Rifqa Bary Hiding

Rifqa Bary: Islam-to-Christian Convert’s Spiritual Journey

Rifqa Bary Hiding

Rifqa Bary left Islam and converted to Christianity. She has written a book, about her experience, Hiding in the Light.

In 2009, the media went wild over the story of young Fatima Rifqa Bary running away from home after four years of being an in the closet Christian. Born in Sri Lanka, she and her family moved to the United States in 2000 for a number of reasons. Raised in the Islamic faith, Rifqa Bary was blinded at the age of 8 and sexually abused by a member of her “extended family” before they moved to the states. In Islam, “that type of violation is a great source of dishonor” for the victim and her family, rather than for the abuser. In a tell-all memoir, Rifqa Bary shares the full story from her perspective in hopes of “saving others who read it, to shed hope and light.”

Hiding in the Light: Why I Risked Everything to Leave Islam and Follow Jesus

In her book, Hiding in the Light: Why I Risked Everything to Leave Islam and Follow Jesus, Rifqa Bary details her spiritual conversion from Islam to Christianity in its entirety. At the age of 12, she began to feel less connected to Islam and Allah. It felt empty, she writes. However, she tried “the despicable” and discovered Christianity. She converted in secret at the age of 12, sneaking off to church and prayer meetings whenever she was able. Her parents discovered it at the age of 16, which she claims is when her father threatened to kill her and her mother threatened to lock her in an asylum in Sri Lanka.

She had become friendly with a woman on Facebook she had met through a Facebook Christianity group. Filled with fear, she fled on a Greyhound to Florida, where she stayed for a few days. Once the local authorities stepped in, she came quietly.

The Courts

In court, as well as in her book, she vehemently spoke of the abuse she faced at home from her parents and her older brother, something she contributed to their mosque. Her parents deny any of the allegations brought against them. According to her memoir, she was drawn specifically to Christianity because of the personalization of it all. She found it “both scandalous and fascinating” to be permitted to say prayers about anything in the world in English. When Rifqa Bary returned to Ohio, she was diagnosed with a rare uterine cancer that is currently in remission. The 22 year old says she would do it all over again without a second thought.

In response to her parents’ pleading her return home to them, she says that she forgives them for it all, but she doesn’t feel safe returning home. Many people continue to tell her that she has brought great shame onto her family, and that she is anti-Muslim. She says “it’s the opposite”, but she hopes that “they experience the freedom [she’s] found in Christ.”


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