Turning to Christ: An Interview With Muslim Background Believers
Former Muslims tell Israel Today why they boldly left Islam and became Christians
More and more Arab Muslims are questioning their faith in the aftermath of ISIS rampage in Syria and Iraq, and the realization that the widespread death and destruction was firmly based on Islamic teachings from the Koran and Hadith.
And for those who find themselves in such a situation, there are churches in the Arab world ready to embrace those who want to consider Christianity.
Many of our readers will be familiar with the term “Muslim Background Believers.” These are their stories.
“Their god is not my Lord”
Ahmad is a 26-year-old Syrian who was born Muslim, but today regularly attends church. “If these radical Muslim terrorist organization represent Islam, I do not want to be Muslim anymore,” he told Israel Today. “Their god is not my Lord.”
Religious conversion has always been forbidden in Syria, and those who choose that path are typically ostracized by their families and communities.
Hussein (55) works for a Protestant church in Irbil in Iraqi Kurdistan. He told us that “under Saddam Hussein, before the US invasion, conversion from Islam to Christianity, or vice versa, was strictly forbidden. When ISIS came, it was even more dangerous. You would not even imagine leaving Islam for fear the terrorists would execute you on the spot.”
While people are still trying to overcome the psychological trauma of the terrorism and the brutally imposed Sharia Law over the past decade, Omar from Iraq says that many Muslims in the Arab world are now open to Christianity.
“The majority of the Christian converts here come to faith in Jesus as a result of what radical Muslim terrorists have done for them and their families,” he explained. “No one is forced to convert from Islam; all we do is pray and spread the spirit of love and tolerance.”
“The religion I’m looking for”
Ali, a mechanic from Libya, says he converted to Christianity after being imprisoned by ISIS for 10 months in early 2017. He was tortured by the Islamists for not being a pious enough Muslim.
That ordeal led him to question his faith. When he heard about a nearby church that accepts Muslim Background Believers, which had opened In 2019, Ali decided to visit.
“It did not take me long to discover that Christianity is the only way to salvation,” he said.
As in nearly all such cases, Ali’s abandonment of Islam meant an end to his relationship with his family. But he still holds out hope that one day his family will forgive him and come to faith in Christ themselves.
“I choose hell”
Like Ali, Firas Jayed, a 41-year-old Iraqi who today lives in Bucharest, converted from Islam to Christianity after witnessing the atrocities of ISIS and the Iranian militias in Iraq.
“The Iranian-backed militias would terrorize people, and then go to the mosque and pray to Allah. The only difference between ISIS and the Iranian militias was that ISIS would cut off your head, while the Iranian militias would shoot you in the back,” Firas recalled.
But turning to Jesus only made him more of a target. Firas said that the Iraqi authorities jailed and tortured him for six months, before revoking his pharmacy degree and getting him fired from his job. When the Iranian-backed militias threatened to kill him, Firas’ brothers helped him escape Iraq, which earned them death threats, though they are still Muslims.
“If heaven is for Muslims, then I would choose hell to avoid spending eternity with them,” he lamented.
The common thread in all these personal stories is that the violence and hatred inherent to Islam are what drive Muslims to consider and covert to Christianity. Contrary to what some claim, the two religions are polar opposites. Islam demands hatred and violence in its sacred texts, while Christianity calls for love and peace.