Editor’s note: the identity of the author of this piece cannot be revealed for obvious reasons. Below is a picture of his back after his encounter with Iranian authorities.
Believing the wrong thing and having the wrong faith according to Islam, somehow is justifiable enough under Islamic Law to be prosecuted and even killed for.
That was my crime: believing in something that Iranian authorities and Islam deemed dangerous for their existence.
Coming from a family with secretive Christian beliefs, I always loved Christianity, even though I wasn’t always practicing it when I was a child.
My father had several paintings of Jesus Christ and Mother Mary, an old Bible from before the Iranian revolution, several books about Christianity, and crosses, statues and several other things.
They had direct and indirect influence on my belief system. When I was very young, I used to open the Quran and the Bible and read from them. I always felt a strong connection to Christianity when reading the New Testament, but in contrast, I never felt anything positive when reading the Quran. Chapter and verse, I would encounter things that I could not convince myself were from a merciful God.
Schools forcing us to pray and attend religious speeches. I never felt right about them. The often stinky rooms filled with smells of unwashed socks. The loud unpleasant noise of Islamic prayer, hearing chants of death to America and Israel left and right, systematic sexism against women and discrimination against other religious minorities or belief systems, claiming the moral high ground while calling for the annihilation of Israel and America and lots of other things. Never felt right, nor something Divine.
I always felt a strong contradiction between the merciful divine God mentioned in Christianity and the “Allah” of Islam.
I was extremely lucky to be born into a family that gave me a chance to know Christianity and understand Islam. Not everyone is that lucky.
I always felt peace when reading the Bible, even watching TV shows and movies and seeing scenes from the Church yet completely unrelated to the show’s plot, I found peace and comfort just in watching the Christians pray in a church.
My brother used to listen to a lot of Rock music. I remember watching Guns N Roses November Rain music video. I didn’t know what the song was about at the time, but when Slash came out of the church in middle of nowhere, I felt a strong connection.
He would also listen to a band named ERA. They make music mostly about Christianity and are mainly religious. Listening to them felt very peaceful and was inspiring.
As you can tell, my brother and father had great influence on me both mentally and spiritually, since I was a kid.
Officially, we were born Muslim, all of my family. Because apostasy is punishable by death in Islam, my father was always scared of us getting arrested. He would never admit to his faith even in private, and he always advised us to be careful about what we spoke to others about our family or even our opinion of Islam.
He would tell me stories of pre-revolution Iran and how he worked at places full of Christians and foreigners. He also mentioned one of his close friends who was also a Christian and was executed after the revolution. He always advised me to be careful about my actions because faith in Iran is no joke. And you can easily get arrested for saying the wrong thing about Islam.
Years passed and I felt more and more open to Christianity and far more away from Islam. I had my doubts, as every healthy person would, until I came across a turning point.
I read about the story of Lourdes in France and how its water spring healed lots of people. I was a little skeptical at first, but after realizing that around 69 of the cases were scientifically proven miracles, along with many witnesses, I knew it was a modern day miracle and I knew at that point that I want to be what I always felt right about: a Christian, a believer in the true God.
I was around 18. I was studying in college. The nearest route to home was an alley that had an old church in it. This church was built before the revolution. For several weeks I was passing by and I would look at the building and the cross on top of it. I felt fresh, I would fantasize about going inside in the middle of the night to light a candle and pray, or playing guitar outside it, like Slash did on November Rain.
It was just taking a look and feelings until I decided to visit the church and ask a priest about the safety of church-attending people and baptism. I knocked and a middle-aged man answered the door. I asked for a priest and he asked me whether I was born a Muslim and if I want to convert and I said Yes, maybe. He told me to wait in the yard so he could call the priest. But that was the spell of doom. He actually went to call in the intelligence agents. After about 20 to 30 minutes, two plain clothes agents entered the yard and without hesitation pushed me to the ground and cuffed me. They later took me to their car and blindfolded me and told me to stay under and not to come up, otherwise they would smash my head.
The very thing my father was afraid of happened. I was careless and didn’t listen to my father.
They took me someplace under the ground (judging by the number of steps we came down) and took me to a room. Three other guys came, one of them older, obviously higher ranking than the other two, with lots of beard and a horrific gaze.
He started asking me questions like if I’m a spy for the CIA or Mossad, and if my parents were political activists and whatnot. And he started cursing and offending my family, especially my mother. So I cursed back at him and called him a traitor. Suddenly he got mad and told the other two to hold me on a table in the room. He started beating me up with a thin sharp metallic cable. I was screaming in pain and started crying and begging him to stop. He kept asking whether I was a spy and I swore to anything I could think of to convince him I’m not. He then started punching my back and head to try to force a confession out of me. I was too scared, I knew if I said anything about my belief or my family, we would be in more serious trouble.
He started to sexually abuse me, to force me to talk by humiliating me. I am really ashamed to talk about this with anyone.
They let me off the table, as I was crying and begging them to stop. They left the room and after intense crying due to extreme pain I was in, I fell sleep on the table, I felt like for a long time. I had nightmares and suddenly I woke up to the sound of the metallic door getting shut and the same old guy came asking the same questions and left the room again, and two other men came and told me I need to sign some papers. I did without even looking at them, I was just too scared.
They cuffed and blindfolded me again and released me outside of the city in an open field. I really felt they were gonna execute me because before they uncuffed me they forced me on my knees. But they left in their car and I couldn’t remove the blindfold on my face until minutes after.
I walked to the nearest road and asked cars passing by to give me a lift and told them I was mugged. They offered me to take me to the police station, but I refused and went home.
As you can guess, my family gave me a lot of “I told you so” speeches and my father was very mad about what happened.
I wasn’t leaving the house for several weeks. I was too scared of everything. I was in shock. My family gave me pills to calm me down and it took me awhile to get out of the house. I missed my college exams and dropped out of the university.
I was angry on the inside, yet I started studying it more to understand its flaws and toxic ideologies. I found a lot of stuff on the Internet, including Jihad Watch and Robert Spencer’s books and speeches. They gave me more knowledge understanding of how toxic the core of Islam really is. Later in life, I became very anxious and depressed. I went to psychiatrists and I was taking medication until the last minute I was in Iran.
The next year I attended another college. I always kept to myself and wasn’t very social after my arrest. Suddenly one of my late semester classmates who was a girl came to me and started talking to me about the way I am, why I mostly wore dark clothes and why I was mostly alone in the college. We ended up exchanging phone numbers and talking every day.
As time passed, I was more fond of her. We liked the same video games and the same kind of music. She was very kind and understanding. I eventually opened up and told her about my arrest and faith. She was very open minded about it and told me she just believed in God or a higher power and not in any religion and I was OK with that.
After few years, it felt like she was the one I wanted to spend my life with. The only concern I had was her family, because I knew nothing about them. She never asked much about my family so I thought she doesn’t like getting asked about hers either.
But we were exchanging a lot of ideas. I would tell her about my belief in Christianity, my opinions on Islam and the current state of the country, and I even told her I thought Mohammed was a textbook pedophile, because marrying a 6-year-old is textbook pedophilia, no matter what the Muslims say.
I was attending university for my bachelors at the time. My girl stopped answering calls and texts for about a week. And then strangely I got confronted by the university security. They did not let me enter and told me I was expelled from university. I asked them about the reason but they didn’t give me any, and told me I will be contacted later about the details.
I was concerned about her, and I was thinking of ways to tell my family about the university. I wasn’t sure how to tell them but the next day I didn’t stay home. I did not want my mother to ask questions. I was in the streets, thinking and walking and calling my girl and getting no answer. Suddenly a car stops near me and someone starts shouting and charging at me with a steering lock. Fortunately there were lots of other people around and they stopped him from getting too close to me. Someone from the crowd took me away and said you need to leave, whoever this guy is, he is very angry and this will not end well if you stay and argue with him.
I went straight home, in shock at what had just happened. Suddenly my phone rings and my girl says her brother took her phone and read most of our text messages and he is extremely angry and that he beat her up. I was very angry I argued with her and told her you shouldn’t have kept the text messages for this long. I also told her about the attack on the street after telling her the guy’s description she told me that was her brother. After a long argument and she telling me to lay low, I called my friend and told him I am not feeling well and I had to see him and need his and his father’s counseling. I went to his house. I ended up staying the night talking to him and his father about the situation and how I’m going to tell my family.
Early in the morning, my mother calls. She is crying and sobbing, telling me a bunch of plain clothes agents raided our home and took my computer and belongings and she told me not to come home and call my brother. I went to one of my brother’s friends.
My brother told me that agents were after me and if I stayed I would be in serious danger. He said he wanted to smuggle me into Turkey, I opposed this at first but we talked very long and he convinced me it was not safe for me to stay and I had to get out of Iran as fast as possible. So I went to Uramia, the northwest border city with Turkey, and smugglers took me and about 20 Afghans and a few Pakistanis into the mountains. It was winter and freezing cold. The mountain was very steep. We kept hiking very high. We couldn’t see more than five meters ahead of us. I suddenly fell, I couldn’t walk anymore. My legs were extremely tired. They left me.
I was afraid to die right there. I prayed to God to give me strength. And so he did. I somehow managed to stand on my feet and hike very fast. It felt like a miracle, a minute ago I couldn’t even walk and suddenly I reached the group in few minutes. We were gliding on the way down because the terrain was extremely harsh. I ended up ripping my pants apart. Everyone in the group was laughing at me when we came down.
After passing few villages in Turkey without any proper food, I came to city of Van in Turkey. After about 3 days they gave me proper meal, gave me a Turkish sim card and some cash that my family sent them, and gave me a bus ticket to Ankara and told me to go to the ASAM office to get registered as an asylum seeker.
Long story short, my designated city was extremely small. It was like a small village. Most women wore hijab, indicating it was a religious town.
Refugees have no right when it comes to jobs or college education, or anything else for that matter. They have to work black market jobs illegally, and if the police find out, they could face jail or deportation in some cases. Police force refugees to stay in the town. You are not allowed to leave and you have to go to the immigration office every week and confirm you are in the town, otherwise they will deport you back.
After a week in Turkey, my family informed me that they received a letter from my university by mail and it stated I was not allowed to attend any university! I got literally fired.
Apparently my girl managed to secretly buy another phone, and she started sending me messages and told me that her brother worked in intelligence in Iran, and she didn’t tell me before because she was afraid of losing me. (It’s like a surreal epidemic. Everyone in Iran is an intelligence agent nowadays!) I just knew the trouble I was in. The things I said in text messages to her in Iran contained nothing short of blasphemy, and the death penalty is always on the table in such cases. We had a big fight, but I started convincing her to come to Turkey and be with me because I deeply missed her. I almost did convince her. She was going to sell her jewelry and come to Turkey. One day she stopped answering my messages for several days. I knew something was up again, like a deja vu. I was extremely depressed and alone at the time. I would go out in the middle of the night to walk, get some air and think about my messed-up situation. One of the nights that I was out, a car stopped. The braking sound was very loud, but I didn’t pay attention because it wasn’t uncommon for Turkish kids to drive recklessly with their parents’ car in the middle of the night.
I started hearing footsteps approaching me, got nervous and decided to look back and take a look. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was the same guy who attacked me in Iran! He grabbed me by my hair and tried to drag me to the car. I started kicking and punching him. One of my punches landed on his nose. He stepped back and held his nose and closed his eyes for a second. I used this opportunity to run away. The next day I went to the immigration police and told the interpreter about the incident the night before.
He didn’t even bother to translate. He didn’t believe my story and told me, “Get out, we know it’s a scam for you to get transferred to another city!”
I decided that this town wasn’t safe for me anymore. Although illegal, I went to the nearest city, which was a lot bigger. I called Refugee Rights Turkey and told them about my situation. They called the HRDF NGO in my original city and told me to go and talk to them and I did. They gave me a letter and came with me to the immigration police and talked to them. They didn’t believe my story and denied my request for transfer several times.
I had to travel to my original designated town each week for six months to confirm my stay, risking not only my safety, but my legal stay in Turkey.
After sending lots of emails to the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), they decided to interview me. The RSD (Refugee Status Determination) officer in UNHCR was very strict. She asked me why I left Islam, and each time I criticized Islam, she would get defensive, trying to explain that Islam isn’t toxic and majority of Muslims are peaceful, I also told her every country Islam has ever touched is struggling today. She kept saying I was wrong.
After telling her about my arrest in Iran years ago, I wanted to show her the scars on my back. She refused to see them even after I insisted three times, and told me I could have been injured in a fight. I wasn’t sure she would even want to help me.
She didn’t even let me tell my story in order. She kept jumping from subject to subject and incident to incident so much that she confused herself. She was extremely skeptical about everything I told her.
I never told her anything about my family. I wasn’t sure if UNHCR would be able to keep the information from leaking out. Most of their interpreters are refugees themselves, and I could not be sure that they didn’t have any other connection to any organization outside UNHCR.
After six months of painful and stressful waiting, UNHCR called me for another interview!
According to the UNHCR rules, normal interviews should be decided on in less than a month, and in case of delays, the refugee should be informed of the reason and timeframe, but this didn’t happen at all.
In the additional interview, she kept asking me awkward questions, like “Which TV shows or movies did you watch and tell us about their stories.” She even asked me to specify the reason my girl’s brother attacked me in Turkey. I told her “Well, obviously because I was dragging her sister into Turkey!” But the interviewer wasn’t convinced.
I spoke English directly with the interviewer on my first interview. But in the additional interview, she forced me to go through a Farsi-to-Turkish interpreter, and they would speak Turkish to each other, for the purpose of me not understanding what they were saying.
I insisted several times on speaking directly to the interviewer, but she refused. I also told her that because I don’t understand Turkish, it was hard for me to concentrate on my story when the interpreter needed 30 to 45 seconds to translate 15 seconds of me talking. She never even told me that it was my right to change my interpreter if I was not happy with him.
She got mad the last time I criticized the interpreter, and went out to talk to the director, then came back and said, “You are not cooperating with us and it will end badly for you!”
I kept telling her, “I will answer all of your questions to best of my knowledge, but I am not happy with the interpreter and translation,” and she said that I was not cooperating with them and it would end badly for me.
I begged them at the end to believe me and help me, and to not keep me waiting.
During my stay in Turkey, I have been confronted by several Turkish people telling me I have to speak Turkish in public and to hide my cross because this is an Islamic country. Some Turkish people attacked my house with eggs on both my windows. I went to the immigration police they told me it was not possible to do anything since I didn’t know the attackers.
I reported all of these incidents to UNHCR via email.
Yet after four months, they rejected my case.
And in the rejection letter, without any specification, they said my story was inconsistent and vague and didn’t seem to be true. Not only did they doubt me, but they were calling me a liar.
Of course, when a majority of UNHCR Turkey’s staff are Turkish Muslims, this can happen, as the Quran says, “Do not take Jews and Christians as friends,” and to force them to convert to Islam or pay the tax. When the religion specifically tells Muslims to systematically discriminate against non-Muslims, it was not really shocking to see these kinds of things, even from UNHCR.
There were several rules and code violations done by my interviewer during the interview, and after the interview, I called UNHCR several times and told them about these violations, but they would not accept the fact that UNHCR isn’t always playing by the rules.
They didn’t even care about me being on three or four different medications just to function. The stress and anxiety and depression I have to go through every day, being alone in a country hostile to Christians, away from family and friends, you have no idea what it does to your soul.
Sad thing is, UNHCR Turkey keeps cutting corners for the sake of efficiency at the expense of the refugees.
In both the interviews, I could hear another Iranian having his own interview. I heard everything he said word by word. Yet UNHCR brags about confidentiality so much that it is considered blasphemy to them if you accuse them of being careless with information.
I am writing this to tell the world how Christians are getting persecuted around the world while UNHCR keeps resettling Muslims by the thousands into democratic nations. We Christians are keeping on getting pushed under the rug while under the political correctness movement you cannot call Islam what it really is.
Islam is a toxic political ideology that aims to take over the world and actively discriminate against women and non-Muslims. And do not think for a second that it is me who’s saying it — it’s the Quran itself. It is in Islam’s charter to behead the nonbelievers wherever you find them and force the People of the Book to convert or pay the tax to be humiliated.
But in the day and age of the fake news mainstream media that keeps apologizing for Islam, you will be demonized for pointing the facts.
Islamic deception calls for Muslims to lie in hope of protecting and advancing Islam and ultimately establishing a Sharia-governing caliphate exactly like ISIS.
Do not be fooled into thinking ISIS has nothing to do with Islam. Almost literally everything that ISIS ever did is mentioned in the Quran or other Islamic books. It is always said that Muslims should try to act as their prophet did, meaning having sex with underage children, beheading people, forcing them to pay tax and stone women to death if they cheat on their husband, and to take slaves and rape them.
Muslims name most of their boys Mohammed, after someone who married a child, killed many people, took slaves and had 11+ wives.
This is NOT hate speech. It is NOT hate speech if it really happened. I am simply stating FACTS, not fiction or hate speech.
If you think the Nazi ideology was toxic and Hitler was a murderer (based on facts), then why it must be considered hate speech when you speak about facts of Islam which most Islamic scholars agree on?
Why are we rightfully condemning Nazis but giving Islam special treatment and a free pass?
Why do feminists keep talking about white male privilege and bash Christians endlessly, but when it comes to the human rights of women in Islamic countries, they all remain silent?
Why do the liberals keep talking about diversity, but when it comes to diversity of thought, they suddenly try to label everyone bigoted and will try everything in their power to silence any diversity of thought?
In my final statement, I want to simply compare Islam to Christianity for you.
In Christianity, Jesus saved women from getting stoned to death. While in Islam, it is encouraged to stone cheating women to death.
The best example of any religion is their messengers.
Jesus was a perfect man who never killed anyone and raised people from the underworld and told people to love their enemies.
Yet Mohammed lied, raped children and slaves, attacked and killed lots of people and encouraged Muslims to lie and take up to four wives and slaves.
And the best modern-day comparison?
When you draw a cartoon of Jesus Christ, Christians mostly laugh WITH you, and some might just criticize you.
But when you draw a cartoon of Mohammed, Muslims will riot, attack embassies and kill people.
Islam is NOT compatible with Western democracy. Take this from an ex-Muslim.
The sooner Islam goes through a reform and acknowledges that Mohammed was in fact not one of the best human beings ever existed, but quite the opposite, then there might be hope for a peaceful Islam. Meanwhile, I just hope that most Muslims don’t take Islam so literally or stay ignorant to its teaching, because it is the only way to stop Islamic terrorism until Islam gets reformed.
According to several reports, between 15% to 25% of Muslims are extremists. That translates to around 300 million, almost as much as the population of the United States.
According to a poll from the Independent, 21% of Syrians support ISIS. That loosely means out of every five Syrians that you resettle, one might become a terrorist.
The peaceful majority who, Thank God!, are ignorant of Islamic teachings, are irrelevant when it comes to terrorism.
It takes only few extremists to hijack planes and kill three thousand people. It only takes one to enter a club and murder 50+ people in cold blood. It takes one extremist to enter a concert and kill 20+ and injure 250+ teenage kids.
When was the last time in the 21th century that you heard of a Christian killing people and doing acts of terrorism because Jesus told him to?
Yet on the other hand, there are more than 31,000 deadly terror attacks carried out by Muslims in the name of Islam since 9/11.
It is barely half funny, when you see memes on the Internet that say “number of hours since the last Islamic terror attack.”
While we all should support freedom of speech and freedom of religion, we should also support the freedom of healthy criticism and peaceful coexistence.
I keep praying for a better world and for myself to get out of this situation.
God bless you all, even if you disagree with me.
Live and let live.