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The 700 Club with Pat Robertson


Beyond the Veil: Iranian Muslim Discovers Christ

By Jessica Chacko and Julie Blim
The 700 Club "According to Islamic teaching, you cannot execute a virgin girl, so what they do is they rape them, and they call it temporary marriage. That is what happened to my 16-year-old friend -- and they executed her," recounts Ellie Davidian.

Ellie Davidian was horrified by such things as a teenager in Iran. Hers was a devout Muslim culture.

Describing what daily rituals were like as a child, Ellie says, "You have to get up so early in the morning, basically before sunrise, to perform the five times prayer: you start in the morning, and then you have noon time, afternoon, and evening. Ritual makes you feel like you are gradually becoming a righteous person because, personally, I was thinking that I did not commit any immoralities. I did all the good works based on the young women growing up in that country, trying to avoid sexual immoralities, alcohol, everything. This religion is based on works; you try to be a good person to please a distant god."

When Ellie became a teenager, she began to really question her faith.

"I wanted to know more about what I was worshipping or whom I was worshipping and all this ritual. I was born near the border of Iran and Iraq. Even the war of Iran and Iraq, I saw so many dead people, so many layers of bodies one after another. At that point, because I was worshipping this distant god or Allah with all my heart, I felt I was betrayed by this god, because I was thinking, If there is a God, then why is he allowing all this to happen?" she says.

Ellie couldn't find answers anywhere, so she began to secretly deny Allah in her heart.

Says Ellie, "In Iran after the revolution, we have to cover ourselves with dark, long chadors, long coverings. Of course, in Islamic ritual, when they prepare the bodies to bury them, they have to cover them in the white sheets. Then you see blood everywhere. To me, those are the three colors, basically, that I see in Iran -- black, white, and red."

For example, Ellie says that thousands of Iranian children were used to sweep minefields -- and then told they'd be "martyrs" for the cause of Allah.

"There was a hatred growing inside of me against the Iranian government, against Islam," she says, "but still I had that fear of going to hell."

Ellie's parents wanted to help her, so they sent her away from the horrors of war.

"They thought I was going to lose my mind. I was putting all dark dresses on. That was a sign of mourning inside of me," Ellie says. "There was no joy inside of me -- nothing, no life -- so I went to France. It was all colorful and I was seeing freedom. But one thing that was brought to my attention was the churches in France. When entering these places, I would sense some type of peace. I couldn't explain it at that time. I was just sitting in front of those statues of Jesus, lighting the candles in front of statues of Mary, and I was asking this God who I called Allah, 'What do you want to do with my life? What is the purpose?"

Ellie came to America to finish college. There she saw a campus poster for the JESUS film. It was in her native language, Farsi, so she decided to see it.

Ellie Davidian"Wow! I think these people really changed their Bible," Ellie recalls thinking. "Whatever I was watching through the JESUS movie contradicted with the teaching of Islam about Jesus, so in my mind I was saying, There has to be something wrong. Somebody has to have lied."

Ellie had been taught to deny the deity of Jesus Christ. In fact, she was taught that it was Judas who died on the cross, not Jesus.

"Judas was a bad boy, so out of God's miracle, it made Judas look like Jesus," Ellie reveals. "Christians are redeemed by the blood of Judas. So atonement, there is no redemption. These are just revolutionary terms when you are talking to a Muslim. That's why they don't have any experience of God's grace."

Then Ellie met some Iranian Christians and started to make a connection. She asked God to show her the truth. That night she had a dream.

"I woke up. Even though He did not say, "I am Jesus," He talked to me in English. I knew it was not Mohammed. He said, 'Believe in Me. Why do you have so much doubt in Me? Believe in me.' Inside of me I knew He was Jesus. And for the first time, I was able to see through the veil the reality of Jesus."

Ellie's family didn't see it that way.

"I was the firstborn in my family, and you are supposed to set an example for the rest of your brothers and sisters," Ellie states. "They were loving me. I had a very good relationship -- that is, before my conversion."

They all sensed Ellie's newfound peace, but Islam required that her family disown her. Were her family members curious about this Jesus who brought Ellie real peace?

"For the first time after 14 years, I met them in Istanbul, Turkey, and they were able to hear the Word, the Gospel, the truth," she says. "They were very quiet, of course. I think it is sometimes hard to receive from your children, especially in Middle Eastern culture. That was the first time that they had met my husband, so I let them establish the relationship. I just tried to be a living Word to them because that is what the Muslim observes mostly, to see how you act, how you talk."

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