Hate is a powerful all-encompassing emotion; it can rob the heart and infect the soul. It can blind us from reasoning and compassion, turning individuals into fanatical extremists.
This is a true tale of one such individual, a young Muslim boy named Yassir, who was born in Sudan. A country located in northeastern Africa, and within perhaps the most radical Islamic sects on the entire continent, where children as young as 5 years old are indoctrinated to hate Christians and Jews, leading perhaps into producing some of the world’s most infamous Muslim extremists on the entire planet.
Yassir’s family, like most Muslims raised within this extremist culture was fanatical, and at the age of 8 young Yassir was forced to leave his home, as tradition dictated, and sent to an extremist Muslim Mosque, where his indoctrination began. There his head was shaved, and forced with other young Muslims to sit in a circle, where their teacher, a robed and bearded Shaikh, would stand in the middle of the circle and began reading from the Quran, along with his interpretation of what the Quran dictated.
They would recite and repeat passages from the Quran, as outlined by the Shaikh until Yassir, along with the other Muslim youths, could memorize every word along with its radical interpretations. If they failed to memorize a passage, the Shaikh would beat them with a long whip, until they could recite every word by heart.
It didn’t take long for young Yassir to become radicalized like countless other Muslims into hating everyone who wasn’t a religious Muslim, especially Christians and Jews.
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And this is where our story actually begins, as told by Yassir about 20 years after being radicalized, along with his amazing transformation and subsequent conversion to Christianity.
In an inspiring 8-minute video clip Yassir recalls that after being radicalized as a young Muslim he was ready to commit “Jihad” in the name of “Allah” against both Christians and Jews, in particular against a young Christian boy named Zachariah.
Although he didn’t know Zachariah, Yassir grew to hate him because he was the only Christian student in the school. Zachariah was also an extremely bright and intelligent kid, which also angered Yassir and the other Muslim kids, who were brainwashed into believing that Christians were inferior infidels.
Yassir, along with 5-other Muslim youths, would on occasion wait for Zachariah along a deserted road to beat him up. Usually the quick skirmishes lasted a few minutes resulting, at best, in a bloody nose or a slight facial burse, as the Muslim thugs quickly ran off before anyone saw them.
However Yassir’s hatred grew even further because Zachariah refused to go to the authorities or report them to school officials. Yassir and his gang of Muslims decided to take their hatred for Zachariah even further and hatched a plan to actually murder Zachariah.
The five of them knew that Zachariah would be taking the same deserted road on a certain night, and that’s when under the cover of darkness they mercilessly beat him to a bloody pulp, breaking his hands, both arms, and leaving him for dead, thinking that they had somehow served Allah.
Miraculously Zachariah survived the brutal beating, and still would not reveal the names of his attackers. However, unbeknown to Yassir, God was about to change his heart forever.
Only months after the incident, Yassir’s young cousin was stricken with a severe illness. Doctors were baffled as the young lad fell into a coma. They soon feared the boy would die. While Yassir sat vigil within the intensive care unit, two Coptic Christian priests approached Yassir and asked if they could pray for his cousin. At first Yassir refused their generous offer after seeing their crosses, however, for some unexplained reason he agreed.
The two Christian priests knelt beside the bed where Yassir’s cousin laid and began softly praying to God as if He were in the room beside them.
Yassir recalls; “It was as if they were speaking to an old friend.”
As the duo ended praying with an Amen, the young child opened his eyes for the first time in 4-weeks.
Yassir had witnessed a miracle. One of the men then asked Yassir if he believed in God and that God wanted to change and transform his heart. They then asked if he believed Jesus was alive. He said yes because Muslims believe that God took Jesus to heaven.
Within that intensive care room, Yassir turned his life around from a Muslim extremist to a true believer in Jesus.
Our story would usually end here, however it doesn’t. Recently Yassir traveled to Egypt to attend a Christian conference. There he met and spoke to several theologians within several different faith based organizations. One elderly Sudanese pastor in particular caught his eye. He looked familiar as he approached the gray haired pastor with the slight limp, Yassir began to suddenly weep uncontrollably, it was Zachariah.
Yessir recalls; “I hated him, he prayed for me!”
The two men hugged each other holding tight to one another. Zachariah then reached for his worn and tattered Bible, opened the holy book to the first page where he had written Yassir’s name decades ago. Zachariah had been praying for his conversion the moment he awoke from the beating on that fateful night.