From Muslim Militant to Persecuted Christian Missionary

Israel Today speaks with a former jihadist who was then hunted as an apostate for turning to Jesus

By Rami Dabbas | | Topics: Islam, CHRISTIANS
Dheyaa Ibrahim appearing on Arabic-language Christian television. Photo: YouTube screenshot

He fought with the pro-Iran Iraqi militias in Syria and witnessed sectarian crimes committed by Muslims against each other, Sunnis and Shiites alike. As a result, he decided to leave Islam and convert to Christianity. Turning to Christ made him an “apostate” and he was hunted by the same Islamists he had previously served. But it also turned him from a person full of hate and violence to one overflowing with love and peace.

Dheyaa Ibrahim is an Iraqi Christian from a Muslim background (sometimes referred to as “Muslim Background Believers”) and currently resides in Germany. He has repeatedly appeared on the Arabic-language Christian channels ABN Sat and Al Hayat, as well as other Christian missionary outlets. The following is Ibrahim’s brief exchange with Israel Today.


Israel Today: Tell us about yourself and why you went to Syria?

Dheyaa Ibrahim: I am an Iraqi Shiite Muslim by origin. I was born in Baghdad to a poor religious Iraqi family. My father left my family and separated from my mother when I was a child, and with time I had to become the breadwinner for the family. I later joined an Iraqi militia that is loyal to Iran in order to earn a monthly salary that would support me and my mother.

With the outbreak of war in Syria, I volunteered to fight in order to obtain a monthly salary that would sustain me. I witnessed massacres in Syria carried out by Sunni and Shiite Muslims against each other. It was a psychological trauma that stuck with me even when I returned to Iraq. Because of the horrors that I had witnessed, I decided to leave Islam.


What brought you to faith in Jesus?

After returning from Syria, I met an Iraqi pastor who called me to salvation and to accept Christ. I had a spiritual void in my life after abandoning Islam, and so I accepted.

Soon after I began receiving threats, and so I escaped to Turkey and then to Lebanon. There I met a Lebanese pastor named Amal Saad, and I lived with him for several years. During that period I learned the Bible and was baptized.

At the end of 2019, I was threatened and harassed by a group of extremists because of my appearances on Christian missionary channels, as well as some of my own videos posted to Facebook. So I fled to Greece.

Life was difficult in Greece. It was there that I met Pastor Danny, an Iraqi, who gave me shelter at the Baptist Church in Athens for two years. However, I was again threatened by the same extremist group that chased me in Lebanon. We reported this to the Greek authorities, and as a result of these threats I went to Germany. I am currently working to bring the Gospel to other Muslims.


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