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“No Freedom for the People”

Iran

Ali is a 13-year-old Christian boy in Iran. He has one younger brother.

Most of the people in Iran are Muslims. Ali and his family used to be Muslims, too, but they decided to trust in Jesus and to follow him.

Children at Ali’s school attend classes either in the morning or the afternoon. “I go to school from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.,” Ali told a VOM contact. “My favorite subjects are history and gym. I like to play soccer.”

Muslims pray memorized prayers five times a day at certain times, using motions that include kneeling and bowing. “Children who pray in the Muslim way receive awards at school,” said Ali. “They try to force me to pray their way in order to receive an award. But I maintain my beliefs and I don’t pray that way.”

Other students do not know that Ali has become a Christian “If they knew I am a Christian, they would no longer speak to me,” said Ali. “They would consider me ‘dirty.’ They might go to the government and report me.”

In Iran, it is against the law for a Muslim to become a Christian. “We must gather for worship in homes with other Christians so that the government won’t find out,” said Ali. “Every time we meet, we go to a different house. We enter the house in secret, and we worship in low voices so the neighbors don’t hear us. Outside of our homes, we do not greet one another so that no one knows we are friends. We cannot celebrate Christmas together because it is dangerous to have large gatherings of Christians.”

“I know that in America people have many freedoms and that includes the freedom to worship any way they please,” said Ali. “I would like to know if the children who have this freedom of religion seek after and follow Jesus.

“I would like children in America to know that there is no freedom for the people in my country. I would like for them to pray for the freedom of the Iranian people.”

(To protect their identities, the names of some of the people on this website and some identifying details have been changed. Some of the quotes and stories have been edited and paraphrased from the original sources for clarity.)

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