I grew up in a Christian family in New Zealand but decided that Christianity and all other religions were illogical, and so I became an atheist at 11 years old. After finishing high school and moving to Australia, I went to university and studied international relations, focusing on Indonesia and Asia. At that time, I also spent 5 years learning about Islam. I finally became a Muslim in Indonesia after I realized that Islam is a logical religion. I now have more than 20 years of experience in studying religion and teaching people about Islam and Christianity.
After teaching English in Jakarta for 15 years, I set up Blue Bamboo Foundation (Yayasan Bambu Biru) with my friend Dr. Irwan Kreshnamurti as a not-for-profit NGO. We want to create free educational and social programs in Indonesia. There are 60 million students and 3 million teachers here, but many teachers need help to improve their skills. Our program will provide free training materials for teacher trainers or school principals to use in short workshops. If it succeeds, it will become a free global teacher training program, for all developing countries. We are still looking for funding.
For more than 20 years in Indonesia, I have continuously carried out fundraising for charity and social programs to help orphans, disabled children, and poor children, in and around Jakarta, and in some other regions.
I have studied Islam with:
- KH. Masyhuri Syahid MA. (1933-2007). Head of the Fatwa Commission in Majelis Ulama Indonesia, the Indonesian Council of Scholars.
- Prof. Dr. Ali Mustafa Yaqub (1952-2016). Founder of Darus Sunnah International Institute For Hadith Sciences, and former Grand Imam of Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta.
- Dr. Cholil Nafis Lc. Head of the Dissemination (Da’wah) Commission in Majelis Ulama Indonesia, the Indonesian Council of Scholars.
- And many others.