A report from NBC interviewed some Muslims in Syria who are moving to Christianity due to ISIS’s terrorizing of them.
A new church is attracting converts. It is the first local Christian place of worship for decades.
“If ISIS represents Islam, I don’t want to be a Muslim anymore,” Farhad Jasim, 23, who attends the Church of the Brethren, told NBC News. “Their God is not my God.”
Religious conversions are rare and taboo in Syria, with those who abandon Islam often ostracized by their families and communities.
“Even under the Syrian regime before the revolution, it was strictly forbidden to change religion from Islam to Christianity or the opposite,” said Omar, 38, who serves as an administrator at the Protestant church. (He asked for his last name not to be revealed for safety reasons. The church’s priest declined to be interviewed.)
“Changing your religion under ISIS wasn’t even imaginable. ISIS would kill you immediately,” he added.
While residents are still dealing with the emotional scars left by the brutality of ISIS, Omar says many people in Kobani have been open-minded about Christianity.
The report goes on.
Jasim, who works as a mechanic, converted to Christianity late last year.
He says he was jailed by ISIS for six months in early 2016 after the militants discovered he didn’t know the basics of Islam. He says he was tortured in ISIS captivity and forced to read the Quran.
“After I witnessed their brutality with my own eyes, I started to be skeptical about my belief,” Jasim said, anger rising in his voice.
After hearing about the Church of the Brethren — which opened in September and is part of a denomination with its origins in 18th-century Germany — Jasim decided to visit and see for himself what it was all about.
“It didn’t take me long to discover that Christianity was the religion I was searching for,” he said.
But walking away from Islam meant his relationship with his parents and other family members was over.
Fighting back tears, Jasim says he hopes that his loved ones will not only one day forgive him for finding a new faith, but consider converting themselves.
Like Jasim, Firas also turned away from Islam after witnessing ISIS atrocities. He converted to Christianity around six months ago.
“ISIS members were terrorizing people and then going to the mosque to pray to Allah,” said Firas, 47, who is a farmer and asked for his last name not to be published for security reasons. “After their prayers, they would leave the mosque and terrorize people again.”
Not quite sure what to make of this story. It isn’t shocking that Muslims would want to leave the faith after being tortured by Islamic extremists in Syria but it is unclear how many have turned on the Islamic State.
Hopefully, ISIS continues to be rejected.