Imagine being a Christian leader, ministering in a Middle Eastern country, and under constant threat of being attacked, discriminated against and in fear for your life. Then imagine your telephone ringing, and the man on the other end is an ISIS leader known as a Prince of Isis, and he wants to meet with you.
This is a real story. This truly happened to our Help The Persecuted Field Ministry Team member Amin (called Peter in the video). And it’s true that our team member knew his life was in danger. Yet, he agreed to meet with this ISIS leader named Muhammad.
We’ve previously shared the YouTube video with you, but we have more context to share, plus an update to Muhammad’s story and where he is now. Let’s take a look back. . . .
ISIS Leader Questions the Faith of His Homeland
For Muhammad, the events leading up to his meeting with Amin started years before when—because of his high status among extremist groups and his radical faith, he held a high rank in an anti-government political party in Syria. This anti-government party included a judicial system, and his extreme faith and status propelled Muhammad into the highest seat in this court system. Muhammad oversaw and reviewed all of the decisions that this extremist court system made against infidels and violators of Islamic law.
As Muhammad reviewed various cases, he often felt in conflict with the decisions the court was making. He turned to the Quran and began to study its teachings intensely. It was then that he realized contradictions and inconsistencies within the pages of the text he held so sacred.
Slowly, Muhammad removed himself from court proceedings, yet, held onto the doctrine of his religion. When other extremist groups discovered he had distanced himself from court proceedings, a trained assassin was hired to end his life. Even his own family persecuted him for leaving his court seat since his extremist family largely controlled the area. His family gave him an ultimatum: Give your entire life to being an ISIS leader, and we’ll forgive you for leaving court. He took their offer, yet, he moved away from them to live in a neighboring country.
ISIS Leader Breaks Ties to Extremist Groups
At this time, many Syrians were fleeing the fighting in Syria and most became displaced in neighboring countries. The Syrian anti-government party sent money to Muhammad and instructed him to recruit former Syrians to return and fight against the government. He performed this work for a year, until a Lebanese intelligence agency began to track him and give him trouble. They detained him in jail for 10 days and confiscated his phone where they found information about the extremist groups he led.
When he was released from jail, he lost contact with all of his former group members. He was alone with no money, and nowhere to turn. He scraped by until, after eight months, members of his former extremist groups reached out to him again. This time, he refused to work with them. Irate, his former leaders threatened his life; in turn, he threatened to expose every one of their officials to the authorities. This encounter was the last contact he had with any of his former extremist groups.
God’s Sovereign Plan for Muhammad Unfolds
Sometime later as he was walking home, he approached the local vegetable stand near where he was staying, and noticed a Bible on the dash of the vegetable seller’s car. Friendly with the vendor, Muhammad asked about the Bible—the vegetable seller handed him the Bible as a gift.
As he began reading, there was much he didn’t understand. Having become acquainted with another Christian, Najim, Muhammad began to ask questions.
Najim brought Muhammad to a Bible study, and after the Bible study ended, Muhammad asked to speak with the leader . . . our local Field Ministry Team member Amin.
Muhammad’s Story of Radical Salvation and Redemption
A Radical Conversation Between Christian and Muslim
After the shock of answering a phone call from a renowned radical, Amin was able to set up a time and location for their meeting. Even as he set the appointment, Amin was filled with fear for his life. It would be nothing to Muhammad to kill a Christian pastor.
When the two met, Amin felt the Holy Spirit leading him to be bold with Muhammad—speak clearly and strongly. During their encounter, Amin declared, “Muhammad was the prophet of Satan, and the god of Islam is Satan himself.”
This angered Muhammad, and it took him back in his mind to his former self—a murdering, extremist ISIS leader. Muhammad began to consider how to kill Amin. Then Amin asked, “What do you want?” To which Muhammad replied: “I want salvation. I want redemption.” With so many conflicting emotions, Muhammad broke down in tears—something considered in his culture to be a shameful thing to do.
As Muhammad cried, Amin began to pray with him. Amin moved closer to Muhammad and put his hand on his shoulder. This caused Muhammad to cry even more.
Now even more confused and conflicted, Muhammad continued to consider killing Amin without anyone knowing. Were he still associated with radicals, he would have easily killed Amin, confident of little to no consequences. However, without the support of other radicals, killing a pastor would be riskier.
Though he couldn’t describe what happened in his meeting with Amin, Muhammad knew that an unknown, unseen entity had prevented him from killing him that very night.
God Works in Visions and Dreams
Sometime later, Muhammad had a vivid dream of Amin presenting him with a sealed envelope with blood oozing out from the sides. The blood smelled like a pleasant perfume.
Two days after the dream, Muhammad met with Amin and retold the dream. Muhammad believed that the blood was a sign that either he would kill Amin and go to heaven, or Amin would kill him and he would still go to heaven—either way, one of them was dying.
It was then that Amin explained Christ’s death on the Cross for our sins—to save us from all unrighteousness. Amin explained: There is no salvation without the spilling of blood, Jesus’ blood.
Hearing this, Muhammad searched the Scriptures for himself, looking for passages about blood sacrifice. As their meeting concluded, Muhammad confided in Amin that he was in need of help—he was unable to provide for himself and find food. Amin provided food vouchers for their local market, and with this Muhammad felt the love of Jesus.
What Happens to Muhammad, the ISIS Leader?
The story of Muhammad’s salvation and redemption, and the part Amin plays in sharing the love of Jesus continued on through many circumstances and amazing miracles.
When we say that our Help The Persecuted Field Ministry Team is strategically positioned, we mean it. We rely on God to prepare places for us in cities throughout the Middle East and North Africa. We believe that God’s divine wisdom leads us and guides us; He puts men and women in our path who need discipleship and support as they navigate extreme, deadly persecution at the hand of family, friends, and community.
Help The Persecuted was able to support Muhammad in his faith journey because of your gifts and prayers. Read the inspiring update on this ISIS Leader here.