I met Shaykha Tamara, as she is now addressed, in the fall of 1984, just after arriving at Macalester college in St. Paul, Minnesota. In less than four months, she converted to Islam, and converted my bohemian soul in the process.
When I look back at my life, I realise that it was through Shaykha Tamara that my identity was found and sculpted. In my eyes, she was how I discovered an imprint of my sense of self. While we have each since explored different flavours of our spiritual and intellectual paths, that grip on who I am remained untouched.
I watch her today as she inspires millions around the world, and I smile knowing that I was blessed with being the first to witness who she is.