On The Run from Police, Iranian Christian Survives Church Attack
Reza, an Iranian Christian man in his late-40s, fled to Pakistan and thought he was relatively safe from the Iranian intelligence service. On March 17, however, he had a frightening brush with death during the deadly grenade attack against the Protestant International Church in Islamabad.
Reza is not willing to give his full name. Iranian intelligence agents are active in Pakistan, and Reza is constantly on the run from the Pakistani police. He is a refugee with no passport.
At the time of the grenade attack, Reza sat near the exit. He had a good view of what happened.
"A bit before 11 a.m., a man in black clothes came in. He had four to six grenades in his belt. First he throws one, and then two, three, four grenades," Reza says.
"My friend sitting next to me shouted, 'Run out, fast! Run out!' After five minutes I returned to the church, and I saw arms and legs spread out, and I also saw a head with no body."
Reza was traumatized, and he was not able to stay in the church for more than 10 to 15 minutes.
"I cannot stand the sight of blood," he says quietly.
Reza did not want to tell his story to Pakistani police, but he visited the American embassy to talk to investigators there.
"I hope the Americans can catch those responsible for this attack," he says.
Eight years ago, Reza was a Muslim, but he became a Christian through the Catholic church in his Iranian hometown. After he became a Christian, his family turned against him, and his wife wanted to leave him. Although they are still married, his wife remains in Iran together with three Muslim children. One son is also Christian, and he lives in Sweden. "I love my wife and my children, and I don't want a divorce," Reza says.
"I had a job as an engineer, but after I became a Christian, ...