Many Afghan refugees move to Iran in the hope of a better life. However, they cannot obtain Iranian citizenship or permanent residency, and a lack of basic rights prevents them from having a reliable job or pursuing further education. As a result, many of them find it hard to live a fulfilling life in Iran, facing racism in their everyday lives.
AN AFGHANI SCHOOLGIRL LOOKS BACK
“It is important to make people stop and think,” says Moe Pooladfar, Producer of the SAT-7 women’s show, Insiders. “If we are not careful, we can be prejudiced, perhaps not in our actions but in our thoughts.” He hopes to do just that by bringing Maryam, an Afghani woman raised in Iran, to share her experience on the live program.
Maryam moved to Iran when she was very young because of conflict in Afghanistan. Life in Iran could offer her family all the things that war abruptly and viciously takes away; shelter, food, and safety.
“What bothered me when we got to Iran, was the extreme discrimination at school and in the streets,” she says. In her interview on the Insiders program, she explains how the headmistress of the school ridiculed her in front of the class and forbade her to enter both the local and National Science Contest because of her nationality, despite her excellent grades.
“I was a teenager, and it was one of the worst times you could break someone. It is one of the experiences that is still in my mind; whatever I do, it is still with me. I can’t get rid of it.”
See Maryam’s interview below:
Maryam’s story is not an isolated incident. Discrimination lurks in the most unlikely of places. It manifests itself in many different manners, ranging from race to gender and class. It affects people from all walks of life and sadly finds its way from one generation to the next.
“This is a topic rarely mentioned on Christian TV. It is important to show people the problem. By bringing someone that can share the damage that our actions can cause to nations or individuals, it can be a starting point to bring healing,” says Moe.
“I feel like the burden falls greater on us as Christians. It’s good to ask ourselves: even after accepting Jesus, do I still look down on people?”
We are all equal in the body of Christ, and it is vital to expose stereotypes and prejudices that poison humanity. We must take a stand as Christians against racism and discrimination. Now more than ever is a time to act, showing compassion and kindness.
THE AUDIENCE RESPONDS
The audience responded with thoughtful and encouraging messages to thank the program for shedding light on this issue, and the presenters for sharing their thoughts. One person commented on Facebook:
“Dear Maryam, I am deeply sorry to you and your nation. May God bless your country abundantly and may He bring healing to your wounds and those of your nation.”
“I was greatly affected while watching this episode. May God forgive us for our hidden thoughts towards our Afghan brothers and sisters. Praise Jesus who has made us all one family in Him.”