It was the experience of becoming a Muslim for 24 hours that set Charbel Raish—founder of Parousia Media—on a journey to deepen his knowledge and love of the Catholic faith.
Despite being born and raised in a Maronite Catholic family, Charbel had fallen away from his faith by the time he was nine years old.
He attended Belmore Boys’ High School which, as well as being an epicentre for juvenile crime and ethnic gangs, had a high percentage of Muslim students. He quickly acquired many Muslim friends and was exposed to their faith and way of life.
“They take their religion seriously and it was attractive to me. It was impressive that they encourage each other in the faith. I wanted to be part of that,” Charbel told The Catholic Weekly.
During Lent 1999 a Sheik from Jordan visited the school and Charbel went along with his friends to hear him speak.
It was over lunch at Lakemba Mosque following the Sheik’s talk that Charbel really felt his lukewarm Christianity being tested.