My name's Joshua. It's not my real name, but it's the name I want for myself. I am a 20 year old Pakistani citizen, born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. I study Business at a university in Dubai, UAE--the country of my permanent residence. I am an ex-Muslim--I secretly converted to Christianity almost 3 years ago in Pakistan, without the knowledge or consent of my family.
By necessity, I am still living a life of secrecy. Only a few trusted people (all non-relatives) know about my spiritual epiphany and conversion. Belonging to a strong religious Muslim (Syed) family, I would face a quick death at their hands if they even so much as suspected what I have in fact done. If my secret ever slips out, I can be taken back to Pakistan and murdered. Fear is ever-present in my life.
As any normal human being, this is not what I want. I want to live my life to the fullest--to be able to speak my mind freely, to be able to worship freely, and be able to read my Holy Book without any fear that someone will catch me. I want to be able to go to the church every Sunday without having to keep looking over my shoulder. Since I started studying Christianity five years ago, I have been to the church only four times.
Before my conversion, all I wanted to do was hate infidels (non-Muslims), kill Jews, and die as a martyr for Islam. But since my conversion to the real religion of peace, Christianity, I have become a completely different person. I have not only been living my life in fear. I also live in hope, hope for the best, hope for my future, and for the world's future. I have come to know how beautiful this life can be. I know there is light and there is hope.
I have read much about America and have communicated with many Americans. I have learned from this great country and its people the real meaning of the word freedom. It is a beautiful country with extraordinary values, and it indeed represents to me the last best hope for humanity. And that's something I want to be a part of--to realize freedom and live it. In this region of darkness, the Middle East, and the Islamic world, the only beacon of light is America.
When I moved to Dubai in 2005, my family and others told me that Dubai was a free and liberal society. I thought I would be able to live my life freely and without fear. But my hopes and dreams for a free life in this place were shattered the day I landed here. Spies are everywhere in Dubai. It is tyranny, a land of fear and hatred, and a place that no freedom-loving soul would want to stay in.
My future belongs to me and no one else. I cannot and will not accept the future that awaits me if I stay here, which is this: eventually, my folks find out about my conversion, and they will forcibly send me back to Pakistan for a trial, found guilty of converting out of Islam, and then I will be executed. If I stay here there's nothing I can do that can change that.
To be honest, my goal of living in freedom seems right now like an impossibility. I am merely surviving here right now in Dubai, and I don't know how long I'm going to be able to hold up like this. I want out, I want an escape from this place, so badly, I can taste it. I want to start living my life instead of just merely existing.
I will keep on trying to attain my freedom for as long as I have breath in my lungs. I can't do it alone though, and for that I need help--to attain my freedom, and to retain my right to life. I am not sure how exactly to escape, but I know that I must, and for that, I will need the help of others. Eventually, if my message of help reaches the right person, I am sure I can find someone or several someones who can help me attain my dream.
If you think you can help me, please email me at Joshua(dot)huntsford(at)gmail
Cross-posted over at IBLOGA