Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A Jihadi's Conversion to Christianity

Writing for the NYT, Patrick Kingsley (assisted by Eiad Abdullatif) tells of "The Jihadi Who Turned to Jesus" (March 24, 2017), which sometimes happens, though not in numbers sufficient to make up for those Christians slaughtered by Islamists.

Still, one wants to know why this man - identified only as Mr. Mohammad - converted from radical Islam to what appears to be some sort of evangelical Christianity.

Kingsley says, "Exactly why he sought solace in Christianity, rather than a more mainstream version of Islam, no one can quite explain."

No one? But Mr. Mohammad explains his reasons, as we see in Kingsley's paraphrase: "Reading the Bible, Mr. Mohammad claimed, made him calmer than reading the Quran. The churches he attended, Mr. Mohammad said, made him feel more welcome than the neighborhood mosques. In his personal view, Christian prayers were more generous than Muslim ones."

Kingsley dismisses these reasons as "subjective claims," which is rather an odd way of treating a first-person report on conversion, for could anything be more subjective than a conversion?

The couple also have dreams that lead to their conversion: "For Mr. Mohammad and [his wife,] Ms. Rashid, perhaps it was their dreams that sealed their conversion. As the couple began to consider leaving Islam, Ms. Rashid said she dreamed of a biblical figure who used heavenly powers to divide the waters of the sea, which Mr. Mohammad interpreted as a sign of encouragement from Jesus. Then, Mr. Mohammad himself dreamed Jesus had given him some chickpeas. The pair felt loved."

Kingsley does not mention - though he may be aware - that dreams of prophets are to be taken seriously in Islam. The prophet Moses, probably the figure in Ms. Rashid's dream who divides the waters of the sea, and the figure of the Muslim prophet Jesus, in Mr. Mohammad's dream, legitimize the conversion to Christianity in the couple's mind. This happens more often than one might expect, for there are many cases in the Muslim world of men and women dreaming of Jesus (usually), who tells them to convert to Christianity.



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