My father was a Palestinian Muslim who taught English and Islamic studies in the Holy Land. My mother was an American who married my father during his studies in the United States in the year of 1956.
Fearing the impact of the American way of life for their two children and while my mother was pregnant with me, my parents left to live in Israel in 1960 which was called Jordan at that time. When they arrived to Bethlehem I was born. As my father changed jobs, we moved to Saudi Arabia, then back to the Holy Land -- this time, to the lowest place on earth, Jericho.
I can not forget the first song I learned in school just before the Six Day War titled "Arabs Our Beloved and Jews Our Dogs." I used to wonder at that time who the Jews were but with the rest of the kids, I repeated the words without any knowledge of their meaning.
As I grew up in the Holy Land, I lived through several battles between the Arabs and the Jews. The first battle (while we lived in Jericho) was the Six Day War when the Jews captured old Jerusalem and the rest of Palestine. This was a great disappointment to Arabs and Muslims worldwide.
The American Council in Jerusalem came just before the war to evacuate all the Americans in the area. Since my mother was an American, they offered us assistance but my father refused and turned them down because he loved his country. I still remember many things during the war -- the noise of the bombing and shelling that went on day and night for six days, the looting of stores and houses by the Arabs in Jericho and people running to cross the Jordan River from fear of the Israelis.
The war was called the Six Day War because it was won in six days and on the seventh day a Rabbi by the name of Goren blew the ram's horn on the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem declaring the victory. Many Jews claim that this was a parallel to Joshua when he went around the walls of Jericho six times, then on the seventh day seven times, and on that day the priests blew the trumpets and everyone shouted with one voice and took the city. To my father in Jericho, it seemed that the walls had crumbled on him. During the war he was always listening to the Jordanian radio station. He used to say that the Arabs were winning the war, but he was listening to the wrong station. The Israeli station was announcing the truth of their soon coming victory. Instead my father chose to believe the Arabs who claimed that the Israelis were promoting propaganda.
Later on, we moved back to Bethlehem and my father enrolled us in an Anglican-Lutheran school as they had a better English course. My brother, sister and I were the only Muslims in the school. Being half Americans, teachers would beat us and students would laugh at us. When the Bible class started, I would leave the class and remained outside waiting. One day, I walked in the Bible class and the class 'bully' stood up to fight. He shouted, "We don't want this half American and Muslim to be here!" I refused to get out and the lady who was teaching the class asked me to sit down. Since then, I changed the school's policy and for the first time, the school allowed a Muslim to study the Bible. For the next three years, I studied it despite all the mocking.
Later, my father transferred me to the Government school where I grew in the faith of Islam. I was fed the idea that one day, a fulfillment of an ancient prophecy by the Muslim prophet Mohammed would come to pass. This prophecy foretold a battle in which the Holy Land would be recaptured and the elimination of the Jews would take place in a massive slaughter.
This prophecy in fact is documented in Mohammed's Book of Traditions which states the following:
"The day of judgment shall not come to pass until a tribe of Muslims defeat a tribe of Jews." (Narrated by Abu Hurairah, Sahih Muslim, Hadith #6985; Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 4, #177)When Mohammed was asked of the place this would take place, he said:
"In Jerusalem and the surrounding nations."During my youth, like my father, I was always tuned to Islam and what our Muslim teachers taught. Believing in Muhammad's prophecy, I offered my life to 'Jihad' or 'Holy War' as the only means to obtain either victory or martyrdom. In Islam martyrdom is the only way you can ensure salvation and enter into heaven -- especially since Allah and his prophet Mohammed promised it. As the Quran states it:
"Do not think of whom are killed for the cause of Allah (in a Holy War), to be dead but living with their Lord receiving his blessing". -- Sura: The Family of 'Imran ('Al-'Imran, verse 169)During school riots against what we called the Israeli occupation, I would prepare speeches, slogans, and write anti-Israeli graffiti in an effort to provoke students to throw rocks at the armed Israeli soldiers. We shouted, "No peace or negotiations with the enemy! Our blood and our souls we sacrifice to Arafat! Our blood and our souls we sacrifice to Palestine!" and "Death to the Zionists!"
I vowed to fight my Jewish enemy believing that I was doing God's will on earth. I remained true to my word as I participated in many riots against the Israeli army, always trying to inflict harm to them by all means and methods I could devise. I would start and participate in any riot I could initiate: in schools, streets, and even on the holiest place (the Temple mount site) in Jerusalem called by Arabs (Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa). All through high school I would always be one of the first to provoke a riot.
Many others got involved in terror tactics against the Jews using bombs and armed assaults on Jews in an attempt to force them to leave Israel. But they never could pluck them out.
Nothing could change my heart, I could only die or a miracle needed to happen. The simplest way to describe myself is that I was one of those one would view on CNN throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails in the days of the Intifada or 'The Uprising'. I was one of these who Jews would call a terrorist. The interesting thing is that I was not only terrorizing but I was terrorized by my beliefs which required me to gain enough merit and good deeds to go to heaven. But I never was sure if my good deeds would outweigh my bad deeds in the scale when I would be judged by God. Of course to die fighting the Jews would ease Allah's anger towards my sin and I would then be secured a good spot in heaven with beautiful wide-eyed women to fulfill my most intimate desires. Either way, I won and terror was the only way.
I remember one time in Bethlehem all viewers clapped their hands with joy in a jam packed theater watching the movie, "21 Days in Munich". The moment we saw the Palestinians throwing grenades into the helicopter killing the Israeli athletes, hundreds of viewers yelled, "Allahu akbar!" (Allah is the greatest). This is the slogan of joy used by Muslims for victorious events.
I remember students used to ask the teacher during our Islamic studies in Bethlehem High School if it was permitted for Muslims to rape the Jewish women after we defeated them. His response was, "The women captured in battle have no choice in this matter, they are concubines and they need to obey their masters, having sex with slave captives is not a ‘matter of choice for slaves’". This in fact was written in the Koran, for it says:
"Forbidden to you also are married women, except those who are in your hand as slaves, this is the law of Allah for you." -- Sura: The Women (al-Nisa, verse 24)And in a different verse the Koran says:
"O prophet; we allowed thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowries, and the slaves whom thy right hand possesseth out of the booty which Allah hath granted thee, and the daughters of thy uncle, and of thy maternal aunt, who fled with thee to Medina, and any believing woman who hath given herself up to the prophet, if the prophet desired to wed her, a privilege to thee above the rest of the faithful". -- Sura: Confederates (al-Ahzab, verse 50)We had no problem with Mohammed taking advantage of this privilege as he married 14 wives for himself and several slave girls from the booty he collected as a result of his victorious battles. We really never knew how many wives he had and that question was always a debatable issue to us. One of these wives was taken from his own adopted son Zaid, as Allah declared that she was given to the prophet while others were Jewish captives forced into slavery after Mohammed beheaded their husbands and families.
In an attempt to change the hearts of Palestinians, the Israeli TV station would show Holocaust documentaries. I would sit and watch cheering the Germans while I chewed on food. It was impossible for me to change my mind or heart concerning Jews, only a "heart transplant" would do that job.
They once took our school for a week to a Jewish camp on the coast of Eshdod to mingle us with other Jewish schools. That didn't work. On the contrary, every teacher who spoke to a Jew was mocked.
My mother on the other hand tried to teach me a different idea at home that she called God's plan. She spoke to me about Bible prophecy; she said that the return of the Jews was pre-planned by God and had been fulfilled. This, to her, was Gods miracle in our generation for the world to see that "His will shall be done."
She also told me about many future events to be fulfilled in our generation which is surfacing every day now. She told me of false Messiahs and counterfeits; but all that had little effect for my heart was set on fighting against the Jews.
My mother was influenced by an American Missionary couple who she asked secretly to baptize her. When she refused to be baptized in a pond full of green algae, the missionary priest had to plead to the YMCA in Jerusalem to clear the pool of men, and my mother was then baptized. No one from our family knew.
Many times my mother would take me on trips to several museums in Israel and I fell in love with archeology. I was fascinated with it. In my many arguments with her, I would bluntly tell her that the Jews and Christians had corrupted the Bible. She responded by taking me to the Scroll Museum in Jerusalem and showed me the scroll of Isaiah, still intact. There was no one taking pictures of any Biblical errors to prove of any corruption and I could not respond to my mother.
I remember when I still tormented my mother by calling her an "infidel" and a damned American Imperialist who claimed that Jesus was the Son of God. I'd show her the pictures in the newspaper of all the teenagers supposedly martyred as a result of violence demanding that she answer. I hated her and always asked my father to divorce her and remarry a good Muslim woman.
I would even pose with a grim and sad face for the school picture as if I knew that my turn to be in the paper as a martyr would be next. Many times I risked being killed during youth protests and clashes with the Israeli Army.
I lived in Israel during the Six Day War, the PLO resistance, the Jordanian Black September civil war, the bloody wars in Lebanon, and the war of Yom Kippur. With no hope to destroy Israel and all these losses, we still hoped for that one victory since that is all it would take to destroy them.
My parents worried a lot about me as I got thrown in prison by the Israeli Army. My mother went to the American Council in Jerusalem to try to get me out. She was so stressed her hair started to fall out. In jail, I learned more about the art of terrorism and when I got out, I was more fanatical than before.
When I graduated from high school, my parents sent me to the United States to seek a higher education. Of course I got involved with many anti-Israeli social and political events. I still remember my favorite sick joke I used to like to tell my friends, that I hated Hitler very much because he never got the job done, that is: he never finished the Jewish problem "once and for all".
With Hitler being my idol, and Mohammed my prophet, I went on with my life with little regard for Jews, Christians, or anyone who was not a Muslim. I believed that one day the whole world would submit to Islam and that the whole world owed the Palestinians for their losses in all the battles with Israel. I also believed that Jews were prophet-killers and that they had corrupted the Scriptures to serve their evil desires. This is what Muslims teach. They also teach that Mohammed is our only redeemer and God's favored prophet.
As I lived in America, I could not forget the hundreds of thousands of Muslims who died just in the last 20 years in Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Afghanistan and in every single Muslim nation. I had to get revenge for them and someone had to pay the price. Of course there was no question in my mind that the Jews had to pay the penalty, somehow we always managed to twist things together and make it their fault.
One day I fought with a man and struck his eye blind, I was so happy to learn that the man was a Jew.
I was fascinated with Islamic history and I learned that the Islamic prophet Mohammed extradited a Jewish tribe from Saudi Arabia and ordered the beheading of all the men from another tribe. The women were taken as concubines. I used to believe, as Islam taught, that only a Caliph (Islamic ruler) could rule the world. Islam is not a religion for one's personal and moral life, but a system of law and government to the whole world. If not achieved through peaceful means, it would have to wage war against all who did not submit to Islam. With one billion Muslims living today, I believed that it could happen.
I'll be honest, all my life, I was terrified every time I read the Koran, as, after every other verse, there was always threats of hell fire for this sin and that. All I wanted was to reach out to my Maker to say I am sorry, forgive me, give me another chance. But I failed to keep count of all my sins and my good deeds and I was sure that at the end, my sins would outweigh my good deeds. So, I lived my sinful life depending on the love and mercy of my Maker. I always wondered about my destiny. Lost in my fears and doubts, I really hated the idea of killing for my salvation and, in reality; I never had the heart to kill a rat! How then could I kill a Jew!
Sometime in 1992, I was fascinated when I read a book titled "Armageddon, Appointment with Destiny", by Grant Jeffrey. Some of the things explained in this book had many detailed prophecies about Jesus: his birth, life, death and resurrection and the re-creation of the state of Israel. Many of these prophecies came to pass just as God put them down in the Bible! What also amazed me was to find out that the chances for a man to predict hundreds of historic events written hundreds and thousands of years before their occurrences are one in zillions. What is more fascinating is that the margin of error had to be zero, especially when the fulfillment of many of these prophecies was happening in my generation. This kind of evidence had to come from a divine origin that origin had to be God Almighty.
The struggle began. I was puzzled. How could the Bible be a fake and corrupted by the Jews if the land I grew up in, spoke and cried out as thousands of pieces of archeological evidence surfaced from the land of Israel confirming the Bible? The book of Isaiah, discovered in the Qumran caves, was found by a Muslim from the town next to Bethlehem by the name of Muhammad Deib while looking for a lost sheep. From that discovery, they found the rest of the Old Testament which matched the Old Testament Bible in our hands today. It contained hundreds of verses predicting the coming of Jesus Christ.
I had to read the Bible to know who Jesus really was, to find out for myself. God finally led me to get to the bottom line as I started reading what Jesus said:
"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, who was and is to come, the Almighty." Revelation 1:8Christ also said to the Jews:
"Truly, truly I say to you; before Abraham was born I AM (God)." John 8:58It amazed me to find similar claims between Jesus and Mohammed. These claims were serious, as Mohammed said:
"I am the beginning of all creation and the last prophet."He also said:
"I was a prophet of Allah while Adam was still being molded in clay."Moreover, he claimed to be the intercessor for Muslims in the Day of Judgment, by all of these, claiming to be the world's last and final prophet and savior.
These things always puzzled me. If Mohammed claimed all that he claimed, than who was Jesus who claimed to be our Redeemer and Savior? That question troubled me a great deal. One of the two claims had to be a lie, if there were two redeemers; this would be association with God since God is the only Redeemer.
Christ or Mohammed had to be the Redeemer and Intercessor for mankind. The Bible or the Koran had to be correct. One of them was pure gold and the other had to be a fake, but which one...?
Vowing to make a decision for "The Truth", I stayed up late many nights comparing many details between the Koran and the Bible. At some point during my study, I prayed saying: "GOD, you are the Creator of heaven and earth, the God of Abraham, Moses, and Jacob, you are the beginning and the end, you are 'The Truth', 'the only Truth', the Maker of the true Scripture, the one and only word of God. I suffer to find your truth, I want to do your will in my life, I long for your love and in the name of 'The Truth' I ask. AMEN!!!"
I wanted real gold and would not settle for an imitation. I had to scratch very hard to look beyond the surface of the world's plastic religions.
I believed in the Koran as the word of God because it had modern scientific laws and only a book with a divine origin could have scientific facts written a thousand years before their discovery. I spent a month using a computer program searching for scientific clues in the Bible. Every verse in the Koran that was a scientific miracle that led me and millions of Muslims to believe in the Koran was already in the Bible. Many stories in the Koran had serious errors and with my knowledge of history and archeology, I knew that the Koran had serious faults.
With many of these discoveries, my claim that the Koran was a miracle was in question. The Bible had all of its miracles hundreds and thousands of years before. My foundation shook and I felt the sinking sand under me. Even the nations mentioned by the prophet Ezekiel in chapter 38, whom God would destroy -- most of them were Muslim nations growing towards Islamic Fundamentalism today.
What also helped me was that God led me to discover, through my study of the Bible, hundreds of detailed and unique verses concerning prophecies fulfilled to the letter. No man has ever presented such detailed predictions of future events without having more errors than truth. God is the only one that holds the key to future events and only the Bible has the key, not the Koran which lacks those most important elements of "Salvation and Redemption". I knew at that moment I would have to be a fool knowing all of this and continuing worshipping a different God than the God of the Bible. I really thought with my prayer, that God will lead me to the Koran, but that was not the case with me. In fact it was the other way around, I had to give up my pride and be open-minded to truth.
God said in the Bible:
"For I am God, and there is no other; I am God and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things are not yet done, saying: My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure." Isaiah 46:9-10God not only foretold future events, but declared them and brought them to pass, unlike the Koran which simply used terror tactics to conform Muslims to believe. Since I did not believe that the Bible was corrupted, I spent many days searching the Bible for Mohammad, as he claimed to be in it, but never found him. If the Bible had been corrupted it had to have happened after the prophet Mohammed since the Koran always addressed the Bible that was 'between his hands' at his time. From that time until now Muslims have failed to provide one single Bible from the face of the earth to prove the corruption, and not one historical or archeological evidence has been discovered to disprove the Bible.
Even the death of that Muslim prophet was different than the death of Jesus, as Mohammed died on the lap of his favorite wife, Aisha, while Jesus died on the cross in order to redeem man's sins.
I felt sad that hundreds of millions of Muslims today live without ever hearing or being challenged with this kind of evidence.
It was astonishing to me to find that Muslims and the rest of the world recognized three main religions that worship God even though God said that He is One and his Word is One.
I was blind, but with the Bible only, I began to see -- I mean really SEE!!! With so much Biblical prophecy fulfilled showing the return of Israel from the grave and the attitudes of Muslims and the world towards Jews, the end time is near.
Man has never changed. He still kills his brother as Cain killed his brother Abel. The only difference is that we don't behead and stab each other in battles as much as we used to. We simply wage chemical warfare to exterminate each other like bugs as human life is becoming less and less valuable. I began to see that sin was the source of all man's problems and that the Devil was man's worst enemy, not the Jews, of whom Hitler exterminated 6 million less than 50 years ago. Ironically today, there is tons of literature being sold denying the incident even occurred. I wondered what would happen if a Hitler or a Mehdi or an Islamic Khalifa (Caliph) came to power and has what we have today: all these nuclear bombs capable of destroying earth seven times over. God led me to look at the world that I live in and ask myself if the world today so foolishly denies the Jewish Holocaust despite all the evidence we have, why should I still wonder why most of the world today denies the Messianic claim of Christ and the accuracy of the Bible -- especially when the evidence is all around.
God opened my heart and mind and led me to see how people today deny all the proofs He has provided for us in His Word, adapting themselves to false forms of worship.
The Lord began to show me the satanic influences which affected my way of thinking. Regardless of my Islamic background, I used to think these influences were from God.
I was led to a new view of the world and the meaning of life and saw the need for salvation. Today, we all can see man's goal for a world government waiting for the Devil to be the king!
"Babylon" is being revived from the grave to unite the world one more time; we have only changed its name to "The New World Order" when it should be called "The New Babylon". I started reading the Bible and began to wonder why Zechariah prophesied:
"For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem, the city shall be rifled, and the women ravished." -- Zechariah 14:2In Islam I was taught that the second coming of the Messiah was in Islamic prophecy. He was portrayed as the one to break the cross and kill the pig, another setup for Muslims to follow the "false" messiah, the Mehdi, the coming Antiochos Epiphinias.
Contrary to Mohammed's prophecy, the Bible prepares its readers that the outcome of the siege in the time of Jacob's trouble will not be the total annihilation of the Jews but that Christ himself will descend on the Mount of Olives for judgment as He fights the enemies of Israel. Unfortunately, it will be too late for repentance and redemption for non-believers.
The saddest part is that hatred towards Jews is not an old out-moded idea from the far past. Millions of Muslims today have the same sick idea that one day they will do the same to all Jews in the Holy Land as Mohammed did to the Jews in Saudi Arabia.
In fact, the permission to kill Jews and Christians and to take their wives as concubines was engraved in the Islamic "Holy Koran" and is the main cause for the hatred of Jews by Muslims to this very day.
The word "Truth" was stuck in my heart day and night, pounding on my soul as I continued to compare the two books and to finally conclude that the Bible could be proven beyond any shadow of a doubt to be true gold. Not only by hundreds of ancient prophecies that came to pass, but by one ancient word created by God from the time of Jacob until our generation. For all who doubt, that word was and still is 'Israel'.
Israel's existence today, and the re-gathering of the Jews from ALL parts of the world is an irrefutable proof that the Holy Bible is the true Word of God. God scattered them throughout the whole world and then re-gathered them again from ALL nations back to their original land in fulfillment of His promises in the far past, until our present, for He said:
"I will gather you from ALL the nations, and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive." -- Jeremiah 29:14The true God has never changed, He is still the same. I also learned that my enemy, the Jews, were chosen by God to write God's Word and God's plan for salvation through Jesus the Messiah, the only Messiah and Redeemer for man. I also learned that Jesus, the man from my hometown, was a Jew and that even my hometown was Jewish 'Beth-Lechem', which means 'Home of the Bread', as He said:
"I am the Bread of Life, he who comes to me shall never hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst." -- John 6:35.Beth-Lechem was given its name before Jesus came to this world. Jesus was from the people of my enemy, the Jews. Yet, He died for my sin. I had never heard of an enemy who died for another enemy and loved him so much that he allowed Himself to be beaten, spat on, mocked and finally crucified. Would your enemy die for you? Yet He said:
"Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you." -- Matthew 5:44.The Truth was in front of my very eyes, knocking constantly on my heart, and wanting to come in. I called on The Truth and He answered, I was blind and sought the truth, and now I see. He knocked on my door and I opened, and now had set me free! Christ said:
"I am The Way, The Truth and The Life, no one comes to the Father except through Me." -- John 14:6My way of thinking, my feelings, and my goals in life began to change. I began to feel for the Jewish people. All the hatred left me. The desire to see them hurt was no more a thing in my life. Now, I hurt for them and pray peace for Jerusalem continually. Instead of laughing at images of the Holocaust on TV, I weep for them. I am even ready to give my own life for them, as did my Lord. I say it despite the outpouring of hate that could come from my own fellow Arabs and Muslims.
Yes, I say it to the whole world, I love Jews. I love them because of their Messiah. I love them because they brought Light to the world and through them came the Light and the Truth and for that I love Jews. I no longer despise them and I know from the Bible that the Jews are God's chosen people to give light to Arabs and to the whole world if we only allow them. For God made them a blessing to the world and we need to love and support them as God said to Abraham:
"I will bless those who bless you and I will curse him who curses you, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." -- Genesis 12:2Knowing the truth transferred my way of thinking from believing in Hitler to believing in Christ, from believing lies to knowing the truth, from being spiritually sick to being healed, from living in darkness to seeing the light, from being damned to being saved, from doubt to faith, from hate to love, and from evil works to God's grace through Christ. This transformation taught me that without the (true) word of God, things could look good on the surface but in the core lies deception. I accepted Jesus the Messiah who died for all of our sins as my Lord and Savior; to Him I submit.
"Come to me all you labor, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." -- Matthew 11:28Thank you, Lord Jesus, for fulfilling your promise.