For safety reasons, the identity of this individual must remain anonymous.
My father was an extremist who abused my mother in front of our eyes. He locked my mother in the bedroom for a month, beat her till he made marks on her skin, and would come home trying to find a reason to beat us. This is the father example I had as a kid.
I grew up a devout Muslim who wanted to do whatever it took to please God, which included praying five times a day and fasting. I even went on a pilgrimage to Makkah (the holy city).
When I was 11 years old, my father decided to send me to school where they don’t teach anything but the Quran (the central religious text of Islam) and Sharia (the moral code and religious law of Islam). If I had stayed there four years I would have been shipped to Pakistan.
As a kid I didn’t know why my father sent me there, but later I found out that this was a school where they train you to be a terrorist. That’s why they don’t teach you any skills that would help you in life to get a job. The whole point is so you can go to jihad and kill yourself for the sake of Allah. I later find out that most of those teachers were child molesters. God helped me get out of there in the right time. I was a victim of child molestation and tried to escape from that situation. My dad refused to let me leave school but with God’s help; I was able to get away.
Like many of the other students, I always had questions in my mind about Islam that didn’t make sense to me. One of the main questions was about 9-11. I asked my father how they could kill innocent people in the name of Allah. He simply answered, “Jews are killing hundreds of Palestinians every day. Do you think this is fine?” His answer didn’t satisfy me so I began to doubt all the things I had learned growing up concerning Islam.
Years went by and I graduated from High school. The first thing I wanted to do was get out of my dad’s house and have some freedom. I moved to Syria for college, then transferred to Jordan and had the opportunity to speak with my mom. She was living in America; my cousins pooled their money and I was able to fly to America to see her after 10 years of being apart. My intention was to just visit her, but I decided to go to college in America. I realized that America was where I belonged.
My first introduction to Christianity was through my mother. I was so afraid she would go to hell, so I kept begging her to come back to Islam, praying and fasting for her. But God had a different plan for me. I started asking her about Jesus and how God could have a Son. Her answer didn’t convince to me at the beginning, but the more I asked about Jesus, the more I started falling in love with Him. However, when she said Islam can’t be a true religion, this is when I started researching to prove her wrong. Our conversations got intense and the topics got more sensitive. So I did my own research to prove her wrong. To my surprise, every time I tried, I came up empty handed.
Instead, I discovered I was wrong in my beliefs. This frustrated me; I started doubting Islam more than I ever had before. I remember many nights I couldn’t sleep, because I was confused and lost. I prayed to God every night to show me the truth. One day my mom’s friend who knew an Arab Egyptian Christian, thought it would be a great idea to meet with him. I was nervous; he was the first Christian Arab I’d ever met in my life. We went to Starbucks and talked about the Bible. He answered some of my questions. At the end he gave me an Arabic Bible as a gift. This was the first Bible I’ve ever had in my life.
I started scanning it, and then reading more and more. The first thing that caught my attention was God’s love that I never saw in the Quran. It was very hard for me to understand that God so loved the world that he gave his Son to take away our sins. I couldn’t understand that just by believing in Him and that I could be saved by what He did. Coming from an Islamic background, it was a very hard concept to comprehend.
Be sure to check this blog tomorrow for the rest of this tremendous story.