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Tuesday, January 24, 2023

"Hadis Najafi: Preparing for battle."


An excerpt from my upcoming book, "Uprising: We are the revolution."

                                                               Hadis Najafi

                                                         “Preparing for battle”



     Hadis Najafi ended her shift at the Takata Fast Food Restaurant at 5 pm and clocked out. It had been a very busy afternoon as the lead cashier in one of the most popular cafes in the city of Karaj. The city of Karaj lay nestled up against the majestic foothills of the Alborz mountain range, a distance of just six miles from the capital city of Tehran. Karaj city was a haven for young students studying art and medical science at Azad University. For Hadis, being a student was not her passion in life. Instead she was a dedicated “social media geek.” She loved to display the latest fashions on her Instagram account and treat her fans to Persian dancing on Tik Tok. Politics and religion didn’t interest her. She spent her money investing in VPN, to overcome the filtering of the internet, so she could talk to her friends online every night. The Islamic Republic of Iran along with the help of the cyber police had blocked the major social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter, Telegram, You tube, etc. The only way to overcome the government censorship was to purchase the virtual private network app.

     As Hadis left the restaurant and stepped out onto the sidewalk, she looked carefully in both directions, to see if she could spot the Morality Police Van and then ripped off her hijab and threw it down on the ground.

     “I hate that damn thing!” Hadis muttered to herself.

     This evening, Hadis was not her cheerful self. She was not in a good mood. The tragic death of Mahsa Amini had tormented her mind all day. Dealing with impatient customers paying for their meals and complaining about the prices had pushed her to the limit. She wasn’t in the mood to listen to them, especially when a young Kurdish girl had been beaten to death by the Morality Police. Hadis had never been outspoken or political, but tonight was different. Every time she gazed at the picture of Jina Mahsa on her cell phone, lying comatose in a hospital bed, she couldn’t hold back the tears. Deep down in her soul, she felt an irresistible urgency to see justice for Jina. Hadis felt it was her duty to humanity to be Jina’s voice and scream loudly at the government ‘s unjust murder of an innocent young woman.

     Hadis arrived at the bus stop and broke away from the crowd of people for a few moments. She quickly speed-dialed her friend Farzad.

     “Dorood, Farzad (Faris for hi) Chetori?” (Farsi for, “How are you?”)

     “I’m good. You just get off work, Hadis?”

     “Yes. I’m on my way home. Listen, I wanted to tell you. I am going to join the protest tonight. I heard they will be out on Eram Boulevard.”

      ”Hadis, are you crazy? You’ve never been political.”

     “I know. I know,” Hadis replied, stepping onto the arriving bus, “But I have to do this for Jina. I believe we must be her voice. Women have got to rise up and let this damn government know that we will not be oppressed anymore. We have the right to wear what we want to wear!”

    “Please be careful, dear friend,” Farzad cautioned Hadis.

     Hadis clicked off her cell phone and relaxed back in her seat, taking a deep breath. Tonight, was Wednesday, September 21. Wednesday was her usual night for doing live Persian dancing for her fans on Tik Tok, but that would have to be postponed. She would celebrate with her fans later, but tonight was reserved exclusively for Jina. “Justice for Jina” was weighing heavily on Hadis’s mind and nothing was going to stop her!





     Hadis walked through the front door of her home, exhausted, but energized to go back out. She decided to change her clothes and grab a quick bite to eat before joining the protest.  As soon as she entered the kitchen, her mother noticed her flowing blonde hair draping down over her shoulders and a frustrated look in her brown eyes.

     “Where is your hijab, Hadis? Didn’t you wear it today?  You must be so careful now these days.”

     Hadis flopped down in a chair at the kitchen table and grabbed an apple to eat.

     “I threw that damn thing away. I hate it!’ Hadis answered back while munching on her apple.

     Mrs. Najafi sat down at the table across from Hadis with a worried look on her face.

     “Hadis! Don’t say that! You worry me! Look what happened to that Kurdish girl just last week!”

      Hadis sat down the apple in front of her and stared back intently at her mother.

     “That’s why I threw my hijab away, mom. I did it for Jina. I did it for every Iranian girl. We are tired of being oppressed and told what to do!” Hadis shouted back, banging her fist on the table.

    Mrs. Najafi sat quietly and took a nervous deep breath. There was no arguing with her daughter. She was much too free-spirited and independent. Hadis quickly stood up from the table and dabbed her lips with a napkin.

     “I must go out tonight, dear mother. There is going to be a protest on Eram Boulevard. I need to go for Jina.”

    Mrs. Najafi rubbed her hand across her forehead and bowed her head in fear for a few moments. Then she stood up and hugged Hadis.

    “I understand Hadis. But I am so worried. I am so afraid. It is so dangerous.”

     Hadis gave her mother a reassuring look and kissed her softly on the forehead.

     “I must do this, mom. I will be careful. I promise I won’t stay out very long.”

     Hadis left the kitchen and hurried into her bedroom. She quickly changed into a pink tank top and put on a fresh pair of blue jeans. She flopped across her bed and turned on her cell phone. The first picture that appeared was that of Jina Mahsa Amini, sitting in her living room last year, in front of a chocolate cake, celebrating her 22nd birthday. Hadis smiled. It was one of the happier moments for Jina. Hadis was also 22 years old, just like her hero, who was cruelly murdered just a week before her 23rd birthday. Tears filled her eyes. She blew a kiss toward the picture on her cell phone screen.

     “Tonight, I will be your voice, dear Jina and I won’t stop shouting until you get justice!”






     “Death to the dictator! Woman, life freedom!”

      The angry loud shouts of protesters filled the cool night air on Eram Boulevard.  It was just a few minutes before 8 pm as Hadis turned on her cell phone. She aimed the camera toward the protesters filling the streets. Just up ahead she noticed a bonfire in the center of the street and watched several women setting their headscarves on fire. Running swiftly toward the scene, Hadis began narrating the live video she was creating for her friends.

    “This is a scene of women burning their hijabs,” Hadis shouted out loud in laughter. “You go girls!”

     In the distance she heard sirens and more angry shouts of protesters chanting. Tonight, she felt energized and unafraid. She had never been to a protest before. Hadis remembered back to 2019 when more than 1500 peaceful protesters were gunned down in the streets. At that time, she vowed to never be political and just mind her own business. But all of that suddenly changed with the death of Jina. Tonight was personal. Tonight, she had to make a stand for the women of Iran. She regretted for being so selfish and passive a few years ago, but that had all changed.

    Passing a local hardware store, Hadis paused, catching her breath and spoke directly into her cellphone continuing to film the protest.

     “I hope in a few years, when I look back, I will be happy everything has changed for the better. I like to think that when I think back about this a few years later, I’ll be pleased that I joined the protest.”

     A few women, following close behind her, began chanting, “Woman, life, freedom.” They were carrying signs with a picture of JIna Mahsa Amini. At the bottom of the sign, it read, “We are all Mahsa.” Hadis was excited to see that that two young men were in the crowd of women chanting along with them. It was so encouraging for her to see men involved in the uprising and defending the rights of women.

     Suddenly, the sounds of security forces yelling for protesters to halt or they would shoot, startled Hadis. Beads of sweat began rolling down her face. She took an angry deep breath and vowed once again to not be afraid. Putting her cell phone in her pants pocket, Hadis stood still for a moment. She tied back her blonde hair into a ponytail and twisted a rubber band around it to hold it into place. An exhilarating feeling of courage surged through her body. Tying back her hair was like preparing for battle. Tonight, Hadis was making a bold statement to the government that she refused to comply with the man-centered Hijab Law. This was her hair, her body, and no man had the right to control it or tell her what to do.

   The security forces began clashing with the protesters and beating some in the heads with their batons. Instead of cowering in fear, Hadis closed her eyes and in her mind’s eye, she remembered back to her favorite movie, “Braveheart.” She could see the chilling scene, where William Wallace was laying across a torture rack and the King pleading with him to recant and beg for mercy. She smiled, remembering the famous last shout from William Wallace’s lips, when he screamed, “Freedom!”


     The first shot terrified Hadis! She clutched her abdomen in excruciating pain. A barrage of shots immediately followed the first one, sending frightened protesters scrambling for cover. Hadis collapsed backwards on the hard pavement, struck by five more bullets in the neck, chest, and face. The beautiful blonde freedom fighter lay dead on the street in a massive pool of blood. She had made her courageous last stand on Eram Boulevard in the city of Karaj, unafraid and unashamed to die as a martyr for freedom in the never-ending struggle against the gender apartheid in Iran.





     A few days after her tragic death, a video surfaced showing a young woman tying back her blonde hair and preparing to join the protest in Karaj. The video was attributed to Hadis, just seconds before she was fatally shot. Although there is some controversy concerning the video being actually that of Hadis, nevertheless, it had been unanimously attributed to her as showing the final seconds of her life.

    Security forces refused to hand over Hadis’s body to her family at the hospital until they signed a pledge stating that she died of natural causes. Devastated over her tragic death, a family member, who was a member of the Basij (Iranian paramilitary) was finally granted permission to make a formal identification of the body. He verified that it was indeed Hadis and was horrified upon examination, that she suffered at least 20 gunshot wounds in her body at very close range.

    Mrs. Najafi, even though being warned by security not to speak publicly about her daughter’s death, declared, “My daughter was murdered for hijab, for Mahsa Amini. She wanted to keep Masha’s name alive. Mahsa is also my daughter and all those killed are my children. She died for Mahsa. She sacrificed herself for Mahsa.”

   Shortly after her death, Hadis’s sisters, Afsoon and Shirin, published her photos and told people that she was shot, defying the government ban.






     Hadis Najafi, bravely took to the streets, understanding the great risk, and proudly declared her right as a woman, to display her beauty, rejecting the mandatory Hijab Law. She died for the right to choose, the freedom to say no to a dictatorship government. In the last seconds of her life, she spoke up for Mahsa Amini and all Iranian woman, when she tied back her hair and faced the firing squad.

    Jesus proclaimed in John 10:10:

     “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

    For more than 40 years, The Iranian people, especially women, have suffered greatly at the hands of a corrupt and controlling government. They have had their dignity stolen, their freedom suppressed, and their lives destroyed by satanic forces. Jesus, as the good shepherd, who desires to gently lead and guide us, declares that the thief of our souls, Satan, has as his core mission to kill and destroy us. In contrast, Jesus promises to protect and provide for his people. His mission is to bring us life and life to the fullest. He came to bring you true hope and freedom. He promises to remove the shackles of your oppression and give you a life filled with meaning and purpose.

Sunday, October 2, 2022

"Randy. Please be our voice. They're killing us!"

"Randy. Please be our voice. They're killing us!"

     I was relaxing in the break room at Chick Fil A just a few minutes before the beginning of my shift, when I received a voice message on Telegram. I noticed it was from my Iranian friend, Mahdis whom I hadn't heard from in a very long time. I immediately opened it up to listen to the message and was completely unprepared for what I was about to hear. In a trembling voice racked with tears and desperation, Mahdis pleaded with me from the other side of the world:

      "Randy. Please be our voice. They're killing us! They're killing both young and old. Please be our voice!"

     Chills ran up and down my spine. Tears filled my eyes. I was gripped by an intense feeling of urgency. I banged my fist down on the table in frustration. The lives of my Iranian friends were in danger and I wanted to be there right now to stand by their side and fight with them! For the last ten days, brave young women joined by men, in more than 110 cities across Iran, had taken to the streets, outraged over the senseless brutal death of Mahsa Amini. The Morality Police had arrested her on September 13 for not wearing her hijab properly and showing too much hair. They explained to her brother that she was being transported to a detention center in Tehran to be re-educated on the Islamic dress code. A few hours later she was pronounced "brain dead" at a hospital, lapsing into a coma. The official explanation was that Mahsa had suffered a heart attack, but bystanders had witnessed her being beaten in the head as she was being forced into a police van.

     The cruel and unjust death of Mahsa Amini had sparked a revolution with thousands of Iranian men and women taking to the streets outraged and demanding freedom from a dictatorship government. I had been very busy on my Facebook page, posting stories and videos in support for my dear Iranian friends. I had also reported on their plight and struggles for freedom on my blog talk radio program, "The Cross in the Desert." I immediately sent back a voice message assuring Mahdis that I would be her voice and the voice of all Iranians. I pleaded with her to be careful and told her that I would be praying for her safety.

     "Randy, please be our voice."

     I cannot adequately express into words, the awesome responsibility of being their voice. It is the passion and the driving force of my everyday life. It is the reason that I write their stories in my self-published books. I will never forget the incredible story that Mahdis shared with me a few years ago right before the Persian New Year in Iran. She recalled a frightening incident one day at school when she was just a little girl. The teacher had sternly warned all of the girls in the class that they had better wear their hijabs according to Islamic law or if not, that on judgment day, "Allah would dangle them over the fires of hell by their hair!"

     Growing up in Iran, as a child, this was the picture of God that Mahdis had been taught. God was not a god of mercy or love, but rather a god of fear and retribution that couldn't wait to punish his disobedient children. You could hear in her trembling voice, that same little girl, now terrified and pleading with me to support them. 
     I bowed my head in prayer for Mahdis and remembered the awful story that I had read the day before about the tragic death of another young Iranian girl. Seventeen year-old, Nika Shakarami, had bravely joined the protest in the streets and never returned home. Ten days later, her parents were told to come and see her lifeless body in the morgue. Nika's nose had been smashed in and her skull crushed. A few days earlier, twenty-year old Hadis Najafi is seen on a video tying back her blonde hair in protest and marching down the streets of Karaj only to be shot six times and killed for the crime of wanting freedom. As I remembered these horrifying stories, I was gripped with the fear of that same tragedy happening to my dear friend Mahdis. 
I could not bear the thought of that tragedy for another second, so I reluctantly got up from the chair to begin my job.

     There is nothing more important to me in my life than being a voice for my Iranian friends. I'm not doing this for money, fame, or popularity. I do it because I love them.  I do it because the Bible admonishes me to be their voice for freedom.

     "Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are unfortunate and defenseless. Open your mouth, judge righteously and administer justice for the afflicted and needy."
                                                          (Proverbs 31:8-9)

     Being silent in the face of injustice, cruelty, and the slaughter of human life, is an egregious sin that lacks any sense of humanity or compassion. It was the great German pastor, Dietrich  Bonhoeffer, who courageously defended the church during World War II and was unafraid to stand up against Hitler. He rebuked the weak and afraid, proclaiming,

     "Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act."

     If Bonhoeffer were still alive today, I believe he would raise an accusing voice toward the mainstream media for their silence and ignorance when it comes to the human rights of the Iranian people. They are willingly silent in the face of evil! We need a prophetic voice that will be unafraid to confront the evil of silence and to confront the self-centered governments of this world who have economic ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran, lining their pockets with profits while ignoring their desperate cries. The Biden Administration is a prime example of sinful appeasement for the sake of a legacy.

They are willing to sit down at the table across from this terrorist regime and renegotiate a  nuclear deal instead of rebuking them for their oppressive policies against innocent people, and speaking up for human rights.  President Biden wants to have a legacy behind his name, like Barak Obama did in 2015, when he gave billions of dollars of sanction relief money to the Iranian government that was spent on furthering terrorism in the Middle East.

     I refuse to be silent in the face of evil. Right after work, I messaged Mahdis back on Telegram, promising her that I will never back down and never give up until she can walk down the streets of Tehran one day without fear under a new government of freedom and democracy.

     I want you to hear the desperate voice of Mahdis with me! I want you to feel the fear, the panic, and frustration tearing at her soul. It is only when we together raise our voices and bring awareness and condemn the evil, that Iranians have any hope for a bright future, a new tomorrow, where the shackles and chains of a dictatorship are finally torn away from their hearts and minds.

     Speak up for those that cannot speak for themselves. It is our humanitarian duty. It is our calling.


Tuesday, September 28, 2021

"Submission doesn't mean that I'm your slave!"

 My latest blog is an excerpt from my book, "Broken yet beautiful: Rising up from their ashes."

Women are rising up and becoming bolder, speaking out against psychological and physical abuse that is running rampant in the church. This is completely unacceptable that the "Bride of Christ" should treat its women in such a horrific way. One of the hot button issues in the church is the doctrine of submission that has been twisted in an abusive way treating women like a doormat. I pray that this article will breathe life and bring freedom to oppressed women that in most cases remain silent and afraid.

Don’t get drunk with wine, which produces depravity. Instead be filled with the Spirit in the following ways:  Speak to each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; sing and make music to the Lord in your hearts; always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; and submit to each other out of respect for Christ.  For example, wives should submit to their husbands as if to the Lord. A husband is the head of his wife like Christ is the head of the church, that is the savior of the body. So, wives submit to their husbands in everything like the church submits to Christ. As for husbands, love your wife just like Christ loved the church and gave himself for her…….”

                                                                                                             (Ephesians 5:18-25 CEB version)




      Submission is a term that has been greatly misused by the church, resulting in control and abuse against women. It has been manipulated out of context to elevate one person over another, wrongly putting a woman in inferior subjugation to her husband. It’s very important from the very outset to give a Biblical definition to the word, submission.

      Submission does not mean obey! The Greek word for obey is hupakoe, (meaning, listen or hearken to.) In contrast, the Greek word for submission is hupotasso, (meaning, to get under, lift up, or put in order.)

      It is very enlightening to discover the German translation of the word submission, refers to the sharing of tasks, to support. A perfect way to sum up what Biblical submission means in context is, the Christian grace of voluntarily yielding one’s preferences to another.

          Paul points out in verse 21, “submit to each other out of respect for Christ.”

     This verse describes submission as volitional, submitting to each other in order to reflect the character of Christ. When Paul used this “hot button” word, submission, he was giving Christians a way of coping with a culture that was hostile to Christ. In the ancient world, women did not have an abundance of rights. They were not considered equal to men. When Paul commands husbands and wives to submit to each other, he was teaching a new and revolutionary concept. 

     This concept was contrary to the household codes of Paul’s day in both Rome and Greece. Wives in the ancient culture were little more than possessions of the husband. Slaves had no rights except what their masters gave to them. Therefore, when Paul commands, “husbands love your wives just like Christ loved the church and gave himself for her, (verse 25) he was giving a command that went competently contrary to the accepted norm of the day. In the ancient household codes, the husband acted as the Lord and had the final word in everything. For Paul to tell the husband to love his wife, was a revolutionary new idea! This was a patriarchal society and the concept of partners in a marriage voluntarily submitting to one another was shocking!

      When interpreting Paul from a true Biblical context, submission is not something the wife does to her husband in a subordinate position, but rather submission is embraced voluntarily, rather than forced. Submission is done out of love for Christ and each other. It is purely a relationship concept! Women are not to be treated like a doormat. It is not a matter of who is in charge! Submission is a metaphor for mutual love and devotion. The relationship between spouses is an “echo” of the relationship between Christ and the church. Therefore, submission is an act of sacrificial love between two partners!

       Ephesians Chapter 5 speaks of being filled with the spirit. If the marriage partners are both filled with spirit than they will be subject to each other and clothed in humility. There is a mutual respect for one another. True submission has nothing to do with the giving up of one’s rights. Referring back to the Greek word, hupotasso, submission in context means, “to support, uphold, cooperate, and giving in.”

       This meaning paints a beautiful picture of husbands and wives supporting one another in the spirit of love and unity. Christ is the real “spiritual head,” with whom all authority rests. Marriage has never been meant to be a power struggle with the idea of one person being in charge. Instead, the male and female are meant to exist in a covenant commitment to each other, in which the two become one through mutual love, support, and respect.

        At the heart of submission is the deliberate surrender of power. Our motives for such submission to one another is “out of reverence for Christ” (verse 21) The prime example of this is Jesus in the incarnation, when he voluntarily relinquished his power in becoming one of us and died in our place, (Phil. 2:5-8) We imitate him by letting go of power and exercising humility in our relationships.

        In the ancient patriarchal society, the image of the husband was one of being in control and in charge. Here in Ephesians Chapter 5, Paul challenges that false concept with the truth of God’s word. He elevates the wife and charges the husband to love her sacrificially. It was a radical new concept for that day. Unfortunately, the traditional understanding of submission being taught today is more reflective of the ancient culture rather than what the Bible teaches. 

     The church needs to return to the Biblical model of submission which is one of voluntarily yielding to one another in respect and devotion!

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

"The long slow death of Afghan women under Taliban rule."


For twenty years Afghan women have had a real taste of freedom. But now all of that has drastically changed! What will their fate now be once again under the oppressive rule of the Taliban?

   When the U.S. Military finally pulled out of Afghanistan on August 30, 2021, they not only abandoned billions of dollars worth of valuable equipment that became a gift for the enemy, but they also left behind thousands of American citizens, including Afghan women. For twenty years, Afghan women had enjoyed a new life of freedom where they could go to school, have regular jobs, vote in elections, and be a productive part of society without the stigma of being treated as second class citizens.

However on August 31, 2021, "all of that drastically changed!"

    The Taliban marched into villages and cities and once again assumed their oppressive power. Christians immediately became targets of their terrorism and were hunted down and executed on the spot if Bibles were discovered on their cellphones. Women feared for their lives and began dressing once again in full length burqas in order to escape from being beaten or killed. Despair filled their hearts as they realized that their jobs would soon be terminated and they would become prisoners in their own homes. Reports began circulating claiming that the Taliban were going to be more lenient this time and give more rights to women. However that rumor was soon put to rest when a local female police officer that was six months pregnant was executed in front of her children and husband!

    In the midst of this unforgivable nightmare and chaos created by the incompetent Biden Administration, the State Department publicly admitted their shock that the new Taliban Government did not include any women!

  "We have made clear our expectation that the Afghan people deserve an inclusive government," a State Department spokesperson proclaimed.

   Are you kidding me? Do you really believe that a group of terrorists care about some politically correct inclusion? Do you really believe that they will change the rules of Sharia Law to accommodate women? What planet are you living on?

    The so called rumors of a gentler, kinder Taliban are completely false!

    Women will not be permitted to work. Girls can no longer go to school or leave their homes without a male escort. "You're not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy!"

    Veteran war correspondent and reporter Lara Logan, a regular guest on Fox News,

believes that The Taliban will put a small number of women in prominent roles such as doctors in order to create a false image to the media that they have really changed. For people like Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who holds out the possibility that the new government will recognize the "basic rights of its people, including women and girls," this new image will be very believable. He will swallow it "hook, line, and sinker!"

    "It's a long slow death if you are unlucky. If you're lucky you'll just be slaughtered quickly, Lara Logan says with tears in her eyes. "This is what life is like for women under Taliban rule."

    Is there any hope for the Afghan women? Are they really destined to be like sheep taken out to be slaughtered?

    I am a person of prayer. I believe in the power of prayer. I have seen God do amazing things for my Iranian refugee friends in response to the prayers of many people. The Bible teaches that God is committed to the welfare of the oppressed. He is a God that rescues the broken and hurting because human lives are precious to him.

    Psalm 72:12-14, is a beautiful little, but powerful psalm promising deliverance to the oppressed:

    "He will rescue the poor when they cry to him; He will help the oppressed who have no one to defend them.

    He feels pity for the weak and the needy and he will rescue them. He will redeem them from oppression and violence, for their lives are precious to him."

    This is the God I know!  He hears the cries of the oppressed and will deliver them. He understands the suffering of the Afghan women, because he took on human flesh in Christ and lived among us. During his earthly ministry, Jesus showed compassion and love toward women. He lifted them up from the gutters of discrimination. When Muslim women discover Jesus in the gospels and see how he treated women, they are willing to leave Islam in order to follow him.

    Afghan women are not alone. God sees their plight and when we pray, He will act! He hasn't changed. His character of mercy and compassion remains the same. He is a God of irresistible love that wants to lavish his goodness and mercy on us when we pray. The lives of Afghan women are precious to Him!

Friday, February 12, 2021

Mojdeh Fard, "I gave up everything to follow Jesus."


Mojdeh Fard's dramatic conversion from a strict Shia Islamic family to Christianity demonstrates the incredible power of the gospel in the heart of a true seeker. For a young Muslim woman in Iran to convert to another religion carries the most serious of consequences. Hadith 9:57, quoting the prophet Mohammed declares, "Whoever changes his Islamic religion, kill him!"

Despite the risk to her own life and the ridicule of her family, Mojdeh bravely accepted the consequences.

Here is her incredible story!

    I was born in the city of Qom, Iran's holiest city, the seat of Shia Islam, into a very strict Muslim family. As a child, I loved the Prophet Mohammed, the Imams, and all of the Islamic rituals. Religion was at the center of my life. I pursued Allah with all of my heart in order to gain the righteousness required for salvation. In my quest to prove my worthiness to Allah, I surrounded myself with books and immersed myself in the daily rituals. I loved to read books and being at the library had literally become my second home.

    The school where I attended was holding a contest for its students to learn the laws of Islam, the laws for purity and cleanliness, and how to perform our daily prayers. I was very excited to participate in this contest and show my classmates how well I understood our religion, so I began reading many books on this subject. 

    When a Muslim wants to study the traditions of Islam on rituals of cleanliness, washings and preparations for prayer, the Hadith is the best source for this, since it contains the sayings and actions of the Prophet. I began reading the Hadith. I was zealous to learn and understand the rituals. I wanted to not only please my teacher, but my family as well. During my intense study, I came across a quote from the Prophet Mohammed, that would change my life forever! In Islam, a Muslim is to worship only Allah. To worship or prostrate oneself before anything else would be considered blasphemous. In commenting on the Muslim duty of worship, the Prophet made a very interesting observation:

    "Had it been permissible that a person may prostrate himself before another, I would have ordered that a wife should prostrate herself before her husband."

                                                             (Narrated by Ibn Maajah (1853) and Al-Bayhaqi)

    When I first read this saying of the prophet, I was shocked. I couldn't believe it was true! My first reaction was "this is unfair" for any Muslim woman to have to endure. This obscure quote in the Hadith was the beginning of my intense research into the rights of women in Islam.

    After researching the Hadith, I next consulted the Quran and came across another quote that I was unaware of.  It was found in Surah 2:282. The context of this Surah was the testimony of women in court cases about a financial debt.

    "But if two men are not there, let there be one man and two women, as witnesses from among those acceptable to you."

    I was outraged! I felt that this chapter in the Quran was belittling to women. It required two women to equal the testimony of one man. A woman's testimony in court only equaled half that of a man's. I concluded that a woman's worth is only half that of a man's. Women are less than men in Islam! 

    My research had ignited a passion deep inside me for justice. I firmly believed that that there should be equality between men and women in Islam.  All of my life, I had believed that this equality already existed, but now I knew the truth! For the first time in my life, I was unhappy with my religion. It seemed so unjust. I was now on a quest to find out the truth about Islam, so I began studying the history of Iran and was shocked to discover that Muslims had killed many Iranians when they refused to convert. I immediately realized that my ancestors didn't become Muslims by choice but rather by force. I became so angry at this injustice!

    I remember one night listening to a podcast teaching the history of Iran and how Muslims killed my people because they refused to convert. This was a defining moment in my journey for the truth. I could no longer accept or tolerate this injustice. In Shia Islam, we have a specific tradition in our prayer time where a person prostates himself by placing his forehead down upon a small piece of clay. In anger and frustration, I stomped down with my foot on this piece of clay shouting, "I can no longer be a Muslim anymore!"

    I began investigating other religions, in particular, Zoroastrianism, which was one of the pivotal religions in early Persian history. The more I studied, the more dissatisfied I became. I felt hopeless and very depressed and made a conscious decision that God probably didn't exist. I remember praying, "God, if you exist, please show yourself to me. If not, then I will be sure you don't exist!"  For four years, I had no belief in God, but my family maintained their religious zeal, forcing me to still do my prayers. During this time, they forced me to go on my Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca which is a required of every Muslim at least once in their lifetime. They did this hoping I would repent and return to Islam. Unfortunately their plan didn't succeed. I still didn't find God there!

    In 2009, during the violent election protests, when Iranians took to the streets speaking out against a rigged election, we finally decided to buy a dish and begin watching satellite tv. We were tired of just watching the government version of the news and wanted to understand what was really happening in the world. My brother and sister and I discovered the Christian channel and began watching a pastor on a daily basis who was speaking out against Islam. While he was critical of Islam, he always made sure that he gave a positive view of the God of Christianity. When he said, "God is Love,"  my heart was warmed inside me. The statement, "God is Love," was a revolutionary, life transforming statement for me! I had never heard that in Islam! I had been reading the book, "The five love languages," by Gary Chapman and this statement by the pastor reinforced within me just how important the subject of love was! Next the pastor proclaimed, "Jesus is Lord!  I thought to myself, "That is very beautiful."  As I continued watching this Christian program, I realized that my depression was starting to leave. For the first time in four years, I was emerging from my pit of hopelessness and was beginning to feel at peace once again. At the end of his sermon, the pastor invited the people watching to believe in Jesus and asked them to repeat a prayer. In my heart, I repeated this prayer along with him. I felt that Jesus was very good. I believed in Jesus, but still didn't believe in God.

    I didn't have a Bible. I wanted to understand more of what the Bible taught and after watching the movie, "The Jesus Film," based on the gospel of Luke, I was very hungry and thirsty for the truth. Watching this movie together with my brother and sister was an incredible turning point in our lives. Our relatives and families immediately noticed the differences in our lives. Now we were totally happy and full of joy. "A light had invaded the darkness in our lives chasing away the hopelessness and despair."  I was careful not to share my new found faith with my parents right away. But as I began studying the Bible, I realized that this was no longer an option for me.

    "So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge before my father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I will also deny before my father who is in heaven."

                                                 (Matthew 10:32-33)

    Telling my parents about becoming a Christians was a big step of faith for me. My mother became outraged, screaming that I must return to Islam, but I gently informed her, "I can't go back mom. I can't deny Jesus!"  My mother disowned me and my father stopped financially providing for my studies at the university. I was now forced to scrape up coins for a taxi fare.

    While at university, I began sharing my faith with my a couple of my friends and they told me that they were eager to watch the Christian channel on satellite tv. However,  my zeal to share was met with harsh consequences. One day, I was called to the office of intelligence. They wanted to ask me some questions. My friends had warned me that they expect you to support Islam and the Supreme Leader. I replied to my friends, "I believe in Jesus. I will not deny him. That is my red line!"

      I sat nervously before a lady who began interrogating me:

    "We heard that you are evangelizing, spreading other religions in our university. We heard you are promoting Christianity or Zoroastrianism."

    I took a nervous deep breath. I firmly believed that God had spared me from a very dangerous confrontation. The lady who was interrogating me had paused after mentioning Christianity and then added Zoroastrianism. This provided me a convenient way of escape.

    "Yes I have been studying Zoroastrianism, I replied, but I did not convert to it."

    Unfortunately, the interrogations didn't end there. Next they called my father into their office and confronted him about my behavior.

    "Your children have converted to Christianity. Aren't you ashamed of that?"

     My father was shocked and taken by surprise. He nervously stuttered and replied:

    "Oh no. They are researching. They are not sure."

    The Interrogator didn't believe his story and firmly warned him:

    "Either you return them to Islam or we will do it ourselves!"

    I was now in a very serious life crisis. I knew it was not possible to practice my Christian faith in Iran. It was far too dangerous. Desperate for a new life, my brother and sister and I escaped from home fleeing toward the border of Iraq. When we called to inform our parents, they begged us to come back and promised to make things better. We reluctantly returned, but nothing ever changed. We knew we were constantly under surveillance. My parents had lied to us. They confiscated our passports and locked the doors. Once again we managed to escape in the night, leaving home without our passports and without shoes, we traveled by taxi and bus, crossing the border into Iraq. We became ayslum seekers and for the next six years, we had no ids, no passports, and no jobs. Even the Christian church in Iraq refused to believe our stories. They didn't trust us. This was heartbreaking! It was then that I realized the reality of my commitment to Jesus. I had given up everything to follow Jesus! I had left behind my family, my law career, and all of my friends. I had no money, no job, all I had was Jesus. But that was all that I needed, Jesus was everything that I needed. He was the treasure of my heart.

    Yet, God was faithful! He rewarded my suffering. He honored my uncompromising commitment to him. An international church finally agreed to sponsor us and after six long and grueling years, we finally found a new home in Canada.


    It has not been easy, but Jesus has kept his word. He has never forsaken me. I gave up everything to follow Jesus, but I gained the greatest love of my life. Jesus is so precious to me. He is worth every trial and tribulation and I would do it all over again to follow him!

Friday, January 8, 2021

"What Iran taught me about stolen elections." (Marziyeh Amirizadeh)

 This is a powerful article written by my dear Iranian friend Marziyeh. She writes from firsthand experience living in Tehran during the 2009 bloody presidential election protests in which many Iranians were killed and imprisoned. Marziyeh's message challenges us to stand up and fight for our freedoms or risk having them taken away forever!

Millions of Americans went to the streets on January 6th because they believed that their votes were stolen. They came to stand with President Donald Trump who was fighting for them to show their unity and objections to the Fraud and corruption. It is so sad and heartbreaking to see how some innocent and brave Americans lost their lives during the peaceful protest in DC. It is so disappointing to see how the peaceful protest turned violent through a predetermined conspiracy. Unfortunately, most of the Republican leaders (RINOS) who were chosen by we the people, in order to be our voice, not only stabbed the President in the back, but also betrayed the people who are paying them to work for them and to be their voice. They also ignored the voice and the blood of those innocent Americans who were demanding the integrity of the election, for the sake of their own benefits. In addition, some religious leaders who were strongly showing that they stand for Christian values changed their words and now decided to stand and support those who are destroying God’s values with their corrupt policies.
These leaders shamelessly call their betrayal ‘unity and democracy’ while ignoring the opinion of millions of Americans.

The peaceful protest in DC on Wednesday reminded me of the Iranian Green movement that arose after the 2009 presidential election in which the protesters demanded the removal of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who took office by cheating. Thousands of peaceful protesters came to the streets to show their objections to the fraud and cheating in the election. The Government shot many people in the streets, tortured and killed hundreds more in prisons. I was in Evin prison at that time, fighting for my Christian faith and values. I witnessed how many people were imprisoned and tortured for protesting the election fraud. When the Iranian government turned the peaceful protest violent and started killing protestors, the Iranian people asked for help from the United States. They were chanting “Obama are you with us or with them?” ‘Obama’ in Farsi means, He is with us; O (he) ba (with) ma (us). Despite people’s hope and expectations, Obama stood with the criminal regime in Iran. He not only failed to help the Iranian people who were fighting for their freedom, but he later made the worst deal in history with Iran (JCPOA), shook the bloody hands of Mullahs, and transferred thousands of dollars into the pockets of the criminal Mullahs which was used to expand terrorism in the Middle East. Iranian people will never forget such betrayal by Obama. He is the most hated president among a majority of Iranians for his foreign policies toward Iran and for his support of the criminal Islamic republic regime in Iran.

Dictatorships like the Islamic republic regime in Iran never care about people’s voice or their choice; they make decisions for their people and suppress any objections. Dictators like the monstrous leadership in Iran always resort to force or fraud to gain political power and maintain it through the use of intimidation, terror, and suppression of basic civil liberties. They also employ the technique of mass propaganda through their fake news in order to sustain public support.

Ignoring the voice of millions of Americans who showed their objections to cheating, fraud, and corruption is truly an act of a dictatorship. Closing their eyes to the blood of those innocent heroes who were murdered, with their voices never having been heard is the same thing that happening in dictatorships such as Iran. Democrats and the RINOS did not bring unity, but caused more division, disappointment, and caused people to lose trust in each of those who betrayed them. People will never forget.

True democracy is when the leaders hear the voice of millions of people, try to bring clarification, and prove the integrity of the election to those who believe that their vote was stolen. Bringing Joe Biden to the office without considering the voice of millions of people and resolving the issue of fraud is a true dictatorship system not a democracy. Millions of Americans will never trust their leaders anymore.

True leaders are those who hear the voice of their people, stand with them and fight for righteousness; those who risk their own safety and benefits to fight corruption, not cover it up: those who always stand for the truth no matter what the consequences may be.

President Trump is one of the greatest presidents in the history and I will always respect him. He is a true leader who has never been appreciated by the many people of whom he has served.
When persecution comes to the United States, which I see it very close, many will regret and appreciate those who truly fought for them. May the Lord open the eyes of those who are in power and who ignore the truth for the sake of their own benefits.

This is my opinion and I do not let anybody lecture me if I am right or wrong. My true leader is Jesus Christ who taught me how to be bold, tell the truth, and stand for the righteousness even at the cost of losing my own life.

 our freedoms from being stolen!

Monday, November 9, 2020

"What Iran taught me about corrupt elections," (Marziyeh Amirizadeh)


Please take a few minutes to read what my dear Iranian friend Marziyeh Amirizadeh wrote about our election. She made some incredibly good points that all of us need to reflect on. Marziyeh understands the beauty of our country's laws and freedom and how important it is to fight for them everyday!
Why? Because in 2009 she was on death row in Tehran for distributing Bibles!

I moved to the United States in 2011 and proudly became an American citizen in June 2016. I love this beautiful country and its amazing people. This country and its people have given me so much, and I hope I can do something in return. As you know, these days all the news is about the election; many people remain shocked and confused about the results of this election, despite all the propaganda by the fake news media which try to deceive people that Joe Biden is the winner of the election. I feel responsible to write this to every one of you who believe in Jesus and His power, to assure you who is the true winner of this election, and the chosen President of the United States; not only by majority vote but also by God.

Since the Iranian Revolution in 1979, elections in Iran are a symbolic game. The people of Iran don’t have any role in electing a candidate to represent them. Whoever the Supreme Leader of Iran, the criminal Khamenei, decides to be the president of Iran will only be in power as a delegate who follows the rules of Khamenei. It is obvious that while a dictator like Khamenei rules over Iran, the Iranian people will not have a fair election and the opinions of the Iranian people or the ballots do not matter. Most people in Iran do not approve of the Islamic Republic, but they have no power to change this system. Iranians have no hope for the future of their country, or the elections, until this regime is no longer in power. The people of Iran long to be free from this oppressive regime and have a free and democratic country. Iranians do not want the criminal Ayatollahs and hope that one day they will have a righteous government and experience true freedom.

In 2009, during the presidential election, I was in prison for my Christian faith. I witnessed and heard how many innocent people were arrested, tortured, and murdered only because they were protesting against election fraud in Iran. The violence against peaceful protesters was terrible and beyond imagination.

In 2016 after I became a US citizen, I was very excited that as an American I could vote for the first time. I never had the experience of voting in my own country because, as mentioned above, evil and criminal Mullahs, who have captured the country for over forty years are in power and I never voted for those evil people. In 2016, I was very excited that in the United States I could vote for the candidate I wanted and there would be no cheating or fraud in the election.

Four years ago, I decided to vote for Donald Trump, but because of the toxic news media I got confused and did not know who I should vote for. Then I prayed and asked God to show me who He wanted me to vote for. Since I gave my heart to Jesus, God speaks to me through my dreams and reveals truths and events before they happen. This is the way that God communicates with me, guides me, and helps me make right decisions. After my prayers about the election I had a dream in which God showed me Donald Trump as the chosen President of the United States. God revealed to me how Trump would bring great changes to this country. After that dream, I became sure that Trump was God’s chosen President.

However, since 2016, President Donald Trump has been attacked nonstop by democrats and even wrongfully impeached. Despite all the attacks he stood firm and fought for this country and the American people. This year again before the election, more than a month ago, God gave me another dream. He showed me how Joe Biden would cheat in the election and try to steal people’s votes. After that dream I knew the fraud would happen soon. The night of the election again, the Holy Spirit woke me at 3:00 am to pray for the election and for the President. Nowadays, Joe Biden who is the true loser of this election with the help of the fake news media is trying to show himself as the winner of the election.

I believe that Joe Biden is not the winner but is a big loser. In my eyes there is no difference between him and what the Islamic Republic does in the elections in Iran. What he did reminds me of the system of elections in Iran. Recently, the supreme Leader of Iran (the murderer of thousands of innocent people) has mocked the liberal democracy and the US elections on Twitter: “The situation in the US & what they themselves say about their elections is a spectacle! This is an example of the ugly face of liberal democracy in the US. Regardless of the outcome, one this is absolutely clear, the definite political, civil and moral decline of the US regime.” I believe Joe Biden learned a good lesson from his friends and supporters in the Islamic Republic regime how to deceive people and take the power. The fake news and the social media also are trying to cover the big fraud for him and tell us that Biden is the chosen President by the will of the people and is the true winner of the election.

I wrote this in order to tell each one of you who voted for the President Donald Trump that now is the time to be united and support the President in this battle. The United States is a country governed by law not by fraudulent and corrupt people. Therefore, let us not be disappointed or give up on this election and stand with the President in his battle against the corrupt people. This is not only his battle, but everyone who believes in the truth and in God’s will. Don’t allow the fake news to decide for you and to determine the future of this country.We should all pray on our knees for the President and for the future of the US. Let us show the world the true power of God and His miracles through the mighty name of Jesus. As a country under God, we must stand for righteousness together, and not accept the fraud and the cheating.

We have to teach dictators like Khamenei in Iran, what the rule of law and true democracy means: that in a democratic country like the United States, fraud and cheating has no place and even if this happens, it can be peacefully set right without people being arrested, tortured or murdered.

Romans 8:28
“and we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”