In his dream, little Kamal Saleem brandished double-edged swords in both hands to behead multitudes of Christians and Jews. When he came before the throne of Allah, the diety laughed and said, “Only my crazy Kamal could do this.”
“My mother taught me that Muslims had conquered the world and would do it again,” Kamal says in the April 2022 Decision magazine. “I was taught that if we conquered America, we could conquer the world for Islam.”
Born into a Sunni Muslim family, Kamal Saleem was inculcated in the extremist form of Islam – they thought it was the purest form. You earn Heaven by doing good deeds, and martyrdom was the surest path to Paradise.
Taken out of school at age 7 and forced to work for money for the family, Kamal spent all his free time at the mosques learning Muslim zeal. When the radical Muslim Brotherhood showed up, all the members of the mosque joined the crusade.
He was still only 7 when he reported to a war training camp with the Palestinian Liberation Organization. With ropes to swing across pits and walls to scale, the camp seemed a playground to Kamal, but its mission was anything but play.
“I am a warrior!” he boasted, slapping his chest proudly with his hand. “The gun became my friend, and the smell of gunpowder became my addiction.”
After months of training, Kamal was entrusted with a mission to smuggle duffle bags of TNT and munitions through tunnels in the Golan Heights into Israel to be entrusted to shepherds at a designated drop point. Those explosives were to be used by fedayeen (Arab commandos) to kill Jews.
When he returned, his exploits were celebrated by hundreds at the base who shouted “Allahu Akbar” (god is greater). Kamal even got the chance to meet PLO leader Yasser Arafat, who declared, “Children like you will change the future. You are the future.”
Kamal continued executing death missions in many countries. When he was older, he was recruited to infiltrate America, learn the language, slip into the culture, and proselytize and influence public opinion, he says.
But something thwarted that strategy. He got into a terrible car accident. One of his doctors took him in at his home. He and his family treated Kamal with love – something he was unaccustomed to in his Muslim upbringing. They even paid his medical bills.
The outpouring of unconditional love provoked inner anxiety. He had been taught that Americans – and Christian Americans, like the ones treating him as family – were evil. How could it be that they were doing good and expecting nothing in return?
Even thinking these things was a grave sin to Allah – and the consequent anguish made Kamal depressed and suicidal.
One day he reached for one of his guns. Then a voice interrupted: Kamal, why don’t you call on the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?
It was not what Kamal expected. He thought the sword of Allah might fall on him for his “blasphemous” thoughts.
He fell to his knees.
“God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, if you are real, will you speak to me,” he prayed. “If you are real, I want to know you.”
Jesus, with palpable glory and power, filled the room. “I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I am everything in between,” Jesus responded. “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Rise up, Kamal. You are my warrior. You are not their warrior.”
He surrendered his life to Jesus and was born again.
Today, Kamal Saleem heads Koome (Rise up!) Ministries, a nonprofit dedicated to liberating the oppressed people of Islam.
To know more about a personal relationship with God, click here.
Zoe George studies at the Lighthouse Christian Academy near Inglewood, California.