A MUSLIM man who had a sudden brain aneuryism that left him in a coma has converted to Christianity following a near-miraculous recovery.
Karim Shamsi-Basha was in a coma for a month in 1992 but when he woke up, he began a 20-year journey that lead to him becoming a Christian.
His neurosurgeon told him he had seen very few people in his condition go on to make a full recovery and suggested that Mr Shamsi-Basha find out why he survived.
Syrian-born Mr Shamsi-Basha wrote a book about his journey, called PAUL AND ME, which includes chapters about Paul — one of the Bible's best known figures — whose conversion to Christianity took place in Damascus.
The author and photojournalist grew up in a closely-knit Muslim family in Syria who were tolerant of all faiths, with a best friend who was a Christian, but he did not seriously consider changing religion before his illness.
Mr Shamsi-Basha told the Christian Post that he practised Islam as a teenager.
"I prayed five times a day. I walked to the mosque before sunrise. I fasted the month of Ramadan," he said.
When he was 18 he left the country, ran by the first Assad regime, to study at the University of Tennessee in the US before working as a photojournalist at a local newspaper in Birmingham Alabama, getting married and fathering a son.
It was in 1992 when he was covering a fire at Independent Presbyterian Church for his local newspaper, that Mr Shamsi-Basha collapsed in its car park where he suffered a brain aneuryism that could have left him paralysed, The Marietta Daily journal reported.
After months of therapy, Mr Shamsi-Basha made a full recovery which he describes as "miraculous".
On the road to recovery, Mr Shamsi-Basha, who now lives in Nashville, Tennessee, began to read the Bible and was baptised in 1996, but he said it took the end of his first marriage, the death of his father and homelessness, until he fully believed in Jesus.
Mr Shamsi-Basha told the religious publication that God takes "credit for my conversion. It was the grace of God that saved me."
While life has changed dramatically for the author, he is still close to his Muslim family.
His sister lives in Damascus, while more of his relatives are based in Homs, one of the Syrian cities that has been worst hit in the ongoing civil war.
Mr Shamsi-Basha said: "As far as my family goes, we're terrified. Who knows who is dead and who is alive."