A former Muslim imam in Africa is sharing his story of how he converted from Islam to Christianity and now preaches Christ to Islamists throughout his country.
World Watch Monitor recently released the video testimony of a man who once was taught to persecute Christians as a Muslim and is now facing persecution himself as he preaches the gospel as a convert to the Christian faith. Tofik—not his real name–shares that as a child and young adult, he participated in violence against Christians as instructed.
“In school I only learned about Islam,” he stated. “Parts of our teaching were about destroying Christianity. So we did what we learned, by attacking Christians once we finished our training.”
“Our teachers would tell us every time there was a new church in town and we were told to go and attack the people and destroy the church,” Tofik continued. “So that’s what we did.”
Tofik was selected to receive continuing studies in Islam and went on to study in Saudi Arabia. He then became an imam and worked to extinguish Christian evangelism in his African village, forbidding anyone from preaching Christ within its borders.
But in 2002, his life changed forever.
“There was an incident where I had a vision from the Lord early in the morning around 3 a.m.,” Tofik explained. “In the vision I saw Jesus very clearly telling me to follow him.”
He told his wife about his dream, but she was skeptical. When he went back to sleep, he had the vision again.
“Jesus appeared saying ‘It’s Me, follow Me. When you follow me you will pay a price, there will be persecution in your life, but in the end you will be victorious. I am with you,’” Tofik said.
His family continued to reject his story.
“After my dreams I again shared with my wife and she was reluctant to encourage me to follow Christ,” Tofik recalled. “I also shared the situation with my eldest son and he was also reluctant, so the rest of my family rejected the idea of following Jesus.”
He began attending a local church, and while some were unsure if his interest was genuine or not—and feared that he might have ulterior motives being an Islamic leader—he began exhibiting changes to show repentance.
When word spread that Tofik had converted to Christianity, he became the target of Islamic violence.
“[T]hey destroyed my house, setting it on fire, and they took my cattle, and the remainder of my property,” he said. “They then falsely accused me of burning another house, so I was jailed and taken to court. It was only in the court process that the witnesses proved their dishonesty by having contradicting testimonies.”
When the former imam was released from jail, he began preaching the gospel to Muslims.
“The Bible became my weapon. I traveled many places to preach and teach about the Christian faith,” Tofik recalled. “I planted a church right in the compound where I live and many people decided to follow Christ. And as a result, local villagers were upset. So again, they attacked me physically and burned my house.”
Although he continues to endure beatings and other brutality for the name of Christ, Tofik said that he takes it all in stride.
“I want people to realize that persecution isn’t all bad. It has some good in it,” he stated. “When I face persecution, I know God will do new things and this is not the end—that my life is not the end here.”