Ex-Muslim spreads Gospel through catechism

Article Courtesy of the Lutheran Heritage Foundation

As a teen, Hesham Shehab took his gun and prowled the streets of Lebanon by night, stalking his Christian enemies. Today, he is a Lutheran pastor and translator/editor for LHF’s Arabic materials. It’s an amazing story of God’s ability to transform a dark soul.

In 1960, Rev. Shehab was born to a Lebanese Muslim family that traced their family heritage to the tribe of Muhammad, the founder of Islam. At the time, Lebanon’s population was about half Muslim and half Christian, and tension was high as the two groups’ militias constantly attacked one another.

Anger and desire for revenge burned within young Hesham. Recognizing his passion for Islam, intelligence and leadership capabilities, the local mosque recruited him for jihad and to preach. But on the very day that Hesham was to preach his first message, God intervened.

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Hicham Chehab

Hicham [pronounced HESHAAM] grew up in a world of bitter animosity between Muslims and Christians, which he experienced personally in a physical attack when only about 7. By age 13 he was recruited by an extremist Muslim group and later fought against Christians in the 1975 war in Lebanon. He was preparing to become a Muslim Preacher (Imam) when a car accident laid him up for a year. In 1980, in his first semester in college, his brother was killed by Christian militia. Hicham's response was to study by day, and by night take out his revenge in attacks on Christians. However, hearing the Sermon on the Mount, in a course of cultural studies (in college), brought him to faith. Later, Hicham earned an M.A. in the history of the Arabs and did Ph.D studies in the history of Islam. Hicham finished his pastoral education at Concordia, Fort Wayne, IN, and is currently in the Ph. D program there. Presently, Hicham, and ordained LCMS minister, pastors Salam Christian Fellowship and works as a missionary to the Muslims with the Lutheran Church in Illinois.