Guest: Hedieh Mirahmadi
As a practicing Muslim for over 20 years, Hedieh Mirahmadi's entire professional career in the U.S. government and the private sector was built around her Muslim faith and defeating Islamic terrorism. Hedieh maintained a rigorous prayer schedule, kept the strict Islamic dress code, and fasted regularly. But no matter what Hedieh did, she never felt her sins were forgiven or that she would go to heaven – until she accepted Christ.
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And I take the head cover off and it was like the religion on.
I think I read about this. This is where didn't you speak? You you spoke somewhere.
Mean you didn't have your hijab.
And if I remember right, an imam or someone made it clear to you.
Repeatedly everywhere I went that I was going to hang from my hair for an eternity in hellfire for taking my head cover off. So I was a devout worshiper. I prayed five times a day, fasted every year, and then they told me I was going to hang from my hair for an eternity in hellfire. And I said, You know what? That can't be God. What kind of God would you. And I just decided I was leaving. I hadn't met Jesus yet, but I was leaving Islam.
You can get the outlines of this podcast by going to Jack Hibbs dot com slash podcast. Today, if this podcast lifts you up and encourages you to live a more fulfilled life in Christ, then make sure you leave us one of those five star ratings to us. That's like saying Amen or yes. Then that rating will encourage others to listen. Now open your hearts to what God's Word has to say to you. Here is Jack Hibbs.
Hey, we want to welcome you to this very special podcast, one that by design, we have almost no plan. And what I mean by that is we have no time set to this. I know that it would be great to be 20 minutes. A lot of people just want to get a 20 minute bite and move on. But my guest today is certain to not only blow your mind, but blow your heart based upon what God has done in her life is absolutely remarkable. And I have with me here in Studio Hedieh Mirahamadi and she is the founder of Resurrect Ministry, and that's what she does now. But I want to talk to you about how you got started. Tell people your journey. Where did you begin? What was your belief system? What was your what? I like to say faith struggle.
So should I start all the way back as a child? There's a small.
Child anywhere you want. Okay.
Well, I. My parents came from Iran in the sixties. So before I was born, I was born in the United States. And they came to live the American dream before the revolution, before the clerical revolution in Iran. They came for my dad to finish medical school. So and the reason I tell that part of the story is because they came with a hope and a dream to be Americans. And they raised us very patriotic. So they loved this country. They were very happy to be here. And they raised us to be Americans, to learn to fit in, to speak English at the dinner table. They really wanted to be Americans. And and part of that process, we lost our Persian culture, so to speak. We for sure did not practice religion at all. And so as I was growing up, I thought I was an American kid. Fast forward to the Iranian hostage crisis.
I remember. I'm old enough to remember. You're not.
I am. Yes. No, I remember it like it was yesterday because it was when the school approached me and said, well, getting an influx, I was in Beverly Hills. And so they said, we're getting an influx of Persian kids. We want you to come and help them to assimilate and learn the school. And I looked at the principal and I said, Why me? And she said, Are you kidding me? Like, and I literally did not understand that I was that that I was a Persian American and I would be the one that would help these Persian kids, because until that point, I had no identification as a Persian. So that experience actually got a lot of bullying. I was kids were constantly harassing me, telling me that I was a killer and a hostage taker. So suddenly I went from being this normal American kid to being associated with this revolution.
So they, the kids, automatically associated you with radical Islam, right?
Suddenly. Not the day before. No. But suddenly a.
Switch was thrown.
Exactly. Exactly. And so it it kind of stuck with me in my life because I suddenly became confronted with who I was. And then as I continued in high school, went to college, I decided that in the beginning of college life, I wanted to marry my high school sweetheart, who was a Jewish boy.
And he went, this was so.
So amazing because everybody in Beverly Hills was Jewish. We were literally like the only I hadn't met a Christian person until I went to college. So we went to his parents and told them first before we told my parents. And his mother was like, over my dead body. Yeah. And he said, what? And we were both shocked, like, what do you mean, why? And he says, She's a muslim, you can't marry a muslim. And I was like, Wait, I'm not a muslim, I'm just Persian. But I can become a Jewish person. I could become Jewish. And she's like, No, absolutely not. And you were what age? And I was 19.
And you. Wow. So you're hearing this at the age of 19.
Yes. And so I decided, wow, I was devastated. And I went to my parents and I said, you're not going to believe what happened. And my dad said, listen, you're a table. You've got legs. People eat. That's that's the utility of a table. You want to pretend to be a chair, that's up to you. But you're better off trying to figure out what it means to be a table was his way of telling me, you should figure out what it means to be a Persian Muslim. And that set me on my journey to discover Islam. And I went through college, took a bunch of classes, attended a mosque and decided, okay, I'm going to be a muslim now. And in that experience, going to become a muslim. I went to a mosque that a guy I was dating had attended. And he and and they invited me to be on their board for this new organization they were starting.
And this is in LA.
This is in LA, southern California. Vermont. Downtown LA, to be particular. And it was I was horrified. I was suddenly horrified by what Islam meant, because the way they described it was, you know, we need to make America a muslim nation. We need to convert everybody to Islam. We need to have lots of children so that by population, by demographic, we'll take over. And I thought to myself, what in the world if this is religion, I want nothing to do with it. And my dad, I would go home and talk to my parents and they're like, What? What are they telling you over there? And I said, I don't know. It just doesn't make any sense to me whatsoever.
So I'm sorry to interrupt, but your mom and dad were not practicing.
All and your dad was a medical doctor in LA.
And and just living the freedom that this country affords.
And you now are at a age where you're getting all of these revelations.
And I'm confused and I feel like I don't fit in and I don't belong. And actually, my father was what was known as a Republican bundler. So he was a fundraiser for the Republican Party. So we were going to fundraising events since I was a little kid. I interned for Governor Wilson before when he was senator, yeah. I interned for then President Bush. And so I was involved in politics and Republican politics since I was very, very little. It was a very big deal to my father.
Okay. I don't want to get you too far off this course, but now you're making me think. Because if I remember right and I do remember right. So you're talking about coming from a conservative background. Yes. Out of the Southern California Beverly Hills area. You worked for Pete Wilson and George Bush. How is it then that on the Internet I can find pictures of you with. President Barack Obama in the Oval Office.
Well, because I worked for five presidents. I was a federal contractor. So it did not matter what administration it was. I had federal contracts with the Defense Department, with Homeland Security, with Department of Justice, regardless of administration.
Yeah. So and actually even President Obama, they knew my politics even when I was sitting there. And so it was actually quite a testament to the background that I had in the subject matter that they would have invited me and included me. Yeah. Wow. So, yes. So where was I at college.
So I go to this mosque, which I would describe as a pretty radical and extremist mosque. And then I was disillusioned with Islam. I said, if this is religion, I want nothing to do with it. I was looking for a relationship with God and this has nothing to do with God. And lo and behold, I come across some individuals that hear me talking to other people about this, and they say to me, You know what? You have to meet the Sufis. And the Sufis were a spiritual sect. And so they said, You're going to like it so much better than this. This is just not your cup of tea. One thing led to another. I met the Sufi community. I got very involved and they were the beginning of the struggle for the soul of Islam. So basically everywhere in the Middle East, where radical Islam was encountering normative cultural Islam, the Sufis were at the forefront so long before the extremists started killing Westerners, they were killing Sufis. So whether this is North Africa, India, Pakistan, everywhere that the extremists gained a foothold through the Muslim Brotherhood and other groups, they killed the Sufis first. Wow. And so I was fascinated by this topic. You want to ask me?
Yes, you're very good. You could tell. I was like jumping anytime. Jasser. What's his.
Zuhdi Jasser, your friend?
Where where would he where would I place him? Would he be. Where would I place him?
Yes, we were colleagues on many projects. So when they were looking for five decent Muslims anywhere in DC, it was me. Zuhdi ZAYNAB We were a very small clique and he runs an NGO and Zainab Zweig, one's American Islamic Congress. Her and I were colleagues as well, so whenever they were looking for the moderate Muslims, that was us. But he's not a Sufi, so he was not on the same secular group. He's just kind of a, I think, a culturally Muslim person that doesn't adhere to any particular division or group.
So now you're moving along.
And and I was fascinated by the struggle. I was because I was I was raised very patriotic. And then I hear that this extremism has come to the American soil mid nineties. This is when bin Laden starts recruiting for Afghanistan and Bosnia in the United States. I'm going to Northern California and checking out what they're doing in terms of recruitment there. And I meet two FBI agents that are like, who are you? And I was like, I don't know, who are you? And they're like, What are you doing here? And I said, What are you doing here? And it was like it was this very sweet encounter where they were like, Listen, if you're doing what we think you're doing, can you help us? Because we don't understand what's going on. And it was my sense of patriotism, plus my concern for mainstream Muslims that they were going to get dragged into this mess that the extremists were doing. And I wanted to protect the community. And so that that literally started my career with the bureau and with the US Government. And then eventually I ended up moving to DC to get more involved in, in the federal space and in basically fighting Islamic extremism and led to a 22 year career as a federal contractor. So I served in our embassy in Afghanistan. I was an appointee for W for President Bush jr and worked for the justice department. For the state department. I traveled all over the middle east during after 911 when president bush jr had a bunch of projects to try to explain america to the Muslim world. Right. I attended a lot of those and my last stint was at FBI headquarters building a terrorism prevention program.
So when when you finally, though, arrived, or the photos that you see of you with Obama and others in the Oval Office, what was your capacity at that time? What were you there as a consultant to him, to the administration? Yes or yes.
So I had built the first evidence based terrorism prevention program in the United States. And so President Obama is building what's called the countering violent extremism agenda. And my project was almost entirely funded by the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice. So I was brought in as basically a subject matter expert based on the work that I had already done that the federal government had funded.
That's fascinating. Yes. Moving ahead.
So I'm at I'm at the FBI and this is the pinnacle of my career. I mean, I have arrived at this point. I have a top secret security clearance. I have my own office. It's just amazing. And so I said to myself, I just want to take my head cover off. I was fully covered for all of my career. I said, You know what? I'm tired of this. I'm older, what do I need it for? And I take the head cover off and it was like the religion unraveled.
I think I read about this. This is where didn't you speak? You you spoke somewhere.
And you mean if.
You didn't have your hijab on?
And if I remember right, an imam or someone made it clear to you.
Repeatedly everywhere I went that I was going to hang from my hair for an eternity in hellfire for taking my head cover off. So I was just about worship or prayed five times a day, fasted every year, kept a ritual purity of a washing that I had to do every time that I use the restroom. And then they told me I was going to hang for my hair for an eternity in hellfire. And I said, You know what? That can't be God. What kind of God would you and I just decided I was leaving. I hadn't met Jesus yet, but I was leaving Islam and it was and my friends were like, Where are you going? And I said, I don't know, but I'm going anywhere but here. And so I left my entire social network and I left not only my professional career that I had spent decades building, but I said that I would just wanted to leave DC and I wanted to come back to California, be close to my parents. And my parents were getting older and my father would call me every single week. Lo and behold, I find out now I know why, but begging me to come home.
So I found out just recently. My father recently passed from cancer, but apparently he knew for a while that he was sick. And so he begged me to come home. So I said, okay, I'm going to go home. And I still haven't met Jesus, but I knew I was leaving Islam. And so I tell people it was like God extracted me out of that religion and then burnt, burnt every bridge. Behind me, like literally set it on fire so that by the time I arrived in Southern California, I had no social network, no friends, nothing. And it was a time where I just I had no relationship with God. And then as soon as difficulty hit, I didn't know where to go because I'd been a worshiper for so long, having no connection to what I knew of to be God was devastating for me. And I followed this tweet of a girl that I didn't even know who posted a video of her pastor. So the first pastor I met was this pastor that she had posted a YouTube video of. And I had mentioned this to you before. It was Pastor FERTIG. And it and I was hooked. I was like mesmerized.
I was just why tell me why? Why did that grab you?
It's it was the story of redemption that no matter who you were, no matter what you had done, Jesus will save you. And remember, in Islam, you have no promise of salvation. You have no guarantee. Not only no guarantee, but I spent 22 years of my life in that religion, and then they told me I was going to burn in hellfire.
They knew that for sure, but they couldn't tell you that you were.
Safe for sure. And even as I was, I would ask clerics all the time, I was one of those like bratty kids that would ask the obnoxious questions, and I'd be like, So you can't guarantee me that I'm going to have it. Like no matter what I've done, like all these good things I've done, they're like, No, dear, we can't. And I was like like, yikes. And my confidence should be confident. I'm going. And nobody ever answered that question. So listening to the pastor say, believe him, he loves you, he will save you was I had never heard such a glorious thing. I had never I knew nothing of Christianity. I spent 22 plus years in DC in inter-faith activities of one sort or another and nobody ever witnessed. To me, I can't tell you how many churches I sat in that nobody ever told me that Jesus Christ could be your Lord and Savior. This is all you have to do is believe unto Him. Nobody ever said that to me.
That is tragic, isn't it? Yes.
Yes. And so I tell Christians all the time, please share the gospel. You don't understand how many people may be sitting next to you that that would spark a fire in them or seed a plant? A seed. You know.
I love it because as Western Christians, they fail at that mission. Because of I don't know what it is, breaking the ice, not knowing how to strike up the conversation. But I would argue that it's easier for the Christian to engage in a dialog about God with a muslim.
Than an atheist. Absolutely right. Because at least with Islam, there is a theology versus an atheist who has his her arguments of whatever it is. But to witness to the Muslim. Would you agree? I think I'm hearing this from you. Is that inside of the Muslim is a very predominantly soul. I'm sure there's pluses and minuses to this, but a soul, it's disciplined. It's wanting to do the right thing. We want to we want to experience God's favor. We want to hear our prayers answered. But then to be missing the truth. And God was leading you all along to the truth.
Absolutely. So once I so I. And you're absolutely correct, because Muslims for we're talking about mainstream Muslims, they have a yearning to be a worshiper. They love God. They just don't know who God is. Wow. So people tell me, oh, you're just flipping teams. And I was like, No, I've always loved God. I just didn't know who he was. He just finally revealed himself to me. So I tell people, when you're talking to Muslims, to Christians, share your faith, ask them about theirs, and then you turn around and say, Well, this is what my God is.
You're talking about a personal testimony. Yes, extremely powerful. We don't do that enough.
Yes. It's just culture. Right. And people are afraid of intimidating. And I said, well, you don't have to use apologetics. You don't have to tell them how Muhammad is a pedophile. You just have to talk about what Jesus has done for you.
Exactly. Exactly. True.
And so that's basically what I've done with my ministry, too. So so back to the pastor. So I was just I was literally mesmerized. I was binge watching him to the point where my daughter would walk in and be like, what are you what? Who is this man that's on the TV screen constantly? And so then I started to pray the way that the pastor was describing to pray. And in one of those prayers, I just sincerely just begged God to reveal himself. I said, I'm confused. I don't know who you are anymore. Will you please just reveal yourself to me? Tell me who you are. And it was at that prayer that I audibly heard the voice of Christ say, How do you know it's me?
I know we have limited time. I'm going to be quiet right now, and I want you to bring us up to speed on who you are today. What is God doing with you today? Why should anyone be following you? Make the case for the great things that God has done in your life to Him.
Be all the glory, because I definitely could not have done any of it on my own. He asked me early on. I heard him prayer repeatedly, even though I fought it to start a ministry, to start an online ministry, to give women and men anybody the opportunity to meet Christ where they are. So that's my tagline is He will meet you where you are, because whether you're a princess walled up in a palace in Dubai or a housewife in Encino, whether you're a muslim or you're a Christian that just doesn't attend church. Jesus wants to have a personal relationship with you, and I try to create a platform where people could do that. So I provide Bible resources, sermons, of course, like your own. I blog and it's the content from my Christian Post articles. And then I have a web portal where I answer questions directly and I tell people I answer those emails myself, and if they want to arrange a phone call or a consultation and I've had Muslims reach out to me, I've had Christians who had family members that were about to convert, reach out to me and basically say, what can we do to intervene and to speak and to witness to our kids before they go off and try to convert to Islam? And so that is resurrect ministry.
Resurrect ministry, become singular.
Yes, singular. And I also do a podcast with my husband and we do a daily devotional from Smith Wigglesworth and that's called the Living Fearless Devotional.
Thank you for resurrecting Smith Wigglesworth. Very few people on the planet even know. Really remember, of course.
Oh, goodness. I love.
It. Yeah. Good for.
You. Yes. And so Andy and Andy Falco is that's his name. We do the podcast together. And so I still use my maiden name, of course. So when people ask like, you know, why do you guys have different last name? It's because I've just built my professional career on my maiden name. But yes. So we're on the Edify Christian Podcast Network, as well as Apple and all the others. But Edify is actually a new podcasting network that comes from the Christian Post. So I'm an exclusive columnist of The Post.
I was just going to say, yes, some of the articles and I've read not all of them, but I've read many of them and some of them I've read, posted, I need to do more excellent work. And I think maybe I'm guessing I think maybe some of your articles have have caused some shaking.
I would like to think so. I mean, I know that they they love them. So the head of it is Dr. Robert LAMB. And they don't shy away from controversy. They've told me, say what you want, say it how it is as bold and as courageous as you want to be. And I tell people, the only memory I have of Dr. Robert LAMB personally is I was at the President Bush Jr's roundtable 25 years ago, religious roundtable. And Dr. LAMB never participated in interfaith activities. And so one day I went up to him being this obnoxious, you know, under 30 year old. And I said, Dr. Leon, how come you never come to our interfaith activities? And he looked at me and said. Young lady, there's only one God. And that's the Lord Jesus Christ. Walked away.
Mike, drop. I just forever. Those words are etched in my mind. If I could ever say somebody witnessed to me that was it. That one sentence for Dr. Lennon. He's now my boss at the Christian Post.
That's something, isn't it? Only God.
Only God, only God. And then I do a TV show called Remnant Rising about the end times and interviews with Muslims and Jews that have come to Christ and basically about prepping and all these other fun stuff that has to deal with end time prophecy and eschatology, all of the knowledge of which I learned from you.
Amazing. So what kind of stories, what kind of reports, what kind of responses are you getting from the people who have found you?
It is so I don't read anything. I don't read it. I try not to read a lot of the negative comments.
Because that's a good practice.
It's you know, my husband told me and I learned it also from clients that I used to work for the Trump PAC. And so we were schooled on how not to pay attention to the negativity. And it was it was a very good lesson. But the positive things and the and the constructive criticism, if there is a if if I could put it that way, is people appreciate the boldness because usually they don't hear that Muslims are willing to talk out boldly. They usually hide their faith. And so I think that's kind of interesting for people that I'm able to come out quite publicly. And I tell people that the Lord told her, told me early on, battle tested, combat ready daughter. And it's just it's the way I was raised. I mean, I lived and worked in war zones. I traveled 37 countries for the US government. I've been to places where I almost got frostbite, I've been shot at, I've had to escape a border in the middle of a civil war. So this battlefield now as a soldier of Christ, is the best yet ever. And I'm actually now finally doing something that I believe is going to be worthwhile in a way that's eternal and bringing souls to Christ.
So I want to ask you something personal. You can choose not to open book. Was it for for your Muslim family? Was it hard for them to?
It was very hard. So my my daughter's side from her father's side, virtually none of them speak to us. I lost all my friends. My parents stayed with me, thank God. But my a lot of my extended family wants nothing to do with this. And so the but but the best part is, is because they say they're afraid of my influence.
Accomplishments? Such a common.
That's salt and.
Light. It is. It is. They're just like, you know, before we know what she's going to make them Christians. And I was like, hallelujah. Yes, I pray for that every day. Absolutely. So.
And isn't that something for both you and I, people born in a different culture, different background and all of that and other or I should say, apart from the name of Jesus, our paths never would have crossed. It's one name. That Jesus from the Bible that has brought us together, that is that is working in our lives. And it's that name where countries are either open to his name or they're close to his name. I find it fascinating that that. Jesus is such a threat to some socialistic or atheistic or some sort of despotic nations. They are so terrified of someone that they say never existed. Right. But you can't have his book and you can't mention his name. Exactly. It's actually remarkable. But that just speaks to the transformation. So one of these cameras around here, I'd love for you to look at and I want you to convince. Or at least. Give the Holy Spirit ammo to speak into someone's heart. Maybe it's. Maybe it's anyone. Everyone. Maybe it's women who are considering Islam or some that are bound. Tell them. To reconsider, right?
And please tell them where to go if they want to know more.
Okay. Wow. Dear Lord, I hope I can convey the simplicity of your message that if you open your heart and believe that God sent His only son to die for us so that our sins can be forgiven, so that we could have eternal life. It is the free gift of salvation. And it is so, so precious. I lived a life. Struggling, striving, begging, pleading God for salvation, for that promise of eternity. And I never knew that Jesus Christ gives it to you freely. All you have to do is believe and love him and open your heart to him. And I invite you to take that opportunity, that free gift that you do not earn or deserve, and take it from him and allow him to live inside of you, to have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and to be able to use that power to transform your life and the life of those around you. I never thought it was possible and people around me kept telling me that it's not true. And then I experienced. The redemptive power of Christ in my life has never been the same. So it's not that you don't have difficulty or trials, but the trials don't overtake you because Jesus is always with you. He doesn't promise he won't give you trials, but he promises to walk you through them. And so I invite you to have that experience with the Lord Jesus Christ, where you are, wherever you are, and He will meet you where you.
Are and they should go to.
Resurrect ministry dot com and please feel free to drop me a message. Ask me a question. I'm happy to answer it directly. Thank you.
Great job. Thank you, Pastor. It's such an honor. Well.
God bless you. Until next time, take care of.
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