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Leaving Islam


WORLD Radio - Leaving Islam

A Muslim searches for the God of the Bible

A Quran Rifky Rachman Safri/iStock / Getty Images Plus

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Tuesday, February 13th. This is WORLD Radio and we thank you for listening.

Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.

LINDSAY MAST, HOST: And I’m Lindsay Mast. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: leaving Islam.

In 2021, Ramazan Rafee escaped from the Taliban in Afghanistan and moved to a quiet suburb in Kentucky. Now he’s telling his story of how he found Christ.

Here’s WORLD Reporter Travis Kircher.

TRAVIS KIRCHER: Ramazan Rafee was born in Afghanistan 33 years ago into what he describes as a radical Shia Muslim family. His father was wealthy and owned a farm in the city of Ghazni, which meant Rafee got to enjoy a sheltered childhood for Afghanistan.

RAFEE: During the day you were going to outside and playing with other kids and have fun and this kind of stuff. The reason I said my family was somehow wealthy -- other people, their kids, they couldn't play. They had to work. Hard jobs.

But other aspects of life were anything but normal. Rafee says his extended family ruled the city for 25 years and administered brutal justice.

RAFEE: They cutted off hands. My cousins – they arrested some thieves and they killed them and cutted their hands.

In 1995, when he was around six years old, the Taliban came to Ghazni.

RAFEE: My people – they were fighting against Taliban… I remember when they were coming and I was playing soccer with other kids and we had to run. We had to escape.

The Taliban seized control of Afghanistan, brutally imposing a radical interpretation of sharia law—the Islamic code that governs day-to-day living.

Rafee clearly recalls the night he heard the Taliban torturing a man from his village. They thought he was hiding weapons.

RAFEE: I could hear his voice when he was screaming from inside the mosque. And I was far away and I could hear that. So yeah. Just, it was like that. Everywhere was fear.

But as much as his parents hated the Taliban, they loved Islam. So they sent Rafee to Islamic school to train to be a mullah—an Islamic religious leader. By the time he was a teenager, he was preaching sermons.

RAFEE: I thought this is the real way. This is the truth. And I committed myself to Islam, but never experienced God. Never.

As he got older, he began to question his faith. And he started reading books by philosophers like Emmanuel Kant and Rene Descartes.

RAFEE: They defeated me. You have to doubt on everything – about yourself, about the universe, about everything. And I was thinking, “That’s cool!”

Rafee became an atheist. And in a radical Muslim country—that can be a dangerous thing. His father found out about his new beliefs when he was 17.

RAFEE: In 2007, my dad asked me to go pray in the mosque and read Koran. And I insulted Mohammed, I insulted Allah, I insulted Quran – which was not good. Which was not good…But he had a rifle and he took his rifle and he said, “I will kill you!” And yeah – my mother jumped in and she – in front of me – and she said, “First kill me and then Ramazan.”

Rafee got on his motorbike and fled to the city of Kabul. 

But it wasn’t long before he realized his atheism didn’t hold up either.

RAFEE: I had a big gap in my life. And I was thinking, “There is someone – there is a power, supernatural power – who is controlling the universe.”

He started investigating Christianity. For two years he tried to find a Bible, but this was next to impossible. When he asked for one at the library, they just laughed.

RAFEE: I was thinking, “Why this people are not allowed to have a Bible. Is it really bad?” “There is something.” I was thinking, “There is something. Why are they scared of this book?”

His search came to an end when he spotted an American missionary in an Internet café. He asked him for a Bible, and the man told him to come back the next afternoon at 1:30. Rafee showed up an hour early.

RAFEE: Because I was so thirsty and hungry for that book – that, “Today I am going to have it! And I am going to read it!”

The missionary gave Rafee a copy of the New Testament. Rafee asked the American to teach him about Jesus and they began meeting daily in the missionary’s home.

In less than two months, he had given his heart to Christ and experienced a God who was totally different from the one he heard about in the mosque.

RAFEE: I hear people say, “Well, we worship the same God.” No. We are not worshiping the same God. We are worshiping a living God, not an idol.

He says true Christianity is incompatible with Islam.

RAFEE: Everything is different. Love: You cannot see love in Islam. Love is different. Eternal life is different in Christ, God ask you to forgive your enemy. But in Islam, no. You cannot forgive your enemy.

Rafee says he’s turned his back on his old life. Even though he still has portions of the Quran memorized in Arabic, he refuses to recite them. And he’s pretty blunt about why.

RAFEE: I hate Islam. I know it is not nice word, but yeah. I saw a lot of difficulties from this people, and it is a Satanic religion.

Today, Rafee and his wife, Shamsia, translate pastoral materials into Farsi.

He says he’s grateful to be living for the God of the Bible and not the god of the Quran.

RAFEE: You’re a sinful person. The only thing that can save you is the grace of our Lord, though faith in Christ. And when you think about that you feel safe. 

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Travis Kircher in Louisville, Kentucky.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.


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