Author Saada, born in the Gaza Strip and reared as a refugee in Saudi Arabia and Auatar, became a sniper for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as a young man. He also served as Yassar Arafat's chauffeur. With co-author Dean Merrill (In the Presence of My Enemies), Saada retraces his life's journey from hatred to love in Once an Arafat Man: The True Story of How a PLO Sniper Found a New Life. Saada encountered Christ in a Damascaus road-like experience when he relocated to America at the age of 23. This experience not only infused his life with purpose, but also shifted his theological understanding and perspective on interracial and interfaith relationships. After all, for a Muslim to worship Christ is to risk life and limb, yet Saada counted the cost, even facing his relatives with his newfound faith. This book is a fascinating window into the book of Genesis, Islamic culture and the Arab-Israeli conflict. More importantly, it is a story of the ultimate hope rooted in Christ, the Savior of all--including Jews and Muslims. --Christian Retailing, October 13, 2008
Saada was a trusted assistant to Yasir Arafat in the late 1960s, soon after Fatah was established. His remarkable story is one of youthful violence and frustration; then he moved to the United States at age 23 to study engineering. He married an American woman, had a successful career in the restaurant business, and, in 1993, underwent a conversion to evangelical Christianity. He has written a moving personal story that will especially satisfy readers who believe in the transformative possibilities of America and the power of faith to alter lives. Saada's experience depicts well the unfortunate situation of the Palestinian diaspora in Arab countries and the circumstances culminating in the Jordanian-Palestinian violence of "Black September" 1970. Clearly, Saada intends to focus on the many circumstances that transformed his attitudes and activity after experiencing a miraculous religious conversion, culminating in his work in the West Bank and Gaza and his creation of "Hope Kindergarten" in the Gaza Strip. Perhaps the best part of his account is his reconciliation with Israelis and his role as a peacemaker. One's reaction to his proposals will likely depend on how one reacts to his life experiences as a whole. Recommended for large public libraries.--Zachary T. Irwin, Pennsylvania State Univ., Erie Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.