Book Review: Hiding in the Light: Why I risked Everything to Leave Islam and Follow Jesus by Rifqa Bary
“The place for women was at home, close to their families, close to Allah. Close to suffocating.”
Wow. The amazing story of a Moslem child who encounters a divine presence in Sri Lanka. She grows, is disfigured, rejected by her family, moves to America with them, only to encounter less love and support. She discovers that her encounter was with the Spirit of Jesus. When she covertly converts to Christianity, things get worse.
“Kill me? I knew he couldn’t consider my life so meaningless. Could he? Yet a simple Muslim man who aims to follow his religion must sometimes do the unthinkable to maintain his honor.”
Villains? Not her parents. They acted as they thought they must, given their religion and culture. Instead I nominate the politicians, bureaucrats and courts of Florida and Ohio, who callously treated an innocent child like a criminal, shuffled her around like a commodity, and exploited her for partisan politics. (Charlie Crist, then governor of Florida, comes off as a special hypocrite.)
“But jail. Why? I had run away from home because my life was in danger for believing in Jesus Christ. My rights as a human being seemed to vanish.”
“The most stunning part of this interrogation [by officers of Florida Department of Law Enforcement] was that it was done without the presence, knowledge, or even notification of my lawyer or even my guardian ad litem.”
In the midst of endless hearings and fosterings, she develops two forms of cancer (rhabdomyosarcoma and adenocarcinoma) and finds her life threatened from within as well as without.
“You know, Lord, the Bible says a woman’s hair is her glory. Well, I am laying down my glory tonight, all my strength and my beauty, for Yours.”
How she acts, how her faith grows, and how she perseveres is an inspiring story, which of course isn’t finished as she must spend the rest of her life hiding–hiding in the light.
“I knew it sounded crazy [to discontinue cancer treatment]. Was crazy. It didn’t make sense to me either. But I knew in my spirit that God was calling me to do this, and I decided I would rather die in obedience to Him and live in disobedience and possibly survive the treatment. My life was not my own anymore, and my spirit found a way to be at rest with that.”
Well written. Her prose is clear and compelling. Hard to believe English is her second language. There is no indication of writing assistance. Read this if only to marvel at her ability to convey her inner emotions while all around her is threatening.
“‘Honor Killings in America’ Nothing compared to my own renouncing of Islam and embracing Christianity, dishonoring both faith and family. Yet the blood of all these girls testified to the reality of my experience.”
I lived in Saudi Arabia for most of three years. I’ve seen their people, their culture and their religion closer than most westerners. We don’t–we can’t understand the inner thoughts and motivations of Moslem men. We can’t imagine how women live and cope with that life, even those who whole-heartedly embrace it.
“There may actually be times when making the right choice for yourself as an individual seems to put you at odds with the world…. Her home, her security, her serenity, and even her safety were thrown into madness…. However, this young woman did not succumb to the madness. She chose an attitude of love, despite the pain, an attitude of compassion despite the hate shown here, an attitude of perseverance…. At only seventeen years old, she found the strength to overcome and succeed.” School district director’s remarks at her high school graduation as class valedictorian.