Emir Caner

Truett McConnell University President Emir Caner, a Muslim who converted to Christianity as a teenager, told Rome Exchange Club members Friday that he was disowned by his parents after his conversion and could never have imagined becoming the leader of a Southern Baptist institution in Georgia. (Doug Walker, RN-T)

Caner used his presentation to the civic group to highlight differences between Christianity and Islam while touting the benefits of getting a higher education at a Biblically-oriented college.

His family moved to the U.S. in the 1960s for two reasons, to achieve financial security and build mosques.

"There were only 100 mosques in the United States in the 1960s, now there are 3,000 mosques in America. Nobody is paying  much attention to that, they should be," Caner said.

The Baptist college president said the premise that Muslims don't put fellow Muslims who convert to other religions to death isn’t correct.

"That's a media promise, that's not true," Caner said. "Here's Muhammad's own words that we grow up with, if a Muslim changes his Islamic religion,  kill him."

Caner said as many 25,000 Muslims convert to Christianity every year, but that a similar number of Christians convert to Islam.

"Seventy-five percent of Muslims who become Christian go back to being Muslim, because of the pressures of family, pressures of other things and — to be honest with you — because churches don't know how to disciple Muslims," Caner said.

The Muslim convert did not want to delve too much into politics, but did respond the Exchange members questions related to immigration.

"You have to vet because of Sharia law. It is against the First Amendment, it's against the Fourth Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment," Caner said.

Truett McConnell University has grown from approximately 390 students when Caner was appointed president to more than 2,600 this year. The university has nine different schools, the newest being in criminal justice.

"We're second out of 324 private schools in the South for the least amount of student debt, and that’s crucial because I don't want to put that burden on my kids," said Caner.

“You want irony, Truett McConnell University's land used to be a pig farm and is now run by a former Muslim. Have fun with that one," Caner said.