Former Jihadist shares life story and story of faith

Published 8:10 am Tuesday, May 28, 2019

From faith to faith, his devotion to his faith did not waver that much between his early life and later life, but the change in names, labels and methods signaled a transformation that would completely change his world view.

Former Jihadist Kamal Saleem shared his life story Sunday evening with those who gathered at Fellowship Community Church in Watauga, from growing up in the Middle East to his conversion to Christianity in his hour of need.

He said his story began at the age of seven when he was recruited by the Muslim Brotherhood, a sect of radical Islam.

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“I was taken out of school at seven years old, […] they said I was not smart enough,” Saleem said.

He said he went outside every night calling out to Allah, the Islamic interpretation of God.

“I wanted to have a relationship with him,” he said. “I had no relationship with anyone. My dad and I were separated.”

He said his family grew up dirt poor, to the point where he said he did not understand the concept of “riches” and what that really meant.

He said, to those who lived under the Jihadist tradition, Jews and Christians worshipped a false god, and therefore need to be changed. It was this mindset in which Saleem said he was raised.

A car accident during his time in the United States, however, changed his world view, as various members of the hospital staff began reaching out to him during his physical therapy.

“I never understood what Christianity was all about until I saw how they lived their lives,” Saleem said.

He said Christianity was not about what their book said but how they acted.

“I do not want anybody to tell me what your Christ said, or what your world said. I want to see how you live your life because your life is going to be the biggest Bible I have ever read,” Saleem said.

He said this revelation led him to one fateful day when he said his eyes were opened to what Christianity was really about and its potential role in his life.

“I decided I was not going to live where I came from,” he said.

After converting to Christianity, he changed his name to Kamal and officially converted to Christianity.

He said he did not tell anyone about his past until 9/11. Since then, he has traveled the country, speaking about his experiences with radical Islam and Christianity’s role in ministering to them.

He said many Christians refuse to share the Gospel with Muslims, labeling them as the enemy.

“We celebrate at the altar of fear, not the altar of the living God,” Saleem said.

Rather, he said it is God’s plan to deliberately reach out to Muslims, to share the revelation he already experienced.

“I have to stand for the truth,” he said. “Who will go with me to reach out to the Muslims?”