Review of ‘Against the Tides in the Middle East’ by Mustafa, an Egyptian MBB

Against the Tides in the Middle EastAgainst the Tides in the Middle East by Mustafa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This short book is the story of Mustafa (also known as Mark Gabriel), an Egyptian Christian who tells his story of growing up in a Muslim household and then becoming disillusioned with Islam as he learns about the violent and bloody history of Muslim v. Muslim violence. The book goes back and forth between narrative and apologetics. His knowledge of Islam, the Qur’an, and Islamic history is admirable. The reader is invited to evaluate to what extent his arguments succeed or fail.

One section of particular interest is his account of meeting the famous South African Muslim apologist Ahmed Deedat. Also of interest are his comparisons of Jesus and Muhammad and the status of women in Islam and Christianity. Like so many conversion narratives, this ends with him being threatened by a family member and fleeing Egypt (with the aid of other family members).

The main factors that led him to leave Islam were the violence of Islam and his claim that the Qur’an is a confused book. After spending some time with no religion, he is given a bible by a Coptic Christian woman and after reading it, without any interaction with any Christian or church, he decides to become a Christian.

Unlike most such conversion narratives, he does not end up marrying a European or American woman. The books ends rather abruptly with him in a hospital in Brazzaville after a miraculous recovery. There are numerous spelling and grammar mistakes throughout the book. Students of Egyptian culture, religious freedom in the Arab world, and religious conversion will find this book of interest.

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Author: duanemiller

I was born in Montana and grew up in Colorado and Puebla (in Mexico). I completed a BA in philosophy at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and then an MA in theology at St Mary's University (also in San Antonio). Later life took me to Jordan where my wife and I studied Arabic, to Israel where I helped found a seminary, and to Scotland for doctoral work, among other places. I live in Madrid now where I teach and minister. I'm highly interested in the interactions of Islam, Christianity and secularism in modern contexts. My main areas of research for my PhD in divinity were religious conversion from Islam to Christianity, contextual theology, and the shari'a's treatment of apostates. I've also published research on global Anglicanism and the history of Anglican mission in the Ottoman Empire. I've had the pleasure of teaching in many places over the years: from Costa Rica to Turkey, and Kenya to Tunisia. I am at-large lecturer and researcher in Muslim-Christian relations at The Christian Institute of Islamic Studies (www.tciis.org), and deacon at the Cathedral Church of the Redeemer in Madrid, Spain. Visit my blog (duanemiller.wordpress.com) or academia.edu page for more information or to have me speak at your church, university or seminary.

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