Radical Muslim Who Converted to Judaism: 1 Man’s Insights

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Michael L. Brown

On June 12, the Jerusalem Post published an article by Ohad Merlin titled, “Gaza mosques to Jerusalem synagogues: A radical Islamist’s journey to Judaism.” It tells the story of Yaron Avraham, raised in Gaza as a radical Muslim but now a religious Jew who runs a restaurant in Israel.

“The 12th child in a household of 18,” Avraham would wake up at 5:30 AM to begin his Islamic devotions, memorizing the Quran by age 12. Still, he was horrified at the treatment of his sister Sarah, who was savagely beaten to death by some of her brothers for daring to walk through a mall. In their eyes, she had dishonored the family and disobeyed their orders. To murder her was the right thing to do.

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When Avraham protested, they forced him to enter a boarding school at a mosque in Gaza, where he remained for the next five years.

He explained:

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They made me experience death and find the ‘thrill’ in it. We were taken to participate in funerals of so-called shaheeds. Imagine this: Children are made to walk past the corpses of those alleged martyrs, kiss their hands or feet, depending on what’s left of them. Lots of brainwashing about heaven, hell, the afterlife.

Were his experiences typical of Gazan families? Was the killing of his sister a glaring exception to the rule? Was the emphasis on the glories of martyrdom an aberration?

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