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(198 posts)
Fri Dec 4, 2015, 11:21 PM Dec 2015

Ex-muslim Here to answer any questions you might have [View all]

Last edited Mon Dec 7, 2015, 05:40 PM - Edit history (2)

I wanted to make a thread about my experience growing up in the middle east. What we went through to get to america (as refugees) Going to mosque as a young child. Seeing my first stoning at the age of 7 including hangings while living through the war iran-iraq war in the 1980s.

Its not fully truthful to say i left islam as my experience with it was till i was about 8 years old. And my moms side of the family in iran had for the most part converted out of islam. My mothers great grandfather was a shia mullah who when he heard that a new bahai had moved into town. Picked up a butcher knife to go and slaughter/kill him. The story goes as my great great grandfather went to kill this man he saw that the bahai man was praying. The bahai heard him come in and said to him i know why you are here. Please let me finish my prayers and lets have a conversation. If by the end of it you still want to kill me you can and i wont resist. As the story was told me they stayed up 2 nights and 3 days talking and discussing religion. At which point my great great grandfather declared hes faith in the bahai faith.

At the end of the war in the 1980s our family escaped through pakistan as refugees in which we were interviewed and processed through the united nations for a year sponsored by my aunt who was living here. We moved to southern california and i remember the car ride to our new exciting home from LAX. All the buildings with beautiful lights towering our drive on the freeway. Only a month or so away from christmas. You can imagine what it was like for a 8 year old to come to a new place where a beautiful colorfull tree full of presents was waiting for me. My first few months in this country was magical to say the least. Im forever great full for that. I remember the car ride to the airport in pakistan was with my uncle who was still waiting for his papers to go to germany. He would tell me how when i land in america all the trees were in the shapes of animals. That all children got there own bikes. That in every home there was a big box of toys and games for every children that lived there. Wow.. its hard to imagine that was so many years ago. But i can still remember it like it was today.

Anyway im here to answer any questions you might have about the middle east. about islam. about sunni vs shia.. about modern day terrorism and how we can help to stop it. I apologize if anything i say offends anyone as that is not my intention. It is only through my experiences and what i have seen first hand that make up who im. Thank you.

Anti semtism in the middle east during the iran-iraq war

From a very young age the word jew or as my friends would use the slur word yahoodi was ingrained into us. The local mosques. The milita groups and even in school. One group of people that were always blamed for your troubles were jews. Sure the satan united states was always in the mix as we iranians seethed with hatred for americas support for saddamn hussien. The communist russians who actually sold the weapons to iraq were not that far behind.

But it was always a mix of things. some blamed the soviets, a lot blamed the usa.. most blamed saddamn of course. BUT ALWAYS ALWAYS without question all blamed jews as they were behind the whole thing. Death to jews , death to israel, death to usa was common in many of the street protests.. during religious shia ceremonies that usally stopped traffic where grown men would beat them selfs with chains to recreate the martyrdom in the shia religion. Us kids wanting to be part of the older adult groups would mimick this behavior but we would use our hands.

Marg bar america, or translated death to america was common chant. In some ways our hatred for america stemmed from the fact that they supported the jews and israel. If there was no america to back up the jews and israel. Surely we would defeat them in a war that lasted only 1 day!!

Now the mullahs of iran arent as extreme as the wahhabis of saudi arabia. So there was and in some ways still is a room for jews inside iran. Jews and christans are considered poeple of the book and as long as they live and abide by sharia law there is a sort of tolerance for them. Bahais are seen not as a religion but a political movement and they got it the worst in some aspects. So the policy of the actual government was not to say death to jews as at least publicly. The jews were not the emeies. Israel was. Zoinism was the true enemy. Anyway, irrelevant of whatever the offical policy. Jews , christians, bahais, are routinely arrested for things such as a dispute with a neighboor who went to the local city or village authority and accused you of trying to convert him or her. Threats of this and actual follow thru was common. So many minorities never spoke about there religion publicly. Many many bahai kids would remove ANY religous signs before going to school as once the school found out you were a bahai. Life would become very difficult.

But no matter what your ethnicity was.. or religion was.. you were always better then the "jews" the only consolation came when the blame on jews was EQUALLY shared with the blame for bahais for example.

One specific story i remembered was i went over for dinner at a neighbors home. This was something that my mom would not allow us to do on a regular basis as she hated the regime in iran and did not want her children to accidentally let neighbors know that our family hated the mullahs and wanted to escape. Something obviously lost on me as a child as i had my toy guns and trained to go fight the iraqis on the front lines(pretend training).

Pictures of me with my toy guns and children military fatigue was something i took so much pride in. Every Friday after mosque , i would put my best aviator outfit that my aunt from california had sent me with my military helmet and my plastic machine gun and i would march down our street in perfect steps as i had practiced many times. I would salute an imaginary officer and let him know that i was ready to go to the front lines and so that i could become a martyr in the war against Saddam and the united states. This march would gain the attention of the dads coming home from work or the moms washing the family clothes in front of there houses ready to be put up on cloth liners which lined the small street we lived on. The street was more of a dirt road. Little girls of the family clamoring to help there mom do adult things anxious to prove that they too could wash clothes and dry them. I would get whistles and cheers but i would not break formation as the moms who knew my mom talked about how adorable i was in my uniform. frustrated as to why they would not take me serously! Didnt they see i was in uniform?

No i was focused! that is until i received a salut! That was the best for me, i cant tell you the happiness i felt every time someone from the neighborhood saluted me.. I was being recognized. Finally someone taking me seriously. But nothing and i mean nothing topped that moment when a young soldier coming home from the front lines saw me. and stopped and saluted me. That was it! that was the moment a brave heroic soilder coming home from war with hes gun slung behind hes back happy to be home. I would stand at attention! Kick my right foot to the dusty ground and with full pride sling my hand towards my face at a sharp angle. This time it was ali! He looked stright at me and saluted back! Can you believe that? he saluted me?? me!! of all the kids it was me. I was hes favorite, i know i was hes favirote as i was the bravest! As he came and picked me up in hes arms he would tell me that was the best salute he had ever seen. Better then a officer i asked? YES EVEN BETTER THEN A GENERAL he would say. dilerouse with happiness being carried by ali down the street. I would yell PEROZI!! PEROZI!! victory victory!

of course ali way my favorite! He was tall and strong! he would always play war games with the local kids. Always stopped to say hello and show hes uniform to us. Hes family knew my family well, as my mom babysat there daughters. Mahshid my older sister of 14 at the time was perfect for ali. Or so they thought. One day they came over with flowers and gifts asking my parents if ali could marry my sister. It was always polite hellos, kisses on the cheeck.. salam salam welcome welcome were the words of the day. Persians are great hospitable people. My mom knew why they were coming over. Of course being an educated women she had no intention of doing what her parents did to her. Marry her off at 14. She had no intentions of that for her own daughter. My sister was still playing with dolls she politely told ali's family. She was not ready for marriage. She doesnt know how to cook or clean my mom said with a nervous laughter. Avoiding upsetting a family with ties to the local militia. As for me? oh i was running around the front court yelling my sister is getting married to ali! That would surely raise my rank i thought! not withstanding that i was at the ripe old age of 7.

one night as i was staying over at my friends house for dinner. Never over night. My mom would never allow that. But just for dinner i had earlier begged her to say yes. We were all really hungry waiting for dinner. Seeing the kids were getting restless the father of the family came in to tell us a story about a monster! This monster ate little kids who misbehaved he claimed! or kids who left there home at night to go play when the parents were sleep. This monster would come when no one was around to save you! Who is this monster we asked frightened to death. What does he look like? Does he have big teeth? where does the monster come from? can it get inside our house when were sleeping? No!! he yelled, if you behave and dont leave your house at night it cant get you. But if you dont listen to your parents it will know you have been bad. it loves to eat bad children! We were all good we yelled out! Yes he said you have to promise to be good or the monster will come. Where does the monster come from again we asked? The jews! the jews make the monsters. and they will come so behave! Until the dinner is ready. of course by now i had lost my appetite on the verge of tears and i wanted to go home. When my mom heard of this later she had a talk with there mother and i was never allowed over there house.

Looking back, it was always normal for us to blame our problems on everyone else. When the electricity would go down it was due to the bombing because of the americans. When there was shortage of food it was the zoinist. Never us.. Self criticism of our country was forbidden! especially at the time of war. If you made to much noise you could get the attention of the local authority. or worse yet be accused of being a spy. I hope one day in my birth country we can look at our short comings and take a look at our selves and realize the majority of the pains we have caused have been self inflicted. The estimated 50,000 to 100,000 thousand children soilders ranging in 10-17 years old who were sent to there deaths was our national shame. Including Ali.

We got news that the train ali was taking back from the front lines was bombed by a mig jet. The trained had derailed and there was dozens of casualties of soldiers coming home from war. My mom and sisters went to there house to give there condolences. You could hear the screams of the women inside the house. the mother crying out for her son. I remember her beating her self on the head screaming for her baby ali. She just wanted to hold him for the last time. She shrieked "where hes body". I want to bury him. I want to see him. They are keeping hes body cold, ali hates the cold she would cry out. Please god let me keep him warm. Bring him to me. I couldnt stand it anymore and ran outside to the end of our street waiting for him like i had many times before. I knew he was alive. He was to strong for bullets and bombs. They just had to be patient because he was coming home. They would see that and believe me when he would come home and pick me up like he always did and we would surprise hes mom.

Ali died on a friday. They never found hes body. hes picture is on a martys wall somewhere in tehran. Handsome as ever in hes uniform. he was 17.

81 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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I don't have any specific questions but thank you for starting what is hopefully a good thread. nt JanMichael Dec 2015 #1
Agreed. Fantastic Anarchist Dec 2015 #27
Experiences are what help to shape us but they can never define us..than you for sharing AuntPatsy Dec 2015 #2
To use your words "how we can help to stop" the "modern day terrorism"? Jarqui Dec 2015 #3
Please agnostic102 Dec 2015 #11
Thank very much for your answer Jarqui Dec 2015 #20
Access and technology exboyfil Dec 2015 #35
In terms of ISIS/al qaeda/martydom terrorism Jarqui Dec 2015 #57
your english is great and your efforts here long overdue and welcome roguevalley Dec 2015 #23
First, let me thank you for taking the time to provide this information. Fantastic Anarchist Dec 2015 #46
Thank you for explaining that point Tab Dec 2015 #71
Welcome to DU Change has come Dec 2015 #4
As an ex-Catholic I say: welcome, brother! Xipe Totec Dec 2015 #5
fist bump! agnostic102 Dec 2015 #14
Just leave the space out of ":fistbump:" Fantastic Anarchist Dec 2015 #48
.. :fistbump: Cha Dec 2015 #50
Another ex-Catholic here. Welcome & thanks for offering your insight. We desperately need it! southerncrone Dec 2015 #29
Welcome to DU, this will be quite interesting. I am glad you are here, getting out of Iran uppityperson Dec 2015 #6
Regarding apple pie... A HERETIC I AM Dec 2015 #7
Crust... Liberal Jesus Freak Dec 2015 #26
Crumble of course Yorktown Dec 2015 #43
This is EXACTLY the kind of discussion most needed here. hifiguy Dec 2015 #8
in my humble oponion agnostic102 Dec 2015 #12
Thank you for a thoughtful and informative response hifiguy Dec 2015 #18
It's not very similar to the old testament and the Torah. JRLeft Dec 2015 #61
In regarding the Hadiths, I've heard of Quran-alone Muslims. white_wolf Dec 2015 #63
No because Sunni hadiths and Shia hadiths are very conservative, JRLeft Dec 2015 #70
Your words do not offer much encouragement ... kentuck Dec 2015 #72
It's easy for Christians to separate the New Testament TexasMommaWithAHat Dec 2015 #16
But the OT is filled with calls to violence oberliner Dec 2015 #56
Very true. TexasMommaWithAHat Dec 2015 #58
Islam takes their book literally Go Vols Dec 2015 #9
Jesus' teaching in the New Testament is just good advice and love for our fellow human beings. JDPriestly Dec 2015 #39
Peace brother Go Vols Dec 2015 #41
? We have plenty of Christians who take the Bible literally. They are called "fundamentalists" Hekate Dec 2015 #51
my Daddy invites me to church Go Vols Dec 2015 #54
Hello. bigwillq Dec 2015 #10
Great thread. My question: can Islam be reformed into something non-violent? Yorktown Dec 2015 #13
well agnostic102 Dec 2015 #17
I agree: all abrahamic texts are violent. But only global Islam take them literally. Yorktown Dec 2015 #22
I read all of the time that ISIS has nothing to do with Islam B2G Dec 2015 #15
well agnostic102 Dec 2015 #19
As a born and baptized ex-Catholic, I agree with you. ScreamingMeemie Dec 2015 #21
Please explain the concept of jihad Jack Rabbit Dec 2015 #24
Let agnostic102 correct me if I'm wrong, but it's because of the texts. Yorktown Dec 2015 #44
Where did they get the idea that the masses would be impressed by terrorism and follow them? Spitfire of ATJ Dec 2015 #25
what was life like under the Shah ? JI7 Dec 2015 #28
why does Islam seem to play a stronger role in Muslim countries than Christianity JI7 Dec 2015 #30
Thank you for posting! Lifelong Protester Dec 2015 #31
Message auto-removed Name removed Dec 2015 #32
Thank you for this very informative thread. Blue_In_AK Dec 2015 #33
I'd like to know what the attraction is? Yupster Dec 2015 #34
I am Catholic and I welcome you. 840high Dec 2015 #36
its funny, just tonight I was thinking that yuiyoshida Dec 2015 #37
i envy agnostic102 Dec 2015 #47
I totally understand... yuiyoshida Dec 2015 #53
Very enlightening response. kentuck Dec 2015 #73
Does anybody in the Middle East moondust Dec 2015 #38
The OP mentinos the Bahias. I have known some very tolerant Bahais. JDPriestly Dec 2015 #40
I was interested in the Baha'i Faith many years ago KamaAina Dec 2015 #79
Welcome to DU and thank you... LittleGirl Dec 2015 #42
please agnostic102 Dec 2015 #49
I have not yet read a single word catnhatnh Dec 2015 #45
It's the *funding* that makes the difference. CJCRANE Dec 2015 #52
Hello agnosti102... thank you very much for posting this. sibelian Dec 2015 #59
I'm too an ex-muslim and now an atheist. JRLeft Dec 2015 #60
Hey Jr agnostic102 Dec 2015 #62
Will Sunni Wahabis always have a problem adapting to the western culture? kentuck Dec 2015 #64
Thanks or this thread treestar Dec 2015 #65
Thank you. smirkymonkey Dec 2015 #66
My doctor (a general practitioner) seems to have a similar Snobblevitch Dec 2015 #67
All religions served their purposes thousands of years ago. It's over now. lindysalsagal Dec 2015 #68
Kicking a very important thread FrodosPet Dec 2015 #69
Hey Frodos agnostic102 Dec 2015 #74
Are non-Muslims allowed to attend worship at a Mosque? clarice Dec 2015 #75
Coke or Pepsi? underpants Dec 2015 #76
Many thanks for posting Maeve Dec 2015 #77
sorry agnostic102 Dec 2015 #78
Why are dogs considered unclean in Islam? KamaAina Dec 2015 #80
Kama agnostic102 Dec 2015 #81
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