*representative image used
“I will give you 15 days to decide to abandon your Christian faith. If you choose not to, you will no longer be considered my daughter and will no longer be part of the family.” The words of her father felt like the blow of a hammer to Nedjma* who had always had a good relationship with her father and the rest of her family.
“There will be no contact between us,” he continued. This man, deeply rooted in a radical version of Islam, couldn’t live with the choice his daughter had made. He said these harsh words after he discovered that she had converted to Jesus Christ years ago. Nedjma had already been a Christian for more than 10 years, but she was a secret believer in her family.
Because family ties are so important in the Middle East, she wanted to keep her relationship with her father. She always held a deep respect for him. A short while ago, her father came to visit. She lives with Rafik, her Christian husband. Nedjma’s father was also unaware of his son-in-law’s Christian faith.
From the beginning of their marriage, Nedjma and Rafik always managed to be evasive in conversations and discussions with her father and family on religion. This time there was no escape from telling the truth. Rafik tells what happened: “Because he was insisting that we pray the Muslim prayer, I had to tell him that as a Christian, I pray in the way Jesus taught in the Gospels. Then he turned to his daughter and asked: ‘And you? Are you also a Christian?’ My wife responded that she was. His face turned bright red and anger burned in his eyes.” He then left the house.
Two days later, he visited them again. “He explained to us that in Islam, an apostate deserves to be killed if he or she does not return to Islam. He did not threaten to kill us, but he made clear that he wanted us to renounce our Christian faith,” continues Rafik. “He gave my wife a period of fifteen days to make the decision to turn her back on her Christian faith. He asked the opinion of an the person who leads prayers in a mosque. More who advised him on this course of action.”
They will not renounce their Christian faith despite knowing they will lose their family. “We pray for my father; that the Lord might open his eyes, and that he will be touched by the grace of God and will convert to Christ, too,” Nedjma adds to the words of her husband.
*Names changed for security reasons