A 21-year-old Kenyan who grew up in a strict Muslim household and was forced to pray five times per day is now paying the consequence that many from strict Muslim families experience when they leave Islam and give their lives to Christ, a Christian non-governmental organization has reported.
The United States-based organization International Christian Concern shared the experiences of a Kenyan Christian convert, identified only by the pseudonym Rahma.
Rahma, according to ICC, was raised in a Muslim family of eight with parents who desired nothing more than for their children to be devout Muslims. The problem was that Rahma felt that Islam was nothing more than a "heavy burden" she had to carry.
"Islam was a yoke to my heart. I felt as if I was forced to believe in things that were a heavy burden to carry. So three weeks ago, I yielded to the call of God and put my faith in Christ Jesus," Rahma was quoted as saying.
Rahma detailed that as she began to question the practices of her family's faith, she often forgot to do her daily prayers and would be disciplined by her father.
After Rahma's mother passed away in 2001, her father got so fed up with Rahma being a less-than devout Muslim that he sent Rahma to her aunt's house in Mombasa in hopes that she would learn the importance of submitting to the strict demands of the Muslim faith.
"Living with my auntie and cousins in Mombasa got even worse because in the house we had two rooms dedicated for prayers — one for the men and the other for the women. As if this was not enough, my uncle employed a sheikh to help me grow in the ways of Allah," Rahma explained. "This went on for some weeks and I could not continue with the lessons because I could not understand anything. The sheikh gave up on me and this upset my family very much. A new level of war had just begun."
While Rahma continued to question her family's faith, ICC noted that her curiosity about the Christian faith continued to grow until it blossomed in 2016. That year was when she began to sneak out of her aunt's house and attend church services.
She was eventually disciplined after her family found out that she snuck out to attend an overnight prayer session in Mombasa, where she received Christian literature.
"When I returned home in the morning, my auntie disciplined me after learning that I was in church. She insulted me before my cousins and affirmed that she will never give me permission to leave the house. That week she gave me $30 to start a small home-based beauty business," Rahma said. "My desire to become a Christian was gaining momentum as well as having a very strong dislike for Islam but I wanted to know exactly what Christianity is all about and who could understand me and help me change my faith."
Although Rahma continued to go through the motions of being a Muslim just to appease her family, a friend put her in contact with a pastor named John Magenge. Rahma met the pastor for the first time this past October, according to ICC.
"When she came to see me in October, I knew that she had already overcome some obstacles to Muslim evangelism. She was ready to put her faith in Christ, publicly testify of her new faith and maybe get baptized," Magenge told ICC. "And so I interrogated her desire to become a Christian and yes, she had valid reason to be helped in the Christian faith. She has been growing tremendously and we have put her into mentorship that involves Bible reading, prayer and fellowship."
Rahma explained that after she gave her life to Christ, it wasn't long before her family found out.
In the early hours in the morning on Oct. 29, Rahma was caught by her aunt reading a Swahili Bible.
"I was deep in reading and meditation when my auntie knocked, opened the door to my room and found me doing my devotion. She was so mad at me and asked me when I started bringing Bibles into her house," she detailed. "I gathered my courage and told her that I had given my life to Christ."
"She was struck by a hard reality and shock, and everybody in the house was awakened to come and hear what I just said," Rahma continued. "I reiterated that I had given my life to Christ and I am ready to continue in the Christian faith because there is eternal life in God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit."
Her conversion to Christianity has caused her family to view her as nothing more than an apostate and an infidel. Like many converts from Islam, Rahma has essentially been disowned by her Muslim family.
"[T]hey have chased me out of the house," she explained.
According to ICC, Rahma's family no longer wants to be associated with her because of the shame her conversion could bring to the family within the Muslim community. Additionally, Rahma's family stripped her of all her possessions, including her clothes and shoes.
Fortunately, Rahma's friend, known by the name Amina, who introduced her to Magenge, has let Raham live with her in Mombasa.
"I will go as far as it takes to live for God and serve Him regardless of the level of persecution I might face in the future," Rahma asserted. "Christ is my hope and the Gospel of salvation must be preached to the Muslim community. God will help me."
As Jesus said in 2 Timothy, "everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted."
According to Open Doors USA's 2017 World Watch List, Kenya ranks as the 18th-worst country in the world when it comes to the level of Christian persecution even though it is a Christian-majority nation.
The leading persecutor of Christians in the nation are radical Islamic groups like the Somalia-based al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda-linked group that has carried out a number of attacks in Somalia and Kenya targeting Christians.
In September, it was reported that al-Shabaab beheaded four Christians in Kenya's Lamu County after they went door-to-door hunting for non-Muslims, a tactic that the terror group has systematically carried out in the past few months.
In August, al-Shabaab beheaded three other Christians in Lamu County and burned alive another.
In July, it was reported that seven Christians were killed by al-Shabaab militants when they went door-to-door in Kenya villages looking for Christian believers.
The July report came shortly after al-Shabaab had beheaded nine other civilians in Lamu County.