“I converted dozens of Christians to Islam, then later left Islam and myself converted to Christianity.” With these words, Muhammad Al Musawi began his recent interview with Israel Today.
An unusual figure from one of the most prominent Shiite Mulsim families in Iraq, Al Musawi was an official representative of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei in Baghdad, and was involved in issuing fatwas against the ayatollah’s enemies.
He converted to Christianity after Jesus appeared to him, and was subsequently sentenced to death for the crime of apostasy.
After fleeing the region, Al Musawi became one of the most well-known Arab missionaries among Muslims in Europe, in particular Germany. He spoke previously with Israel Today Arab Affairs correspondent Rami Dabbas.
Israel Today: What was the nature of your relationship with Ayatollah Khamenei?
Muhammad Al-Musawi: I studied at the Hawza – a Shiite Muslim religious school in Najaf in 2001. I then studied in Iran, and in 2012 was chosen to be the religious representative of Ayatollah Khamenei in Baghdad. There, I issued and communicated fatwas coming from Khamenei, and collected charity and aid from locals for the Islamic Revolution.
Why did you leave Islam and become a Christian?
By my efforts, dozens of Christians were converted to Islam. But years ago I traveled to Syria with a pro-Iran militia group and witnessed horrible massacres against those of other faiths, in particular Sunni Muslims. At this point, I no longer believed in the existence of God. Then Jesus appeared to me in four successive visions. I placed my faith in him, and fled Iraq. From that moment I dedicated myself to spreading the Gospel in Europe.
How did you escape after being sentenced to death for apostasy?
It was my own wife who reported me to the pro-Iran Shiite militias after I told her that Jesus appeared to me and I intended to become a Christian. I was immediately targeted. But a friend, who despite being Muslim, informed me of the date and location of my assassination, and I managed to flee to Turkey. After being “outed” again, the same friend saved my life for a second time, and I escaped to Germany.
Israel Today’s Middle East analyst Edy Cohen in 2019 tweeted a video clip of the former Muslim sharing his new faith in Arabic from a podium in Germany. The tweet sparked a storm of negative comments, but was also liked and shared by hundreds in the Middle East.