Kirkland's first name has meaning
Armein was one of the great Persian kings, and the name is quite common in Iran, which is where Kirkland's mother, Farah, is from.
Farah, who is Persian, left Iran in the late 1970s at the urging of her parents. That was when the Shah was being pushed out of leadership, and Islamic militant Ayatollah Khomeini was coming in. Hundreds of Shah supporters were being executed.
Farah's family is of the Baha'i faith, which arose from Islam.
"She wanted to escape religious persecution," said Arrash Kirkland, 21, Armein's older brother.
Farah met Armein's and Arrash's father, Dennis, who is black, while studying at now-defunct Phillips University in Enid, Okla.
Armein said his mom has made certain that her sons have learned about her homeland. Armein has been to Iran — where his grandmother, two aunts and an uncle live — twice, most recently in 1995.
"It's not a good place to live," Kirkland said.
He said he doesn't think too much about what is going on in the Middle East, mainly because Iran's border state and partner in the President Bush-dubbed "axis of evil," Iraq, is at the center of the current turmoil.
"So," said Kirkland, who has a tattoo on his right arm that is in Persian markings, "my family over there is not really in danger."
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