala Women’s Football team, said she was first introduced to Islam when she was 15-year-old by her friend.
Later on, she began to read about religion and then felt that she saw Islam in another light.
“I discovered that there were so many nice things that addressed me. I then began to attend religious events. I went to the mosque,” she said.
“First of all, people said that I just wanted to convert because of my boyfriend, but it’s definitely not. I made this decision without him,” she added.
Nevertheless, Andersson’s decision to become Muslim has faced huge criticism from people around her, including her family.
“They are full of prejudice against me. I was also exposed to hatred,” she lamented.
Yet, Andersson stressed that she was happy to become a Muslim.
“After I became a Muslim, I realized that I had entered a very beautiful religion. I believe in all the contents of the Quran. I know God and I feel his help,” she said.
Now she is learning how to fulfill the Islamic rituals, saying she plans to fast this Ramadan, set to begin next Wednesay, May 16.
Muslims make up between 450,000 and 500,000 of Sweden’s nine million people, according to the US State Department report in 2011.