Transcript of the Rifqa Bary video:
Well, I’m a Christian, and my parents are Muslim. They’re extremely devout. And they can’t know about my faith – well, they do now. But they’ve threatened to kill me. I don’t know if you know about honor killing….You guys don’t understand. Islam is very different than you guys think. They have to kill me. My blood is now halal, which means that because I am now a Christian, I’m from a Muslim background, it’s an honor. If they love God more than me, they have to do this. And I’m fighting for my life, you guys don’t understand. You don’t understand.
What did your father say to you?
He said he would kill me. Or he’d have me sent back to Sri Lanka where they’d put me in the asylum…
I ran away from home. I wrote my parents a note, I said, I refuse to deny Jesus and He’s my Lord and Savior and I pray you find His forgiveness and mercy and I love them both dearly. I wrote that, but they never showed it to the police officers. They want me back home, I can’t go back to Ohio, you guys don’t understand. That community, they’re like – I will die within a week. My life is at stake. My dad threatened me. I was ready to die, these were my thoughts, that I’ll be a martyr for Christ, let it be so! But the Lord led me here somehow through His grace. I rode on a bus for 27 hours, to 30 hours, to get here. And yes, it’s been God’s hand protecting me the entire time. But I’m fighting for my life, so that prayers are appreciated. I don’t know what – Today’s my birthday, my seventeenth birthday, and I might even die, I don’t know what’s going to happen to my own life.
Can you tell me why you ran away?
I was threatened by my dad. When my dad found out – I had a Facebook, that’s how he found out – and phone calls from the Muslim community started coming in with emails that confronted me. And I had a laptop and he took that laptop and waved it in the air and he was about to beat me with it, and he said, “If you have this Jesus in your heart, you’re dead to me. You’re not my daughter.” And I refused to speak but he said, “I will kill you. Tell me the truth.” In these words, bad words, cuss words. So I knew that I had to get away. A couple of weeks later even, I told my dad that I would fol — that I would begin to learn more about Islam, because I was scared. And I said that because when I had come to know the Lord, I dropped everything about Islam. I mean, I had to hide my Bible for years, I would go outside to pray. When my dad was asleep was when I went outside to pray. I snuck out to Christian prayer meetings in fear of my life. And finally this day had come, when I was confronted by my dad. A couple of weeks later, after I told my dad that I would follow -- I wouldn’t follow Islam, but would learn more about it. Then he put me in class after class after class after class, thinking that, you know, that my mind was gonna be back in it, but of course not, I’m a follower of God, Jesus, the true living Jesus! But a couple of weeks later my mom found a Christian book and I knew right then that it was over for me. I had to leave.
How did you end up in Florida?
Here? What happened is that night, I had to leave. So I left that Saturday night, was it? Yeah, it was Saturday night. In the morning I left to go to a friend’s house. And I asked her, I begged her to take me to church. I needed to get to church. I needed to pray, I needed to seek the Lord to know what to do. And so that entire day from seven in the morning to late at night I prayed and prayed and prayed, and finally I was able to get a ride back home to that person’s house. And I stayed there Saturday, Sunday night because my dad was coming back home from his trip that night, and so I stayed there that night and I just left. I hitchhiked to a bus station and I got a ticket to Florida because I had met them through a prayer ministry on Facebook. And this was the farthest away from Ohio – you don’t understand, if I had stayed in Ohio, I wouldn’t be alive. And so I was able to do t hat. I called them from the bus. On the bus there were nice people there that I was able to talk to, and I used their phone to call them.
Have there been any type of killings at all in your family? Have you ever seen anything like that?
I’m not sure, but in 150 generations of my family no one has known Jesus. I am the first one. Imagine the honor in killing me. There is great honor in that. Because if they love Allah more than me, they have to do it. It’s in the Koran. And you can, like, give them knowledge about it [gestures to someone off camera, who says something unintelligible]. He really will explain it and break it down. They have to do this. They just have to. Either they do that or they send me back to Sri Lanka. There’s an asylum there where they put people like me, like, think I’m crazy.
Do you really think that this is true or do you think that this is just a threat?
There’s actually hundreds of cases that are backed like me. Amina and Sarah, they were forced to go back home. They were killed by their dad! This is not just some threat! This is reality! This is truth! This is reality! How many more cases do you want? There’s case after case. There’s hundreds of them. I am one. I am one of hundreds. They have to. You guys don’t understand. They have to. I don’t know what else to say, but they have to. If you want proof, there’s hundreds of cases tha t can validate my story. Even my friends and people from back home, they knew what would happen to me. My own brother knew about my faith and he didn’t tell my dad. What does that say? He knew the consequences! He knew!
So what do you want at this point now?
I want to be with them. I want to be free from my parents. I want to be free. I want to worship Jesus. I want to go to church on Sundays and read my Bible and see Jesus alive, whenever I want to. You talk about religious freedom? No! I don’t have that. I want to be here. I want to worship Jesus freely. I don’t want to die.