How This Iraqi Interpreter Converted to Christianity
‘The God who created heaven and earth was responsible for saving my life’
Good can prevail even in the hard times of war.
One former Iraqi interpreter became a Christian amid war in Iraq after a U.S. soldier encouraged his curiosity in the Bible.
Born in Sumarra, Iraq, to a Muslim mother and Catholic father, Hameed completed Iraqi police academy training at age 19. “I thought I had signed up for five years, but when I looked at my paperwork, the length of the commitment had been changed to 25 years. I was upset but couldn’t say anything for fear of being killed by the government,” he wrote in an article for Christianity Today.
Bilingual in Arabic and English, Hameed became an interpreter during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
He was the sole survivor of a car-bomb explosion in 2005. “While waiting in the hospital for an evaluation, I reflected on what had happened that day,” he wrote. “I felt certain that the God who created heaven and earth was responsible for saving my life.”
“In 2007, I got reassigned to the Army’s 82nd Airborne division,” Hameed wrote. “And as soon as I met Sgt. Scott Young, I realized there was something different about him. He had a book in his knee pocket all the time. Every time we had a break, I observed him reading, and I was intrigued.”
“Scott told me it was the Bible, and I started to read it every day for myself,” he said.
He had searched for two years, in fact, for someone to teach him how to read the Bible.
Within a year of reading the Bible daily under Sgt. Young’s guidance and mentorship, Hameed came to know Jesus Christ as his savior. He worked for the U.S. military for over four years and, in 2011, Hameed became a U.S. citizen.
He attended Bible studies in the United States and grew in his relationship with God.
Hameed now lives with his wife and children in Pennsylvania. He started a Christian ministry organization where he tells his faith testimony to others. He “shares how he came to Christ with churches, military bases, veterans, men’s groups, law enforcement and those dealing with PTSD,” according to his website.
Many Iraqi interpreters risked their lives helping the U.S. military during the war.
“But for me and tens of thousands of others who worked with U.S. forces,” Iraqi interpreter Sarah Mustafa wrote for The Daily Beast in 2011, “this is a very frightening time. We’ve lost our source of livelihood, and we face regular death threats.”