Nabeel Qureshi (born April 13, 1983) is an American Christian apologist and convert from Ahmadiyya. He is a speaker with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) and the author of three books, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity (Zondervan, February 2014), Answering Jihad: A Better Way Forward (Zondervan, March 2016), and No God But One—Allah or Jesus (Zondervan, August 2016). On August 30, 2016, Qureshi announced his retirement due to an advanced stomach cancer diagnosis.
Qureshi was born into a devout family of Ahmadi Muslims with his father in the US Navy, he moved around many times as a youth before settling in Virginia. Qureshi studied Islamic apologetics and engaged Christians in religious discussions. After one such discussion with a Christian at his university, David Wood, the two became friends and began a years-long debate on the historical claims of Christianity and Islam. Qureshi's resulting conversion to Christianity was chronicled in his first book, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus. In addition to being a New York Times bestseller, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus was awarded the Christian Book Award for the categories of both "Best New Author" and "Best Non-Fiction" of 2015 - the first time in award history. Christianity Today heralded Qureshi as one of "33 Under 33" in its cover story on emerging religion leaders in July 2014.
Qureshi has lectured to students at more than 100 universities, including Oxford, Columbia, Dartmouth, Cornell, Johns Hopkins, and the University of Hong Kong. He has participated in 18 moderated, public debates around North America, Europe, and Asia. In 2015, Qureshi debated at Wayne State University with Muslim scholar Shabir Ally.
Qureshi holds an M.D. from Eastern Virginia Medical School, an M.A. in Christian apologetics from Biola University, and an M.A. in religion from Duke University. He is currently studying Judaism and Christianity at Oxford University, pursuing his doctorate in New Testament Studies. He divides his time in Atlanta and Oxford with his wife Michelle and daughter Ayah.
2010 arrest in Dearborn
Beginning in the late 2000s, Qureshi began attending the Dearborn Arab Festival in. In 2009, Qureshi and his group, Acts 17 Apologetics, was stopped from passing out Arabic translations of the Gospel of John. That year the fair had modified the rules, barring distribution of literature unless a group had a registered booth. (Other Christian missionary groups had registered booths and were free to pass out tracts). Qureshi and his group were asked to leave and their literature was confiscated. Returning in 2010, Qureshi and his group resolved to not pass out gospel tracts, and not engage anyone in conversation unless it was initiated by someone else. Furthermore, the group decided to film the entirety of its interactions. During the 2010 Festival, Qureshi was shown being asked questions by a small crowd of Muslim teenagers. Police officers soon arrested the group and confiscated their video cameras, charging Qureshi with disturbing the peace and refusing a lawful order from a police officer. Qureshi and his group spent a night in jail for this arrest.
Soon after the arrest, mayor of Dearborn, John B. O'Reilly, Jr. released a statement indicating that the missionaries were engaged in hostile, angry shouts with the crowd, blocking access to the booths. The mayor stated that Qureshi was getting violent and confrontational with police officers attempting to peacefully calm the situation. After reviewing the video evidence, a jury found Qureshi not guilty on all counts. A separate civil suit found that Dearborn, Michigan had violated Qureshi's constitutional rights, finding that there was no basis in law for his arrest. In 2013, the city then settled the suit. As part of the settlement, the city had to issue a formal apology and maintain that apology on their website for three years.
Commentary on Wheaton College comments
In December 2015, the private Christian university Wheaton College suspended Larycia Hawkins over a public comment she made in a hijab that Muslims "like me, a Christian, are people of the book. And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God." The suspension was criticized by the Chicago Tribune, which described Wheaton's actions as "bigotry… disguised as theology." Yale Professor Miroslav Volf said, "There isn't any theological justification for Hawkins's forced administrative leave. Her suspension is not about theology and orthodoxy. It is about enmity toward Muslims."
Qureshi received dozens of requests to provide input on the Wheaton College suspension. Qureshi has many ahmaddi family members and friends and regularly encourages Christians to consider gestures of solidarity with the hope that, somehow, this affection will trickle down. Dr. Qureshi has even recommended that Christian women consider wearing the hijab in certain circumstances, as well as counseled Christian men to consider fasting with their Muslim neighbors during the month of Ramadan, as long as it is clear these gestures are out of Christian love and not submission to Islam.
On January 13, 2016, Dr. Volf and Dr. Qureshi debated the topic, "Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God?" on an episode of Seeking Truth with Julie Roys.
Julie Roys said "The same God question recently became the focus of a national debate after Wheaton College placed a professor on administrative leave for claiming that Muslims and Christians worship the same God. Many Christians supported the college and said the professor's claim is incompatible with orthodox Christianity. Yet some, including a few professors, students and hundreds of alumni, argued otherwise, and are lobbying for the professor's full re-instatement. In this podcast, Volf and Qureshi discuss the merits of Wheaton's position and Volf makes an important concession concerning his claim that Wheaton was motivated by anti-Muslim bigotry. Volf also explains why he believes one can believe both religions worship the same God and still adhere to orthodox Christian doctrine. Qureshi, on the other hand, reveals stark differences between Muslim and Christian concepts of God – and argues that Allah and Yahweh can't possibly be one and the same.”
Commentary on international Islamic terrorism
Dr. Qureshi has commented on international Islamic terrorism in several media outlets:
USA Today – Opinion Editorial: The Quran’s deadly role in inspiring Belgian slaughter
“Western recruits for jihad are inspired by the literal interpretation of Muslim sacred texts. This is what we must address," wrote Nabeel Qureshi in USA Today. "We need to be equipped to provide alternatives to violent jihad, alternatives that address the root of why so many Muslims are radicalizing in the first place.”
Fox News – Spirited Debate: Why are young Muslims being radicalized?
In an interview on "Spirited Debate" with Lauren Green, Chief Religion Correspondent for the Fox News Channel, Nabeel Qureshi explains why ISIS' strategy is closer to the origins of Islam than most are led to believe.
“Growing up I was taught that Islam was a peaceful religion, and everyone around me truly did believe that," explained Qureshi on Fox News. "It wasn't until I started reading the sources for myself – the Quran and the Hadith – that I saw the sources showed that Islam at its historical core was violent. It was that which got me to start thinking more about my faith.”
Newsmax TV – Unfiltered: Reading of Quran Shows It’s Not Religion of Peace
On "Dennis Michael Lynch: Unfiltered,” Nabeel Qureshi explained how it was his personal study of the Quran that led him to leave the faith he was raised in.
“I encountered a reality which led to me make a decision — do I become an apostate and leave Islam, do I become an apathetic and become a non-Muslim or do I radicalize and follow the stuff that I’m reading?” Qureshi said on Newsmax TV. "At that time, I also encountered Christianity and the message of the gospel and that's what ultimately grabbed my heart and changed me.”
Nabeel Qureshi was also interviewed on The Kevin McCullough Show March 22 commenting on the Brussels attacks and sharing his personal conversion experience.
The Blaze - Prominent Ex-Muslim Was Asked if Islam Is a Peaceful Religion. Here’s His Response.
“Since the 1900s, people have had more and more access to the texts themselves," he said. "Muslims can read the Koran for themselves … so people are reading the texts and they're seeing for themselves what the Koran says. People can go online and they can read the life of Muhammad without having to travel to an Islamic library.”
Huffington Post - Do The Roots of Jihad Lie in The Quran?
"Perhaps the most exciting outcome of my op-ed in USA Today are the responses and open discussion of the Quran's teachings in popular news sources, including TIME Magazine, the Huffington Post, and a Patheos blog. Such public dialogue and discussion is the key to moving forward and addressing the roots of jihad." says Dr. Nabeel Qureshi.
2016 cancer diagnosis
On 30 August 2016, Qureshi announced that he was in the advanced stages of stomach cancer. Qureshi took to his Facebook page to inform fans and followers of his illness saying the prognosis was "quite grim".
"This is an announcement that I never expected to make, but God in His infinite and sovereign wisdom has chosen me for this refining, and I pray He will be glorified through my body and my spirit," Qureshi wrote. "My family and I have received the news that I have advanced stomach cancer, and the clinical prognosis is quite grim. Nonetheless, we are going to pursue healing aggressively, both medical and miraculous, relying on God and the fact that He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine."