Over the last few weeks, popular media has been covering the story of conversion of Sri Lankan second generation Muslim girl, Fathima Rifqa Bary. Youtube and Facebook has been at the heart of this controversy.

Here are some links – TIME, ABC News, and Fox News. Fathima Rifqa Bary even has an URL after her name – www.rifqabary.com


Fathima Rifqa Bary of Columbus, Ohio was raised in a Muslim home, studied the Quran, and practiced the ways of Mohamed. Several years ago, she converted from Islam to Christianity when she the found that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

She continued living in Columbus with her family, sneaking out at night after her parents had gone to sleep to attend prayer meetings and to read her Bible. After her father threatened to kill her for apostasy, a crime under Islamic Sharia law, Rifqa hitchhiked to the bus station and fled to Florida.

Upon arriving, she contacted a pastor who took Rifqa into her home. In the days following the missing child's report and Rifqa's first media appearance in Orlando, the blogosphere lit up with friends and concerned bloggers praying for her safety, praying that she got away from the certain death that awaited her in Ohio.

Source: Rifqa Bary.com

Listen to Fathima Rifqa Bary testimony on Youtube.


This has turn into a legal battle between Christianity & Islam – as high powered lawyers and a religious culture war in Florida erupts for Fathima Rifqa Bary.

Fathima Rifqa Bary is a minor (17 years old only) and her parents are trying to get her back to Ohio. Abuse, threat and custody battle with religious conversion makes this potent news item a controversy.

I want to share some reflections on second generation South Asian youth work. South Asians who are born and raised outside of South Asian cultural context, particularly in the West are less committed to the faith of their parents. I have heard from Hindu temple authorities and priests that second generations are not involved in puja and religious activities like their parents. The same is true of South Asian Muslims and Sikhs. It is true of South Asian Christians as well, though they are less likely subscribe to the traditional Christianity of their parents.

The westernized and secularized second generation South Asians are more likely to be drawn to Jesus Christ to fill this spiritual vacuum. Vibrant Christian churches and youth ministries are able to fill this gap. But only some are turning to Jesus, while most second generation South Asians are being sucked into materialism and promiscuity. They are neither able to relate to the faith of their forefathers nor embrace the faith of people in this land.

Immigrant parents are busy trying to make a living and create a security for themselves that they are clueless about their children’s spiritual struggles. Children are treated as little and not knowledgeable, but amazingly these same children pursue non-conventional means to explore deeper life issues, including the use of technology. For parents religious rituals are enough, but their children are deeply spiritual and disillusioned by immigrant cultural religiosity.

This also highlights the crucial nature of youth work in immigrant churches. Mere religious socialization is not enough for the second generation South Asian. The goal should not be to turn kids into nice Indian (read Malayali, Tamil, Gujerati, Telugu etc . . .) [or Sri Lankan or Pakistani for that matter] nor fine Catholic, Syrian Christian or Pentecostal, but a transformational experience through an encounter with the living God.

Prayer Focus for Fathima Rifqa Bary:

* Pray for Rifqa's safety.

* Pray that God will turn the judge's heart with favor to keep her in Florida, since there is much concern for her safety if she is returned to the state of Ohio.

* Pray that DCF and their lawyers will change their hearts and seek to keep her in Florida.

* Pray against the spirit of perversion of truth.

* Pray that Rifqa's parents and family will come to follow Jesus.

* Pray for Pastors Blake and Beverly for favor and protection.

* Pray for all word curses and generational curses will be broken from Rifqa.

* Pray that all word curses be broken off all of us involved with this case.

* Pray for Rifqa's lawyers, Rosa and John, for their preparation for court on August 21 at 3:15.

* Pray that Governor Crist will intervene to keep her in Florida.

* Pray for the many Muslims who have become Christians, (like Rifqa), that they remain safe and protected, and that their testimonies continue to be heard.

Words of Encouragement

Rifqa is a prayer warrior and is very strong in her faith, but could use encouragement from those who support her. If you want to send her a note of encouragement or a prayer, they will be compiled into a notebook and given to her when we see her next. You can email your notes to admin@rifqabary.com or mail them to P.O. Box 533961, Orlando, Fl 32853

Source: Rifqa Bary.com