Ahmed Hoosen Deedat (Arabic: احمد حسين ديدات July 1918 – 8 August 2005) was a South African writer and public speaker of Indian descent. He was best known as a Muslim missionary who held numerous inter-religious public debates with evangelical Christians, as well as video lectures, most of which centred around Islam, Christianity and the Bible. He also established the IPCI, an international Islamic missionary organisation, and wrote several booklets on Islam and Christianity which were widely distributed by the organisation. He was awarded the prestigious King Faisal International Prize in 1986 for his 50 years of missionary work. One focus of his work was providing Muslims with theological tools for defending themselves against active proselytising by Christian missionaries. He used English to get his message across to Muslims and non-Muslims in the western world
Deedat's first well-known debate took place in August 1981, when he debated well-known Christian preacher Josh McDowell in Durban, South Africa. Many of his debates have later been broadcast online on YouTube, among other sites.
Debates with Anis Shorrosh
Deedat's disagreements with Palestinian-American Christian missionary Anis Shorrosh first came to public attention when Shorrosh appeared among the audience during the questions and answers sessions on two separate occasions during Deedat's summer 1985 tour of the UK (where he debated Floyd E. Clark in what is now considered another one of his early international works). Deedat and Shorrosh later held two highly contentious debates. The first, entitled Is Jesus God? took place in December 1985 at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The second debate was organised with much fanfare and held in Birmingham, UK on 7 August 1988, entitled The Quran or the Bible: Which is God's Word. This debate lasted four hours, including the questions and answers session.
Debate with Jimmy Swaggart
Deedat's best-known moment came when he debated with televangelist Jimmy Swaggart at a time when Swaggart was one of the leading faces of Evangelical Christianity. Entitled Is The Bible the Word of God?, the debate occurred in Swaggart's hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in November 1986 at Louisiana State University, where it was attended by about 8,000 people.
Other notable debates
In October and November 1991 Deedat toured Scandinavia, where he held three debates and several speeches. Two of these debates were held on successive nights against Pastor Stanley Sjöberg in Stockholm, Sweden. The first of these was entitled Is the Bible the True Word of God? and the second debate was Is Jesus God?. Deedat then travelled to Denmark, where he held a debate with Pastor Eric Bock in Copenhagen, entitled Is Jesus God?
Deedat and the Pope
After Pope John Paul II had called for better relations and peaceful intellectual dialogue with the Muslims, Deedat challenged him in 1984 to a public debate in the Vatican Square, but the Pope did not accept. When the Pope's staff stopped answering, Deedat distributed a pamphlet in January 1985 headlined His Holiness Plays Hide and Seek With Muslims..