Reformed Reflections

Escape From Islam by Hirji-WaIji & Jaryl Strong ;
Tyndale House Publishers Inc.
Wheaton, Ill., 1991 paperback, 144 pp

When Idi Amin overthrew the government in 1971, Muslims in Uganda rejoiced as he promised to make the country Islamic, despite its Christian majority. Within two years, even Muslims began to feel the clout of Amin’s despotic nature, if they were Asian descendants. The Asian community’s comparative wealth alongside the dire poverty of the native Ugandans turned Idi Amin against the Asians. Amin's policy of Africanization proved to be one of his most blundering moves. It deprived the nation of its productive business leaders.

Hass Hirji-Walj and his family, who were devout Muslims, were caught in this drama. They fled to the U.S.. When they arrived there, the impressions were negative. They were appalled by the sexually lewd billboards and the tremendous number of liquor ads that they had seen as they passed through downtown New York. "We had never seen such so much corruption and immorality," said Hass. The refugee family was warmly and generously welcomed by Christians.

Hass’s heart was set on spreading the Muslim faith in America. At high school he was startled to find that many of his fellow students were basically non-religious. Instead of winning fellow students to Muhammad, Hass came to know Jesus Christ through students involved in Campus Life, a Christian outreach to high school students. He describes his spiritual battles, anguish of soul and mind, experienced before coming to Christ, the temptations to abandon his newly found faith when he was persecuted by his own family:

Hass's book is a fine apology for the Christian faith versus Islam. This well written and sensitive story provides a simple way of learning about the faith and practice of Muslims. The difference between biblical Christianity and Islam are clearly defined, Escape From Islam is more than a conversion story. It introduces the reader to the alien world of Islam, its holy book, the Quran, the powerful grip this religion has on its adherents, Hass's cross-cultural experience and the power of the Holy Spirit to bring about a dramatic spiritual change.

Johan D. Tangelder