The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

September 25, 2013

Ala. native writes about leaving Syria

BIRMINGHAM — Karim Shamsi-Basha spent his childhood in Damascus, Syria, and when he tells that to Christians, they ask if he knew the road to Damascus where the Apostle Paul converted to Christianity.

Shamsi-Basha grew up a Muslim, so for a long time he didn't know what they were talking about. "I would say, 'Yes, we have roads in Damascus.'"

Finally someone told him he should read about Paul in the Book of Acts.

"The first time I read the ninth chapter of Acts, I said, 'Whoa! That's where I grew up,'" Shamsi-Basha said. "Syria is throughout the Old Testament too. Damascus was Damascus before the Bible was the Bible."

Now Shamsi-Basha has written a book about leaving Syria, and about leaving Islam. It's called "Paul and Me: A Journey to and from the Damascus Road, From Islam to Christ."

He has found his own road away from Damascus, but in many ways his heart is still in Syria. His home country has been wracked by civil war for the past two years. President Barack Obama has threatened a military attack in retaliation for Syria's alleged use of chemical weapons. That has been on hold as Russia negotiates with Syria to get the government to surrender its chemical weapons.

Shamsi-Basha said the situation in Syria is complicated, since the rebels, including some terrorists aligned with al-Qaeda, may be worse than the country's dictator, Bashar al-Assad.

"They don't have a Martin Luther King Jr.," Shamsi-Basha said. "It's divided up into all these factions. I really don't know what the solution is. Why does it have to come to shooting? I don't understand the human need for violence."

Text Only
State and Nation
Poll

What is your favorite Easter candy?

Chocolate bunnies
Marshmallow chicks
Chocolate eggs with filling
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee