Though born into a Christian family, I became a Muslim. I was preparing myself to debate and make a mockery of church preachers when in December 1997, I had an intense personal encounter with Jesus which changed my life. I renounced Islam and gave my life to Jesus.

These pages were initially intended as an explanation to my friends who knew me before I became a Muslim for why I could have done something as “crazy” as convert to Islam. It has since become an explanation to my somewhat puzzled Muslim friends, who are very genuine in their faith, about how I was convinced that Jesus Christ is Lord and savior. If it helps you as a believer, I am glad.

I partly grew up in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. My father, an architect, worked for the American-Saudi oil company Aramco. Growing up in Saudi Arabia I saw the attitudes of the Muttawas (the religious police), the arrogance and the hypocrisy of the locals and the intrusion of their belief systems into our lives fostered a deep-rooted prejudice against Islam within me.

Aramco's residential camp was then devoid of all Islamic influences, and the international school I studied at, the Dhahran Academy, was also an oasis of western culture. Almost all of my friends were either American, Canadian, European or Australian. After 9th grade, I went to High School in the US, where I gained even further exposure to western culture.

We left Saudi Arabia for good when my father died in 1986. But in 1991, after graduating from a hotel management program in Switzerland, I found myself heading back to Saudi Arabia to take up a new job there. Though I detested even the thought of going back there because of its strict enforcement of Islamic beliefs, I felt the job opportunity was too good to resist.

During my studies in the US and Switzerland, I had developed a lifestyle which involved alcohol, drugs and women. Loud and wild parties often dominated my weekends. Being a musician, I was into jazz, blues, fusion and the ideologies that ruled those circles. So Saudi Arabia was not a happy place for me, but I tolerated it initially with the hope of finding a better job elsewhere.

A couple of months after I started working in Saudi, things started going wrong for me when my relationship with my girlfriend whom I had known since college started getting strained. She was then in the US, the distance was taking its toll, and there was no way that I could get myself over there. I felt as though I had lost everything when we broke up. I missed everything about my life in the U.S. and missed being so far away from friends. Loneliness aggravated by a sense of isolation that the culture in Saudi induced almost drove me mad. I was so desperate for a peace of mind that I was willing to try anything.