Kamal Saleem was born in Lebanon to a devout Muslim family. As early as four years old, he remembers sitting at the kitchen table while his mother taught him about the Koran and his duty to Allah and Jihad.
"From my childhood, my mom said, 'One day, you'll be a martyr, my son. You will die for the sake of Allah and you will exalt Islam. If you kill a Jew, my son, your hand will light up before the throne of Allah and the host of heaven will celebrate what you have done.'"
Kamal was seven when his parents sent him to Muslim training camps to learn to use weapons and engage and kill the enemy. The boys were also taught another, more subtle form of warfare…
"We were training for what's called, 'Culture Jihad,' which is shifting cultures. Culture Jihad is unlike the sword, unlike the rifle. It is the Jihad that will come into your world."
By his 20s, Kamal was chosen to wage Cultural Jihad on America.
"In Islam, liberty, freedom, monarchy, all these are idols and must be brought down. So the liberty that you have in United States of America is anti-Islam, so America must be changed. So I moved to the 'Bible Belt' specifically. The Bible Belt was the strongest of the strongest. That's where the stout Christians are, and I want to take on the best of the best, because I considered myself as the sword of Islam. I thought, 'I'm anointed. I'm unique. I'm selected. I'm coming to a country and a culture to change it. I have the power of Allah with me.'"
In the early 1980s, Kamal entrenched himself in a small Midwestern town. He began targeting men from poorer neighbourhoods to recruit them to the Muslim faith. But one afternoon his life would be in the hands of those he hated the most.
"I was going from one place to another to do recruitment and that day I had a car wreck. The car wreck was so severe; I ejected out of my car, landed on my neck and broke my neck in two places. This man came running to me and said, 'Don't worry. We're going to take care of you, and everything's going to be alright.' The ambulance came and picked me up and now I go to the hospital. The orthopaedic surgeon in the ER looked at my chart and said, 'Son, we're going to take care of you, and everything's going to be alright.' The second day I wake up in the hospital, and the head of physical therapy came in, read my chart and said the same thing word for word, 'We are going to take care of you.'"
At first, Kamal was frightened by their words, because these men were all Christians.
"You see, in terrorism, if they say [that], you better run."
Surgeries to repair Kamal's broken neck were successful, but recovery would take weeks. After being discharged from the hospital, he would need someone to care for him while he recuperated. Kamal had no one, so the orthopaedic surgeon opened up his own home to this stranger.
"In his home, they put me in the choicest room with the most beautiful things. I became like part of their family. They didn't see me any different. They have a basket that says, 'For Kamal.' They put in money to free my bills from the hospital."
Kamal was overwhelmed with the outpouring of Christian love. As he recovered, he began to help out around the house with cooking and cleaning.
"They have Jewish friend that came from Israel who they support, and now I'm hugging Israelis and I'm cooking for Jews. I'm going, 'What has happened to me?'"
When Kamal was able take care of himself and return to his apartment, the doctor had another surprise for him.
"He says, 'These are the keys to the house, and this is an extra key to your new car. We just want to bless you. You can come any time you want.' So I go to my home. I go to my cold place that I haven't been there in months. Dust is this thick. I just gotta settle this issue with my God to know if it's real or not. So I walk inside, I shut door. I go right to the eastern window, fall on my knees, put my hands to the heavens and I cry out, 'Allah, Allah my lord and my king. Why have you done such a thing to me? I'm okay with the car wreck. I'm ok with all this, but why did you put me among Christians? I'm confused. These Christians and Jews, they are good people. There's nothing wrong with them. They don't want to kill us. They're not the same thing that I learned about. Allah, these people have relationship with their God. These people cry out to their God, and He answers them. I want to hear your voice. I want to hear you love me. If you're real, speak to me. I want to hear your voice.' Guess what Allah said that day? Absolutely nothing."
Kamal felt that because he questioned his faith, the honourable thing to do was to end his own life.
"So I went to reach out my gun, put it in the right place and clock out. I heard a voice. The voice knew me by name. It said, 'Kamal! Kamal! Kamal! Why don't you call on the Father of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob?'
Now I fell on my knees and put my hands to the heavens immediately as I heard the voice. I cried out with every fibre within me, 'God, the Father Abraham, if You are real, would You speak to me? I want to know You.' Well, God of Father Abraham came to the room. He filled the room with His glory. His name was Yahweh, the Lord is one. He has holes in His hands. He has holes in His feet. His name is Jesus. I said to Him, 'Who are you, my Lord? Who are you?' He said, 'I am that I am.' I said, 'I'm a simple man with a simple mind. What is that supposed to mean?'
He said, 'I am the Alpha. I am the Omega. I am the beginning. I am the end. I am everything that is in between. I have known you before I formed the foundation of the earth. I have loved you before I formed you in your mother's womb. Rise up! Rise up Kamal. Come. You are my warrior. You are not their warrior.' I said to Him, 'My Lord, I will live and die for you.' He said, 'Do not die for me. I died for you so that you may live.'"
That day, instead of taking his life, Kamal gave it to Jesus. He now has a new mission and travels the country challenging Muslims to question their allegiance to Allah.
"My heart's desire is to reach out to my brothers and sisters, the 1.5 billion Muslims that are living out there. They have not tasted the freedom in God."
It's been over 20 years since Kamal left the Islamic faith, and even threats of violence and death cannot stop him from sharing his story.
"He is real. If you've never experienced God before in your life, if you never tasted God, if you think you've got nothing to lose… when you're sitting in your home, whether you're a Muslim or a non-Muslim or a non-Christian or whatever you are, call on the Father of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and say, 'If You are real, speak to me. I want to hear Your voice.'"