Underground Church in America?
Fatima is a 17 year old Muslim background believer in Jesus from Sri Lanka. On November 18, 2005 a Korean friend invited her to church. “At church they stood and sang with fire in their eyes, it was contagious. I felt nothing but love,” Fatima shared. This began a new life for Fatima as she surrendered her life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Her parents are devout Muslims and pray five times a day. They belong to a fundamental mosque that has supported terrorism. She knew they would be extremely upset and even violent if they discovered her Christian faith. She began to read her Bible secretly in the bathroom or late at night in her bedroom. She was able to find fellowship with other Muslim background believers and Christians on the internet. She would sneak to church and Christian meetings. Fatima was able to obtain Christian materials discreetly. One book that helped her is called, Is the Injeel Corrupted? Fouad Masri, the author and an ex-Muslim, states in his book “radical Islam is a reflection of a spiritual thirst that can only be quenched through the teachings and the life of Christ.” This book and others helped her become bolder as she shared her faith with others at school. Her parents became aware of her Christian faith and her father Muhammad announced, “if you have Jesus in your heart then you are dead to me.” Later Muhammad exploded at Fatima and told her that if she did not give up her Christian faith he would kill her to protect the family’s honor. Muhammad could trace his heritage of Muslims back 150 generations. Fatima was the first to become a Christian and this would disgrace the family.
Fatima knew her dad was serious. She knew the verse in the Qu’ran of Surah 4:89, “But if they turn back (from Islam), take them and kill them…” Other teachings in the Hadith and the jurisprudence in the history of Islam is clear: Death to Apostates. From her research on the internet, she had found that Islamic honor killings averaged 5000 girls a year.
Her parents left no options. She must reject her Christian faith. However, it was too late for Fatima. She had been baptized and Christ’s love filled her heart and mind. The choice had already been made. She belonged to Jesus. He was first in her heart. The Scripture prophesied of these days in Matthew 10:36-37: “And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me.”
Fatima realized that if she really loved her parents then she needed to be true to her witness of Jesus Christ. Hopefully one day they would know Him too. On July 19, 2009 she fled her home and left a note for her parents: “Jesus is my savior, I cannot deny Him, nor will I ever. I pray that you find His mercy and forgiveness just as I have. Love you both dearly.” Fatima fled south by a bus, a thousand miles away from her home. She had corresponded with a Christian ministry on the web and was fleeing to their protection.
Fatima’s full name is Fatima Rifqa Bary. All this happened in the United States. Her family immigrated to America in the year 2000. She lived in Columbus, Ohio and she fled to Orlando, Florida. She is presently back in Columbus, Ohio in foster care. From the pressure of her father’s lawyer, Fatima Rifqa cannot contact Christian friends via the internet nor the phone. The judge gave a “gag order” and the Ohio Child Protective Services and the court cannot give any information regarding her case or the present condition of Fatima Rifqa Bary. The spirit of Shariah law (Islamic Law) haunts Rifqa even in the United States.
Fatima Rifqa Bary is a bold witness of Christ. She is a living martyr. Her witness of Christ emboldens us. She is helping other Muslims abandon all for the forgiveness and joy found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. She said in a TV interview that she is ready to die for Christ if that is needed. Rifqa is 17 years old. She is our daughter and sister in Christ. Please pray for her. Pray for the judge over this case that God would give him wisdom. Pray everything is brought to the light and that Rifqa will again regain her freedom.
Rifqa demonstrates that the underground church is alive and well even in the United States of America. There are others like Rifqa walking the streets of America today. Help strengthen this part of the Body of Christ in our own land by praying for Muslims and sharing the Gospel with them. Thank you for joining us in serving the living martyrs and witnessing Jesus Christ to Muslims. Our outreach would not be possible without your prayers and financial partnership.
Share your insight and prayers right now by using our blog form below. Share this concern with others and be ready to voice your indignation with the court system if her safety is ultimately put at risk.