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29 September 2007

Ex-radical Muslim to warn Christians

Like many in the world, Daniel Shayesteh closely watched this week’s U.S. visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

But his is a different vantage point.

Three decades ago, the Iranian-born Shayesteh, 53, joined forces with those supporting Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeni to topple the Shah of Iran and install Islamic rule.

“Generally speaking, my background is radical Islam,” he says.

No more. After fleeing Iran because of a falling-out with the religious regime, Shayesteh says he underwent a conversion to Christianity.

He now travels internationally to raise awareness about what he calls “the dangers of Islam,” and he puts Ahmadinejad squarely in that category.

“He is just a liar. Unfortunately, lying in Islam is accepted for the sake of (advancing the) religion,” Shayesteh says.

“He is a dictator and has the mind of a suicide bomber, really. He is the servant of the Supreme Leader in Iran (Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) and does what he says.”

Shayesteh, who will visit Fort Wayne on Oct. 27 at the invitation of Praise Lutheran Church, believes people in Western, Judeo-Christian cultures must become aware of radical Islam’s tenets and plans so they can protect their societies.

He calls Islam “a very hierarchical system of belief” that has no room for personal freedom or democratic values. These views, he says, have earned him death threats from the religion’s radical elements.

Freedom, especially religious freedom, “is the target of Islam,” he says.

“When you read the Quran, it says that you must destroy other religions, Jews and Christians. … You cannot expect them to value your values.”

Shayesteh says he became a Christian after a painful period in his life.

As a child raised in a strict Islamic home, he had memorized the entire Quran in Arabic by age 9.

As a young man, he was a member of Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Army. He was a government official for a time under Khomeni.

But when Shayesteh became disenchanted with the way the revolution was going, he helped start an opposition political party.

After he won election to Parliament, religious leaders began to view him as a dangerous secularist, he says.

In 1984, Shayesteh was abducted, arrested, imprisoned and sentenced to death. His cellmates were executed; someone interceded on his behalf, and he was spared.

But he was detained in prison until 1985. After his release, he fled to Turkey, leaving his wife and children behind, because he was considered an unwanted person in Iran.

Shayesteh says his conversion began in Turkey, when he had a dream: He was in his father’s house and heard Jesus call him to come out. He did, and the house crumbled behind him.

Shortly afterward, the message was reinforced in a sermon he heard at a Christian meeting he attended. After that, he wanted to learn more.

His wife and children eventually joined him in Turkey, and they too became Christians, in part because he was such a changed person, he says.

“I think the supernatural intervention of God was a cue to cause me to wake up,” he says, adding that the Christian concept of a personal God who “works with you in this life instead of leaving you to work out things yourself” was a powerful attractant.

“Also, the unconditional love (of God) in the Bible amazed me,” he says, adding he considers Christianity a true religion of peace.

“My conscience said to me, ‘You have to be silly not to follow a pure and holy God.’ ”

Shayesteh now lives in Sydney, Australia, with his family and is a credentialed minister in mission work for the Christian and Missionary Alliance.

Paul Griswold of Fort Wayne, a member of the spiritual care staff at Praise Lutheran, says he asked to invite Shayesteh after hearing him speak.

He thought the man’s message, which he spreads through a book, “Exodus from Darkness,” and a ministry by the same name, would resonate at the church, which recently lost the son of a member in Iraq.

“Since 9/11, I’ve been wanting to know more about Islam and have read the Quran and the Hadif is more commom in English, but it’s different to hear about it from someone who lived there and was a radical person.

“He knows what it is like to want to kill Americans and Jews. He wanted that to happen when he was young. That’s different than hearing a pastor talk about it.”

Griswold says he is aware that Shayesteh has said he has received death threats.

“We are making sure we have adequate security in place,” Griswold says. “We are being very careful.”

He hopes reaction in the Fort Wayne religious community, including among Muslims, will be peaceful and positive.

“You hear so much from CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a national Muslim anti-discrimination group), talking about Islam as the religion of peace. This is a chance to prove that,” he says.

“I would hope that if anyone would disagree with Daniel, they would respectfully disagree.”


12:02 Posted in Real Islam | Permalink | Comments (1) |  Facebook |


what a story..all can say he's eyes where open not to late and peacefully embraced what hes inner self told him..

GOD BLESS him and family and the world we live...

if u cld send message to him wld be greatful...wld like to share hes experience..


Posted by: rohan john | 30 September 2007

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