Name: Reza Khadem*
Languages spoken: Persian (primary), Arabic, English, some Turkish
• Laleh* (wife) — 45-years-old
• Amir* (son) — 9-years-old
Fled to (current location): Turkey
Ex-Muslim, humanist, and atheist: Yes
History: Reza is an Iranian-born secular-humanist author, blogger, and YouTube
content-provider whose subject matter focuses on criticism of religion — primarily
Islam — and the promotion of humanist values and strategies. As such, Reza and his
family (including a wife and young son) have been subjected to harassment and
threats from individuals and organizations who seek to silence him. In 2016 the family
fled Iran for Turkey and have been living there ever since.
In late 2015 Reza was arrested and detained while driving his taxi. A mullah customer
took exception to Reza playing music in his taxi; Reza refused to turn it off (though
he did lower the volume). Unbeknownst to him, the mullah directed him to an Islamic
Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) barracks, where he was detained for five days,
physically assaulted, questioned on his beliefs, and reprimanded on his “insolence.”
On the fifth day he was released on the grounds there was not enough evidence to
charge him. Reza believes he has been under surveillance since that time.
On November 5, 2016 Reza’s home was raided by IRGC officers. Reza was visiting
and staying with a friend in hospital, but the officers seized his computer, an external
hard drive, and flash cards where he stored his writings. On November 11 Reza and
his family fled to Turkey, arriving the following day. On November 26 a summons
arrived at his home in Iran and was retrieved by his neighbor. The charges were
directly related to what the agents would have found on the seized items, including:
• Insulting religious sacrosanct;
• Cursing the Holy Prophet of Islam;
• Promoting propaganda against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In February of 2018 Reza successfully took an aggressor to court in Turkey for
threatening his life. The defendant was an Iranian national.
Reza and his family receive ongoing threats from Iranian Islamists in Turkey who
wish to carry-out vigilante justice against him, or have him sent back to Iran where
such justice would likely be metered out.
Reza hopes to continue working to support human rights and promote peace through
humanism with his writing. He believes that living in Canada would give him the
ability to speak freely so he can achieve these goals, whereas in his home country of
Iran he would be arrested and sentenced to death.
*Names changed to protect identities.
We need CFIC’s help to put together a constituent group so that Reza and his
family’s application for private refugee resettlement to Canada can be submitted.
Secular Rescue (CFI Transnational) has already secured all necessary funding;
sponsorship and applications have been taken care of for Reza, but we need five (5)
people (what constitutes a constituent group) made up of Canadian citizens in the
same city who will be able to help Reza get resettled in Canada.
The constituent group helps refugees acclimate to the host city during their first year
in Canada. This will include helping them find suitable housing, open bank accounts,
take them to ISANS for registration, getting them health cards, showing them how to
use the mass transit system, libraries, and city services, basically everything they will
need to set-up a new life in Canada. It is a requirement of the Canadian Government
that privately sponsored refugees have a constituent group to help them get settled.