About Daniel Shayesteh

Dr Daniel was born into a Muslim family in Northern Iran. He became a radical Muslim leader and teacher of Islam in the militant Free Islamic Revolutionary Movement, closely supporting Ayatollah Khomeini. However, after falling out of favor with Khomeini’s political group, he escaped to Turkey where there began an amazing journey to faith in Jesus Christ.

Daniel's mission is to help others understand and lovingly respond to those who do not know Christ. He is also deeply concerned for the future of Western societies, their loss of confidence in Judeo-Christian values, and their persistent naivete about the implications of the world-wide Islamic revival.

The Reason for Christmas

The Gospel states that the very reason for the birth and revelation of Christ is that He appeared to destroy the devil’s work (1John 3:8b), establish justice in the hearts of people (Matt.12:20-21) and enlighten the world with peace (Col.1:20). The revelation of Christ was not to breach the free choice of people, as many beliefs in the world do in various ways, but to free them from breaching each other’s rights, release them from a sense of superiority or inferiority and comfort them with joy, equality and peace:

And the angel said to them [shepherds], Do not fear. For behold, I give to you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For to you is born today, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this is a sign to you. You will find the babe wrapped, lying in a manger.  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,  Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men (Luke 2:10-14).

Many Christians, therefore, celebrate Christmas for Jesus Christ’s coming to release humanity from sin, hatred, hostility and establish peace and unity among them. In His entire mission on earth, Jesus did not teach hatred or war, but instead asked His followers to love and bless even their enemies, because nothing can change the heart of an enemy except for God’s Love. Who, other than Jesus, could change the heart of a fundamental Muslim like me, whose overriding focus was to spread the intolerance and hostility of Islam? For this reason, Jesus is called the ‘Prince of Peace’ and ‘worthy of praise’ in the Bible. And for this reason, an astonishing enthusiasm and reception is growing among Muslims and other non-Christians for the Gospel message of Christmas, even in the midst of relatives and friends who have sought to take the Name of Christ out of the Christmas season in the West. How wonderful and amazing is the love of Jesus, who approaches even His enemies with absolute and unconditional love!

Opponents of Christ, who have been doing their utmost to oppose His Birthday celebration, have not always succeeded in their attempts. They have not only been torturing our hearts but their own hearts also, as many of their own children and followers  discovered the true message of Christ’s birth - nothing but peace and joy, and withdrew from their false accusations and joined Jesus. There are many Iranian Muslims in Iran who love to celebrate Christmas and even have Christmas trees in their homes, a practice that entered the culture from the time of the ousted Shah of Iran who was very open to western cultural traditions. People have been forbidden to celebrate Christmas since the Islamic Republic of Iran considers it a crime. Despite this hostility, thousands of Iranians have been giving their hearts to Christ each year and celebrating His presence. We have heard many of them say, “Every day is a Christmas day for us. Some of us have become homeless for the sake of Christ and do not have a home for a Christmas tree and to celebrate Jesus’ birth openly. But every tree we see daily speaks of the glory of Christ and is a Christmas tree for us. Our Christmas gift to our children is the Cross we carry in our hearts for Christ and for our fellow citizens.”

What a powerful testimony of Christmas from the land of cruel beliefs and leaders! This will touch the heart of Christ and the hearts of His heavenly hosts so deeply. This loving sacrifice and enduring testimony will bring the tower of cruelty down in their lands. It is just a matter of time. They will see it because they are patient and have given all judgment to the Son of God. Their proclamation is the proclamation of the Bible that says:

For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be on His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. There is no end of the increase of His government and peace on the throne of David, and on His kingdom, to order it and to establish it with judgment and with justice from now on, even forever. The zeal of Jehovah of Hosts will do this (Isaiah 9: 6-7).

In the worst of times, their Master Jesus has comforted them. He is with them to bear their burden when they undergo persecution (2 Corinthians 4:9), and become the source of their joy when they grieve (2 Corinthians 6:10), because the Son of God was born to give them courage in this intolerant and cruel world (John 16:33) and lead them into perfection. Therefore, these children of Peace are called to love their enemies (Matthew 5:44), as Love is the only motivating source for true and lasting peace. The birth of Christ was to establish this everlasting love on earth.

Genuine Leadership Is What the World Needs

What else other than honest and humble leadership can bring people in a society together for a harmonious and creative life? What else but a truthful code of conduct in a leader can excite people’s fervency for a peaceful relationship and solemn affiliation as the members of one society? We desperately need leaders with such a moral standard that can encourage us through every aspect of our lives so that we can come together and make the best of our efforts for the establishment of a harmonious, stable and productive society.

In our contemporary era, many governments in the world have closed themselves to sincerity and humility with their own nations, having deprived them of the blessings of good and caring leadership. Many people in persecuting countries have been expecting western leaders to listen to their cries, take humanitarian initiatives and rush to their aid so that they can also exercise their freedom of choice. Many governments in the West have not only failed to take serious attempts to fight against the oppressions of tyrannical regimes, but have also progressively created a moral distance between themselves and their own people, establishing something more akin to a forceful government. Such has been done under the umbrella of altruism, and at the cost of the majority’s rights. This, of course, has compromised democratic values as second priority in their governing, creating what seems to be a lesser degree of moral responsibility towards the majority, having little interest in making the sacrifices necessary for society as a whole. They no longer follow the leadership model of great men and women of the past whose goals were to use their full capacities in pursuing the values that sought to make their lands better places for future generations. The idea ‘better’ has taken on a gray appearance, having become a subject to subjectivity.

As a result, some minority groups, who tend to impose themselves on the  majority, have been investing their efforts into disarming the majority of their rights for the establishment of more power-centered governments who can force them into passivity and silence, enabling the voice of minority to overpower. It is for this reason that in many western societies a low percentage of  atheists, homosexuals, pro-abortionists and Islamists have ignored the spirit of democracy, compromising the rights of those who oppose their ideologies. Not only this, but the majority is also forced by their governments to finance the minority’s agendas. This is shocking to those of us who escaped from the rule of minority groups in Islamic countries to take shelter in the West with hope for democracy; who now find ourselves exposed to a forceful minority taking on a different appearance, yet supposedly acting in the interests of democracy. It is overwhelming to see leaders in the West ignore the rights of their people in a similar way to dictators in Islamic countries.

Will these governments in the West, who possess such codes of conduct and values be capable to respond to the cries of people who are discriminated against by tyrannical governments? I doubt it. No wonder Islamic countries have been gaining more ground in both western countries and the United Nations  year after year, trying to convince many western leaders to speak in favor of the cruel Sharia of Islam, accept it as a source for human rights, and see Islam equal to Christianity.

How can we solve the problem of this progressively centralizing leadership in the West that is threatening our social and spiritual freedom? How can we rescue our societies from this ongoing suicidal, self-centered leadership that has closed its ears to the rights of the majority? Can we change this without solid and genuine leadership values? Are we ready to tell our children, grandchildren and communities that these leaders have kept themselves away from the fairness, intentionally or unintentionally, working against our freedom? Passive tolerance and apathetic attitudes on our part will only work to undermine our rights and freedom.

Only a genuinely aware people can overcome current leadership barriers and pave the ground for the rise of a genuine leader who does not have a habit of compromising the truth, but rather lives for the truth and is ready to give his/her life for it if necessary. We, therefore, will be unable to offer our societies with leadership characterized by honesty and integrity unless we take an honest interest in discovering what’s really wrong with our societies, what the solution is, what we need to do in order to make our societies better places, so that future generations are not exposed to further discrimination and suffering because of our silence, dishonesty and mistakes.

As Christians, our capacity to help our societies to recover from weak leadership is great. We should not shy away from manifesting the leadership of Christ who has overcome barriers and called us to guard ourselves and others from the impact of insincere leadership. As He said:

Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles?  Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruits, nor can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that does not bring forth good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you shall know them (Matthew 7:15-20).
I close with the words of Jesus.

"The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." Matthew 9:37, 38 (CEV)