CHARLOTTE, N.C., April 27, 2017 – The lead article today in Robert Spencer’s daily online publication called “Jihad Watch” has posted a story by Andrew Harrod concerning an Iranian-American, identified only as Martin, who grew up under Islam, became an atheist and is now a Christian.
Martin’s testimony is not unique. In fact, authors Susan Crimp and Joel Richardson have compiled an entire book of similar experiences titled “Why We Left Islam: Former Muslims Speak Out.”
Perhaps most telling is how similar Martin’s comments are to those of people who spent some of their lives following the religion of the Prophet Muhammad and the revelations that caused them to risk potential death in order to change. Many if not most of these observations are not much different from Martin’s.
One of the turning points in Martin’s life was his falling in love with a Christian woman, even though he was still a practicing atheist. It was odd at first for him to grasp the concept that, as he puts it, “In Christianity you are loved no matter what by God. The pastor who married us, (was) a perfect example, even though I was atheist he was the most respectful person to me. (In) our church, for example, when we pray, we pray for other faiths, we pray for people who do not even believe in God… You never see that in Islam, they only pray for themselves.”
From here, Martin describes his Koranic studies, stating that “most of the Quran is how God will punish you. [In Islam God often] gets angry at you. If you read the Quran, it’s all if you do this you will burn forever, if you do this you will be with snakes.”
So often we hear Muslim apologists go out of their way to tell us that only a small percentage of Islamic believers endorse terror. That may be true. But, as Martin says, “There are two types of Muslims. There are religious Muslims, that is a private matter, it’s for themselves, and there are these political Muslims, which is the new breed since the Iranian Revolution.”
When taken in context with the stories told by other former Muslims, Martin’s observations do not appear as outlandish as they might seem upon first reading from the Crimp/Richardson compilation:
“Many Muslims believe that the great Western civilization has its roots in Islam.”
“….I realized the prejudices and hatred that Muslims harbor against almost all non-Muslims are not the result of any misinterpretation of the teachings of the Qur’an, but is because this book teaches hate and encourages prejudice.”
“The majority of Muslims are trapped in denial. They are unable to and unwilling to admit the Qur’an is a hoax.”
“The Arabic Qur’an is more shocking than its English translations.”
“Islam is the opposite of civilization. The result is that I had no choice but to leave this terrible cult of hate, terror, destruction, and savagery.”
“A woman’s heaven is beneath her husband’s feet,” an old Islamic saying.
Like many people who are closely watching the surges of Syrian refugees into Europe and, to a lesser degree, the United States, Martin is justifiably concerned about the growing power they wield. Martin worries that incidents similar to the “Sharia patrols” that have arisen in Germany may soon become commonplace in the U.S. as well.
Martin describes an incident where he was forced to “kick somebody out of my house” when a Muslim visited his home with a group of Martin’s friends.
The visitor asked “why are you serving alcohol?” to which Martin replied, “this is my house; this is none of your business… you don’t like it, get out.”
Oddly enough, despite more than forty years of hostility, Martin claims that Iranians have become the Muslim group that is most open to accepting the gospel of Christianity in the Middle East.
Two primary factors feed into this evolution. First, many Iranians have become disillusioned by the widespread violence in the name of Islam which has caused them to question their beliefs.
Second is the incredible staying power of Iranian Christians who have not relented in their conviction to pursue their faith despite heavy threats of persecution.
Though this does not make the Iranian nuclear arms deal a good piece of foreign policy legislation, it may provide an ever-so-tiny opening for future negotiations.
Unlike the Saudis, whom they regard as ignorant and lazy, likely making them among the lowest tiers of Arabian culture were it not for oil and Islam, Iranians are an entirely different level of Middle Eastern society, possessing a rich Persian history of their own.
As Martin explains, “more Iranians have become Christians in the last 20 years than in the previous 13 centuries put together since Islam came to Iran.”
Whatever happens to resolve the crisis in the Middle East will have to come from within those countries that most fiercely promote intolerance and terror. Fingers crossed that Martin is right and a new era will one day poke above the horizon.
Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe. Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
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