This story begins nearly 10 years ago in northern Syria where a young man named Mohammad seemingly grew up in a moderate Muslim home. At the age of 15 however, a cousin began taking him to hear radical jihadist preachers from whom he learned and accepted some of the most extreme interpretations of the Islamic faith.
As a result of this exposure, when war broke out in Syria Mohammad found himself aligning with a series of radical rebel groups as the war developed. He found the experience of war difficult and traumatizing, but ideologically it drove him to further extremes and into one of the most radical groups in the region, the al-Qaeda affiliated al Nusra front.
It was while he was part of this group that he witnessed some of the most extreme brutality he had ever seen, including crushing enemy soldiers with a bulldozers and tying their genitals with string and forcing them to drink until their bladders explode. Nevertheless, by viewing these victims of war as the enemies of God, Mohammad says he was able to maintain a positive view of these events. That is, until he realized that the Syrian forces he was fighting against were using the exact same tactics, making the same claim to justify them, and doing so in the name of the exact same religion.
“I went to Nusra in search of my God, but after I saw Muslims killing Muslims, I realized there was something wrong.”
Disillusioned and questioning the motives of his comrades, Mohammad finally had enough and at the risk of his own life he deserted and returned home. One year later he and his young wife fled Syria altogether taking refuge in the city of Istanbul, Turkey.
Not long after arriving however his wife fell seriously ill and was showing no signs of improving. Now in Turkey, Mohammad was finally able to reunite by telephone with his cousin Ahmad who was now living in Canada, the very same cousin who had taken him to hear the Jihadi preachers as a teenager. After explaining the dire situation his wife was in, Ahmad interrupted, and said something that left Mohammad stunned! Ahmad had converted to Christianity! He asked Mohammad to take the phone and place it close to his wife so he and the small group that was with him could sing a song of praise and pray for her healing… in Jesus name! Mohammad was horrified and immediately refused, but he was also desperate and so after few moments to think about it he relented and agreed.
Just a few short days afterward his wife recovered and Mohammad called back his cousin, but this time to ask him to send someone who could tell him more about Jesus.
Earlier this month Mohammad, now 25 years old, and his wife sat in the basement of their apartment being interviewed by The Times of India. The Newspaper reported that when they arrived that Sunday Afternoon they found Mohammad surrounded by 22 other refugees who had gathered there for a Bible study and prayer meeting and that they all jokingly referred to their host as irhabi… the “terrorist”. Mohammad explained to the reporters that the title is actually quite fitting since after all he is indeed “a jihadi who turned to Jesus”.
This story was largely based off of a much longer more detailed March 27th article in the Times of India. Follow the link below to read more.The Times of India