Sahar  ·  An Islamic Country

Our Lives Before: Not Everyone has Freedom of Religion

Then one of my friends got arrested in a park.

Writing by Twila Bird
Photography by Christophe Mortier

Freedom of religion — not everyone has it.

My friends and I lived in an Islamic country but we always had problems with Islam. I received a Christian book from someone and I made copies of it so my friends and I could read it. We studied it together for one or two months. Then one of my friends got arrested in a park. When the police searched her bag, they found her copy of the book. They realized it was a Christian book so they took her to the police station, questioned her, tortured her, and put her in jail. She finally gave them my name. When the police came to my home, I was not there, thank God. I was at my uncle’s house. I could not go back home. I was able to escape.

I walked all the way to Turkey [over 1600 miles]. I had no money. I had to work in long shifts in a restaurant until I finally earned enough money to finish my journey to Germany. I arrived here barefoot and in very bad condition. I found the father of the person who gave me the Christian book and went to visit him. I explained to him what had happened to me, told him that I knew his son, and how I received the book from him. After that he spent a lot of time with me. I converted to Christianity.

I cannot go back, I really cannot. If that had been an option, I would not have tolerated these three years since I left — three years of extremely dire conditions and loneliness.
Sahar 1
2018 Elizabeth Thayer: Sahar

I went to court and explained everything truthfully. In spite of that, they want to deport me back to my country. I cannot go back, I cannot.

Loneliness grows and turns into an obsession in the heart because my family is not with me. I will keep trying to implore God to help me in this difficult situation and to guide me in the right path for a good life here.

2017 Christophe Mortier: Saturday Morning
Informed Consent

Our team members obtain informed consent from each individual before an interview takes place. Individuals dictate where their stories may be shared and what personal information they wish to keep private. In situations where the individual is at risk and/or wishes to remain anonymous, alias names are used and other identifying information is removed from interviews immediately after they are received by TSOS. We have also committed not to use refugee images or stories for fundraising purposes without explicit permission. Our top priority is to protect and honor the wishes of our interview subjects.

Add Impact to Your Inbox
Sign up for our emails to get inspiring stories and updates delivered straight to you.
© 2024 Their Story is Our Story Privacy Policy
Their Story is Our Story is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization under the United States Internal Revenue Code. All donations are tax-deductible. Our tax identification number is 812983626.