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Former Muslim shares his own Damascus Road experience
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP) -- Karim Shamsi-Basha felt like his head was literally going to explode -- then everything went dark."Islam and most other religions on this earth say 'do and don't.' Christianity says 'done.'"The photojournalist, working at the time for Alabama's Birmingham Post-Herald newspaper, was covering a church fire on April 8, 1992, when his world suddenly turned upside down.
-- Karim Shamsi-Basha
"It was a chaotic day," he recalled. "I felt this headache; within seconds it evolved into an explosion in my head and my eyes felt like they were going to pop out."
The last thing Shamsi-Basha remembered from that moment was the paramedics hovering over him asking him questions. Shamsi-Basha had experienced a ruptured aneurysm in his brain. He was in a coma for about three weeks and couldn't talk or walk for a couple of months after he opened his eyes. He subsequently experienced other lingering effects from the aneurysm such as double vision and short-term memory loss.
But despite the setbacks, he went on to make a full recovery.
A journey of searching
Shamsi-Basha's final visit with his neurologist those many years ago launched him into an unexpected spiritual journey after the doctor told him few people recover from a ruptured aneurysm the way he had. "You have to find out why you survived," the doctor told him.
It could be said that Shamsi-Basha, who grew up a Muslim, had already been on a long path of exploring religion.
Born and raised in Damascus, Syria, Shamsi-Basha was the youngest of four children. His mother revealed to him years later in his adulthood that she had almost aborted him while pregnant. But her friend Hanrietta, who had accompanied her to the clinic, wouldn't allow her to go through with the procedure. Shamsi-Basha said he later learned that Hanrietta dragged his mother by her hair from the waiting room and took her back home. He was born a few months later.
He has fond memories of growing up in Damascus, particularly time spent with his father, the owner of a clothing store and also a talented poet and writer.
"I was very special for my dad," Shamsi-Basha said. "He showered me with love."
Shamsi-Basha had a good friend in middle school, Moneir, who was a Christian. ... Read More
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Baptist college assoc. approves reorganization
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Bible Study: July 20, 2014
NASHVILLE (BP) -- This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week's Bible study is adapted from the Explore the Bible curriculum.
Bible Passage: Ezekiel 43:1-12
Discussion Questions: What keeps us from recognizing God's glory? What keeps us from seein... Read More
MILLENNIALS, Part 3: Innovative leadership for the next generation
Baptist Press concludes a three-part series on the kind of leadership needed to engage, equip and empower millennials to join in the church's mission to reach the world for Jesus Christ. Read More