A former imam from Egypt with strong family ties to the Muslim Brotherhood leadership who converted to Christianity, said Friday that some Muslims in the U.S. are using "Islamic deception" to fool Christians into believing misconceptions about the religion.
Mark Christian, who became a Sunni imam at the young age of 13 because his great uncle was a co-founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, detailed during a webinar hosted by the American Pastors Network how he began to question Islam around the age of 23, and eventually left the religion. He explained that he lived "dead inside" for a period of six or seven years before the "truth" ultimately led him on a journey to Christ that took over 10 to 15 years.
"If I look back at my life, I see that Jesus was at every corner trying to get me in, and many times I listened and many, many times, I ran away," Christian said. "But God lured me in and I became a follower of Jesus Christ, and my story is really in the process of being put in a book."
Christian, who is now the executive director at the Nebraska-based Christian nonprofit Global Faith Institute, explained in the webinar, titled "Is Islam Luring the American Church Into Denying Jesus?" that "Muslims are not the enemy, but Islam is."
"It is the sin that we are fighting and not the sinners. We are supposed to love the sinners," he said. "We need to purify our hearts from hatred for any human being and to try to reach out with love but no compromise whatsoever."
Christian, however, asserted that although Muslims are not the enemy, some Muslims in the West are trying to distort the truth about what Muslims really believe in order deceive Western Christians into thinking that Muslims believe the same things they do.
"Many Christians actually want to believe these things are true, others are taking them with a grain of salt, and some don't understand what they really mean," Christian explained. "I want to go one after another and talk about those main things we hear a lot in media, at the church ..."
The first misconceived notion that Christian tackled is the claim that Muslims also believe in the Bible.
"You hear a lot Muslims or others say, 'Muslims are very good because they believe in the Bible as well, and there are verses in the Quran that says that,'" Christian said. "Well, there is no verse in the Quran that says they believe in the Bible. As a matter of fact, [look at] Quran 2:75–77. ... When they say we believe in the Bible, you would think that they believe in the Bible in its current form. The reality is, Muslims say, 'We believe in the Bible.' And you want to believe it's the Bible in your hand. But, they believe in something different."
"The Bible that they believe in is called the "Injil," which is supposedly written by Jesus Himself, and it has been distorted and changed over time," he explained. "The Bible has nothing to do with what they believe in. Some people want to say that they believe in the Bible. That is not the case."
Christian continued by emphasizing that for many Muslims, their concept of the Bible is the collection of three different writings. One [they believe was written] by Jesus called the "Injil," one by Moses called "Torah" and one written by David called "Zabur."
"All of those books that have been written by Moses, David or Jesus Christ are not available right now whatsoever," Christian asserted. "And, the Bible that you have in your hand, the Quran clearly says that it is distorted and not to be believed, not to be followed, not to be written, and not to be touched."
Christian also touched on the claim that Muslims also believe in Jesus Christ and the second coming of Christ.
"There are two places I want you to look into. No. 1 is Quran 5:72 and 9:30, and the Hadiths. Hadiths are the sayings of Muhammad," Christian added.
"The difference between Jesus according to Islam and Jesus Christ according to Christians is crucial. No. 1, they believe that Jesus was just a prophet and He did not die on the cross whatsoever but was replaced miraculously on the day of crucifixion by Judas, and Jesus was elevated up to Heaven," Christian added. "So, He never died whatsoever and He was never crucified whatsoever, and He is not the son of God. He is just a prophet. This is a crucial [difference] between our belief in Jesus and their belief of Jesus."
Christian added that many Muslims believe Jesus will come back to destroy the Christian Church and "fight for the cause of Islam" before dying after He defeats the Antichrist.
"When they say, 'We believe in the second coming of Jesus and you believe in the second coming of Jesus,' even though it sounds the same, it is completely different," Christian emphasized. "When Jesus comes back, according to Islam, He will come in to destroy the cross, demolish the Church, and have a sword in His hand to fight for the cause of Islam. When He defeats the Antichrist, He will die like every other human being. This is right before the judgement day, or the violent day, according to Islam."
"So, [Christians] believe in the second coming of Jesus to elevate those who believe in Him and Islam believes that the second coming of Jesus is to come to demolish those who believe in Him as the Savior," Christian continued.
Christian further explained how "prophets" are viewed in Islam.
"The other thing that we hear a lot of Muslims say is, 'We believe in the prophets,'" Christian said. "The Quran 3:67 is very clear. They do believe in all the prophets. They believe in Adam, Eve, all the prophets from Abraham, to Moses, to Noah, to Jesus as a prophet. Here is the big difference and this verse is very clear. All of the prophets, according to Islam, were Muslims."
"What does that even mean even though Muhammad came as the final [prophet]?" he asked. "To be a Muslim is to believe in Allah alone, to either follow Muhammad or prophesize about Muhammad before his coming.
"They believe, according to the Quran, all the prophets lived their life believing in Allah and sharing the message of Allah and telling people to wait for Muhammad, for his coming as the prophecy of all the prophets. When he comes, he will come with the real and final message of Allah. All the prophets, according to Islam, are Muslims because they prophesized about Muhammad."
Christian also touched on how Islam defines the terms "neighbors" and "friends," saying that the Quran states that those who are non-Muslims are not worthy of being considered human beings. He even cites Quran 5:51 to argue that the Quran tells Muslims not to take non-Muslims as friends.
"O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies," the passage states. "They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you — then indeed, he is [one] of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people."