It wasn’t what I expected.
The flood of Moslem refugees across Europe was constantly in the news two or three years ago, and most books I’ve recently seen about refugees have been about those escaping from Syria.
I thought this would be the same, but instead the story dates back to the late 1970s, early 80s and the Iranian Revolution.
Annahita Parsan’s abusive husband Asghar found himself on the wrong side of the new Islamic government in Iran after the Ayatollah Khomeini deposed the Shah of Iran. Together they escaped Iran via Turkey, where they were imprisoned and brutally treated. Eventually they were freed and allowed to move on to Denmark as refugees.
Despite the potential for a new life, Asghar’s violence against his wife increased in frequency and intensity and there seemed to be no escape for her.
But a seed was sown when visitors to her door gave Annahita a bible in Farsi.
Ever since I had been given the Farsi Bible, I had picked it up and prayed from time to time. The worse Asghar’s attacks had gotten, the more I had prayed. I found that it helped, much like drinking a glass of cool water took away the dryness in my mouth on a hot night.
She started to become aware of ideas about God that were different to what she had “learned in a mosque”.
There it was all about fear and rules and the difficulty of earning a route to paradise. I had never thought of God being interested in helping me, let alone being with me all the time. I liked the idea. It gave me courage.
In time that courage helped her to take steps towards freedom for herself and her children. Freedom from the violence of her husband and towards the freedom of a new life of faith.
Annahita Parsan now works within churches in Sweden, ministering to former Muslim refugees.
This audio and the rest in the series can be downloaded from the site at the above link.
I’ve downloaded episodes to a USB stick so I can listen to them in the car on my way to and from work. I find that much more practical than sitting at the computer to hear them.
How much did you hear about that as compared to the abundance of information flooding the media after terror attacks in the west?
Or how much did you hear about this?
Two weeks ago, the American military finally acknowledged what nongovernmental monitoring groups had claimed for months: The United States-led coalition fighting the Islamic State since August 2014 has been killing Iraqi and Syrian civilians at astounding rates in the four months since President Trump assumed office. The result has been a “staggering loss of civilian life,” as the head of the United Nations’ independent Commission of Inquiry into the Syrian civil war said last week.
“At least 484 civilians have been unintentionally killed by coalition strikes,” the United States Central Command, or Centcom, the military command responsible for the Middle East, said in a June 2 statement.
Estimates by independent monitors are much higher. Airwars, a watchdog group, says coalition airstrikes have killed nearly 4,000 civilians.
(I’m sure that word “unintentionally” is a real comfort to the families of those killed).
See information below about terror attacks in western Europe over the past 47 years – and particularly note the attacks attributed to Islamist terrorism. How do the totals for the whole period compare to the recent numbers off civilian deaths in bombing raids in Syria?
And compare to the US details accessed through the same site, which unfortunately don’t specify which are Islamist terror related. The spike in 2001 is obvious. The one in 1995 reflects the white supremacist attack in Oklahoma :
Taking all of this into account – how rational is the fear of Muslims, particular Muslim refugees trying to escape the horrors of Syria and the bombing of their homes?
And how much ignorance and/or hypocrisy is involved when western “Christians” join in the fear-mongering?
One of those interviewed on this short video suggests that conversions may not be genuine. He claims the refugees can see that “conversion” opens up advantages to them in the countries where they are seeking asylum.
I’ve heard such claims before. A friend of mine has often told me about Muslim refugees in his own country, who responded to the gospel, took what help they needed, and then turned their back as soon as their lives had become established in their new country and didn’t need the help any more.
He is therefore very sceptical about the likelihood of Muslims genuinely turning to Christ in the west
Firstly I’d like to acknowledge that it’s possible that some people from Muslim backgrounds could abuse the hospitality of Christians – why should they be any different from any other cultural group? People from all backgrounds are capable of taking advantage of others, but should that prevent us from helping? (Matt 5:40-42)
Secondly, converts from all backgrounds are capable of abandoning once professed faith in Jesus. I look back at the youth groups I attended in my early Christian life, knowing that the majority of those Christian youth fell away. Does that mean we should be suspicious of the commitment of all young people? (Mark 4)
Thirdly, when people fall away (whether former Muslims or local teens), would it be profitable to examine ourselves instead of examining their motives? What kind of commitment to Christ have they been seeing in us? Have we been fitting witnesses? What have our demonstrated attitudes been like? Have they seen the love of Christ? Do they see someone who really loves Jesus? Do they see someone who really loves others?
Consider what Muslims are expected to leave and move towards. How does our demonstrated devotion to God compare to a person, who has seen it as normal to openly pray five times a day; who has very conservative views of morality and decency? Does our westernised Christianity match their expectations of devotion to God? Does it exceed them? Or does it fall short?