These editorials have been written by our AFA Fellows and are translated directly from dutch into english. You are reading their words in largely unedited form (excluding spelling corrections and verb placement) to preserve the messages and meaning the fellows intend to convey to american readers. In light of the substance and the significance of their messages, we hope you will forgive grammatical errors and any lack of rhetorical elegance. -- The editors
Let me start with one word: AWESOME!
It is great to be in Los Angeles hanging out, enjoying the weather and many beautiful places to visit. But it is also very instructive. The museums we have visited have been particularly instructive and interesting.
I want to give an idea of what we all have done so far. We have attended leadership training at UCLA, gone to the Getty Center, The Huntington Library, Nixon Library The Reagan Library and more.
But our program is not just about fun things to do. Although my good friend Avi Davis says it's just fun to learn about the Western standards and values we want to save, and he certainly has it right, there is indeed serious business to be done. Think of climate hysteria of leftist parties, Islamtization of the West and cultural relativism. I am very concerned especially about Islamitization of the West. It would be a disaster if Islam gets its way and for some good reasons.
In Holland, my country, according to a study, 6 per cent of Muslims want to use violence against those who leave Islam. That is 60,000 Muslims who say it is OK to use violence against the ex-Muslims.
Now, I don’t want to play with words, for example Islam and Muslims are not the same. Of course that is true, but I refuse to say that my criticism and our fight is against the Islam or Radical Islam. First of all, there is no Radical Islam. There is only Islam. There are Radical Muslims and there are good Muslims.
Do they read different Korans? Koran Lite? PG-13 Koran? Of course not. People who claim that there is not a Radical Islam never come with substantial evidence of that. To me, Islam is an evil ideology as well as a religion. Muslims are the people like you and me. All the people of the world want to have a good life. I believe Islam ideology is evil, but even though 90 percent of Muslims are OK people, 10 percent are violent and we don’t want the violent ones in Netherlands.
It is no secret that I'm not for integration, but assimilation. This assimilation, which is needed, does not mean they give up their spiritual values or the best of their social values or their history. It means only giving up those traditions that are inconsistent with the values of the International Declaration of Human Rights and other UN Declarations such as the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the Conventions on children and the protection of minorities. The key to assimilation is education and learning to love your country.
So I hope that next year other young people come and stay here with American Freedom Alliance to discover for themselves what they can do for their country.
I have learned a lot the last week in Los Angeles. Despite my 12 years in Europe in the Netherlands, I realize that living within the western world differs.
In the Netherlands, everything is tightly organized and more people are raised. Once arrived in Los Angeles I noticed that people are more open in communication and friendly.
The AFA has given me the opportunity to follow a program which I have been able to acquire knowledge on leadership, history and American values.
The leadership class at the UCLA was difficult to follow because of the language, but it was very interesting to listen to other people and to know and have experience of leadership. I have learned that a good leader just be concerned with its employees.
After arriving I have met the people of AFA. They were all friendly and open and gave me much useful information about what their mission and goals are and how they want to reach them. They Also discussed the plans for the establishment of an EFA (European Freedom Alliance).
The museums were a beautiful sight on the history of western society. Remarkable was that the United States, many European art show, but I personally think the American art is more beautiful.
The funniest thing I've experienced so far was the meeting with Nonie Darwish. I found the meeting very interesting because I have learned much of her. She understood me too and had much to say about Islam and her experience as a ex-Muslim.
An eye opener to me was the film "Stoning of Soraya M". This film gave a true picture of the situation in Muslim countries and took place in the country I am born. If you see that Muslims themselves are victims of Islam. I want the whole world see this film so that finally someone stands up for victims and free them from Islam. Also, I hope before I return to Europe to meet the director who has directed the film.
I am now here more than a week and I am convinced that in the remaining weeks will gain as much knowledge and experience sharing. I would also like to inform that I bring applications to the Netherlands and with others so that they remember what's important in life. Hopefully this will result in the creation of the Freedom Alliance.
Mahssa Khoshk Khan
Normally I am living my Dutch dream. Once arrived in Los Angeles, I immediately thought about the American dream. My first impression of Los Angeles was that it is so huge, as big as cars, food, housing and the position of the United States in the world.
I am also here with a purpose, and that is the acquisition of knowledge of why the United States has been so great and how proud the residents of the United States are for their services rendered.
In my view, the United States is the capital of the western world and the great protector of them.
My countryman Ehsan Jami, give me the opportunity to become acquainted with the AFA (American Freedom Alliance) which I think is interesting because of their mission to maintain and defend western standards and values.
Personally I am very interested in history, social issues and development opportunities for the individual and society. Since I am a person who likes challenges, of course I like to be challenged this way. As a teacher and personal coach, I encourage my students as much as possible to share knowledge and experiences where possible, because it enriches you as a person.
The AFA offers this opportunity and my I can say that my first week in LA has been of unforgettable sights, encounters and exchanges of contacts. After the processing of my jet lag on the beaches of Venice and Santa Monica beach, I have enjoyed the beauty of the valley, museums, University and history experienced.
I also look back to rich experience encounters with people like Peter, Avi Davis, Pat, Nonnie Darwish and Ed Keleman. My thanks also to Ruth and Nissa who were so good to drive us from destination to destination.
My stay in Los Angeles gave me the opportunity the see the movie 'The stoning of Soraya M'. The movie has impressed me much and touched me deeply. It looks good on my retina and has printed me up a new challenge. I would like to do more for the Muslim women who live in oppression. I hope that many will follow me in this.
After acquiring so much information this is the question I set myself: what can you do and what do you do with it? When I travel back to Europe and the Netherlands, I am convinced that I go with a baggage of knowledge that I would apply with Ehsan Jami and to support the establishment of a European Freedom Alliance. If one rolls a snowball it can only increase.
Long live the Western standards and values
Where do I start? Over the beautiful mountains or the weather? Or perhaps the delicious food indeed everywhere and that things are so large?
Well no, I will begin to talk about the feeling of freedom that I experience here and the great experience that I have to do and the wonderful things I see and learn.
Also the beach and enjoying the beautiful weather thereafter.
The first day after our arrival we had the opportunity to participate in a course on leadership at UCLA which was very instructive. We were told, for example the difference between a manager and a leader, what qualities both have and so forth. And where it was turned around, in my opinion what good leadership means. and what qualities do you need to ensure that it can be.
A picture will create an example: leadership should not only be for yourself and thinking what is good for you, or your goals. It is much more. You should also consider the others, so also the wishes and expectations of others. Because that way you have an effective group and unit. People must feel that they are a part of the organization or group or whatever it is, then go along on the path to the goal. So it is not about me, but about us.
What have I seen? The Getty Center, as I should like the beautiful view and garden. It was breathtaking: the mountains, architecture, art and views to the city from above.
Not only the Getty Center was beautiful, so was the Huntington library. I cannot think of words to describe how beautiful it was, so relaxing and very very warm. But also the museum I found great. The history was nice, such as the civil war, slavery and Abraham Lincoln, a man after my heart, who will never be forgotten. And on the American Revolution and how America was discovered and its consequences.
I certainly do not want you guys forget the movie night.
For me meeting with Stand with Us was also a great experience. The information was great for my knowledge and I will support and read more about the situation in Isreal. I was very impressed.
I have seen the movie about the stoning of Soraya M. I want so much to tell about it , but I do not know how. I even don’t know how I should describe my feelings, but I will do my best. I was shocked, I was angry and I was sad. Of course the story was not new to me, I had a lot on the subject read and heard. But to see this film, then I really felt it. I have pain and grief of that woman that I felt. I constantly asked myself during the movie: Why? Why do you do that? Where is justice, true equality and true freedom for women?
As a woman than I was so angry. After I was calmer, I responded to my questions. The answer to my questions is, I believe, to be Islam, which knows no mercy, no justification and no forgiveness. Islam in which the woman has no rights which the woman is not with me and is being treated as dirt. But it is not just Islam ... unfortunately it is the backward culture of the people who live in it.
Let us consider the case of the innocent children. They are up to that culture where Islam is part of and flows through their veins and culture. And their brains are so stuffed, and then they don’t want to learn anything else. They will not develop. That culture has them in their grip where they will remain. They do not, they cannot understand; the undeveloped brains will not.
I am sorry so much. I am sorry so much for those women who unfortunately are subjected to lead. They are powerless. If they open their mouths, they can cost lives.
But what can we do?
We women who are free, must get up. We can talk, cry out, fight for women, fight for freedom.
It is very simple ... To begin, we must first do a thing.
We have to open our eyes.
I would also like to say a few words what I experienced in my life. Backward men are not only found in the Middle East. Unfortunately they are everywhere. Perhaps to a much lesser extent, but they are there. Even in the Netherlands and unfortunately again even a man in my life. It is about my ex.
He was a Muslim and I an ex-Muslim and a Christian. But I was only 17 years. A shy and quiet girl. In the beginning, I obviously did not see his true nature. But I say one thing it is: they are really animals. And he is a beast without feelings. They are egoist and manipulators. He manipulated me.
I gradually lost my confidence. He gave me the feeling that I as a woman was being weak. I could have no opinion. I suggested nothing. And the worst part is that I believed every word he said. I thought I was nothing without him. I had no opinion. what of course is nonsense. Everyone has their own opinion.
I was also afraid of him. A time came that I opened my eyes and I realized that everything was not what he made, made me wise. I had an opinion and a person who so much wanted to be what I wanted to be. But still I was scared. Years of being afraid that he wanted to murder me if I would leave him. I hated him. That hatred was the day. After years of hatred and fear, I had enough. Enough is enough.
I could not close my mouth. I could not accept that I was treated like dirt. I am a free woman, I would say what I want, I want freedom, I want to be free and develop myself and the solution lay in my own hands. I got up and came to myself and was freed from him and his backward culture. But not without consequences.
Only after I was beaten and raped. It is very difficult for me to say this now, but I do it for all those women who every day have the same experience and also want to be freed. During the act, I screamed for help, but there was nobody. I cried for mercy, what mercy? These people have no mercy. He knows no mercy. I begged him, said I had a lot of pain, but it was as if he did not hear me. He said this is a Islamic law: as a man leaves his wife, the man has the right to rape the woman. I was not even his wife. We were not even married and it still had to apply for me. They make their own rules when it suits them. Rules that they make their poor hearts.
I cried to God. I said God stay with me. I am your child. I thought briefly that he did not hear me, because I was given time not screaming and I closed my eyes. Because I thought I would die. In my silence I have always hoped to live ... I wanted so much to do…I still wanted to see my parents ... I did not want to die. But I felt very close to death. I was unconscious after that and I saw I was not dead.
When I looked again, he acted as if he did nothing wrong. I was so scared. I was even afraid to go to police. I did not leave the house for a while. Because he would murder me or a knife stabbing my face so I that didn’t look in a mirror again and I could see so many other threats. My parents went to the police, but because I am adult, I had to do it myself. But that fear was too great for this step.
Just to make the story short, it has cost me a while until I could find myself again and lose that the fear I felt, so I could walk on the street again and not fear life just as if you're not alive. And I wanted no more. I also wanted to feel no longer fear in my life. because he is the one who must live with fear.
I live now with no fear. I am a courageous woman who developed a lot of things to achieve. I fought for my freedom that was denied of me. And that freedom will never be taken away from me by someone.
After I had my freedom again, it was as if I only lived now. I enjoyed everything from birds, trees and air. I breathed again.
My message to all women under the disgusting power that men have about them, and women who lead is: never accept the backward culture of Islam.
I thank God every day for my freedom. I also thank my parents who have brought me freedom to the Netherlands. I am now 24 years old and I had lived till my twelfth in Iran. I am so grateful for the Netherlands opportunities that I received, that gave me the opportunity to develop myself as a free individual.
I live with people who are not yet in the freedom of life has for them, people who fight for their freedom and even die. For people in Iran, I live with my whole heart into the hope that they will be free one day. I hope they quickly freed from the tyranny and oppression.
My long journey was all worth it. And I will go back with a great deal of knowledge.
Maryam Khoshk Khan