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Muslim-Turned-Christian: America’s Youth Are Believing the Same ‘Anti-Israel Lies’ I Once Learned

Michael Foust | CrosswalkHeadlines Contributor | Updated: Dec 13, 2023
Muslim-Turned-Christian: America’s Youth Are Believing the Same ‘Anti-Israel Lies’ I Once Learned

Muslim-Turned-Christian: America’s Youth Are Believing the Same ‘Anti-Israel Lies’ I Once Learned

A former Muslim-turned-Christian apologist asserts in a new column that Palestinians have bought into “anti-Israel lies” that he was taught during his youth and that Israel must launch a “media outreach” to combat the false narratives. 

Brother Rachid, a Moroccan-born Christian apologist who hosts the show Let’s Be Clear on Alkarma TV, writes in the column at All Arab News that he grew up “with a sense of anger towards Jews.”

“In school, we were regularly exposed to distressing images of Palestinian children being killed, arrested, and mistreated by Israeli soldiers,” Rachid wrote. “This prompted us to write essays and recite poems in support of their cause, often citing religious texts against the Jews. At the mosque, sermons frequently condemned Jews, and during our prayers, we fervently invoked divine retribution upon Israel and the Zionists.”

When Iraqi President Saddam Hussein fired SCUD ballistic missiles at Israel in 1990, Rachid and his friends rejoiced. 

“I distinctly recall women in our neighborhood expressing their joy through wailing ululations each time news of an Iraqi attack on Israel aired on our local TV news broadcast,” he wrote. “Moroccan newspapers even published political cartoons and caricatures, portraying Israelis in a state of extreme fear due to Saddam’s actions.”

Years later, when suicide bombers targeted Israel in the early 2000s, the Arab media “once again portrayed Israelis as the aggressors, killing Palestinians who were portrayed as innocent victims and merely trying to resist ‘occupation’ and reclaim their homeland.”

“It is difficult to articulate the depth of pain, hatred, and anger that consumed us,” Rachid wrote.

The current conflict in Gaza is following a similar pattern, he asserted.

“I can vividly recall how I was religiously manipulated by Muslim clerics, newspapers, and TV anchors to embrace a cause that, upon reflection, was based on lies,” he wrote. “Like millions in the Muslim world, I grew up a victim of relentless propaganda that indoctrinated children to harbor vicious, anti-Semitic, and anti-Israel sentiments based on a completely distorted view of reality. Today, by God’s grace, however, I’ve undergone a significant transformation.”

Rachid has spent much of his time “educating” himself about the conflict and about the “anti-Israel lies” he heard, he wrote. 

“The narrative we received omitted crucial details, like the fact that there never existed a distinct Arab country named ‘Palestine’ in all of human history,” he wrote. “The narrative also conveniently overlooked the United Nations’ proposal in 1947 for two states, one for the Jews and one for the Palestinians, which the Arabs rejected, opting for war instead. 

“It was never communicated to us that Jews faced terrible persecution in numerous Muslim countries in the Middle East and North Africa in the years before the establishment of Israel, leading them to seek a secure homeland. Instead, we were fed a narrative depicting Jews as outsiders from Europe who unlawfully seized land that didn’t belong to them. What we weren’t told was that Jews did, in fact, reside in the Holy Land for thousands of years before the 20th century.”

He had never heard that, in the Bible, “God gave the Jewish people the land of Israel as an everlasting possession.”

“We weren’t told that it was the Europeans – specifically, the Roman Empire – who cruelly drove the Jewish people of Israel out of the Holy Land and scattered them all over the earth,” he wrote. “We weren’t told that Adolf Hitler and his Nazi regime exterminated six million European Jews in the Holocaust. Nor were we told that Jews from Europe joined those 850,000 Jews expelled from Arab and Muslim countries to re-establish their ancient homeland in the Biblical land of Israel.

“We certainly weren’t told that the Jewish people didn’t ‘steal’ the Holy Land,” Rachid wrote. “Rather, encouraged to return to the Holy Land by international documents and proclamations like the Balfour Declaration and the San Remo conference, the Jews began immigrating there, legally purchased land, began building homes and farms and communities and peacefully tried to settle there. Only much later did I learn that the Arab natives who pursued peace with the Jews were accepted to be part of the newly formed state and became lawful citizens of Israel. Only later did I learn that approximately two million Arabs are citizens of Israel today, about 20 percent of the entire population, with all the legal rights of Jewish Israelis.”

The “false narrative” about Israel he heard as a youngster is still circulating and is even being fed to youth in the United States and other Western countries, he wrote. 

“Kids on TikTok and other social media platforms are repeating the same lies I learned when I was a kid,” he wrote. “Even students in prominent American Universities and colleges are adopting the same false narrative. Money from Qatar and the power of its media arms are spreading this misinformation everywhere. 

“It’s time,” he wrote, “for Israel to invest much more aggressively in media outreach to combat these lies, recognizing that the battle extends beyond physical conflict into the realm of ideas, to effectively counter the global anti-Semitism and baseless anger generated by such false narratives.”

Photo Courtesy: 'Brother Rachid's Story'/Call of Love Ministries via YouTube

Video Courtesy: Call of Love Ministries via YouTube

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist PressChristianity TodayThe Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

Muslim-Turned-Christian: America’s Youth Are Believing the Same ‘Anti-Israel Lies’ I Once Learned