• Paul McKie

School a Literal lifesaver for atheist on the run - Ilham from Afghanistan

Update May 2021 - Ilham was forced to leave his job and move to Turkey where he enrolled in studies. But just recently he was overheard chatting about middle eastern politics when other students confronted Ilham and ganged up on him.

Ilham was slightly injured, but was able to escape back to his dorm room. The next day, he and his friends moved from the small university city to Istanbul with the help of IAA. Currently he is in a dorm with five others. It’s a place to rest his head but still he doesn’t feel safe.

“It’s like being in hotel with prostitutes and drug dealers,” said Ilham. “But at least I don’t have people behind my door with knives.”

His short-term goal is to enroll in a university in Istanbul to study social work or psychology which is taught in English. His long-term goal is to live in a free country where he can express himself without fear and to help others who are seeking to leave Islam.

“I want to move to 3rd country as soon as possible,” said Ilham.

Ilham needs your support to help with PTSD issues from his traumatic childhood as well as eventually moving to a safe country that accepts his atheism.

March 2021 - For many of us higher education is a choice to better ourselves. For Ilham it is a matter of life and death. Ilham, a young Afghan, is registered as a student at a university in a small city in Turkey. If he doesn’t continue his studies he loses his residency permit and will be deported to Afghanistan.

“That means death sentence,” explained Ilham in a recent conversation with IAA. “I would need to pay them and study or they will cancel my residence permit.”

Tuition for Ilham (an alias to protect his identity) is not just necessary for him to continue his studies but necessary to stay alive and away from people who wish to harm him because he is an atheist.

“I am an atheist activist type of person,” he said.

As a young boy in Afghanistan Ilham came to question his beliefs. An abusive father started beating him from the age of 4. He didn't understand why Allah would allow this type of abuse.

Always a bright child, Ilham speaks Pashto (spoken in Afghanistan), Dari (sometimes called Afghan Persian) and English. His linguistic abilities got the attention of the U.S. government, which hired Ilham as a Linguist/Analyst for their operations in Afghanistan.

This came crashing down late last year when Ilham admitted his atheist beliefs to his father. This resulted in a horrible physical interaction with is father that left Ilham badly injured. And then the Taliban found out about Ilham’s work for the U.S.

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