Samira: Freedom in Christ
By Gorman Woodfin
The 700 Club
It was 1979, the year that a million protestors flooded the streets when the Ayatollah Kohmeini overthrew the Shah of Iran. He established Islamic law for all citizens. Samira was just a young girl when this happened.
“In the beginning, I had a very fun childhood,” she tells The 700 Club. “When I was born, it was during the Shah’s time and soon after was the Islamic revolution.”
Samira’s family didn’t practice Islam though, so she rebelled against the strict laws.
“We started having clothes restrictions. We couldn’t wear certain clothes anymore. Then we had to wear overcoats and jeans and scarves. Then there were color restrictions. We only had to wear dark colors like black, gray, dark navy, brown, and you can imagine it gets very hot in the summer in Iran and so it was very difficult.”
She especially hated the laws that didn’t treat boys and girls as equals.
“You would go to a swimming pool. The boys could go swimming, but the girls couldn’t, because if the government police came by and saw girls in the swimming pool, parents and families would be arrested and taken to jail.”
She continues, “Little by little, as a little girl they took the life out of me. Where what used to be fun -- going to school used to be fun, playing with my friends used to be fun -- all of that changed.”
One day Samira experienced the injustice of being treated as a second class citizen. Her hair had come out of her head covering and a female police officer stepped in.
“She grabbed me. She starts shaking me, [saying] ‘What are you doing? You have hair showing?’ She started going on and on about how what I’m doing is a sin and what I’m doing is completely inappropriate. I kind of kicked her as a little kid and ran away. I don’t get arrested. I was afraid of being arrested, of being thrown in jail, because I had some hair showing. But it was very traumatizing for me.”
She began to associate the strict Islamic laws with God Himself.
“I remember thinking if this is God, I want no part of Him, because if God exists, He is just. He’s going to be fair. He’s not going to make a big difference between a man and a woman.”
Her views were challenged though when her family moved to the United States. Her younger sister became a Christian. It wasn’t her new religion that Samira noticed; it was the change in her heart.
“She became a different person. When I looked into her eyes, I remember thinking, what a dramatic difference. I thought I was seeing angels. It was through that that I saw power of Christ and I thought maybe God exists.”
She decided to find out what made such a difference in her sister’s life and talked to her pastor.
“He came to talk to me, and he shared the Bible with me and the story of Christ and salvation.”
She still had questions in her mind, but what she heard one day on a Christian radio program made it all clear.
“The radio station was talking about a lady who had tried to do good, who tried to help people, but at the end of the day, she didn’t know where she was going. She didn’t have God in her life. I thought when it’s time for me to go, I don’t know where I’m going.”
Samira prayed with the man on the radio. She recalls, “I went through the prayer with him, not realizing what I had done. I accepted Christ into my heart.”
She is amazed at the freedom women have in Christ.
“When you see Jesus and how He talks about women in the Bible and how He values women, I think that’s just all helped me realize how God is just and love, no matter what time in history we’re talking about.”
Today Samira actively works in the legal system helping women in the United States escape from the harsh rules of the Islamic lifestyle.
“I thank God for the fact that I’m here in the United States. I thank God for the freedom that I have.”
Samira knows firsthand that true freedom comes only through Jesus Christ.
“We’ve seen how women are put down, treated badly, all because of who they are and what they come from. But when it comes to Jesus, all of that goes away. We have all the same rights. We all have the same amount of love that we get from God, which is a lot. We’re all one. There’s no difference. I think that’s the beauty of Jesus.”
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