Article Title: A “Review” of the Book ‘Once An Arafat Man’ by Tass Saada
Submitted by: Craig Lock
Category/Key words: Books, good books, ‘Once An Arafat Man’, Tass Saada, Peace, Middle East, ‘From Seeds of Hate to the Bonds of Love’, Craig Lock, Inspiration, Empowerment (enough there now)
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A “Review” of the Book ‘Once An Arafat Man’ by Tass Saada
Craig is currently “working” on his latest manuscript – a “novel”, but a true story of transformation … from hatred to love in the cauldron of the Middle East titled ‘From Seeds of Hate to the Bond’s of Love’. In his research for the plot, he came across the inspiring story of Tass Saada on the internet and see that Saada’s book ‘Once An Arafat Man’ (as well as his ministry) has generated some controversy with his claims (hardly surprising!). I’ll share these reviews (and perhaps stimulate some interesting debate about the book , especially regarding Tass Saada’s beliefs and claims) and do some further investigation and research, as well as more writing on my story.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tass Saada is a former Muslim and a co-founder of ‘Hope for Ishmael’. Hope for Ishmael is a non-profit organization whose mission is to reconcile Arabs and Jews to God and each other through the gospel of Christ. Saada was born in 1951 in the Gaza strip, and grew up in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. He was a PLO sniper and militant fighter. He worked directly for Arafat. In America, he converted to Christianity.
ONE PERSON’S REVIEW (very “religious”):
“In a world where violence has become the daily norm, in which terrorism strikes moment by moment around the world, Jesus Christ is still transforming lives, saving souls and calling people from everywhere to Himself. ‘Once an Arafat Man’ is the story of one such miracle, Taysir Abu Saada (Tass). This man was raised in the Muslim faith and served as a Fatah sniper trained to kill his Jewish enemy. Through a series of very unusual, and yes, providential appointments, God saved the soul of Tass Saada. Even more wonderful, Tass’ entire family was made a new creation in Christ, and Tass and his wife Karen have been called to minister to the Muslim people in Gaza – the place of his birth.
In my opinion, this book in one of the most powerful testimonies of God’s amazing grace and the miraculous changes His forgiveness makes in the life of a believer. I know I will be praying for Tass Saada – that he will continue to reach many more people for Christ. This is an amazing, encouraging book, and I highly appnana hack tool recommend it to everyone!!”
# The first chapter of the book is available at the above web site.
“Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it’s an ongoing state of mind. A long and ardous journey that starts with a single large step – in spite of immense pain, the decision to forgive, a commitment to the ideal… and one that gives freedom… to the forgiven, yet also to the forgiver.”
“When you forgive (another person or country), you empty your mind of negative thoughts (perhaps even thoughts as strong as hate). Then the infinite Spirit of God makes a fresh space in our hearts to allow new positive feelings to take their place.. to pour into our hearts. The ‘freed’ person then moves forward with a new spirit…which takes root in people’s minds, hearts, spirits and even in the deepest recesses of their souls.”
For “balance”, here is another (secular) perspective on Tass Saada’s book…
Born again in the USA
The strange tale of a Muslim
By Judith Evans
(sourced from )
“As Israeli attacks kill hundreds in Gaza and echo across the world, perhaps pushing another generation of Palestinians towards Islamist extremism, many might wish for a dose of what transformed Tass Saada.
Saada was once a sniper for the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), assigned to assassinate prominent Israelis on several occasions. He fought in the 1968 battle of Karameh and passionately hated all Jews. Now he preaches peace and acceptance, works to set up kindergartens in Gaza and the West Bank, and takes part in projects to get ordinary Palestinians and Israelis to speak to each other.
What changed Saada, however, will to some seem less palatable. He is now a Christian missionary. Subscribing to an American brand of evangelical Protestantism, he says he has visions and premonitions, and hears the voice of God. In Once an Arafat Man, released in Britain this week, he tells the story of his violent past, and his introduction to Christianity through his friend Charlie in 1993:
‘Before I knew it, I was on my knees … I lost all awareness that Charlie was even in the room. A light came into my field of vision – a talking light … The light said in an audible tone, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.’ I didn’t know at that moment that these words were a repetition of what Jesus said during the Last Supper. As far as I was concerned, they were a message from Jesus solely to me.’
Like many episodes in his life, Saada’s conversion reads like a fable, polished after the fact (possibly by his co-writer, Dean Merrill). But even if we take it as a given that he experienced – at least in his own terms – a genuine revelation, it remains to be asked what can be gained from the book by readers to whom Jesus has not chosen to appear in a ball of light?
The omissions in Saada’s story can be more interesting than what it includes. Brought up in a privileged Palestinian refugee family, he became a teenage tear-away who crashed three luxury cars in Doha in a day. After his time in the PLO, he was a successful restauranteur. Yet we gain little insight into the likeable but disturbed wide-boy it seems he once was. Rather, we read a succession of neat, somewhat childlike Sunday-school tales.
More glaring still is the absence of a voice for Saada’s American wife, Karen. Saada tells us he married her to get a green card, confessed this to her, hid his past in the PLO, was repeatedly unfaithful, and then announced one day he had become a Christian and would spend the next few months travelling around the country in a van, ministering to passers-by. The unbelievably forbearing Karen joins him in his new religious ecstasy, and is prepared to follow him even to Gaza, where she mostly stays indoors because she doesn’t speak the language. It’s difficult not to think Jesus has offered Karen something of a raw deal.
Saada takes a wilfully naive approach to Karen’s forbearance, which at times seems to verge on masochism. Likewise, his approach to international politics – which he bravely launches into at the finish with his own “roadmap to reconciliation”. It’s important, he tells us, to stop ‘majoring share our website in rejection’. Simple, really.
Perhaps the most engaging, and for a British reader the oddest, part of Saada’s narrative is his dissection of the Old Testament and its implications for the modern Palestinian. For him, Palestinians have suffered with their ancestor Ishmael – Abraham’s son by a servant, pushed aside in favor of Isaac, his son with his wife Sarah. For Saada, the solution is not to throw aside ancient tribal grudges, but to painstakingly interpret the Old Testament in a manner which awards both Ishmael (Palestine) and Isaac (Israel) their paternal rights in this ‘family feud’. His reinterpretation chimes with the sense of ancient history that informs both Palestinian and Israeli anger.
But in this sense, despite his tales of revelation, Saada’s conversion seems like a switch of loyalty from the Arabic to the American/Israeli tribe. Post-epiphany, he travels around warning Americans of the ‘dangers of Islam’, appearing – understandably, given his violent background – to equate Islam with Islamism. He verges on becoming the Islamic equivalent of the self-hating Jew:
To help the cause of Allah by hill climb racing hack tool misleading an infidel is seen as perfectly noble. Thus, Arab leaders are infamous for duplicity with Israel and the western nations. In fact, they even practice it within themselves.
It’s hard to know which rings less true, Saada’s wide-eyed take on politicians lying or his choice to ignore the phenomenon across the entire non-Arab world. But in many ways he seems keen to see his new universe in black and white. To reconcile himself with the spectre of his former friend and great hero, Yasser Arafat, Saada even suggests that Arafat underwent Christian conversion before his death.
Once a ferocious personality, Saada replaced a midlife crisis with a discovery of peace; his life turned from destruction to creation. He has undoubtedly found in himself a new respect for humanity, even the Muslims he is now tempted to hate. But it is hard to know what his book can offer to those who seek to follow in these footsteps – particularly those for whom Bible-quoting apparitions fail to appear on demand.”
Shared by craig lock (“Information and Inspiration Distributer”)
“To claim men like Osama Bin Laden represent mainstream Islam is a ridiculous as alleging Christianity is represented by the likes of Radovan Karadzic. As congregations, communities and nations, we must join hands to fight the cancer of terrorism. Terrorist bombs don’t discriminate on the base of race or religion.”
– Irfan Yusuf, a Sydney (Australia) lawyer, currently writing a book titled “Once Were Radicals”
“Change can only happen when you change the hearts and minds of those who oppose you.”
– Exiled Chinese Muslim leader Rebiya Kadeer
“When the world is filled with love, people’s hearts are overflowing with hope.”
“Let us build bridges rather than barriers, openness rather than walls. Rather than borders, let us look at distant horizons together in a spirit of acceptance, helpfulness, co-operation, peace, kindness and especially love.
“Uplifting, encouraging and empowering people through the power of words and thought energy. Change YOUR world and you help change THE world… for the better.”
THESE THOUGHTS MAY BE FREELY PUBLISHED (electronically, or in print) ”
“Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.”
– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Instead of the limits of borders (of countries and of our minds) let us and our leaders expand our sense of possibility… and together let’s look at building bridges to distant horizons, far and great. Lord, help us all lift our eyes a little higher.”
“Together, one mind, one heart at a time… let’s see how many souls, how many lives can be turned, permanently changed from hatred to love. Change YOUR world and you help change THE world… for the better”
My fervent hope (and prayer) is that Hamas will eventually come to recognise Israels right to exist as an independant state, so that negotiations about negotiations for peace may eventually commence. And that stubborn Israeli hard-liners will also recognise the Palestinians right to a homeland.
May a passion for moderation ultimately prevail!
Together, one mind, one heart, one life at a time, let’s march into a bright new tomorrow