Relaymedia

Yasser Arafat 'Found Jesus' Before Death, Claims Evangelical Christian Leader

( [email protected] ) Nov 12, 2014 11:57 AM EST

Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat led the course of the Palestinians for an independent state.

Yasser Arafat, the former leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization may have become a Christian before his death ten years ago, claims a prominent evangelical Christian writer and speaker.

In an interview with Premier Christianity magazine, author and pastor RT Kendall said he became friends with Mr Arafat, who died in 2004, and prayed with him several times.

Dr Kendall said Mr Arafat had wept while watching Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ," a film which depicts the life and crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and that they had spoken about how to become a Christian.

He said that while he could not be certain that Arafat was "saved", he believes he may have embraced Christianity.

"It wouldn't surprise me to see him in heaven," he said.

"I'll tell you why; I prayed with him five times, anointed him with oil. I gave him a [salvation] prayer. I'm not saying I know that he's saved; I'm saying I wouldn't be surprised."

Dr Kendall also said he had prayed for Mr Arafat for many years before finally being granted a meeting in 2002. Following the interview, Mr Arafat allowed Dr Kendall to pray for him.

"He took my hand and squeezed it," said Dr Kendall.

"He was sending me a signal and I knew I was getting through."

Yasser Arafat is one of the Middle East's most controversial leaders, with critics viewing him as a terrorist and supporters as a freedom-fighting hero. In 1994, he received the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in the Oslo negotiations to end conflict between Israel and Palestine.

Following his death, the World Council of Churches said Arafat would be remembered "for bringing the Palestinian people together and for his unique and tenacious contribution to the cause of establishing their national home."

"We stand with the Churches of the Holy Land to honour his commitment to their place in the Palestinian society, its affairs and its future," a statement from the WCC continued.

"President Arafat often made sure to mention the church as well as the mosque as core institutions of Palestinian national life."