To BNI readers: I received this from a woman who left Islam and now is a Christian and all that she had to go through in order to do that. It tells of what happens to a happy and relatively free society when fundamentalist Islam takes over.
I was born in Tehran in 1977 right before the Islamic revolution. My family is a nominal Muslim family. I was never forced to fast and pray and very few people in my extended family fasted and prayed anyway.
But after the Islamic revolution in Iran we, children had full on Islamic education in schools. We were forced to wear a nun-like attire in our all-girl-schools and we had Quran and religion classes several times a week. Every morning we were forced to gather in the school yard 30 minutes prior to the start of our classes to chant “death to America” and “death to The Soviet Union” and “death to Israel”.
When I was 4 years old the brutal Iran vs Iraq war started which lasted all of my childhood. I am very familiar with what many Israelis and now Gaza people go through right now. Both Saddam Hussein and the Iranian Islamic regime used arial bombing of civilian neighbourhoods and always a couple of months per year we had to be on the run to bomb shelters (which weren’t really shelters, but the basements of our own houses).
Standing in long lines for food and staying away from school because of bombings, taped windows to avoid their shattering if a bomb hit close, and war propaganda and “martyr” processions on TV were part of our daily lives for 8 long years.
It was a brutal war, a real war, nothing like this sissy, wimpy pseudo-wars that Western countries fight these days with cameras ready and journalist screaming: “War crime! Massacre, Genocide!” any time that a civilian’s nose starts to bleed and soldiers are more afraid of killing the wrong people accidentally than being killed themselves!
In that war two monsters, Saddam and Khomeini had a serious go at each other and spared no one! Many of my relatives who lived in the south west of the country became war refugees and lost everything. All of my male cousins also participated in the war as drafted soldiers. A few got lightly wounded. Luckily non perished. But the war took more than 1 million lives and it was all for nought.
Considering this current conflict in Gaza I must say, when I hear clueless people sanctimoniously claim that Israel has committed war crimes because a few kids in that overpopulated area have gotten killed I laugh! I don’t try to minimise it by with all due respect these people don’t know what they are talking about! That is what war looks like! But they are so naive and sheltered these Europeans of today that they look at a normal war and they think this is what a war crime looks like!
A memo to such people: “Hey guys! This is war! In a war people are SUPPOSED TO DIE!!! It is a nasty affair; I know! But that’s how it is! You win the war by killing a lot more of your enemy than they kill of your side! Disproportionate fatality is not war crime! It is a sign that one side is winning and the other is losing! That’s all!” (End of rant!)
It was the Iranian regime which metastasised the “Palestinian problem”. Before the Islamic revolution, political Islam was simmering under the radar and was not fashionable in the Middle East. But after the Khomeini revolution suddenly all the kooks and fanatics found out that they can realise their sick Islamo-pchycotic dreams and started to come out of the woodwork all over the Middle East. Khomeini learned a lot from Muslim Brotherhood and from the beginning Iran was a huge supporter, financed and booster of Hamas, but despised the PLO.
After the Islamic revolution life became gradually very difficult for Iranian people. I was one year old when the revolution happened. Many at first thought that Khomeini in keeping with his promises will go back to Qom and will teach Islamic jurisprudence and will leave the job of running the country to experts. The stupid leftists in our country did the exact same mistakes that the Lefties in the west are making today. They thought Khomeini was just an Anti-Western, Anti- colonialist political leader and downplayed his manifest Islamic fanaticism and his appalling views on women and secular freedoms.
But when he got what he wanted he didn’t keep his promise of staying out of politics and utterly destroyed the Lefties and all that they held dear! A few of my foolish young cousins were involved in leftist movements. One of them ended up being arrested at the age of 20 and spent 7 years in the regime’s prisons under torture and appalling conditions.
Before women knew it Khomeini ordered them to cover themselves. Any woman who disobeyed risked having acid thrown into her face by motorcycle-riding Islamic thugs. Soon they threatened women into submission. The saddest thing was the fact that despite all these efforts to cover women up, women were always sexually harassed in public. This is a pandemic problem throughout the Islamic world. Women have no peace and quiet when they walk outside. In Iran when a woman is sitting in public transport or walking on the streets she is often groped, touched, pinched and fingered by men, and indecent and rude sexual remarks whispered in her ear.
I remember many years ago when the government announced that from then on, in buses, female and male passengers were to be segregated and women were to go and sit on the back of the bus which was much smaller and we had to stand while men were comfortably sitting. Some westerners might think we must have been insulted to be sent to the back of the bus like Rosa Parks. But, believe me! The prospect of being rid of men’s groping and touching and harassing was good enough to make up for the insult of being sent to the back of the bus!
When I was older I realised that having to contend with “moral police” who enforced the Islamic rules was a daily struggle. If we wore our scarves not tightly enough and some hair showed we risked being reprimanded, fined, or even jailed, depending on the mood of the enforcer!
Iranian people who are a very fun-loving and party-loving people had to be very careful not to make too much noise in their parties and family gatherings in their own private homes, because otherwise the “moral-patrol” could come and break into their houses with guns and arrest everybody and search every inch of their house in the process, which meant they might find their contraband: homemade vodka, playing cards or backgammon sets (banned due to Islam’s ban of all gambling), “illegal” pop-music tapes (and later CDs), and their “illegal” Hollywood VHS tapes and DVDs) all obtained in the black-market.
Most Iranian people owned at least some of these things secretly in their homes. But if the moral police came to their house to arrest them for partying, it could lead to them being jailed and then condemned to several lashes of the whip.
This same thing happened to my family once when I was about 11 years old. We held my cousin’s wedding in our house. I was sent to bed early, while the party was still going on, but the next morning when I woke up I saw that my parents were not home and all of the cupboards and closets in our house were open and their content was thrown out on the floor.
I was shocked and didn’t know what had happened. But soon my old auntie who because of her age was spared the arrest came to our house to check on me and my sister and explained that the night before after I went to bed the “moral-patrol” came to our house, rang the doorbell and as my mom opened the door they pushed her to the ground and entered the house, arrested everybody, searched the house, confiscated all the non-Islamic items, including some vodka, and put everyone including the bride and groom in jail.
After a few weeks the participants were all condemned to several strokes of the whip. But got away unscratched by bribing the judge which as usual in Iran was a corrupt Mullah.
Even though my family was rather secular I was always interested in religion and spiritual things. In school I was taught the Quran, some Arabic language and fundamentals of the Islamic religion.
I didn’t know very much about Islam and the meaning of Quran. Even in very fanatical Islamic countries they never teach the most horrific parts of Islam to people openly. Even many brainwashed Muslims will be appalled by those parts. But every now and then our Islamic spokes people on TV or in schools let the mask slip and said things that even then as a child made me disgusted.
I remember one of our religion teachers used to pray in the class: “Oh God, please make all the kuffar to either become Muslims or kill them and wipe them from the face of the earth!” Most Iranians who still cling to Islam, but are nominal and peaceful, wrongly think that these horrific passages and Hadiths are not real!
They think Islam is what their saintly grandma practiced who just prayed and fasted and took care of the poor. They don’t know what the real thing is and when you confront them with the truth they don’t want to believe it. They usually say: “Oh! These are the nonsense that the Mullahs have invented to keep themselves into power and give their crimes a veneer of religiosity. But the Prophet and Imams (Shiite Imams) were not like that. They were good people!”
Unfortunately we Middle Easterners are not people of research and source-checking and documentation. We are people of mythology, hearsay, and wishful thinking. But I always cared to know the truth and didn’t want to fool myself and now that I had started to study Islam more at school I found it to be an appalling religion, and I must say then I didn’t even know half of what I know now!!
Anyway… At about this time as I was getting more and more disillusioned with Islam I met a girl in my school who is a very good friend of mine till today. She was from a hardline communist family. Her father had spent more than a decade in prison and just had gotten released from prison a few months before we met. Needless to say she was brainwashed to be an atheist by her family and she started to work on me right away. I lost my belief in God as the result of her influence and became a hardcore atheist for most of my teenage years.
At the age of 17 I had a supernatural experience, an epiphany. But I only found that out after I eventually read the Gospels. Seeing the sign of the cross and Jesus Christ was enough for me to know that God wants me to become a Christian. And I obeyed. I woke up around 8 and as soon as I opened my eyes I realized that I had to find myself a copy of the Bible.
But this is forbidden literature in Iran and Tehran is a huge city. Finding a copy of the Bible in Tehran can be harder than finding a needle in a haystack. The first clue that I had was a local Armenian church. Armenians are a local Christian minority who have lived as Dhimmies for centuries.
They have their own language and culture and Christian tradition. I entered this church and soon a church worker came to me and said something to me in Armenian which I couldn’t understand. I answered in Farsi: “Hi! I was wondering do you have any Bibles in Farsi for sale at your church?” As soon as he noticed that I am a Muslim and that I am looking for a Bible he got very agitated and asked me to leave the premisses immediately.
At that time I was not aware of how dangerous it was for him to have this conversation with me and I was a bit offended that at least he wasn’t more courteous when he kicked me out of the church. But later I found out what awaits Armenians who share their faith with the Muslims.
While I was leaving the church, near the gates of the church yard a guy who had heard my conversation with the church worker started to clandestinely call me to himself. He was standing near the gate and said: “Pssss, hey! You! Come here!” I went closer. Then he put a piece of paper in my hand. At first I thought he is a boy who wants to date me. I thought this guys wanted to give me his phone number. But when I went closer while slipping the piece of paper to me he said: “Here is the address of a place where you can get a Bible in Farsi.” and then he quickly went away.
I looked at the address. Luckily it was close by, only a few blocks away from that church. It was great since I was but a teenager and I had come out of the house under false pretext and had to be back home by noon. When I arrived at the address I noticed something really strange. This place was in downtown Tehran and this was around 10:30 in the morning in the middle of the week, but there was no one in that area! This was most unusual since Tehran is a bustling and crazy city where all the streets are always overflown with people and cars.
I found the place. It looked like a bookstore but it was close in midday and there were signs that showed that it must have been closed for a long time. For example the book covers on the shop window had turned yellow from the sunlight and the window was really dusty. I thought to myself: “Darn!!! It is closed down. Perhaps the authorities had found out that they were selling Bibles and closed them down!” I was very disappointed. I had no more clues left and I had to soon head back home.
So in my desperation I prayed to God like this: “God! You wanted me to become a Christian and I came all this way to obey you and get a Bible. This shop was my last clue. If I cannot get inside and talk to the owners of this shop right now I have to go home and maybe will never have a chance to go and look for a Bible again. So if you really want me to become a Christian you have to get me inside this place right now! The ball is in your court now! Amen!”
As soon as this prayer ended I noticed that two people walked to the side of the building of the bookstore and rang a doorbell and someone opened the door to them. I thought: “This is my chance!” and I jumped inside the building right behind them. When I got in the guy who had opened the door to us asked me: “Who are you?!” I said: “Someone at the Armenian church gave me your address and said that I can buy a Bible in Farsi here. Is that so?” The guy asked: “Are you a theology student? I said: “No! I am still in high school.” The man said: “Then I cannot sell you the Bible now.
I can give you a free copy of the New Testament after you come to our Bible classes for a while. But if you want to read the Gospels you can read them here now. But you cannot take one home” This was a safety measure for them. This place happened to be a secret church.
At the basement of this building Iranian Christians (mostly Muslim converts) met and worshipped and studied the scriptures. I simply couldn’t believe it! What a miracle!! I woke up that morning around 8 am with the decision to find a Bible in that huge megapolis of Tehran and by11 am, only three hours later not only I had a copy of the New Testament in my hand but I had found a small cell of secret Christians!!
I read the Gospels for a short while since I had to go home soon. You might guess my shock when I noticed the similarity of the environment described in the Gospels and the environment I saw in my dream and my amazement when I read about Jesus’ disciples hearing a rather similar call to what I heard in my dream the night before: “Come and follow me and I will make you the fisher of men!” This simply took my breath away and moved me very much!
I joined that church and attended the Bible classes anytime I could make up and excuse to leave the house. I learned later that a few years before two of the pastors of that church where murdered by the Islamic vigilantes connected to the government. One of them who was Armenian was just beaten to death on the street on his way home and the other one who was a Muslim convert was first abducted (probably to be pressured to revert back to Islam) and later his tortured and murdered body was found in a ditch in some back alley!
And mind you, back then, in 1990s there was much much much less persecution of the Christians. The government wasn’t actively looking to find Christian converts then. If they happened to notice that you have converted by accident or by your own admission you would have been in trouble, but as long as you kept it a secret nobody cared.
But from what I hear from Christian Iranians who come out of there in recent years they say that now the secret service is actively trying to infiltrate home churches by posing as Christians, and the believers don’t even dare to have a quite prayer meeting of two or three in their own houses. Needless to say the penalties for getting caught are much higher as well. This new wave of persecution started with Ahmadinezhad and “moderate” Hassan Rouhani has done nothing to stop it!
After a few months of secretly attending this underground church I finally decided to witness to my parents. As I said my parents were very nominal. They never prayed the Islamic prayers and never fasted. When they heard that I had become a Christian my father’s reaction was mild. He just thought that Christianity is just as nonsensical as the rest of the religions, but if that’s what floats my boat then so be it! He just advised me to avoid getting caught. And for him that was the end of it and he didn’t want to hear anything more about it.
But my mother who generally is a very domineering person couldn’t let it go that easily! She actively started to persecute me, not because she was such a faithful Muslim, but because she thought that my conversion to Christianity was some crazy, dangerous, reckless, and out of control behaviour. She thought that putting oneself in danger for the sake of any religion was unspeakable folly!
So she started to ground me and secretly follow me anytime I left the house, and even once she followed me right to the church when I had sneaked out of the house secretly and found the pastor of the church and started to shout obscenities at him and tell him :”How dare you put people’s children in danger like this?!” Poor pastor!
He tried very graciously to calm her down and explain to her that he has no right to turn me away if I myself come to seek the Lord. But my mother was having non of it! So after shouting and cursing and threatening she took me away from there and grounded me for a long time!
This all eventually came to a head when I fell in love with an Armenian boy who attended our underground church. In addition to many ex-Muslims, many Armenians who were tired of the dead, traditional, and liturgical Armenian church and were attracted to a more active and evangelical Christianity and wanted to share their faith with Muslims, also attended our church. I fell in love with one of them. He was a sweet, intelligent, and handsome young man and he liked me very much as well.
Somehow my mother found out about it. She never told me a word, but somehow found out the phone number of this boy and unbeknownst to me called him. Apparently she first invited him to meet with her in a cafe. In that meeting apparently like a mafioso she threatened him to stay away from me or else she will tip the religious police that he is seducing a Muslim virgin and then he will be in trouble.
For a while he disregarded the threats and didn’t tell me either. But eventually my mom kept on threatening and even went to the house of his parents in the Armenian neighbourhood downtown and in front of their neighbours and his parents threatened them all. She again said that she will go to the religious authorities and tell them that their son was seducing a Muslim virgin and then he will end up in jail or dead!
After this, his parents persuaded him to break up with me. In his fear he never said why he was breaking up with me. I couldn’t understand why and I was heartbroken. He was my first love and I couldn’t imagine living without him. Eventually a mutual friend told me about my mother’s role in this after he saw me agonizing so much.
This event really crushed me! I couldn’t believe it!!! My mother! My own mother who wasn’t even a Muslim fanatic had gone to a religious minority (and my beloved no less!!) and threatened him with the instrumentalities of that oppressive dictatorial and Islamic regime!
I NEVER EVER thought that she could be capable of anything so base, so disgusting, so thuggish! This event took my spiritual virginity away! I was disillusioned with everything in that country! Even with my own family! I hated Islam so much for turning people (even the nominal ones) into such ignoble people!
Needless to say my relationship with my mother was totally destroyed after that. When I confronted her about her actions she never apologised and till this very day she defends her actions as “necessary evil” and “for my own good”! I sank into a deep depression. I was hopeless.
But then a ray of hope appeared. My family had applied for green cards through my father’s brother several years back during Iran Iraq war. But immigration process being what it is took more than a decade. Now at about this time finally an answer came and all my family received green cards. But of course my parents were already happy with their lives in Iran. My father had a a successful business of his own and didn’t want to leave so they decided to send my sister and me to live in the US with our relatives.
Leaving Iran was one of the best things that happened to me. I lived a few years in the US and studies graphics design and finally could practice my Christian faith freely. There I met my husband who is from Finland. We got married and moved to Finland and now I live in Finland and have three children. I attend an International Church here and we have a few Iranian Christians and many other ex-Muslims in our congregation all with really colourful and interesting stories.
I believe Islam will cause such psychological trauma to the mind of the people who grew up in that culture that even those who are nominal are capable of acting like true believers when push comes to shove! They can be like a bag of nasty surprises. As I explained above, I learned this the hard way!
I believe however that the only antidote to the Islamic poison is Jesus Christ! You may not agree with this, but as long as the West keeps pushing away its Christian heritage it will have no weapon to neutralize Islam and it will eventually be devoured by its Muslims immigrant/invaders. Only a return to Europe’s Christian heritage can save us all!
To Bonni from BNI: Sorry for this long rant. I really appreciate your candor and boldness in what you publish on your website. I hope we always stick firmly to the truth and righteousness in all that we do to eradicate the cancer of Islam from this planet.