A review of Islam: The House I Left Behind. By Daniel Shayesteh.
21stCentury Press, 2009.
(Also available in Australia at Koorong Books)
This is the powerful and inspiring story of an Iranian who went from being a committed Muslim revolutionary to a passionate follower of Jesus. It is a most compelling look at the real nature of Islam, and how the grace of God in Christ can radically transform a life.
Shayesteh, who now lives in the West, spent the first three decades of his life in Iran. He was able to recite the Koran from memory at age nine. As a devout Muslim, he grew up learning to hate Jews and Christians. The Koran calls them unclean, and his life was one of total ignorance as to other religious beliefs.
Although he could read and recite the Koran in Arabic, he had no idea what it meant. He simply believed what his religious instructors taught him. And he knew that to even dare to question the authority of the Koran meant death.
While at a university in Tehran he became heavily involved in the Iranian revolution. He even married a woman because she too was a committed revolutionary. He organised and led many into joining the revolutionary Islamist cause.
But most Iranians wanted a king, and did not go along with the Muslim activists who wanted to radically remake Iran into a land under the jackboot of sharia law. Nor did they want to see America and Israel destroyed. Nevertheless he persisted.
He dedicated his life to overthrowing the Shah of Iran, and installing the Ayatollah Khomeini as leader. He and his revolutionary colleagues really believed that once Khomeini seized power, the gap between rich and poor would disappear, and peace and democracy would prevail.
However, when the revolution did occur in 1979, it quickly became clear that promises of reform and democracy were all lies. Instead a cruel and vicious police state was inaugurated, and all dissent was quickly and mercilessly crushed. “We were misinformed and brainwashed,” says Shayesteh. “Without question or investigation we believed that to follow Islam was to follow our leader blindly”.
Countless people were killed and imprisoned. Even children, family members and loved ones of the new ruling Islamists who dared to question the terror were tortured and killed. Prisons were filled, graves were dug, and the stench of dictatorship covered the land.
In the name of establishing an Islamic theocracy, things became much worse than before. Shayesteh realised that for all its faults, the rule of the Shah was the “pinnacle of freedom when compared to all other Muslim kingdoms”.
It was during this time, and especially after his conversion to Christianity, that he was able to clearly see the “intolerance and inhumanity of Islam”. Islam is really a political religion, “whose goal is to triumph and eradicate all other beliefs”.
The ruling mullahs quickly acquired a taste for a lavish lifestyle, and though poverty was widespread in the nation, “they became rich and lascivious”. Some mullahs even raped young girls and boys who were sent to learn the Koran. Those who tried to refuse were “imprisoned, tortured and killed”.
When Shayesteh learned that he had been betrayed by Khomeini and his cronies, he sought to help correct the situation, even hoping to run as an independent political candidate. But opposition political parties were not allowed under the Islamic dictatorship, and Shayesteh soon found himself languishing in prison.
He endured months of torture and barbarism, and he was sentenced to death. But through some miraculous events, he managed to get out of prison, and return to his homeland in the north. But various attempts by the authorities to take his life made it clear that he had to flee the country with his family.
Through another series of miraculous events he was finally able to make it into Turkey. It was while he was there that his conversion to Christianity occurred. He went to a Christian church which ministered to Iranian refugees in Istanbul, hoping to get some help with some financial problems he was involved in.
But he got help of another sort – he had a life-changing encounter with the risen Christ. He started to read the Bible for the first time in his life, something that was not permitted in Islam. And he was shocked to learn that other Muslims had converted to Christianity.
He even had dreams about Jesus, as so many Muslims have had. And compared to the life of Islam which he had known, one of “selfishness, religious nationalism, discrimination, and racism” he found at this church Christians of different ethnic and racial backgrounds loving God and each other, singing to God, and praising him in their own tongues.
After some months of resisting, he finally surrendered his life to Christ. The living example of Christ in these Christians, coupled with the hell of reality under Islamic totalitarianism, could not be clearer to Shayesteh. He knew that Christ was what he had been looking for his whole life. “The love of Christ not only opened my eyes to the problems of Islam, but to the problems of my heart.”
Now he had to break the news to his wife and children. That was not easy, but after seeing the radical change in his life, they too eventually came to experience the liberating love of Jesus Christ. But things were still very dangerous in Turkey, with Islamic hit squads from Iran out to get Shayesteh. He survived yet more attempts on his life, and realised he must flee to the free West.
He eventually made it to Australia, where he now conducts a worldwide ministry, warning Westerners of the dangers of oppressive Islam and its goal of world domination, and the contrast between Christianity and Islam. He warns of being fooled by interfaith and multicultural ventures.
After all, the use of deception (taqiyyah) is allowed in both the Koran and the hadith to advance the goals of Islam. He warns about allowing mosques to be set up in Western nations. They are in fact more than just a place of worship: they are “also a garrison for Muslims to prepare themselves for fighting”. Thus a mosque becomes a place where Muslims “learn hatred towards their opposition and non-Muslims”.
A mosque is also a symbol of Islamic domination of a non-Muslim nation: “Building a mosque in a non-Islamic society or country symbolizes Islam’s claims over that society or country, even with a non-Muslim majority”.
That is why Islamic countries are investing millions of dollars in building mosques and Islamic schools throughout the West. They become footholds for the spread of worldwide Islam, and the Muslim takeover of those lands. They believe freedom is only for Muslims, and of course will not allow Christians to build churches in their lands.
So just like with communism, the West is selling the rope to the Muslims with which to hang itself. They are bending over backwards to allow Muslims to gain ascendency in the West with the view of total capitulation of Western Christendom.
The unconditional love of Christ is now the message of Daniel Shayesteh, as is the message that Islam is a political religion bent on world domination. Islam and democracy cannot co-exist, and if we do not wake up in the West, we will soon lose all of our freedoms.
There are many good books warning about the dangers of Islamic imperialism. And many books demonstrate the superiority of Christian love over Islamic servitude. This book nicely covers both topics, and deserves a very wide reading. We ignore it at our own peril.
12 Replies to “A review of Islam: The House I Left Behind. By Daniel Shayesteh.”
I’m an Australian and taught English in a fundamentally Islamic country for 12 years. Incidentally, like Daniel I found Christ in Islamic territory. My experience was not a dream but a Damascus like encounter with Our Sovereign God outside a mosgue. The most overwhelming impression of my work teaching preadolescents in this country was their inability to think freely and analytically. Much of my time was spent encouraging students to explore and discover the truth of their reality. The religious schools thwarted many of my efforts by reinvigorating their own indoctrinating, repetitive koranic lessons in Religious School for each half day plus fulltime on Fridays. I look forward to visiting your website Daniel and contributing.
Sounds like a good book Bill. I did a quick search on the net and yet couldn’t find it, do you know where could I get a hold of it?
It is available from the author. See his web site for contact details: http://www.exodusfromdarkness.org.au/
Also hopefully Koorong Books in Australia will also soon stock it, as well as amazon.com
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
Bill, thanks so much for your cogent review of Daniel Shayesteh’s book which I believe has just been published but I haven’t read as yet. I met Daniel on a couple of occasions when he was doing seminars in Perth and was greatly impressed by his breadth of knowledge as a teacher of comparative religions and a minister of the Gospel, and his humility and great love for Jesus. He is truly a man who God has raised up ‘for such a time as this’. I’ve been receiving his bi-monthly e-letters from firstname.lastname@example.org for several years and would like to encourage any who have an interest in understanding the true nature of Islam and how to better understand and reach out to Muslim people, to get his emails; they include a regular teaching segment relating to Islam/Muslims. There is a great and urgent need for Westerners to have a comprehensive understanding of what Islam is really all about in order to effectively protect ourselves and our way of life while at the same time reaching out with sensitivity and compassion to these dear people who are trapped in this oppressive religious/political system, where the threat of death can be a very real deterrent to them leaving or converting, as attested to by Daniel.
I have a friend, a Catholic lady of Italian background, who over 12 years ago, applied to teach in an Islamic school in order to help the children integrate into our way of life, as she herself had had to do as a child. After nearly 3 years, she resigned, exasperated and outraged at what she witnessed without being able to have her concerns heard or addressed. Allegations of children being physically and sexually abused and malnourished and incidents of female circumcision were largely ignored and reporting of such was discouraged; Further allegations of indoctrination, children being discouraged from integrating with non-Muslims and instructed that it’s OK to lie to infidels, steal from them and rape and kill them because they’re infidels; Incidents of fraud, where class numbers were artificially inflated and excessive funds were claimed, allocated and misappropriated (This case is still going through the courts but little is reported on it with the papers ‘going quiet’. Why should it have to be so?). There was even a bombing at this school which it is alleged, was carried out by an aggrieved parent of a young girl who was raped by the school bus driver. The school refused to dismiss the driver and in retribution the father bombed the school. But the report that came out was that local non Muslim residents had carried out the bombing because of their dislike of Muslims – Taqiyya – (w)’holy deception’ – allowed/encouraged in the cause of promoting Islam – Jihad by stealth! Such incidents and allegations are going largely un reported and un addressed while we continue to see an increase in Australia and other Western countries, allowing for the establishment and government funding of such schools that despise, deny and decry our way of life while all the way accessing its advantages for their own.
While we know not all Muslims adhere to the extremes of Islam, it’s not the moderates that are the problem, just as it was not the moderate majority of the German people who oversaw and enforced the holocaust, but the extremist Nazis who, like the radical Islamist Clerics, gain control through stealth and rule with an iron fist, as we’re currently witnessing in Iran. Unfortunately ignoring a storm will not stop a storm or mitigate its damage. So ignoring the radical Islamists and denying their goal of world domination will not prevent their determined progress and we do so to our own demise as have many other lands before us witnessed by history. We need to know! The West needs to know! The world needs to know! Please be encouraged to read Daniel’s book, enlist on his web site and forward this article and Exodus From Darknness emails along with CultureWatch. God gives us a solemn warning in Hosea 4:6: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you, that you shall be no priest to me: seeing you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children.” But He also promises us in Revelations 12:11: “And they overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” Praise God for the living testimony of men such a Daniel, that we can in turn share his testimony with others, in order that together we can overcome and help to set the captives free, knowing that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” Ephesians 6:12.
Thank you, Michelle, for your recommendation.
I’ve signed up now, despite probably being in the ‘States for most of July. Hello from Forrestfield, normally Albany.
Thank you, Bill, for starting the entire discussion.
It’s more important than most people would believe to take the “full speed ahead, #### the torpedoes” approach of Admiral Farragut when dealing with misunderstood issues. Too much information is far easier to deal with than too little.
I am glad to see that his important story is now in print. Together with his DVD testimony, it will be a great help to many, and a wake-up call, to be alert to the type of global situation we are currently living in. Daniel is a gift to the church in our day, and a joyful witness to Christ. May the book find its way into many homes and hearts.
Hello I have being reading the info on your web site, it is alarming concerning thing that are happening now. And our Government in the west don’t not know what these people are trying to do. We have to pray and proclaimed Jesus Christ to them. That they will know the truth.
Keep up the good work and that the Lord will open way that you can make the truth known.
I fully agree with Michelle on Hosea 4:6
Before I heard Daniël in Durbanville, about Islam, I was very ignorent, had little knowledge…..
Now I’m contacting people all over SA and send information about Islam.
Thank you Daniël that you made us aware of the danger which is slumbering in our country.
Brother very interesting to hear the story about Dr. Daniel. I would like to have a copy of his dvd personal testimony, his books and other resources you may have about Dr. Daniel. Thank you.
Thanks Amani. You can get his stuff at his website: http://www.exodusfromdarkness.org/
I am so blessed by the videos about him.
Could I translate this book in Korean?
Thanks, you would probably have to get in touch with the author and ask him: