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IPFS News Link • Religion: Believers

Insights from a radical Muslim who converted to Judaism

•, By Michael Brown

On June 12, the Jerusalem Post ran 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 as a radical Muslim in Gaza 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 a.m. to begin his Islamic devotions, memorizing the Quran by the age of 12. Still, he was horrified at the treatment of his sister Sarah, who was savagely beaten to death by her brothers for daring to take a walk through a mall. In the eyes of her brothers, she had dishonored the family and disobeyed their orders. To murder her was the right thing to do.

When Avraham protested their actions, they forcefully brought him to a boarding school at a mosque in Gaza, where he stayed for the next 5 years.

He explained, "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 families in Gaza? Was the killing of his sister a glaring exception to the rule? Was the emphasis on the glories of martyrdom an aberration?

A February 2021 article in the Times of Israel reported that "A Hamas-run Islamic court in the Gaza Strip has ruled that women require the permission of a male guardian to travel." Specifically, an unmarried woman may not travel without the permission of her 'guardian,' which would usually refer to her father or another older male relative. Permission would need to be registered at the court, but the man would not be required to accompany the woman on the trip."

As for married women, "The language of the ruling strongly implied that a married woman would not be able to travel without her husband's approval."