I was born in 1989 in what is now the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana, to a non-practicing Muslim Arab father and a Russian mother. When I was three-years-old, we moved to Jordan, and I was raised in a non-religious home.
Fast-forward to 2010, I was in my third year of university studying surveying and geomatics en-route to a degree in civil engineering when I developed strong anti-Islamic feelings due to the spread of terrorism around the world. I was only 20-years-old. I started participating in anti-Islamization groups with many thousands of followers in Europe and the West. It wasn’t long before I deemed myself completely secular, with leanings toward atheism. I still suspected that God exists, but was by then convinced that He wasn’t to be found in Islam. Those honest enough to read the true history of Islam and its spread worldwide will find a litany of violence, incitement, invasion, war crimes, slavery, genocide and pedophilia.
So I looked elsewhere. There is a Buddhist meditation center in Amman, but I found no peace there. It was during this time of seeking that I even began to develop a phobia toward my own people, the Arabs. I got in touch with Jewish religious centers, even attending an online series of lectures in Kabala (Jewish mysticism) before one night having a dream in which Jesus appeared. For several days after I contemplated Christianity. It was the summer of 2011. I began researching churches online, and ended up contacting some of them. My curiosity eventually drove me to visit an international church in Amman where I met a blessed American pastor. I prayed and accepted Jesus that very night. Less than a year later I was baptized and immediately began studying the Bible and Christian theology.
As a child, I was neutral on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But when I accepted Jesus and started reading the Bible, I discovered just how much the Arab media had lied. The nation of Israel has existed for more than 3,000 years, and not only in the State of Israel’s current borders, but also in what are now parts of Jordan, Syria, Egypt and other Arab states.
As a Christian, I became aware that Jesus is Jewish, a descendant of King David, another Jew. It was the Muslim Arabs who were the invaders and occupiers. I now believe that the Jewish people remain God’s chosen people. To those who do not believe, especially atheists, I always tell them to just go visit the many Jewish monuments not only throughout the State of Israel, but throughout many Arab states, too. After discovering this truth regarding the Israeli-Arab conflict, I began to engage with Israelis, whom I found to be wonderful and kind, quite in contrast to my own people, who can often be rude and aggressive. I also found that Israel is the only country in the Middle East where true freedom is possible, especially for Christians, who are waning in number in every place in the region except for the Jewish state, where the Christian population is actually growing.
Now, to be pro-Israel is not easy in the Arab world, especially where Islam dominates. Being this way makes one the target of a lot of conspiracy theories, hatred, incitement and even discrimination. You must be willing to be called a traitor.
But I’m not alone. I know many supporters of Israel in Jordan. Depending on the person, his or her contacts, and the environment in which he or she was brought up in, many prefer to keep silent for their own safety. Others bravely speak out. I know people who develop business with Israelis, even known Israeli activists and politicians. Of course, doing so quickly earns a fatwa upon your head by radical Islamic terrorists, so one must be wise and know the limits.
Editor’s note: Rami Dabbas is a Jordanian academic and activist who writes a regular column for Israel Today looking at the situation of Christians across the Middle East and their views on Israel.