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Which Footballers Converted to Christianity from Islam?

A growing number of famous footballers made a decision as a Muslim to become a Christian. They practiced Islam for many years before converting to Christianity. A choice with courage and a powerful testimony for living faith in Jesus Christ. Here is a list of popular Muslim footballers who converted to Christianity:

1. George Weah – Liberia

He was born in 1966 and became a football professional as a teenager in Liberia. Later he played for famous European football clubs like Monaco, AC Milan and Chelsea. George became in 1995 the player of the year by football association FIFA. He is probably the best football player from Africa of all times. After a long life as a Muslim, Weah made the decision to become a Christian. However after some years he had doubts and started with Muslim practices again for ten years. [1]. Finally, he found peace again with faith in Jesus Christ. George Weah is now a protestant Christian [2].

2. Djibril Cissé – France

Djibril was born in 1981 in France as the last child of immigrants from Ivory Coast. He started his football career when he was 8 years old. Cissé was a famous professional football player for several European top clubs like Auxerre, Liverpool, Marseille, Sunderland, Panathinaikos, Lazio and Queens Park Rangers. He was a Muslim till 2007, when he made the decision to accept Christianity. Since he was married in 2005, his wife Jude Litter played an important role in his conversion to Christian faith [3]. He stopped his football career in 2015 at the age of 34.

3. Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila – United States

Kabeer was born in 1977 in Los Angeles, U.S. His parents were both Muslims from Nigeria and he has been educated as a Muslim. His family’s last name, Gbaja-Biamila means ‘big man come save me’. He became a successful American football player and played for the Green Bay Packers. His father, who was all his life a Muslim, told him Christians were weak and have no discipline. Therefore he started reading the Bible to refute Christian faith. However, the result was that he met a woman who became his wife. She prayed for him to have a relationship with Jesus Christ [4]. Not long after that he discovered that whoever wrote this Bible sure gave everything to God. He converted to Christian faith in the year 2000. Kabeer used his academic education to serve as a volunteer financial adviser at his church to teach people how to manage money with Biblical principles [5].

4. Akbar Gbaja-Biamila – United States

Akbar was born in Los Angeles, U.S. as the younger brother of Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila. He became famous by a career as professional American football player and played for Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers and Miami Dolphins. His mother converted from Sunni Islam to Christianity. She was woman of prayer and told Akbar that the Lord would lead and guide his steps. Akbar converted to Christianity when he was in college.

5. Tunch Ilkin - Turkey

Tunch Ilkin was born in 1957 in Istanbul, Turkey. He immigrated with his Muslim parents to Chicago when he was two years old. He started a career as professional American football player for Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers. After he stopped with football, he became vice-president of the NFL Player's Association for five years. As a Turkish Muslim, Tunch grew up with a typical Muslim mentality in which God would weigh your good versus your bad in how you spent eternity. But his football friends told him that salvation is only possible with Jesus Christ as Savior. Tunch accepted Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of his sin and now he is a pastor of Men's Ministry at Bible Chapel in the United States [6].

6. Raghib Ismail – United States

Raghib was born in 1969. He was a popular professional football player of both American and Canadian League. He played for Dallas Cowboys, Carolina Panthers and Los Angeles Raiders. His fans know him as "Rocket" Ismail. Raghib became on the list of Greatest College Football Players of All-Time. His Muslim father educated him in the Qur’an. When he was 9 years old he had memorized 40 Qur’an surahs. However, the spiritual problems with demonic powers remained. When his father died, he went to his grandmother, a Pentecostal Christian. She recommended him to attend church services. When he was 13 years old, he accepted Jesus Christ at a concert by Christian singer and Evangelist Leon Patillo. Today he has a ministry to give testimonies about Christian faith [7].

7. Qadry Ismail – United States

Qadry has a football nickname "The Missile" Ismail. He was born in 1970 as the younger brother of Raghib. As a professional American football player, he was in the team of Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, Baltimore Ravens, and the Indianapolis Colts. He won Super Bowl XXXV with Baltimore Ravens. Qadry raised in the Islamic faith till he went with his brother to their grandmother. He converted to Christianity in the same time his brother did. [8]

Notes

  1. BBC, You quizzed George Weah, http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/sports_talk/forum/1550731.stm7
  2. Protestante Digital – TAGS (Retrieved April 29, 2017), http://protestantedigital.com/l/tag/Weah
  3. Jean-François Fournel, La Croix, Dieu et les footballeurs réunis dans un livre, http://www.la-croix.com/Actualite/Sport/Dieu-et-les-footballeurs-reunis-dans-un-livre-2014-11-05-1232546
  4. Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, http://www.thegoal.com/players/football/biamila_kabeer/biamila.html
  5. Mike Miller, Member Spotlight: Kabeer and Eileen Gbaja-Biamila; former Muslim and NFL player is now a Christian financial advisor, https://samaritanministries.org/blog/member-spotlight-kabeer-and-eileen-gbaja-biamila-former-muslim-and-nfl-player-is-now-a-christian-financial-advisor
  6. The Bible Chapel, Meet Our Pastors, http://www.biblechapel.org/about/staff/
  7. Ken Walker, When Muslims Find Jesus, http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/supernatural/2732-when-muslims-find-jesus
  8. Paul McMullen, Ravens' Ismail: Hate no answer, http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2001-09-19/sports/0109190077_1_qadry-ismail-ravens-muslim