SOURCE: The Weblog Of John Sanidopoulos
Ahmed was born and raised in a village in Afghanistan in the middle of war. His childhood memories are dust, poverty, and compulsory Islamic education in the sacred writings and war.
“I do not remember anymore who fought whom, however there was constant warfare.”
For years he worked for the Taliban doing various things. He was a fanatical Muslim who belonged to so-called radical Islam. At some point he could no longer bear this sort of life – misery, poverty, violence, pain, and death which he saw everywhere.
At 23 he journeyed through the impassable mountains into Pakistan and then to Iran. His only “passport” was the common language of Farsi.
He worked for two years there “without documents” and eventually arrived at the coast of Asia Minor in Turkey, which for him was the gate to the paradise of the West.
One winter evening nine years ago, with an inflatable that children play with on the beaches, two oars and four to five bottles of water, he along with a friend jumped into the sea across from Lesvos, which seemed so close.
In his own words:
“The sea was pitch black, it was a moonless night in the winter and very windy. We did not know how to swim. The waves looked like mountains to us. Somewhere in the distance a red light was flashing. The boat was like a nutshell in the waves. I soon realized that the journey to paradise was neither near nor easy. After about ten hours we came to the steep coast with rocks. We were in despair because we did not know if we would be able to climb it, it was so sharp. Eventually we climbed and came to an unpaved road. Before long we came to an elderly woman in black with a head-covering – we thought she was a Muslim – and with a child. My friend spoke a little English, but she nothing. With hand signals she showed us the way to a paved road and gave us a few coins, which we knew was all she had, in order to take the bus into the city. We arrived at the port and took the first ferry to Piraeus. At the door they caught us. After three months in a small reception center for immigrants that had many people like us, they gave us a map and we drove to Athens. I learned Greek and worked various jobs until I found a regular job with a company that placed solar panels. They payed me well, they wrote me up with the Social Insurance Institute, and I did my papers to receive political asylum. I worked for the same company in Athens for six years. All these years after work I would go to the outside of the churches in the beginning – something was pulling me there – and afterwards I began to enter within. I would become calm. As my Greek was getting better, I wanted to know more about Christ. I found a New Testament, however it was in a language I did not understand [Koine Greek]. Eventually I found a blue one in the Greek I had learned. I began to read it. I decided that I wanted to become a Christian. I left Athens when the company closed and went to the provinces to find various rural jobs. Eventually I found a small basement apartment in the city nearby. It had a beach. I like the beaches very much in Greece. Shortly before Pascha in 2013, I decided to ask to become a Christian.”
On Wednesday June 5th, in the evening, on Mid-Pentecost according to the Old Calendar, on the balcony of the Athonite Cell of Marouda over Karyes, looking towards the Skete of Saint Andrew and the endless blue Aegean, the same sea he crossed one night from the opposite direction, under a beautiful sky and brilliant sun, Ahmed became a Christian.
He took the name Alexander.
COMMENT FROM MODE OF LIFE PROJECT
A rather courageous man, especially as his photo has now been published and circulated many times over, thus making him a marked man before Islamists.
For those of us who know fully well what the implication for apostasy from Islam is, as dictated by the Quran and the Sunna, Alexander must be wary of where he travels to and with whom he associates with. As the penalty towards him and family is torture and death. Yet he would not be the first ex-Hagarene (Muslim) to face the possibility of martyrdom within the Orthodox Church, since there have been many.
However, historically, attention to such conversions have always remained low-key or silent so as to avoid widespread persecution of the whole Church community, especially where it dwells under the status of dhimmitude, sharia law and the principles of the Charter of Umar.
On the reverse side, we have the Hagarenes who always publicise and lord it over Christians when they are able to secure a disaffected or ignorant Christian to convert (or as they call it “revert”) to Ishmaelitism (Islam). Interestingly they do not mention how they apply the principles of “taqqiyya” (permissible deception) in order to gain the convert, as they often do use it to try and present their doctrine in the most positive light possible, even if it goes contrary to what that doctrine actually teaches.
A classic example is the Quranic quote of “there shall be no compulsion in religion/faith”, which comes from the revelations of the Meccan period. But according to Quranic interpretation and Hagarene doctrine, the later revelations of the Medinan period abrogate (doctrine of “nisha”) this same quote that demands the unbeliever to convert and submit to Ishmaelitism.
In any case, the Hagarene World is falling apart from within, and the radicalisation of Hagarenes worldwide is turning many towards apostasy; much in the same vein as Christians of Western Europe turned atheist, became apostates or formed their own religious denominations after the many religious and dynastic wars fought in the Renaissance and Post Renaissance era such as the Reformation and Counter Reformation or the St Bartholomew Day massacres etc. But within the Hagarene world there is great interest within Christianity, and more specifically Orthodoxy.
This was a matter spoken of, particularly by the late Elder Paisios of Mt Athos, who noted that many Hagarenes will turn towards Orthodoxy, and that those who do not, will find themselves allied to them against a common threat of the new ideologies and powers at work within the world. He spoke about the decline and fall of the Hagarene world and its religion, and the blossoming of Orthodoxy within these lands and its peoples who would welcome it.
As one account narrates, that when asked about certain countries, the Elder responded that Syria was and continues to be a land producing great Saints and Martyrs, and will retain its Christian identity; while Iran and Afghanistan hunger and thirst for Orthodoxy, while Pakistan will be plagued by “demon possession” and “demonic passions” under the guise of Islam. In this dialogue he began relating the events which have now come to pass such as the Syria crisis, the invasion of Afghanistan, the tribal and civil strife occurring in Pakistan and so forth.
There are many more things that can be said but I will leave it there. But may God continue to grant grace, strength and wisdom upon Alexander to fight the good fight of Christ.
Mode of Life Project (modeoflife.org)