Ex-Muslim on the Run for Conversion

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From the Gaza strip to neighboring Egypt, his father is promising to kill him for becoming a believer.

Now he's on the run with his wife and little baby.

Mohammed Hijazi's father always taught him to hate Christians. And yet Mohammed's Christian neighbors in his home town in Egypt always treated him with love and kindness.

The more he learned about Islam, the more he began to feel distant from the "god" of Islam.

That was the beginning of a quest to find out more about Jesus Christ.

About three years ago, he found a loving father in the God of the Bible.

He wanted to publicly profess his conversion on his Egyptian national ID card that, among other things, lists a person's religion. He approached a lawyer to see if he could help him.

Somehow Hijazi's story was leaked to the press and unleashed a fire storm of controversy that seems to have swept every major Arabic-speaking television station.

Adding fuel to the fire, Mohammed's friends began appearing on different TV talk shows to damage his character, even going so far as to call him "disturbed."

A few months ago, Mohammed's highly publicized case went to court and the judge denied him the ability to change his religion from Islam to Christianity.

If Mohammed should attempt to go against the court, he could face three to 10 years in prison and a hefty fine.

Mohammed and his then pregnant wife Christina began running from the law. Just over a month ago, she gave birth to baby Miriam alone and in hiding. Even her family swore to kill her as directed by Muslim law.

"I love my parents so much," said Christina. "I want them to know that I am praying that the Lord will open their hearts and minds. That He would show them the way and that they would get the same blessings that I am getting."

Mohammed's family is just as angry. In a recent interview to the local papers, Mohammed's father said, "I am going to try to talk to my son and convince him to return to Islam. If he refuses, I am going to kill him with my own hands."

Shortly later, Mohammed released this response:

"I would like to send a message to my dad. I saw what you said in the newspapers. You say you want to kill me; to shed my blood in public. But I love you so much because you are my dad and because Jesus taught me to love....I accepted Jesus Christ willingly and nobody forced me....I forgive you. No matter what decision you make. No matter what you do. To my dad and mom, I say Jesus Christ died to save me."

An Islamic council issued a Muslim edict called a "fatwa" back in 1978 that still stands today.

It condemns Mohammed and Christina to death for becoming believers.

Where does that leave their little daughter Miriam?

"I don't think that God is asking you to make your granddaughter an orphan by killing her dad," said Mohammed.

But under the same fatwa, Miriam will be killed anyway at the age of 10 if she does not choose Islam.

*Original broadcast February 22, 2008.

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