We had the pleasure of talking with Nonie Darwish to talk about the recording of her new audiobook Wholly Different. The interview was recorded and can be played below. Enjoy!
Announcer: Welcome! You’re listening to an exclusive author interview brought to you by christianaudio.com.
Vicki Morgan: Hi and welcome to the conversation! I’m Victoria Morgan interviewing for Christian Audio and today, we will explore the truth about Muslim faith as seen through the lens of author Nonie Darwish who has lived it, lost loved ones through it, nearly lost her life over it, and finally made a very risky break from it.
In her new audiobook Wholly Different: Why I Chose Biblical Values Over Islamic Values, Nonie reveals the whole story of her personal break with Islam, starting with the physical violence and severe class divisions she witnessed day to day. She shares candidly in her audiobook about the eerie visit she received from President Nasser after her father, a Fedayeen commander, was assassinated by Israeli Defense Forces. She explains in detail about the “seventh-century values” that Islamic religious extremists are so bent on protecting through global warfare. The nation of Islam is a world we can know very little about unless we’re on the inside and in her audiobook Wholly Different, Nonie gives us the inside scoop.
Nonie Darwish is an Egyptian-American human rights activist who is not afraid to speak out against Sharia law and radical Islam. Born and raised as a Muslim in Cairo and Gaza, Nonie moved to the United States in 1978 and after that converted to Christianity. She now serves as director of Former Muslims United, which exists to educate the American public and policymakers about Islamic law and the threats faced by Muslims who try to escape Sharia. Nonie has been named a senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy. She lectures extensively on human rights, women’s rights under Islamic law, the Arab-Israeli conflict, terrorism, and radical Islam. She is the author of Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel and the War on Terror, Cruel and Unusual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law, and The Devil We Don’t Know.
Nonie, thisis a very different interview for us, so if I miss anything, don’t hesitate to let me know. Most of us don’t know very much about growing up under Sharia law, so we’re just honored and grateful to hear from you today.Thank you for joining us.
Nonie Darwish: Oh thank you, Victoria. My pleasure.
Vicki Morgan: Well, Nonie, you lived for thirty years in a primarily Muslim nation. And if you were following Sharia law, that meant that everything in your life was dictated by that law – family, sexuality, business, banking, politics, hygiene, just about everything!
Nonie Darwish: Yeah, actually you don’t have a choice. It’s not like you have a choice to follow or not to follow Sharia. Sharia is a legal system that’s forced on citizens through government. And whether you’re Muslim or not, you have to abide by certain Sharia laws and that is the sad part because Christians in Egypt had to abide by certain prohibitions under Sharia law in order to survive. It’s not a matter of you believe in it and you follow it. Whether you believe it or not, it’s forced on you if you live in an Islamic country.
Vicki Morgan: Well, that is so very different from what we go through here in the United States and that’s why your book and your audiobook Wholly Different is so important, it’s so important. There are radical differences in lifestyle, devotion and we don’t share the same god, do we?
Nonie Darwish: Exactly. The idea that all religions are equal, all religions advocate the same idea, it’s so wrong and that’s what the West doesn’t understand. The Western mind believes that all religions must advocate the same thing. But the truth is that Islam has values and laws that are the exact opposite to the value system of the West. And this is something that the West needs to understand, but the political correctness in the West prohibits us from exposing this. And that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m trying, especially with my book, Wholly Different: Why I Chose Biblical Values Over Islamic Values.
I wrote this book specifically to tell the West that the problem is a lot more than just ISIS. The problem with Islam is not just ISIS, it’s not just jihad, it’s not just violence. Of course that’s the worst part, but Islam forces itself on people to live a specific kind of life in every way, every aspect of your life has to abide by this legal system under penalty of death. So Islamic values and Western values from every part of life is the opposite. A lot of people think that even the Ten Commandments have been violated by Islam. Islamic values give exceptions to all the Ten Commandments. Islam really, bottom line, violated all the Ten Commandments.
Vicki Morgan: So what you’re trying to get us to understand in your book and audiobook Wholly Different is that everything that we think in the West as right … is actually the exact opposite in Islam?
Nonie Darwish: For instance, I’ll give you an example. When you’re a Christian or a Jew, you believe that we’re all sinners. We as humans are imperfect and we need to be saved. You have to admit your sin to be redeemed and to become a better person. You have to admit your sin. In Islam, the idea of sin is totally different. Totally different. Islam looks at the sins of others. So while Christians look for sin within themselves, Islam looks at the sins of others. In Christianity, we’re all sinners. In Islam, they are all sinners. We are Muslims, we are above them all. And those Christians and Jews, if they just stopped sinning, we can accept them.
Vicki Morgan: It’s fascinating to hear you speak about it. And I know you’ve written quite a few books that I mentioned in the introduction. But here is one quote from you that sticks in my mind and perhaps this kind of sums it all up, you said, “The bigger the lie, the more believable it becomes to the average Arab citizen.” Now, I mean that’s amazing. “The bigger the lie, the more believable it becomes to the average Arab citizen.” Now, the Bible tells us that the truth sets us free. So there’s a different. What does the average Arab citizen believe when it comes to trust and telling the truth?
Nonie Darwish: Okay, Islam tells Muslims that they are obliged to lie if it’s for the benefit of Islam. So if the purpose of Islam is to do jihad, for instance to conquer a non-Muslim country. Then they are obliged to lie to cover up their purpose in order to achieve their goals. This is a clear commandment in Islam and it’s clearly stated in the Sharia books. So Muslims have it as a commandment in the book to lie if it’s for the benefit of Islam, okay? So because of that obligation under Islam I have committed a big sin in Islam, which is … saying the truth to the West. So by the fact that I have just exposed jihad and exposed Sharia and exposed the goals of Islam to the West, thus I have committed the ultimate sin in Islam.
Vicki Morgan: Well, is there anything else that you want to mention about growing up Islamic or under Islam?
Nonie Darwish: Yeah, I want to just give you an example of the lies we grew up with. When we used to go to school we used to be told that Jerusalem was a Muslim city and that Jews came out of nowhere and conquered it, when in fact it’s exactly the opposite. This is the Holy Land of the Jews and the Christians, and it’s the Muslims that conquered it. It’s the Muslims that went in and built a mosque on top of the Solomon Temple’s ruins. We learned exactly the opposite … that this whole area is a Holy Land of Muslims, when in fact Islam came six hundred years after Christianity, and the word “Jerusalem” was never mentioned in the Quran, but it is mentioned as the Holy Land of the Jews and the Christians in the Bible. So what does Islam do, it educates whole generations of Muslims believing that Jerusalem was a Muslim city that was captured by the Jews and the Christians and taken away from its original owners, the real Muslims … okay?
The lies are still going on today. For instance, Yasser Arafat who died because he had diseases, God knows what, and there are many rumors about what kind of diseases he had, and guess what they teach now in Arab schools in the Middle East? That Yasser Arafat was poisoned by Jews and that’s why he died. So you have a whole generation coming up of Arabs who feel that their hero was killed by Jews … was poisoned by Jews. And you wonder why there is jihad and you wonder why they run like crazy to stab Jews and Christians. Because the propaganda is aimed at constantly telling Muslims they have been victimized and they are the victims of Jews and Christians, when in fact it’s exactly the opposite. So this is the bottom line of the problem.
Vicki Morgan: Nonie, I’m sure our listeners are wondering what happened to you when you realized that you were being lied to. I mean, I assume that because you grew up under Sharia law, as a practicing Muslim, that you had to accept Sharia as the righteous way, but then you became a Christian, you became a child of God, so what happened when you realized hey, I think I might be being lied to?
Nonie Darwish: It wasn’t overnight. I was born in Islam, I never really felt close to it mentally. Somehow I always felt alien from the rest of society and I just believed I was a Muslim because I was born in it. But one of the differences between being a Christian and being a Muslim is in Christianity you choose to follow Jesus, you choose it. In Islam, it’s forced on you. So when I was born my birth certificate was stamped Muslim. There’s nothing called “I get baptized and I accept Allah”, okay? So it’s a completely different thing. You are born a Muslim … at birth you are stamped a Muslim, okay?
Thank God my family was not too radical; They didn’t force me to practice one hundred percent. So that saved me a little bit. I went to British schools in Egypt … private British schools, so that exposed me a little bit to Western ideas, Western thoughts. And then when I grew up, I went to the American University in Cairo. That’s also a private university in Cairo and I was exposed more to Western values. So I lived this kind of double life where I’m attracted to Western values but I’m still being pulled back into Islamic values.
But what really started changing me very fast was when I came to America, at age thirty. That’s when I really started seeing the light. But even then it took me many, many years to become Christian because being a Muslim, like I said, is not a choice, it’s forced on you by the law. And if you leave Islam, you break the law, you must be killed. So this is in the back of the mind of every Muslim that you cannot leave because this is treason and is punishable by death. So I started noticing that I’m attracted to biblical values. I felt free and I felt that biblical values gave me dignity, gave me choice, gave me freedom, and perhaps that’s why all these immigrants had come to the West. One thing that the West doesn’t understand … the truth is we are attracted to biblical values. To live under these biblical values in the West was such a privilege. It gave me dignity. It gave me freedom as a woman. But I still didn’t figure it out completely, took me many, many years to figure it out.
And I sent my kids to Christian schools here in America because I want them to learn some values. And one day my son came to me and said, “Mom, I want you to come and attend church with us in school,” and I laughed. And he said, “I want you to come with us,” and I laughed, but I looked at myself and I felt like I have no religion, I have no contact with this one true God, the God of the Bible, Jesus Christ. And one morning on Sunday morning I was watching TV with my cup of coffee early in the morning and I was flipping channels and then I was watching one pastor after another and I heard them say we’re all sinners. And I said to myself, “Oh, my God, that is such a different way of looking at ourselves in Christianity” because in Islam we look at the other side of the world that they are the sinners, and that changed me. I was in my mid-forties when I became Christian.
So it took me a long time really to do this huge, huge jump and change. So I started discovering every day that the values I lived under in Islam was totally different from the values of the Bible. For instance, to be a Christian you have to confess your sin and repent. In Islam, they tell us concealment of your sin. In Islam, we conceal our sins. We don’t admit them. So a Muslim is buried in guilt. A Muslim is buried in a feeling of wanting to prove that they are perfect. Being a Muslim we want to please others because the Allah of Islam, the god of Islam gave the right to the average Muslim to be judge, jury and executioner of fellow humans. So who’s the most important thing to please under Islam? It’s not God. It’s other human beings.
Vicki Morgan: And when you became a Christian, you became a child of God. Do Muslims consider themselves a “child” of their god? What is their relationship?
Nonie Darwish: Actually the idea of the Islamic god is totally different from the God of the Bible, it’s a totally different god, they are not the same god at all and that’s another misunderstanding. The West doesn’t understand that the god of Islam is a prideful god. He calls himself “I am the most proud and the most prideful.” The god of Islam calls himself “I am the greatest of deceivers.”And he does not call us his children. In fact, one of the criticisms of the Quran to the Bible is the idea of being our Father. The Quran shames the Bible because the God of the Bible calls humans His children. And Islam says the god is not a father and that Christians are misinformed by their Bibles by calling themselves the children of God.
So how does the god of the Quran view humanity? The god of the Quran views humanity as his slaves. We are supposed to look at god as our master and we are his slave. The name Abdullah – the name Abdullah – the most famous name in Islam is Abdullah. What does it mean? The word “Abd” means slave, “Ullah”, slave of Allah. So while the God of the Bible is our Father, in Islam we are slaves of god. Very, very different concept of viewing God.
Vicki Morgan: Well, let’s address something that’s on the American mind, certainly it’s on my mind, the threat of terrorism. In Wholly Different, you explain that terrorists don’t believe they’re doing anything wrong. They believe that they are giving glory to their god. And because they believe that life on earth doesn’t have any value, it’s of no consequence when they brutally murder someone in pursuit of jihad. Do I have that right?
Nonie Darwish: Absolutely. Life is not a big value in Islam. In fact, death has more value than life. If you read what the jihadists who kill Jews in Israel, they say death is worship; it’s a form of worship. So killing the enemies of Allah is a form of being loyal and worshiping of Allah. So the people who flew airplanes into our buildings on 9/11, they were doing worship to Allah – a total different concept of murder. That’s why I have a whole chapter in my book about Ten Commandments, and the Ten Commandments is clearly against a murder. “Thou shalt not murder.” Thou shalt not kill under any condition except for self defense in a war. But in Islam, offensive jihad is permitted. It’s not just defensive jihad. It’s offensive jihad which means that a nation that is on your border and you’re a Muslim country … if that nation is not a Muslim nation, it has to accept aggression from you unless they convert to Islam.
So any nation that is not Islamic, under Islamic ideology and theology, they have no sovereignty. The way Muslim nations look at a non-Muslim country is they don’t deserve ruling themselves if they are not Muslims. They have to be ruled by Islam. And Islam by its nature loves to control government. Wherever Muslims go, they have to control government. And this is what the West doesn’t understand. Without controlling government to them is impotent because Islam spreads through government enforcement. The Bible and Christianity is preached through preaching, through missionary work. That’s how it expands. On the other hand, Islam expands through conquering nations and enforcing Islam on the citizens. And if they want to stay Muslim, they have to keep control of government.
Vicki Morgan: You said radical Islam spreads itself through the government. And I know that you’ve said before that radical Islam is bringing Sharia law to the Western world. You’re giving us a warning that it maybe bringing Sharia law to our country and a lot of us don’t know some of the stipulations under Sharia law. We need to know those. Do you have any comment on that?
Nonie Darwish: Of course, because, like I said, when Islam goes to a non-Muslim nation, the first thing they want to conquer is the government. And that’s why when the first Muslim congressman was elected, Keith Ellison, in his acceptance speech after he won election there were cries of “Allah ho Akbar” in the audience, cries and screams of “Allah ho Akbar” in the audience because he was the first. And Obama, when he took office, he put a lot of Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers in power … advisers. So this is the goal of Islam. And the goal of Islam is to destroy non-Islamic governments and to erect Islamic governments. And here it is, Obama before leaving office, what does he do? He goes and puts a knife in the back of Israel in its very existence as a government.
Vicki Morgan: Yes, I noticed that. And what disturbs me most is that people in the West don’t think it can happen. But in 2008 in England, which was once the seat of Western liberty, you said, now is the home of many Muslim immigrants and finally they’ve declared that Sharia courts in Britain actually can have force in law.
Nonie Darwish: Well, the thing is about Sharia, the smart part about it, is when Muslims go and live in another country and they are a minority, they still practice Sharia within their homes. And what is honor killing? When honor killing happens in the West, when a young girl is killed and it happened in America many times, that is enforcing Sharia. So, Sharia can be practiced by a family against its own members. It’s happening in the West! I mean, there are many, many cases of honor killing in the West and many abuses of women and beating of women for just having an American boyfriend. It’s happening. So this is kind of enforcing Sharia law. And we are sitting and waiting for the day when Sharia law controls American government.
And even if they don’t succeed, the third part about Islam that the West doesn’t understand is wherever Islam goes there’s constantly a fight over government. What’s the Arab Spring? What do you think the Arab Spring is about? All these revolutions that are constant in the Middle East? It’s all about groups who want to enforce Sharia one hundred percent and those who want to enforce it maybe seventy or eighty percent.
Vicki Morgan: So like a woman can legally be beaten for talking to a man? You also mentioned that there are certain kinds of child molestation that are allowed in Sharia law. What do you mean by that?
Nonie Darwish: By that I mean child marriage. There is no age limit for a girl to be married and they can consummate the marriage when she’s nine. That is legalized sexual abuse of children. You can marry them at age nine. What kind of consent can an eight or nine-year-old girl give to be married?
Vicki Morgan: But God says He will never leave or forsake us. And I know you’ve seen the atrocities of persecution firsthand, but you’ve also seen the power of Christ in your own life.
Nonie Darwish: There has to be hope, because the problem with Islam is most of what Islam focuses on is conquering. It does not have a solution to life after the conquering. So Islam by its very nature is a functional ideology, it’s a fighting ideology, but it does not know what to do with itself in time of peace because it’s totally focused on violence to solve problems. Islam really in a way will self-destruct. The problem is every time it self-destructs, the West comes and rescues it. So when Syrians are self-destructing, what do we do? Instead of leaving the moderates there to fight the jihadists and fix their country, that we tell them come here, come and stay here.
When we absorb the population that’s escaping radical Islam, who are we leaving there to fight radical Islam? We are shooting ourselves in the foot by accepting refugees. This is, at the same time, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states have a lot of money. They can take care of these refugees. They have a lot of land. Islamic countries are fifty-six countries around the world. Their size is bigger than Europe. Why is Europe taking the bulk of the refugees? So we are not smart enough to understand that the refugee crisis really is a jihad against the West. And instead of leaving them to solve their problem by themselves and to understand that the real enemy is Islam, we are absorbing them. We are giving them homes here and we’re telling them, “We love you just the way you are. You want to practice Sharia? Sure! Sharia is okay.” So we are extending a lifeline to prolong the life of a dying, corrupt religion.
Vicki Morgan: When we listen to Wholly Different, I expect our eyes will be opened. I imagine that we’re going to hear extreme differences between biblical values and Muslim values. You point out so well that they are polar opposites. I know that people are going to be really excited to listen to that audiobook because you’re telling it with your own voice, and that is so vitally important. It’s kind of like hearing a story firsthand rather than from someone who’s just writing it down. And I know our listeners want to find out more about you. So where can they go online to find out more about you?
Nonie Darwish: You know, if they just Google my name you’ll find a lot of articles. And I really would like everybody to buy the audio or the book Wholly Different, and it’s coming out February 21st. I am on Facebook if you want to contact me, under Nonie Darwish. So I hope that America really understands that the problem is not just ISIS, it’s a lot more than just ISIS.
Vicki Morgan: Well, we are so grateful that you have – well, first of all, that Jesus Christ has renewed your mind that you are a Christian, that you are showing us the truth because in Wholly Different there’s so much truth there that we need to know, we need to know it now. And I just thank you so much for your time today. We at Christian Audio are so grateful that you allowed us to be the publisher of your audiobook, and we appreciate all you do to educate us.
Nonie Darwish: Thank you, Victoria, and thank you for inviting me to your show and I’m very grateful. And I hope that that the American people understand that to be a Christian is such a privilege, but you need a country that allows you to practice Christianity. And there are so many countries in the world that do not allow you to practice Christianity. In fact, it kills you if you hold a Bible. I am so grateful for America because this is where I was able to hold the Bible. Without America I couldn’t hold the Bible. I wouldn’t even know what it is. So let’s protect our freedom to practice Christianity and to live as Christians.
Vicki Morgan: Amen. Amen to that. And coming from you, that’s the truth spoken right here.
Get your copy of Nonie Darwish’s bold and fascinating new audiobook Wholly Different: Why I Chose Biblical Values Over Islamic Values at christianaudio.com. If you would like a free audiobook each month, we’d love to send you one, just join our mailing list. I’m Victoria Morgan. Thanks for listening!
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