Imagine being an outcast in your own country because you left Islam to follow Jesus Christ.
And imagine fleeing the home of your youth to new, unfamiliar country desperately seeking the freedom to practice your faith openly.
Now imagine arriving in this new, unfamiliar country, only to get arrested and prosecuted for telling people about your faith?
That’s exactly what happened to this ex-Muslim at the Mall of America.
In August of 2018, Pastor Ramin Parsa was asked to speak about his journey leaving Islam to follow Christ at a church in Minnesota.
This church was close to the Mall of America and after the service, one of the elders at that church invited Parsa to come with him and his 14-year-old son to see the biggest mall in America.
Ramin Parsa agreed and went with them to the mall.
As they were walking around the mall, it was apparent that there were many Muslims there.
Islam is something that Ramin Parsa knows all too well. His story is one of overcoming the odds and of triumph, but now that is being overshadowed by something that nobody could see coming.
Ramin Parsa was born into a large Muslim family shortly after the Iranian revolution. The revolution was hard on his family and one of his brothers was even killed.
Ramin was raised under the strict religious laws of Islam and was even tortured multiple times under suspicion of breaking these laws.
Things seemed to keep going downhill until, when he was 19-years-old, his father died suddenly of a heart attack and he began to lose his faith in Islam.
In his despair, Ramin became suicidal.
It was during this despair that Ramin heard the gospel of Jesus Christ for the first time on TV.
He didn’t agree with it, but he became curious about this message of peace from a loving God.
He asked Jesus to show him a sign if He was real. Moments later, his hand became very hot and he felt an overwhelming peace come over him.
He touched his sick mother with his warm hand, and she was healed of her ailment.
He knew then that he had to let other people know about the Savior.
Months after his conversion to Christianity, Ramin Parsa was stabbed and brutally wounded. He was forced to flee to a neighboring country and eventually ended up in the U.S.
Since then, he has worked to spread the word of God through books, television, and the internet trying to reach those who do not know Jesus Christ.
After all of these events, he must have thought that he was done being persecuted and finally free to spread the message of the Gospel. But last August, he discovered that he is not truly free, even in America.
As he was walking through the mall with his two companions, he came across two Muslim women and they all struck up a conversation.
He told the women that he was from Iran and they asked him if he was a Muslim. He told them that he used to be, but that he was now a Christian.
The women that Parsa was speaking to were curious as to why he had converted to Christianity, so he began to share his Faith with them. They seemed open to learning about what he had to say, but there was somebody nearby who was not.
A woman who was not a part of their conversation overheard what they were saying, and she went and complained to security.
A security guard approached them and told Ramin that he could not solicit at the mall. He told the guard that he was not soliciting and that the women had asked him about Christianity, but he was still told to stop his conversation.
He completely complied with the security guard and his party moved on to a coffee shop within the mall.
When they left the coffee shop, there were some guards waiting outside. They told Parsa that he would have to leave the mall. When he asked why he would have to leave the mall, they told him it was because he was soliciting.
Ramin Parsa explained to the guards that he was not soliciting. He told them that he was a guest from out of town and he was just here to visit the mall.
What happened next was unbelievable.
The guards handcuffed Ramin and took him to a jail underneath the mall. He was handcuffed to a chair and was not given food or water for around three hours while they waited for the police to come and get him.
He must have thought that he could explain to the police what happened and then be released, but that did not happen.
The police paid no attention to what he had to say. They simply read the description that the security guards at the mall had written and they took him to jail. He ended up bailing himself out and waiting for a pre-trial.
Many who have been following Ramin Parsa’s story thought that the pre-trial would probably not result in an actual trial. However, in December 2018, Parsa went to pre-trial and it was decided that there would be a date set for an actual trial in the future.
While he awaits his trial, many people around the country are wondering the same thing.
“How is this happening in the U.S., a country where you are supposed to be free to express your beliefs, opinions, and religion?” Well, it certainly is a scary thing to think that we might not be as free as we have been led to believe.
For someone who has suffered so much for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, you might think that he would be bitter or angry that this has had to happen to him.
However, Ramin Parsa continues to hold his head up and trust that God has a plan for everything that is happening in his life.
He also continues to spread the Good News through his ministries.
If you would like to know more about Ramin Parsa, or his ministries, please visit his website https://www.raminparsa.org.
And please, don’t forget to pray for our country, its values, and for those who are suffering persecution all over the world.