Islam and Christianity. How do we begin to talk about this elephant in the room? On the one hand, Islamist persecution of Christians is a plague in places like Iraq, parts of Africa, Marawi City in the Philippines, and elsewhere. We must pray more ardently than ever for our suffering brothers and sisters in Christ.
However, persecution is not the only aspect of this tenuous relationship between two of the world’s so-called “Great Religions.”
We hear stories, perhaps less covered by mainstream media, that conversions to Christianity abound in traditionally Muslim territories.
But aside from sweeping movements – be they violent persecutions or trends of religious demographics – there are the individual, human stories that make up the world around us.
These personal stories are often more interesting and more heartening than statistics, zoomed-out perspectives on global trends… even trends that are urgent and which call for intervention on a larger scale – from governments and institutions that carry enough weight to get things done.
But then I’m reminded of Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who set about to save one baby, one destitute beggar, one sick and abandoned human person at a time, and in the process, she set the world (and millions of hearts) on fire for the good.
Just as Jesus, Himself, made personal connections with his Apostles and disciples, it seems to be the personal stories that help us to see, to listen to each other, and to love on a human scale.
So, today, we admit to being tongue-tied in the face of the conflict – spiritual, temporal, ideological, and theological – between Christianity and Islam, and instead, we present two personal testimonies of ex-Muslims who encountered and chose Jesus Christ. We encourage you to read, listen and learn more from each of them.
Two Ex-Muslims Who Risked Everything, Lost Much, and Gained Christ.
Nabeel Qureshi is an American apologist and former Muslim. His story is quite amazing, having grappled with a Christian college roommate for the better part of several years, seeking to convince his friend that Islam was the truth.
You can learn more about Nabeel Qureshi at the following links:
1. His own website, NabeelQuereshi.com
2. Interview with Al Kresta on Ave Maria Radio.
3. His testimony in book form, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus.
4. This story and update* on Nabeel’s terminal battle with cancer, from Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.
*Nabeel Qureshi is, indeed, dying of stomach cancer. Young husband and father to a little girl, we ask all our readers to pause and offer a prayer for this brave, truth-telling convert to Christ:
Father, we thank you for the conversion and witness of your beloved servant, Nabeel. We ask you to be with him and his family in these trying times and in his suffering. We ask you to pour your love and grace out upon him, to heal him physically, to bind up all his wounds, to heal any broken relationships with his family of origin who struggled to forgive his departure from Islam. May his testimony continue to resound throughout the world and bring fellow Muslims to an encounter with Jesus and Mary.
“I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.” (Philippians 1:18-20)
Mario Joseph’s background and conversion might be even more dramatic than Nabeel Qureshi’s. Groomed and trained for most of his childhood to become an Imam, Mario Joseph experienced nothing short of a miraculous rescue from darkness and near death. Today, he is a tireless and joyful missionary for Christ, sharing his testimony and the Gospel through a traveling ministry and via social media. His video below is a bit longer, but we believe it’s time well spent, and encourage you to have a listen for yourself.
Places to learn more about Mario Joseph:
1. His personal facebook page.
2. His story from Catholic News Agency.
3. Dr. Mario Joseph’s YouTube Channel.
Some further resources on the Catholic response to Islam:
1. The Angelic Doctor St. Thomas Aquinas wrote his Summa Contra Gentiles between 1259-1265, in part to refute Islam.
2. Pope Benedict XVI visited the University of Regensburg in 2006 and delivered this famous lecture on September 12th, Faith, Reason and the University; Memories and Reflections, not explicitly about Islam, but – more pointedly – about the encounter between faith and reason, which Catholicism uniquely asserts to be not only reconcilable, but inseparably united in Jesus Christ, Logos Incarnate.
3. Another amazing personal testimony of conversion, the story of Daniel Ali, and the book he co-authored with Robert Spencer, Inside Islam: A Guide for Catholics: 100 Questions and Answers.