Runaway teen fears honor killing if returned home

In Islam, apostasy is a serious offense. People get more than slaps on the wrist for changing faiths; they get abused, beaten, and sometimes killed. That’s not to say the fate of all apostates in the Muslim world is grim, but there is a definite violent precedence, and if you have the unfortunate luck of being born in a fundamentalist family, it can be a death sentence.

17 year old Rifqa fled from her Muslim family in Ohio after converting to Christianity, and now that she’s been caught by local police in Florida, she says if she returns home, she will be honor killed by her family. The father and mother claim she is overreacting and they simply want her back. I’m a little conflicted, since it would be naive to assume nothing bad will happen, but I have to consider the fact she may be using our own prejudice about Muslim culture to get out of returning home.

Personally I don’t know what to believe anymore. I’d like to think these kinds of things don’t happen, and this girl is being overly dramatic. The truth is, however, honor killings are still happening all over the world, and they are an integral part of certain cultures (not just in the Middle East. Every year, thousands of Indian girls are also killed because of insufficient dowries). Although there is nothing in the Koran suggesting women should be killed, it hasn’t stopped many Muslims from considering this ancient cultural tradition to be an integral part of their faith.

Considering how close this girl is to being an adult (she’s 17), I think it’s rather foolish to send her back to a home she claims will be abusive. She already seems to have gotten this far without them; if she wants to live out her life devoted to Jesus and without her family, I think she should be allowed to do so. Why are we always forcing dysfunctional families together? Sometimes they should stay split up!

Comments (3)

  • avatar


    Lets hope that this will be one of those times religon does some good and helps her out. Hopefully her church will help keep her here. Even if she decides to spend the rest of her life believing in God and Jesus, at least her chances of living out a full life are better here.

  • avatar


    Sharia and muslim law customs clearly prescribe the death penalty for apostasy (this would not be an honor killing, but a simple capital punishment applicable to men also). Of course this is in theory, and most western muslims are not that violent.
    It is hard to see through, and of course it also could be that she was a bit brainwashed by her church…

  • avatar


    I think there is probably something more to this story. The parents seem pretty open about the whole thing but you never know with these sorts of cases. And who knows what the Christian movement has planted in her head.

    To me this is a prime example of why it’s just easier to drop religion from your life and treat it like the dead weight it is.

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