Afshin Javid was born into a pious Muslim family that heartily supported Iran’s “Islamic Revolution” and the rise to power of the ayatollahs. Today, he has embraced faith in Yeshua, and is looking to reconcile with former enemies, including Israel.
In an interview with Channel 2 News (see below) during a visit to Israel last month, Javid recalled that as a young man he enthusiastically joined what is known as the Basij militia in Iran.
The Basij Resistance Force is a volunteer paramilitary organization operating under the auspices of the Revolutionary Guard. It’s young members roam the streets of Iran brutally enforcing the dictates of their clerical overlords.
“We basically enforced Sharia on the streets,” Javid told his Israeli hosts. “If a girl talks to a boy, or a boy is talking to a girl, you grab them, you arrest them, you beat them. We were the ‘Children of Islam.’ That’s what Ayatollah Khomeini called us.”
He even personally took part in six executions, and recalled feeling nothing but callous hatred, despite not even knowing the alleged crimes of the condemned.
The Basij militia continue to be a driving force of anti-Israel sentiment in the Islamic Republic.
“I remember the days when I would walk the streets of Iran shouting ‘Death to Israel,’” said Javid with tears in his eyes. “I had never met a Jewish person, but I hated them.”
After coming to faith, Javid fled Iran, and now lives in Canada. He has hopes that a better future lies ahead for his native land, and can see the younger generations in Iran are ready for and in desperate need of change.
“The drug addiction in Iran is massive. [As are] the suicide rate, the divorce rate,” he explained. “[Everyone] is saying, ‘Look, we didn’t get any of the things that they [the ayatollahs] promised us.’”
But Javid doesn’t believe Western sanctions and diplomatic pressure are going to bring about the desired changes, and certainly not spark a new revolution.
“The only way to change the mindset of a nation is to show them in your friendship a better way to live,” he insisted, noting that Iranians “are stuck in their own school of thought.”
The narration in the following video is in Hebrew, but Javid speaks in English: