Hazem Farraj YouTube video screenshot.

EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Prominent 'Ex-Muslim' Activist Hazem Farraj, Part I

"I don't believe in radical Islam. It doesn't exist..."

Hazem Farraj is a prominent ex-Muslim and social media influencer with a Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube following of more than 50,000. He uses his position to spread the truth about Islam in the Middle East and elsewhere.
The following is part one of my interview with Farraj, in which we discuss his childhood, his conversion story, his reluctance to use terms like “radical Islam,” what theologically sound Islam really is, and the clash of civilizations in which we are currently embroiled.
Hazem Farraj was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1984 to an ethnically Palestinian Muslim family. At age 12, after growing up in the United States, everything changed:
“My father began to have his own inner Islamic revival, so he took us over to Jerusalem. We are ethnically Palestinian, from a village called Beit Hanina in east Jerusalem.”
“My sisters were getting to the age of marriage, so he wanted to remove us from American culture and the American lifestyle.” For Hazem, there was little to no culture shock because “we were Arab Muslims living in America; we were never really ‘American.’ That's how we grew up.”
“Imagine going from America to Jerusalem, and not really having culture shock. That's a sign of non-assimilation.”
After moving across the world to Israel, a young Farraj set off on a spiritual journey – one designed to help him move beyond “childhood traumas.”
“I ended up genuinely wanting to become a better Muslim. I had a very hard childhood, a very tough upbringing. At 12 or 13 years old, I'm not thinking of Power Rangers or candy, I'm thinking about what I'm going to do to get over my past traumas. I knew that the safest thing to do would be to just throw myself into God, and the only God I knew at the time was Allah.”
“I began to do this, and pretty soon, I started to realize that things weren't adding up,” Farraj said. “I entered my crisis of religion era, which lasted about three years. It was neither fun nor easy, and I had to go through it alone because when I asked questions, they would just get mad at me. As a result, I internalized things.”
Knowing of Farraj’s Christian faith through his YouTube videos, I asked him if there was a flashpoint, or a specific situation that brought him to Christianity rather than any other religion – or even atheism:
“We had Christian neighbors. My father built a five story apartment building in order to have income while we lived in Beit Hanina. We lived on the first floor, and Christian missionaries lived on the second floor – though we didn't know they were missionaries. I began to see and compare what I was being taught downstairs with what I saw upstairs.
“It actually got on my nerves at first,” Farraj admitted. “Here I am with my family; our lives are so destructive, so toxic, and yet the infidels upstairs are living this beautiful, loving, incredible life. Seeing the different lifestyle of the Christians was what started to make me think.”
This dissonance gave young Farraj a window into a different world:
“I would go to the mosque, really seeking God, then the imam would start to pray curses and damnation against the infidels and the Jews. I remember many times I'd be facing heaven in the Dome of the Rock, and that would happen. So here I am among thousands of people, everyone is saying amen, and I'm thinking ‘this is not ok.’ I knew one thing – that it was better to love my enemy, as Jesus said, rather than hate them.”
After moving back to the United States, Farraj was spiritually and culturally lost:
“I ended up running for about five or six years. I never spoke a word of Arabic, I was trying to change my name, trying to look non-Middle Eastern. One day, I walked into a church that I'd never been a part of, and the preacher said ‘whoever needs encouragement, please come up.’ So I went up, and when he put is hands on my shoulders, he lifted them really abruptly, and he said: ‘The Lord wants you to know that it's time to stop running from your culture.’ It pierced my heart.”
It took years for Hazem to tell his family that he was no longer a Muslim. A tremendous amount of courage would be required to do so. Not unexpectedly, when he informed his family of his conversion to Christianity, he was summarily disowned.
What is “Real” Islam?
“There's a method to this madness called ISIS,” Farraj told me. “There's an undergirding Arab culture that facilitates, and even encourages the transition from so-called moderate Islam to radical Islam.”
He then said something that on the surface may appear audacious:
“I don't believe in radical Islam. It doesn't exist. The purest doctrinal Islam is the Islam that came out of the prophet’s mouth. Once you start going through the meat of what all these kind-hearted western Muslims are teaching, it's simply not theologically accurate. It's just not.”
In short, “radical” Islam isn't radical at all, it's simply the purest teachings of Mohammad. Farraj noted that while he is happy to see the new wave of Islamic reformers, “they have no theological standing whatsoever.”
“Not dealing with the root cause of the problem, we're having to make excuses and bandage the symptoms. This has created a pseudo-reality.”
This pseudo-reality that pervades western culture is directly tied to an unwillingness to unearth the rotting roots of Islam.
How The West Was Won (Part I)
“Being an ex-Muslim, having three imams tell my family that I should be killed – and having substantial threats relating to that – then seeing my president, Barack Obama, say: ‘Let's make two things clear. ISIL is not Islamic...and ISIL is certainly not a state,’ was absurd.”
“I’ve been looking over my shoulders for 16 years wondering if someone will manifest what the Quran teaches.”
Farraj even pinpointed what he believes is the origin of the modern western delusion. “On September 19th, 2001, President Bush got on the news and said that Islam had been hijacked.”
That said, Farraj places much of the blame for the West’s distorted thinking on sincere ignorance, as well as the “talking points” of the American Left:
“I think that in the beginning, it was sincere Americans who, because of the good in their hearts, could not believe that a religion would condone such behavior. Innocent ignorance. People believe the best in everybody.”
“The separation of church and state in the West encourages this ignorance,” said Farraj. Americans are so accustomed to the separation of faith and politics, they are blind to the fact that Islam isn't simply a religion, but a religiopolitical ideology.
“Additionally, organizations like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) look at people like myself, and declare us Islamophobes. So people don't listen and the conversation goes unnoticed.”
Stay tuned for part II of my interview with Hazem, in which we continue to discuss the deception of the West, how the Middle East can be reformed, and what the violent verses in the Quran really mean (hint: it's violent).