The Christian Runaway

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Sensationalistic, headliner type stories don’t usually capture my interest. But this one did. I suppose it might have something to do with some recent conversations with fellow Reformed believers who reject the idea that instead of inciting suspicion, observant people, no matter the particular tradition, make way better civil citizens than those who eschew the ways of their ancestors. No, says they, get enough pious Muslims together and you’d better lock up your wives and daughters. I suppose we do happen to live in a day and age that deems it easier and more secure to indulge certain religious bigotries. Such is the way of the world.

Still, chances seem good that this story has a lot less to do with the notion that Muslims are all secretly waiting for the perfect moment to jihad-chop every non-Muslim within five feet of them—even their own off spring— and more to do with the much less sexy realities of family tension and growing up. I understand that extraordinariness always trumps ordinariness, but chances are pretty good that this young woman is actually quite confused both about her newfound faith and the rearing she received and just how these two things are now supposed to co-exist. And chances are really good that a typically misguided and sophomoric evangelical circle within which she has been converted has fueled the flames of discord with not a little fear and loathing. If she is anything like the rest of us in our flesh and blood, to say nothing of immaturity, she has likely been wooed by that siren song to conceive of oneself as a martyr: “The day has come that I dreaded,” she wrote. “I’m ready to die for my faith.”

It’s true that Jesus said he came to divide households, that we will be hated for our faith and that even some of us would be demanded our very lives for what we hold true. And far be it from me to diminish or otherwise trivialize any believer who has endured the pains and injuries of persecution.  And it certainly isn’t lost on this rabid two-kingdomite that true religion and any false tradition of men are diametrically and fatally opposed.  But sometimes, more often than we might be inclined to believe in fact, it really is just about the unfathomable complexities of human relationships. It would seem to me that anyone with a family would understand that much.

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6 Responses to The Christian Runaway

  1. John Yeazel says:

    This does raise a number of complex issues. How much is just an exagerated and hormonal based reaction by a coming of age teenager who does not particularly like the discipline imposed by her observant parents who are looking out for her best interests in a way that has been looked upon as too harsh by the teenager. Also, the non-denominational evangelical pastor seems to be a bit miffed by the situation and could not provide the girl with adequate counsel. So, looking at the situation from a sphere sovereignty viewpoint, how would you confessionalists out there handle this situation? A good question to ask in a good confessional seminary. Are courts a good place to handle situations like this? Should courts be handling family issues? What if her life really is in danger? We need clear and distinct answers to questions like these.

  2. Zrim says:

    How much is just an exagerated and hormonal based reaction…

    Like a Catholic friend of mine is fond of saying, “There’s a difference between a male chauvanist and a male chauvanist pig.” He’s also fond of distinguishing between fairness and justice. Now to get him to use that acumen to distinguish between justification and sanctification.

    But, anyway, this confessionalist is conservative when it comes to questions like, “How would you handle this?” I dunno, I’m pretty bad at that sort of speculation. My point is just that, from the outside looking in, there is likely less to this than more.

  3. John Yeazel says:

    I suppose- I guess conjecture is all that can come from this when all the facts of the situation are not known. Since she is under 18 and under her parents care and supervision the state or church has no right to interfere in the family sphere unless a violation of the law has occured.

  4. Wout says:

    I am amazed that this young woman is before the courts and may be forcibly returned to her parents. Where is her ability to be free. Any young person of her age would never be returned to her family against her will in my country. Courts would never get involved unless there was a crime such as kidnapping committed.

    Whether her parents would kill her or not, that is her fear, and is in fact based on the hadith that indicates that apostates must be killed. Whether her parents are strict adherents to islam or not, some of the true believers in her parent’s mosque may very well be and follow through on mohammed’s command.
    Again, I do not understand that a 17 year old may not be free to live apart from her family.

  5. Zrim says:

    Wout,

    I’m no expert in Islam, but my understanding is that an honor killing is ordinarily precipitated by utilizing dress codes unacceptable to the family or engaging in certain sexual acts. The article indicates that apostasy is not ordinarily grounds for it.

    But, again, I think the fear that she’s vulnerable to something extraordinary seems a lot like my parents’ fears that I was about to drink Kool-aid and pack heat just because my Christian conversion in college included attending that screwy little IFCA church at the bottom of our hill, the one we respectable mainliners passed every Sunday. True, it was eternally misguided, but it was far from criminal. (BTW, my parents’ fears are one reason I think “cult” is the absolute wrong term for Mormons and JWs.)

    I’m also no expert in American versus Canadian outlooks. But in this country, one is legally considered a child until the day she turns 18. Emancipation is just a weird idea down here.

  6. Wout says:

    Honour killings are usually for those that shame islam or family, so the muslim scholars referred to in Newsweek are technically correct.

    However, the hadith (sayings of mohammed) do indicate death for apostasy. Here are but three.

    Bukhari (52:260) – “…The Prophet said, ‘If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.’ ”

    Bukhari (84:57) – “[In the words of] Allah’s Apostle, ‘Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.'”

    Bukhari (84:64-65) – “Allah’s Apostle: ‘During the last days there will appear some young foolish people who will say the best words but their faith will not go beyond their throats (i.e. they will have no faith) and will go out from (leave) their religion as an arrow goes out of the game. So, wherever you find them, kill them, for whoever kills them shall have reward on the Day of Resurrection.'”

    Muslims who take their religion seriously and literally can and often do follow these teachings. Recall the apostate who left islam for Christ in Afghanistan a few years ago and was was sentenced to death. Only because of western pressure was he able to leave the country and receive asylum in Italy.

    There is every possibility this young woman will be a martyr for Christ.

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