As'ad Shidyaq (1798-1830) was the earliest known Arab convert (in 1825) of the American Protestant missionaries who had first arrived in the Middle East in 1820.
Shidyaq was educated at a Maronite seminary and was well known for his penmanship. His clerical skills got him a job with the missionaries, known as the "Biblemen," whom he taught Arabic. The Maronite patriarch and clergy felt their religion was under siege and the delicate balance of their lives threatened. They declared Shidyaq a heretic. Eventually he was confined in a monastery where died.