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From a god of hate to the God of love

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An Afghan soldier’s path of discovery

“Christians are infidels, and so they must die.” That’s what Farhad used to think. For him, it was normal; he was son of a mujahideen who was a general in the Afghan army, and he was educated in Quranic schools imposed by the Taliban.

“They told us it was written in the Quran,” Farhad said. The mullah taught that “If you attended stonings, God reduced your sins.” Hundreds of children went every week to the stadium to witness the executions: decapitations, amputations of hands, stonings, whippings. “It was the only world we knew.”

Farhad arrived in Italy in 2004. He said, “All of my transformation was due to meeting with people who are different” and “small human gestures.” He began a path of reflecting on his own life, and read the Quran in his own language for the first time. He discovered that “God is love.”

Farhad decided to leave his military career and bear witness to the transformation of his life. As a result, he lost many of his friends, and a fatwa was issued condemning him to death. Yet he keeps on going. “The suffering in my past has become the strength of my present,” he said. “I’m not afraid, because I’ve chosen freedom.”

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