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Dr Edward Moad, a US national and assistant professor at the Humanities Department of Qatar University, has been working in Qatar since 2008. He was raised in and brought up in a religious Christian family mainly among maternal relatives in the ‘Town of Independence’ near Missouri in the United States. The Town of Independence is well known for being the hometown of the 33rd US president Harry S. Truman (1945-53). The town preserves the late president’s mid-19th century Victorian style house as the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum. It also houses the former president’s private papers and mementos.
The city’s economy is primarily based on services and retail trade. The atmosphere of the town had been such, says Dr Moad, that the youths generally lead a carefree life. A majority of the youths from the town were serving in the hospitality industry mainly in fast food chains in nearby Kansas City, just around 11 km away. The basic needs were easily met by working part-time jobs on weekends, he remembers.
In his childhood, it was the financial condition of the family that was not allowing Dr Moad to buy and play with video games. However, he is still not in favour of allowing children to play with video games at a very young age. He is of the view that rather than video games, books are much more helpful for children to develop curiosity and intellectual thinking.
Dr Moad recalls how in his free time he used to obtain books from the library and listen to discussions of his family elders on topics like science, astronomy etc. Talking on religious topics was rare since there were no mainstream Christian groups or even a proper church in the town,” he recalls.
“These discussions helped me develop a kind of curiosity, and critical thinking in a sort of scientific way,” he says.
As for his hobbies during his school days, he says he had interest in the saxophone and used to play it with the school band. “I also worked in some fast-food chains as a part timer which was very common in the US. I was 15 years old when I received my first income from the part-time job. It was $4 per hour.”
In his last year at higher school, he came close to a fellow schoolgirl and they started liking each other. “Meanwhile, I met with some youngsters interested in forming their own musical group and make some earnings,” he recalls.
For Dr Moad, switching to guitar from saxophone to become a part of the group was no issue. He discussed his requirement with his mother and soon traded his saxophone with guitar.
The group decided to move to Kansas City for better opportunities. “As we moved to Kansas City, my girlfriend back in Independence town thought we were not going to have a better future as we were ‘an immature music band’, so she broke up,” he remembers.
Meanwhile, the only professional drummer in the group left too and joined another group in California. These incidents as a teenager, he says, pushed him to take life rather seriously and he lost interest in night parties etc.
He had a completely changed life now and moved back to school to finish his schooling and followed it up with graduation in philosophy. He later obtaining his doctorate. It was almost at the fag end of his graduation course when he got a copy of the holy Quran from a Singaporean Muslim girl college fellow who was studying sociology. “When I started reading the Quran, I found it more of practical, uncompromising, challenging and directly talking to you as to why you think, what you think,” he says.
“It was taking me away from speculation; it exposed the deceptions in me as I had been fooling himself. I felt as if the book had taken me out from illusion,” he notes.
In his last year of graduation, he got a job as substitute teacher in a special children school. It was during the summer vacations in the last year of his bachelor’s course in 1997 when he felt he was missing his Singaporean class fellow who had gone back to her family for vacations.
“I decided to visit Singapore and meet her family. She told me it would not be possible to marry her without embracing Islam. Since I was already convinced with the holy Quran’s teachings, and I was also getting the life partner of my choice, I embraced Islam in Singapore,” he says.
Dr Moad stresses that it was the holy Quran’s teachings that he decided to embrace Islam. “Our marriage was agreed upon for the next year. After returning to the US, I started looking for a better teaching job in a college.
“After my prayers I was making dua to the Almighty the Creator to guide me to seek a job in a college. Surprisingly, I soon received a telephone call from the college asking for some details about me. I was told that the college had decided to offer me the job.”
He married his Singaporean friend the next year and the couple got their first child in 2000. After obtaining his doctorate and working for around four years, the family moved to Texas and then to Singapore where he served for three years. In the year 2008, he got an offer from Qatar University where has been serving until date.
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