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How I went from chanting ‘Death to America’ to ‘God Bless America’

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I was born in Iran, and as a young student I joined the masses of protesters in the streets of Tehran in 1979 shouting “Death to America.” But I have grown to love America and what this blessed nation stands for. 

In 1982 I became a dual citizen and began studying at the University of Southern California. Over the past four decades,, my love for the U.S. has grown. 

My heart is grieved when natural-born citizens hate America and blame her for the world’s problems. My heart hurts when I hear the hatred some Americans have for their own country, shouting “Death to America” and burning the American flag on university campuses.

So, how has an Iranian grown to love America? Those are easy answers.

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I love America because it is the land of religious freedom.
American citizens have unbelievable freedom to explore (or not explore) and practice (or not practice) their religion. The founders saw that and built those freedoms into the core documents when creating this nation. 

This nation is where my life was transformed by Christian faith. I was born a Muslim in Iran and was devout in my early years, practicing the five pillars. But in my teenage years, I found religious activity alone was futile, empty and useless. 

After the Islamic revolution, I decided to search for God. Living in America, I was free to read both the Quran and the Bible; I was free to go to a mosque or a church. So, by carefully comparing the Quran and Bible I came to realize that there is a God who loves me.

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini

By putting my faith in Christ, my life was transformed. My troubled marriage was healed; my wife and I canceled our plans for divorce, and a new future unfolded for us here because of the religious freedom afforded. It was in America that my life was transformed and my marriage healed.

This is the land where anybody can freely follow their faith or lack of faith in God. Even Muslims fleeing other Muslims who want to kill them in Islamic countries come here to practice their Islamic faith freely.

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I love America because it is the land of opportunities.
Here in America, you can dream and work to make your dreams come true. This country gave me an opportunity and provided support to pursue my educational dream: earning a Ph.D. in artificial intelligence and becoming a research scientist in that field. 

Also, after my conversion to Christianity I desired to grow spiritually and pursue a seminary education. Again, I had the opportunity to get a bachelor’s degree in Bible and theology from Jessup University. 

In Iran, my dreams would have not been possible nor supported. No wonder that millions of people around the world want to come to the U.S.

I love America because it has enabled me to serve the tired, huddled masses in Iran yearning to be free.

As I came to see the suffering of the Iranian people at the oppressive hands of the Islamic government of Iran, I felt compelled to do something to help. 

Christians in the U.S. supported the launch of our organization’s 24/7 satellite broadcast channel to Iran in 2001 right after the 9/11 attack. Because of the generous support of Americans to our ministry, more than 100,000 Iranian Muslims have come to faith in Jesus Christ. 

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I am forever grateful for the ability to serve the spiritual needs of Iran because of the support of fellow Americans. The love American Christians have for other nations has always inspired and encouraged me.

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I love America because it has a history of helping nations around the world.

History shows that the U.S. in its 250 years of its existence, which is short by world comparison, has served so many other nations. When a disaster strikes anywhere in the world – even in Islamic countries such as Iran – Americans and especially American Christians have always been the first to respond by sending people and money to aid victims.

In World War II, the U.S. did the heavy lifting, liberating European countries from Hitler’s evil ideology and aggressive army. Then after years of fighting and sacrifice, the U.S. helped Europe rebuild their roads, schools, towns and economies.

America also has a history of blessing Iran. Christian missionaries entered Iran in the mid-1800’s. They established the first hospitals in Iran and treated lepers when Iranians themselves refused. American missionaries started the first schools and colleges in Iran. They also opened orphanages in Iran, helping children receive the care and compassion they need.

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I love America because it has blessed the world with its technology.

America has been a source of great innovation from which the entire world has benefited. Americans invented the light bulb, the automobile and airplanes, etc. More recently, this land of freethinkers made technological advances that have improved life all over the world, including business and personal computing, the very Internet you’re reading this on, medicine and medical technology, education, AI and so many others.

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I love America because it is the land of political freedom.

Unlike most countries in the world, Americans can pursue their political beliefs as they wish. America is still the greatest democratic republic in the world. That is why millions wish that they could live here. 

I love America because it is the land of hope.

It is a dream of millions of people around the world – even including people from European countries – to move to the U.S. and live in this land. America is a land of hope for the globe. 

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Every day, hordes of people endure hardship, danger and suffering to try and cross the border. Even Muslims who are fleeing danger and possible death from other Muslims hope to immigrate here, knowing Americans and especially American Christians will welcome and treat them better than their homelands.

America has been a tremendous gift to the world and to me personally. Do we have our issues and challenges? Yes. But I believe we must all love and appreciate what this great nation affords to us, its citizens, and work together to make it even better. 

God bless America.

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