I was born in a very religious family. I have two brothers and we were all involved in a fanatic group that met in our home three times a week. As the youngest son I attended all the meetings where I learned all about Muslim doctrine and the Quran.
When I was a little boy I was so scared from what I would hear about death, the snakes and all kinds of God's punishments and sufferings after death. For me, God was a God of horror and fear whose main interest was torture. All of this information was presented in detail during meetings in our home.
Accordingly, I passed through a very difficult time as I couldn't cope with all the teaching I heard. So when my friend Zaki told me about the love of Jesus Christ as revealed in the Injil, I was very interested. Reading the Bible produced in me a state of confusion and a sense of animosity started to grow towards Islam.
As I read about the Christ in the Bible I was shocked and astonished by His words. He attracted me a lot and I found I couldn't resist His teaching. I started to compare between the words of the Quran and Christ's words such as "If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also." By contrast, in the Quran all commandments order you to fight and to kill people. I felt the Quran was against humans but the Bible was serving man. Jesus attracted me in a way that I felt as if I were a butterfly caught by a spider web. Accordingly, I felt that it was impossible to live without Jesus Christ because He gave real meaning to my life. I decided to follow Jesus and live only for Him.
I used to express all my thoughts and feelings with all the elders and friends. One day, I told the imam at our local mosque that I would rather go to hell with Jesus Christ than to heaven with the God of Islam! As a result, the imam and my family started beating me. My family used to beat me on a daily basis.
I escaped and ran to St. Mark's church, but the priest was afraid to accept me. My family tried to convince me to return to Islam. Several Christians advised me to leave the country and travel abroad. But deep in my heart I felt I was to serve the wonderful Jesus in my home country.
The priest put me in touch with Butros who found me a place to live in our capital city and began to disciple me. God started to use me and several of my friends including Mustafa and Hassan came to Jesus. I started to go around the country and to meet the converted Muslim people whom I had heard about. What I wanted most was to live as the apostles in Acts; that church was my dream. I liked their community life in which all people helped each other and no one was poor - for me that was the ideal.
In time the police began observing us. Two of my friends were arrested but the police didn't find me. I had a decision to make, either to run and hide, or to return home and have the police arrest me. I decided to come back to my apartment and wait for the police.
I don't know what I did to deserve the harsh treatment the police gave me. I didn't kill, steal, or trade in drugs. I was so angry. I lost consciousness several times as they beat me and when I stood up again they began to beat me again. Later they tortured me in different ways by electric shock, beatings, and walking on my body. I didn't imagine that there were such savage, cruel and hard people who would punish people in this way.
After we were released from prison, everyone thought we would leave the country but we were more insistent on staying because we became more strong and mature. My vision became clearer. We believed this is the time in which my country should be changed because many people had paid a high price.
My main aim is evangelism. I felt that churches had gone far away from the great mission, which is to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. The church's purpose is to affect society. I believe we have to participate in all fields of our society. Even though our society rejects us we have to be in art, journalism, theater, political parties, and government jobs.
Finally I want to say that we believe that God created a new generation of converted Muslims who will see revival in their Islamic societies. God is doing a lot and thousands of Muslims are coming to Jesus, but the media hides this truth.
Thank you for your prayers for me and my friends. Please keep praying for us, for our ministry, and for our Muslim community.