Sniper finds peace with Jews

Tass and Karen Saada
Tass and Karen Saada

Pledging his allegiance to the Arafat forces as a young Palestinian sniper, Taysir Abu Saada never expected to overcome his bitter hatred towards Jews while working in America.

Taysir, better known as Tass, was so engrained with hatred and anger as a youngster that he once tried to shoot one of his teachers.

"He went down and I thought I had hit him so I got in my car and drove off, but thank God he was not," he says looking back.

After the incident Tass was kicked out of school and his father gave him a choice to leave Saudi Arabia and go study elsewhere. He chose America.

"Why did I want to go to America when I hated the Americans just as much as I hated the Jews?" he says. "It was an amazing thing to me. I was so drawn.

"When I got to America and I lived there for a few months I realised that the Americans are very good hearted people."

Tass started working as a dish washer in a French restaurant and after befriending the owners, he moved out front as a waiter serving tables.

On his first day in the dining room he remembers feeling extremely nervous when serving his first customer, a multi-billionaire named Charlie Sharpe.

"He stopped talking to the lady with him and looked at me with a beautiful smile and said, 'Thank you, young man'," he recalls.

"That intrigued me as a person from the Middle East; when you are really that wealthy you don't look at the little people at all, you don't treat them right."

Noticing an unexplainable peace and love in his manner, Tass decided he would "take good care of this man" and they developed a deep friendship. Choosing to be trained in hotel management, Tass ultimately became a highly successful executive.

After 19 years in America, Tass wanted to buy the restaurant he started in, but his plan to move it to a former funeral home hit a hurdle.

"From my Moslem background and teaching, any place that had dead bodies has demons and ghosts in the building, so when I walked in there I was uncomfortable," he recalls.

Relating this creepy feeling to Charlie, Tass was shocked when Charlie said "you have no fear of God", then added that this is easily fixed saying, "I have connections".

He tried to laugh Charlie's suggestion off, but the meaning of Charlie's connection so troubled him that he could not eat or sleep normally.

Within days he felt like a walking zombie and was smoking six cigarette packets a day trying to calm his nerves, so at their next dinner meeting Tass begged Charlie to explain his "connection".

The following day Charlie told Tass about the miracles he had experienced in his life. Then Tass froze when Charlie said that to have peace he must love the Jews.

"He knew how much I hated the Jews," Tass explains. "To me at that time a good Jew was a dead Jew."

He became indignant when Charlie tried to explain that Jesus Christ was not just a prophet, as Muslims believed, but that the Bible taught that He was actually God, the Messiah who had been prophesied about throughout the Old Testament Scriptures.

As Tass stormed towards the door Charlie called him back, begging him for a chance to explain as he reached for his Bible.

"He put his Bible right in between the two of us and when he did that I jumped away from it," Tass says.

When asked why he felt so repelled by the book, Tass admitted that he knew it was because it had the name of God and the word of God in it.

Despite this, he did not know what the Bible actually had to say about Jesus and as Charlie started reading from the first chapter of John he was overwhelmed.

"When he started reading that Jesus is the Word, Jesus is God, I started shaking and I lost control," Tass recalls.

"The next thing I know, I'm on my knees on the floor with my hands lifted up, inviting Christ to be my Lord and Saviour.

"I felt like a mountain lifted off my shoulder and a joy and peace came into my heart I never experienced before."

Although neither of the men could explain what had just happened, they both knew that by surrendering his life to Jesus Christ on that day, Tass now had peace and an eternal connection with God.

The next day he felt a strange burden to pray for a special blessing over the Jewish race he had once despised.

Shocked by the sudden love that had engulfed his complete hatred, Tass knew that the power of Jesus Christ was the only thing that could have changed his heart.

Following his radical conversion Tass established a kindergarten work in Jericho and founded Seeds of Hope, an organisation committed to bring change to families through education, economic development, cultural exchange and humanitarian aid, where he continues to share the unexplainable love he has for all races of people through Jesus Christ.

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