This is rather a long post, but bear with me, this post is well worth a thorough read, i tried to cut it down. But shorter versions didn’t sound right faced with the horribly tragedy of the tale.
It all started with tragic events surrounds an Iranian family, the tragic events stemmed directly from religion and religious culture
Had they earlier rejected their religious superstition it could have saved them, and perhaps even offered them some happiness. As things are they are divided and its far from certain if this family has any kind of future ahead of them.
I have over the last year engaged the suppressed worshipers and their imam at the local mosque. It hasn’t always been friendly, and on more than one occasion it has come to blows. Anyway long story short, lets just say the clergy didn’t really like me, the local Imam was even arrested for a period for death treats against me.
To clarify i see religion as dangerous, i think religion causes so much harm that i see it as my duty to combat it at every turn, even if it poses a risk to my person.
This active, up close and personal approach to combating religious superstition puts me in a position where i see first hand the ugly, ugly face of religion and thus i am able to bring you this horrific and tragic tale.
The Imam (the death treat guy) was up until recently a fervent observer and die hard follower or Islam. Today he virulently rejected Islam, Islamic doctrine, and religion including its culture in any shape way or form.
I was at the mosque to have a new round of dialogs as he held his last sermon today. And i have never heard anything like this before! Everybody in attendance where moved deeply and i seriously doubt anyone had any faith left at the end of it.
I recorded most of it on my mobile and here is the transcript, the imam, broke down in tears several times during the sermon it shook me to the core. I wish i had a video camera since my attempts to describe this to you will not be close to convey the collective feeling of horror, guilt, and sadness we all experienced.
(we can all see that the imam is horribly tormented, his faces is ash gray and contorted by pain, he just stares at us all for a long time before he starts)
Is god good? does god exist? Are religious people dangerous? Is believing in god harmful? ……
Latently we have all been repeatedly challenged on this, you all know our friend (smiles sadly and points at me) I am here today to deliver my final words to you in regards to this issue, I will not speak to you again from this podium.
Many of you already know that i have just lost my family,,,, (struggles to continue) what you don’t know is how this came to be.
From this very spot i have repeatedly praised, and made you praise, the goodness of god! but is god good??? like many of you, we still have friends and family in Iran. The abominable hell hole! that we are all so FUCKING proud of! (he collects himself, long pause)
My daughter where to be married in may, i had arranged everything. My daughter was never consulted of course. She is only a girl. After all she was MY daughter! Our culture, our religion,,,, (looks down and sobs for a few seconds),, everything told me i own her! i would do as i pleased,,,, God gave me that right! (long pause while his sad eyes accusingly stares at us)
A few weeks ago a friend of my daughter still in Iran was killed, she had been arrested last year during a demonstration, i don’t know what the demonstration was for. She was 17,,,, the same age as my daughter.
My daughter was totally distraught, not only was her best friend hanged simply for daring to speak up! But shortly before her execution she was married to one of her executioners, since Islam forbids the execution of a virgin!….
Is this the will of a great and good god? isn’t this very act, committed according to gods own commands evil? how is allowing the executioner to rape the condemned prior to killing her in any possible way an act of goodness? How can killing a young innocent woman ,for simply speaking, be deemed GOOD! (swallows hard several times)
My daughter asked me these questions! And i defended god of course. “Its gods will” – “he is testing the parents” – “he was testing my daughter” DO NOT QUESTION GODS WILL! (swallows hard again)
The next morning my own daughter was gone, she had fled, taken refuge in the emergency protection program! She is beyond my reach no matter what i do! (looks at us with painful eyes)
Now god was testing me! The pain is almost unbearable, i am worried for my daughter, all alone among strangers! What if she gets hurt? What would i say to the groom? His family? What would my family say? I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t rest! (the Imam shaking we can see he is in incredible pain)
Is god good? Can the suffering god was putting me through be described as an act of good? IS TESTING ME TO THE POINT WHERE MY HEART, MIND AND SPIRIT BREAKS IN ANY WAY GOOD! (long pause)
A few days later my daughter contacted my wife to say goodbye, she said she was safe and well cared for, she explained her reason to run away to my wife. She was no longer a virgin she had been with a Norwegian boy in secret. They had sex. Even though she was against marrying a person she knew nothing about she still wanted to please her parents and follow our wishes. But she didn’t dare to travel to Iran to be married fearing not only a lifetime of misery, she was scare Her new family in law would murder her, when they figured out she was no longer a virgin.
(took some time to collect himself, he is boiling with pain and hate)
Upon hearing this news i exploded with rage! i repeatedly struck my wife, i guess a neighbor called the police, and before the hour was over i was incarcerated at the police station. I have never before really struck my wife, i have slapped her with my flat hand and the koran commands but this time i really struck my wife, i am drowning in my own shame. (looks down so we cant see his face)
When i was released i returned to an empty house! my wife had also moved into protective care and my remaining children are in forster care.
When i last spoke with my bellowed wife she said she wants a divorce…. (sobs)
IS THIS AN ACT OF GOOD! WHY WOULD GOD STRIP ME OF EVERYTHING!!!! EVERYTHING i cared about? (now getting enraged) IS SPLITTING UP THE HOLY UNION FORMED BY HIMSELF LEAVING ALL THE PEOPLE INVOLVED TO SUFFER !AN ACT OF GOOD,,,, WELL IS IT!!!!! IS IT GOOD TO DEPRIVE MY 1 YEAR OLD SON OF HIS FAMILY AN ACT OF GOOD! IF GOD IS TESTING ME WHY PUNISH THIS INNOCENT CHILD!
GOD IS NOT GOOD !
FOLLOWING HIS RULES HAS TAKEN EVERYTHING FROM ME,,,,, If he even exists i hate him, I HATE HIM! FOLLOWING HIS RULE HAS CAUSED TREMENDOUS PAIN TO ME, MY WIFE AND ALL MY BELLOWED CHILDREN!!! I FUCKING HATE GOD WITH EVERY FIBER IN MY BEING ! IF I EVER SEE HIM I WILL DRIVE A STAKE THROUGH HIM! TORTURE HIM TO DEATH IN THE MOST SLOW AND PAINFUL MANNER I CAN POSSIBLY MUSTER.
(long pause with crying)
I hate to admit it, but all my life i have been wrong! Our friend here is right! i have searched myself and i must admit that!
I refuse to be one of those traffic wictims you see, sitting paralysed in their wheelchair: ” the accident left me paraplegic, but i was right! it was the other guy thet didnt follow the rules! never mind that i saw he was traveling to fast to stop! i was right!”
I will not be that guy! i will not be that GUY!,,,, I denounce god, I denounce our culture,i denounce and cancel my daughters pre-arranged marriage!
I will never again speak to you here, never again will i step inside a holy house! I AM LEAVING GOD! I am leaving Islamic culture! I am leaving the koran and all the other oppressive lies and garbage behind.
– —- I WILL NOT BE THAT GUY!. ———- (screams the words)
I am leaving you now to try to save my family,,,, my future,,,, their future,,,, my own life! I cannot bear it without the love of my family! I am ready to pay the price for having believed in god…. My only hope is that its not to late……
Change before its to late.
(struggles with his tears bows his head and walks out)
End of sermon:
The silence in the room was deafening, people just sat there for maybe 5 minutes, suddenly a woman stands up, takes off her head scarf, utters “he’s right” shoots out of the room, a few murmurs ripple across the crowd and everyone shoots out.
in what seams like an instant i am the only one left there, i was shocked to the core. It was, to put it mildly, a powerful experiences. For a long time i just stood there letting it sink inn.
I went to the Imams house to offer my support, he was grateful but this was something he just had to work out on his own.
It cant be easy to go from the deeply religious camp streight into the far right anti-theist camp in less than a week.
I really hope he and his family comes out of this on top, and now that religious and cultural dogma is out of the equation they might actually have a chance….