In every country in which the Islamic State (IS) is active, fear is widespread among Christians. Their cruel activities, however, have another side effect they definitely never intended: Muslims coming to faith in Jesus Christ. A young Algerian woman named Dalila is among these new believers.
The murders, beheadings, bombings and other crimes that have been committed in the name of Islam over the past few years, especially since the emergence of the ultraviolent, self-proclaimed Islamic State, have pushed many Muslims to question the divine origin of Islam. They have begun to challenge the “sacred” assertion that Islam is a religion of peace and that it is compatible with democracy.
Although she was born into a Muslim family and embraced the religion of her parents, Dalila had the courage to ask bold questions about the truth of the Quran and to ultimately find some of its teachings “unfair or foolish.” This questioning led her to discover the God of love in whom she now puts her trust.
“Even when I was a child, I asked many questions about the Islamic teaching given to us at school. I did not understand why the Quran incites so much hatred and requires Muslims to kill Jews and Christians. Also, I discovered that the status of women in Islam is not positive. A woman’s status is considered less than a man’s, and she is reduced to a sex object. Moreover, the Quran says that a woman is not as intelligent as a man and that she is always under scrutiny.”
These persistent questions caused the young Algerian woman to feel guilty throughout her life. “Whenever I read the Quran, I was frustrated. I often felt guilty because the Quran gives a negative image of women,” this single woman in her thirties shared. Dalila was also puzzled by the lack of freedom to search for the truth or to ask questions about the dogmas of Islam which are hard to understand.
“In Islam, you are not free to give an opinion. I always remember when our teacher of Islamic sciences spoke about the miraculous birth of Jesus, whom the Prophet named Isa, to the Virgin Mary. I spontaneously said that if there was no father then God must be his father. The teacher became angry and told me to never say that, as it is blasphemy.”
Even the life of the Prophet of Islam did not escape Dalila’s critical thinking. “I did not understand how a prophet may marry a six-year-old girl and sleep with her when she reached the age of 9. Today, girls are forcibly married to Islamists with the argument that they are following in the footsteps of their Prophet Mohamed,” said Dalila.
Faced with all these questions and desperate for truth, she prayed to God. “I asked God to give me some sign of His existence. I was going to become an atheist if God did not give me a sign,” she said. God responded almost immediately. “A few days later, I was invited by a friend to her home to watch the movie The Passion of Christ. At first, I told her that the film is forbidden to Muslims because it is blasphemous, but I ended up accepting her invitation. My friend explained about the suffering of Jesus Christ. He is the Lamb of God and died to redeem us from our sins. Suddenly, my heart became open to the gospel. I found a God of love, full of love for us.” Her life was radically transformed after this discovery. “I found peace.”
In Algeria—a country first thrown into chaos by a civil war in the 90’s and then infested by Islamist jihadists fighting against the government, its institutions and the people—many Algerians have been forced to question the teaching that Islam is a religion of peace and forgiveness. These questions are a major reason that many Algerians are turning to Christ, and the country now has dozens of churches.
Dalila’s family was upset with her decision to become a follower of Jesus Christ and asked her not to speak too openly about her conversion, because they feared that she would be persecuted. She has already begun to experience insults from others because of her faith in Jesus. Dalila is now a member of an Algerian church and has been baptized.
Father, we thank You for Dalila; this precious child of Yours whom You have drawn out of spiritual darkness into the light of Christ. We pray that she will increasingly draw near to You, abiding in Christ through the knowledge of Your Word and the work of Your Spirit within her. And, we pray for Your light to shine forth from her life drawing others, especially her family, into saving faith. We pray that You will use Your church to extend Your blessing, the fruit of Your Spirit, to the nation and that Your church will continue to flourish and bring honor and glory to Your name. In the precious Name of Jesus, who is gathering His Church around the globe, Amen.