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Posted on Aug 26, 2007 at 05:04 PM

I was born in eastern Kurdistan (Iran). My parents were nominal Muslims and I never really gave much thought to religion. At a very young age, I was sent to an Islamic school to learn the Qur'an but I dropped out after a few months and never went back. All of the washing and different times for prayers never made sense to me. Whenever there was talk about religion, I would just become sick in the stomach. I hated religion. I have always thought that it was something that enslaved people and that religious people were dumb. Because of my dad's political activity and his troubles with the Iranian police, we had to leave our homeland. After a few years we settled in the west. Life became a hell. Discrimination was everywhere, not knowing what to do; I started hanging out with the wrong people. Without thinking twice, I started experimenting with drugs even though it was hard for me to get my hands on them. My friends and I would drink every Saturday night and watch pornographic films. At one point, I just became sick of this kind of life and I was searching for a new life, for a way to escape all of these problems. As problems were mounting day by day, I started thinking of suicide, but I did not have the guts to do anything like that. When I told a Muslim friend of mine all of these problems, he suggested that I go with him to the mosque and so I did. That night, when I left the mosque, I brought a copy of the Qur'an home with me. Reading it just made me depressed and I could not get anything out of it. When I told this to my friend, he told me that I should read it in Arabic. But Arabic was not my mother language and I did not speak it. I started taking Arabic classes but it was so hard and I felt like this was just making the problem grow.

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