Dr Mario’s Biography
His father told him, “If you want to be a Christian, I have to kill you,” and tried to make good on his promise, but a miracle saved his life.
Mario Joseph was an imam at age 18. Then he became a Christian and his father tried to kill him. Today, he is a Catholic preacher in India. His case is unique in the world: he is the first Muslim cleric to have embraced Christianity, which in the Islamic world is punishable by death. In the cemetery of his Indian town, there is a tombstone with his name, and underneath it, a coffin with a clay sculpture of his size. His father told him, “If you want to be a Christian, I have to kill you.” This man is alive and his name is Mario Joseph.
He was the third of six brothers. When he was eight years old, his father sent him to a Koranic school to become an imam. After ten years of study, he became an imam at age 18. One day, he was preaching in the mosque that Jesus Christ was not God. Then a person from the audience told him not to say that and asked him who Jesus Christ was. Since he had no answer to give, he set about reading the entire Koran, and there he discovered that in Chapter 3, it speaks of Jesus. The Koran often refers to him as Jesus Christ, and in chapter 19, it speaks of Mary. In the Koran, Mary is the only female name that is named, and the Koran also says that Jesus is the Word of God
Mari Joseph began to investigate Christianity. Studying the Quran, he noticed that the name of Jesus was mentioned more often than the name of Islam’s prophet Mohammed and that Mary, known in Arabic as Mariam, was the only woman mentioned by name in the Quran. In Islam, Mary is recognized as a perpetual virgin who was conceived without sin.
It struck him to consider why the Quran would “give more preference to Jesus” and why it says “all these things about Mariam.”
The Quran describes Jesus as the “Word of God” and the “Spirit of God.” It says Jesus healed the sick and brought the dead to life and went to heaven alive. It does not depict the Prophet Mohammed doing any of this, he explained.
In addition, Mario Joseph came to understand God as a father, something also taught by Christianity.“Whenever I think that the creator of the universe is my dad, I have a kind of joy which I cannot express,”
With this motivation, he explained, “I decided to accept Jesus.”
However, this conversion to Christianity triggered a violent reaction from family members, he said, recounting that his father found him at a Catholic retreat center and beat him badly, to the point that he lost consciousness. When he awoke, he found himself naked in a small room at his family’s home. His arms and legs were bound and hot chili had been placed in his mouth and his wounds.
Mario Joseph said that his father was obeying the law of the Quran, which punishes those who leave Islam.
He said that he was deprived of food and water for several days and that his brother forced him to drink urine as a punishment.
The lack of food and water affected him severely, he recalled, adding that after as many as 20 days, his father entered his cell, choked him and threatened him with a knife unless he renounced Jesus.
“I knew my dad well that he would kill me,” Mario Joseph said.
“When I knew that it was my last moment… I thought, ‘Jesus died, but He came back. If I believe in Jesus and die, I too may get my life’.”
He said at this point he felt energized, pulled his father’s hand down, and cried out Jesus’ name.
His father then fell down and was cut severely by his own knife, causing him to foam at the mouth, Mario Joseph said. When family members took his father to the hospital, they forgot to lock the room.
Mario Joseph is now staying at a Catholic retreat center in India, where he gives talks in various languages.He took the name “Mario,” a male version of Mary in Italian. He also took the name Joseph for Mary’s spouse.
“I ask (for) the intercession of Mary and I know she is protecting me wherever I am,”
In addition, the Catholic convert stressed the importance of Church teaching, especially the Eucharist.
“Jesus clearly said: If you eat my body, if you drink my blood, you shall never die. And even if you die, I will raise you’,” he commented, paraphrasing the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John.
Mario Joseph said he did not expect that he would still be alive 18 years after his conversion. He said people are still trying to kill him, and his parents held a mock funeral ceremony for him to signify that he was an outcast. On the mock grave, they marked as his death date the date of his baptism.
Although he has had no contact with his family members, he prays for them and believes that “God can touch them within a moment.”
Even if they never accept Christianity, he explained, “I’m always saying ‘Jesus, please take them to heaven’.”