"'Jews for Allah'... goal to surpass Jews for Jesus"

A News summary
January 22, 2003
By Rick Ross

"Muslims haven't been doing it," he says.

"It" according to Mohammed Ghounem means proselytizing Jews. He explains, "The Muslim attitude, unfortunately, was 'Jews will never convert'. But why not"?

32-year-old Mohammed Ghounem started "Jews for Allah" (JFA) as something of a joke, though the website's creator has a background that includes a year of study within the al-Azhar, a prestigious place of learning to Sunni Muslims.

Since then Ghounem has gone to work targeting Jews for conversion.

Ghounem's mission has drawn some attention amongst Jewish anti-missionary groups, which typically fight against fundamentalist Christian missionaries such as "Jews for Jesus" (JFJ).

Interestingly, the founder of JFA is a big fan of ordained Baptist minister and founder of JFJ Pastor Martin Rosen, now retired. He likes JFJ's strident confrontational missionary strategies and has studied them carefully.

"My goal is to surpass Jews for Jesus, which I consider 100 percent inevitable," Ghounem boasted.

Like JFJ, JFA tells Jews they are somehow continuing their heritage by embracing another faith.

"If you're a true Torah follower, you'll believe in Mohammed, because he's predicted in the Torah," Ghounem claims.

Ghounem is a native Egyptian who immigrated to the US as a small child. He graduated from Western Connecticut University with a degree in engineering. Then the engineer became religious, returned to Cairo to study his Islamic roots, subsequently spending much of his time within Internet chat rooms debating with fundamentalist Christians.

Unlike JFJ, JFA has no missionaries and relies only upon its website.

Ghounem claims that his site has welcomed more than a million visitors since its inception three years ago.

However, one Jewish leader dismissed JFA as little more than "a freak show."

"Ghounem wasn't a Jew in the first place. The [JFJ] founder was at least a convert who was Jewish," the leader said.

But Ghounem has found an interesting buddy, Yousef al Khattab, who has a Jewish background.

This 35-year-old former New Yorker was once known as Joe Cohen, now lives in the Arab section of Jerusalem. The American convert to Islam also has a website called "Jews to Islam.com."

Though the two men have never met face-to-face, they stay in touch through the Internet and chat online.

Ghounem's site may be a joke, but Jews take al Khattab's much more seriously. The site has been hacked and attacked with viruses.

Jews to Islam.com has links like "My Heroes the Taliban" and "Freaky Jewish Stuff," which promote anti-Semitic myths such as rabbis feeding on baby's blood. The website has been shut down several times due to its hateful content.

Of course al Khattab attracts far more controversy and attention than his soul mate Ghounem.

Because the former Joe Cohen, now a fervent fundamentalist Muslim, was once an ultra-Orthodox Jew. And his message to Jews has been described as "pregnant with hate," far worse than his native Egyptian counterpart.

Al Khattab insists it is "Judaism," not "Jews," that he opposes. He says Jews have been misled by their rabbis, which is very similar to the message of many so-called "Messianic Jews."

However, despite his effort al Khattab admits that he has only converted 11 Jews, or so he says.

Despite charges that he supports Islamic fundamentalists such as the Taliban, the former Jew was not easily accepted by his fellow Muslims, who suspected he was an Israeli spy.

"When we become Muslims we do this for the sake of Allah all mighty alone," Khattab says. "We don't care if Muslims or non-Muslims approve of our goals," he concludes.

Ghounem and al Khattab's both hope to turn Israel into an Islamic state.

Note: This summary was based upon Jews for Allah by Alexandra Alter, Jewsweek October 3, 2003

Copyright © 2004 Rick Ross.

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