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Are Middle East Muslims converting to Christianity?

Although the Middle East is a region still dominated by Islam, we see since 1990 a rapid growth of Muslims converted to Christianity. Even popular Muslims in the Middle East have also come to a testimony that Jesus Christ is Lord. There were already Muslims who converted to Jesus Christ in the time of Muhammad. Ubaydallah b. Jahsh lived in Muhammad’s time. He was one of the first Muslims in the Middle East who became a Christian [1]. Today there are more than 100,000 Muslims from Iran who became a Christian [2]. There are 180,000 Arabic ex-Muslim citizens in the U.S. who became a Christian. In Europe, a rapid growth of converted Muslims came from Syrian and Iraqi refugees after 2015 [3]. Most of them are from Egypt and Palestine Territories, but the numbers from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Syria are growing fast [4].

1. Love has more power than violence

Converted Muslims to Christianity say that love is stronger than forced control and violence: “A religion that began with violence cannot lead people to freedom and love. “Jesus Christ said 'those who use the sword will die by the sword.' This really changed my mind”. Muslims have not been educated about the full truth of Islam: “I found that the history of Islam was completely different from what we were taught at school. Maybe, I thought, it was a religion that began with violence” [5]. Mosab Hassan Yousef was a fighter against Israel as son of a Sheikh and Hamas founder in the Palestinian Territories [6]. In an Israeli jail he discovered, he is missing something in Islam: “to love your enemies” (Matthew 5:43-48). Khalil passed ISIS terrorist training camp and hated Christians. However his search to refute them with words ended in the conviction that the Bible is the truth, not the Qur’an [7]. He became a man of love and peace instead of a hate filled fighter because he was touched by the love of Jesus Christ.

2. Christianity is more powered by divine revelation

Evangelical, Pentecostal and many people of other Christian churches have life changing experiences by an act of God. There have been dreams of Muslims about Jesus before 20th century. Muslim Al-’Uris received in the Middle Ages a revelation about the crucifixion. Jesus appeared to him in a dream. Al-’Uris asked him: ’Did the crucifixion really happen?’ Jesus said, ’Yes, the crucifixion really happened.’ [8]. Since last decades of 20th century we see a rapid growth of Muslims touched by revelations of Jesus Christ. A Muslim terrorist of ISIS had killed many Christians. Then Jesus came to him in a dream and asked him to follow him and to become his disciple. Finally he met a missionary of Youth With A Mission (YWAM). [9].

3. Christianity is more acceptable than Islam

Another reason why Muslims convert to Christianity is that ex-Muslims say it is more in line with common sense, philosophy and modern society. Model information technology, including satellite radio, television and internet has opened the eyes of many Muslims about the negative elements their religion and the benefits of Christianity. Social and political problems in Islamic countries has caused many Muslims to question their faith. Some Muslims tried to deny and attack modern society by Muslim fundamentalism. For others, Islam was already to strict and too far from daily practices and they started looking for an alternative lifestyle [10]. An example is Hormoz Shariat, an artificial intelligence scholar in Iran. He became aware when he was in the U.S. that "Jesus didn’t look like the prophet in the Koran" and became a Christian and Evangelist [11]. It has been a signal to Islam that professors at Al Azhar Islamic University in Egypt left Islam and became a Christian [12].

4. Conclusion

We see last decades that more and more Muslims from the Middle East convert to Jesus Christ. The reason are too much violence under Muslims, religious experiences of Jesus Christ and the fact that Islam cannot adapt to modern society. Common element of all ex-Muslims who became a Christian is that they discovered something new in Christianity that they missed as a Muslim.

Notes

1. Ibn Warraq, Leaving Islam. Apostates Speak Out, Prometheus, Amherst, 2003, 40.
2. Duane Alexander Miller, Power, Personalities and Politics: The Growth of Iranian Christianity Since 1979, Mission Studies 32, 2015, 66–86.
3. Muslim converts breathe new life into Europe’s struggling Christian churches, in: Fox News, March 21, 2017, http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/03/21/muslim-converts-breathe-new-life-into-europe-s-struggling-christian-churches.html, Retrieved July 9, 2017.
4. Duane Alexander Miller, Patrick Johnstone, Believers in Christ from a Muslim Background: A Global Census, Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion, Volume 11, Article 10, 2015, 8.
5. Rebecca Flood, Express, Christian Conversion: Wave of Muslims in Middle East turning to Christ after violence, Jan 10, 2017, http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/752551/Muslim-Christian-convert-Islam-church-Iran-Europe-religion, Retrieved July 9, 2017.
6. CNN'S Amanpour, An Israeli-Hamas Double Agent Speaks about Career in Intelligence, http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1003/02/ampr.01.html, Retrieved July 9, 2017.
7. ISIS-Fighter Converts To Christianity, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__sukFZPOxc, Retrieved July 9, 2017.
8. Tarif Khalidi, The Muslim Jesus: Sayings and Stories in Islamic Literature, Harvard University Press, 2001, 205.
9. Carey Lodge, Christian Today, ISIS militant converts to Christianity after meeting Jesus in a dream, http://www.christiantoday.com/article/isis.militant.coverts.to.christianity.after.meeting.jesus.in.a.deam/55408.htm/, Retrieved July 9, 2017.
10. Duane Alexander Miller, Patrick Johnstone, Believers in Christ from a Muslim Background: A Global Census, Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion, Volume 11, Article 10, 2015, 12.
11. Hormoz Shariat: Bringing the Gospel to Iran Christian, http://www1.cbn.com/700club/hormoz-shariat-bringing-gospel-iran, Retrieved July 9, 2017.
12. Mustafa, Against the Tides in the Middle East: The true story of Mustafa, former teacher of Islamic history, Cairo, 1997.

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