"Even when the rainbow seems to pass right by me....I'm still finding Gold in the clouds....."

07 May 2016

2016 Book Review #10: Hiding in the Light

I finished this autobiography last night with a sigh of relief.

The book caught my eye because of the title underneath the author's name.  "Why I Risked Everything to Leave Islam and Follow Jesus".  I'm glad my town library had this book and I'm glad I read it  but it actually wasn't as great as I thought it would be.


Basically, this is a true story and happened in 2009 about a young Muslim girl whose family arrived in the USA from Sri Lanka when she was still in elementary school.  She does explain her past life in that country and being raised Muslim and what that is like.

She arrives in the USA and begins school. Her family is abusive, particularly her dad.  He is a strict Muslim following all the rules and regulations of Islam which includes females being subservient.

She is half blind, due to an accident inflicted by her older brother back when they were still in their homeland.  Because of this impairment, she is now considered a "second class citizen" in the eyes of her family.

While they are living in Ohio, she meets a Christian teenager and befriends her.  Her friend brings her to church, where Rivqa hears about the Gospel for the first time.  She later, at age 12,  accepts Christ into her heart and yearns to be able to worship Him freely.  But because Christianity is strictly forbidden by Muslims, she must hide her activities and Christianity from her parents and so lies about with whom she is with and to where she goes in the evenings and on weekends.

Her secret is discovered a couple of years later when she is 16.  She makes national news when she runs away from her home in Ohio with the help of close Christian friends and even the help of complete strangers living down in Florida!

She claims her father threatened to kill her for converting to Christianity.  

She goes into hiding but the police and family services get involved and she is first placed in a Florida juvenile detention center after spending some time in jail!  A Christian lawyer takes on her case pro bono and begins a long process of trying to establish life without living with her parents. Rivqa's desire is to become a ward of the state of Florida so she doesn't have to move back in with her parents.  This process takes a couple of years and she is moved from the detention center to various foster homes.

Her last foster home, before she turns 18 and can be free from the legalities of living with her parents, is a good one and she is close to the parents and the other girls in the home.  At one point, she begins to have physical problems and is discovered to have uterine cancer!  She goes through many surgeries and chemo and then decides to stop all treatment.  She was told she would only live a year. But.....the Lord heals her!!   Today she is cancer free.

On her birthday, she is free!  She is still in hiding from her parents but has many Christian friends and adults in her life.  She is interested in missions and social justice.


This story disturbed me on so many levels....mainly the fact that Muslims can get away with abusing their children all in the name of "religion". This is just so wrong...especially here in the United States!!  At age 12, she accepted Jesus into her heart.  I get that her parents would be very upset but wow...this really opened my eyes to how horrible and controlling the Islam religion really is.  It showed me that they really must be terrified of the power of Jesus!!  Her parents put her through hell and it was difficult to read at times.

I loved that she could stand up for our Savior even when faced with never seeing her little brother again.

I liked that she mentioned forgiving her father even though it is difficult.  She also forgave her older brother for accidentally  blinding her.

Our justice system and how we protect minors in this country does need to improve..especially for those who desire religious freedom!  The whole process she went through...and all while dealing with cancer...was daunting.  

There were parts, especially in the middle of the book, that started to drag.....I felt like the story was just plodding.....but I continued because I wanted to see what would happen at the outcome of her turning 18/adult.

I was so happy to read that she is still in hiding...she is hiding in the Light....profound....and that she has a passion for Christ and missions.

What a brave girl.

In my opinion, this book is appropriate for ages 14 and older.

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, I rate this a 9.


Susanne said...

Wow, the courage it must have taken. I always thought once you turn 16 you can actually move out and become independent from your parents but maybe that is just Canada or maybe I'm in left field totally on that. I'm sorta surprised the library would have that book.

Susanne said...

I just went and checked our library's web page and lo and behold they have it too. I put it on my "for later" shelf.