An ex-Muslim turned Christian pastor was arrested at the Mall of America in August for holding a private conversation about his faith with two consenting passersby, and now faces a formal trial if the charges against him aren’t dropped.
Ramin Parsa, a Muslim from Iran who fled his home country after converting to Christianity, related his story to PJ Media, but was ignored by most major news outlets in Minnesota. Parsa currently resides in Los Angeles, but visited Minnesota for a trip in August and was invited by one of his hosts to see “the biggest mall in North America.”
“We went to the mall, randomly ran into some Somalis, we had a random conversation. They asked me where I’m from,” he told PJ Media. “I told them, and the conversation led to whether I was Muslim or not. I replied, ‘I used to be but I’m a Christian now.’”
During the encounter, “another woman who was not part of the conversation went and complained to the security,” he said, and was accused of soliciting by the guards. He dropped the conversation, and went to a coffee shop with his hosts, but was again approached by security who arrested him on the spot.
“When we came out of the coffee shop, three guards were waiting for us, and they arrested me right there,” he said. “They came after me and arrested me, and said, ‘You cannot talk religion here.’”
Parsa was then handcuffed to a chair in the basement of the Mall of America where he waited for four hours before police arrived and was charged with criminal trespassing. But the two Somali-American women whom Parsa was speaking with continued to defend him, and objected to the onlooker who reported him.
As a result of the incident, Parsa now faces a pre-trial hearing scheduled for December 11 and will then head to a formal trial if prosecutors refuse to drop the charges. He currently serves as a pastor for Redemptive Love Ministries in Los Angeles and has become an outspoken critic of his former faith.
Born and raised in Iran, Parsa claims he “was stabbed” after converting to Christianity, and eventually fled Iran as a “religious refugee.”
“With tears in my eyes, I was so thankful to be in America, where I can express myself, nobody can stop me or oppress me for my faith…and then this happened to me,” he told PJ Media, saying he’s “gone through this before,” but only “in Muslim countries.”
“I didn’t expect this would happen in America. As a citizen in America, I have rights. They denied my basic rights,” he said, noting that “it seems like the only people who can be bullied are the Christians.”
“In Muslim countries, they kill the gays. They throw them off the buildings. I saw with my own eyes people being executed,” he added, but “Christians are being persecuted and bullied, and nobody says anything to defend them.”
Parsa has retained legal aid to fight the charges, and has launched a fundraiser to help offset his legal fees.
“I was arrested in the liberal state of Minnesota just because I shared my conversion story with Somali Muslims at their request in a personal conversation,” Parsa recently wrote on Facebook on Election Day. “We can actually do something about it. It’s Election Day, liberal politicians are controlled by Islamists because they need their votes to say in power. Let’s vote tomorrow, let’s tell them that America deserves better.”
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