BOBBY KOH: A FRIEND INVITED ME TO A COMMUNITY WHERE ISLAMIC ISSUES ARE DISCUSSED. THE GARAGE OF A HOUSE WAS WHERE I WENT. THAT'S WHERE I MET MY FIRST RISALE-I NUR. THEY HAVE READ A VERY SMALL PART OF THE RISALE-I NUR, BUT I HAVE FOUND ANSWERS TO MANY QUESTIONS. THE DOOR WAS OPENED FOR ME TO UNDERSTAND THE TRUTH OF MY RELIGION. I SAID, THIS IS IT. THE ANSWERS TO MY QUESTIONS ARE HERE.
BOBBY KOH, WHO ATTENDED RISALE-I NUR CLASSES IN MELBOURNE, DESCRIBED HIS LIFE
We present to you our interview with Bobby Koh from Australia / Melbourne.
## Can you introduce yourself please?
My name is Bobby, I am 42 years old in 2021. I have been a practising Muslim since I was in high school. Many assume that I am a convert. But it is not so simple.
My father is a convert. But I was not raised as a Muslim. I ate pork, drank alcohol, studied a little and thought about girls a lot.
When I was much older, he had a serious talk with me and told me that he was a Muslim. It was my choice whether or not to become Muslim. I was surprised because I had never seen him pray or fast or even have Muslim friends. He tried to gave me a choice, but I never had a real choice. I was a son with a Muslim father. That day, I did not become a Muslim. That day, I learned that I was Muslim. It was a part of me.
After that day, it became my mission to understand they mystery of Islam. It was another 10 years before I found the answers I was looking for, in the Risale-i Nur.
## How did you meet the Risale-i Nur?
More than 10 years had past since I learned I was a Muslim. I was about 27. I was married and working in a bank. I remember that I was angry most of the time. I did not understand Islam at that time. Everything advice I was given had failed me. Pray more. Go to mosque more. Read this tafsir. Read this Hadith. Do more Dhikr. Love Allah more. Love your brothers more. Come to more meetings. Listen to more lectures. Dress more Islamically. Grow a beard. Give more money. Nothing helped me to understand the meaning of Islam. I had been trying for so long that it left a large hole in my life. Most of the time I was either angry that I did not understand my religion or I was distracting myself from my religion.
One day, I gave up. I decided to leave Australia and be a part of the world. I would stop trying to be a good person and enjoy the world with my wife. I planned to quit my job and find a job that would allow me to travel. I applied for a few different jobs.
One of these jobs had a group interview where the company would spend a day giving us group exercises and evaluate us. I arrived early and I met another candidate. There were only two of us there. Looking at him, I thought that he might be Muslim. When I heard his name, it sounded Muslim. I don't know why but I told him that I am Muslim and I asked him if he can pray at work. We spoke briefly about Islam before we attended to our interviews. In the end, neither of us got the job. After we were both rejected, he invited me to a discussion group. It was the garage of his friend. That's where I first met the Risale-i Nur. The small part of the Risale-i Nur they read gave me answers and gave me more questions. A door of understanding was open to me. This was it. This was the answers I was seeking.
## What is a difference between a reader and a non-reader?
Someone once told me that the Risale-i Nur is a medicine to cure the sicknesses of our modern times. If this is true, then aren't the Risale-i Nur students like doctors in a hospital? Yes, a hospital has nurses who know about medicine. But it is the doctors who know the most and therefore they have the most responsibility to help others. If this is true for doctors to sure physical sickness, then I think that readers of the Risale-i Nur have more responsibility to cure spiritual sickness. A reader has more responsibilities than non-readers.
I think that there are many other differences. I have only read the Risale-i Nur in English, so I don't think I can fully answer this question. In many ways, I have never read the real Risale-i Nur. So maybe I am a non-reader.
## Do you have any thoughts or opinions about the Risale-i Nur and its readers?
It is strange to me that so little is known about the Risale-i Nur outside the Risale-i Nur community. I used to live close to a Turkish mosque and some of Muslim friends at university were Turkish. But it was more than 10 years before I heard the name "Risale-i Nur". After I started reading the books, I asked my Turkish friends why they never told me about the Risale-i Nur, but to them it was just another book. They were non-readers, and the readers were hidden far away. Every little has changed today. You can try it too. What can you find out about where to learn and read Risale-i Nur in Australia?
## How did you meet the Australia Light Foundation?
I met the Australia Light Foundation about 5 years after I started reading the Risale-i Nur. Most of the Risale-i Nur groups in Australia are concentrated in Melbourne. There are about four to five groups here. One day the Australia Light Foundation was giving our group a tour of their campus one day, and I attended. I was impressed by their organisation and their friendliness.
I was reading Risale-i Nur with another Turkish group at that time. After that group tried to operate a business and failed, they split up. That's when I started to attend Australia Light Foundation sohbets.
I now support the English speaking youth sohbet at the Broadmeadows Dersane, and I also meet with some readers from Turkey once a week. I used to regularly attend Turkish sohbet as well. The Australia Light Foundation has many Turkish sohbets. My hope is to learn enough Turkish so I can read the original Risale-i Nur and attend Turkish sohbets with the rest of the community.
Interview: EMRE TUNCEL