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Raised Catholic, soldier and wife convert to Islam by Nancy Montgomery edited by Rachidm

ByNancy Montgomery Stars and Stripes Published: October 10, 2011

MANNHEIM, Germany — They’d both been reared Roman Catholic, she in Mannheim, Germany, he in Kissimmee, Fla. But when Spc. Chris Tarantino deployed to Iraq in 2006, his wife began to ask questions about life and death that led her to convert to Islam.



“I was really, really scared something was going to happen to him,” said Cristina Tarantino. She started to wonder what happened after death, she said, and how to best live life on earth. She was spending time with her older sister, who had converted to Islam after marrying a Palestinian, and she sought her sister’s guidance. Her sister’s answers about Islam made sense to Cristina and gave her some serenity, she said. She discussed her spiritual progress with her husband in frequent phone calls between Camp Taji, Iraq, and Mannheim. Even so, “I was kind of shocked when I heard her say it — ‘I’ve accepted Islam,’” Chris, now a sergeant, said. His first question was whether she…