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01/19/2023 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Leyla is a loving mother and wife in her forties, married to her faithful husband, Murat. A beautiful family who loves the Lord and lives in scenic Turkey. One wouldn’t suspect that Leyla grew up in a radical Islamic family. When Leyla met Murat, he became a catalyst for her Christian journey and led her to accept Christ and become a believer. But because of her unaccepting family, she needed to hide her faith.

When they found out, it marked the beginning of a trying time.

“My family has a point of view that sees anyone who doesn’t think like them as infidels. If it is learned by our big family that we are Christians, they can easily reach us…even if we change the city we live in. And in such a case, our safety is in serious danger,” Leyla said.

During a visit from out of town, Leyla’s Muslim fa­ther confronted his daughter and discovered their faith in Christ. Without giving Leyla a choice, took her and her children hostage.

“You are never allowed to see Murat again,” he said. “You must divorce him. Or else.”

While the couple was separated, they said it felt like their souls were wounded living with the fear, pres­sure, and uncertainty of the situation.

“I was so scared that I couldn’t say anything. I was just praying to the Lord to help us overcome these problems. I spent three weeks like a nightmare at my father’s house,” Leyla recalled.

Murat made the decision to speak to his father-in-law, but this frightened Leyla because of the radical Islamic beliefs that she knew could drive her father to kill her husband. This is all because he chose to leave their religion and become a Christian, which means that he “lost” the right to be her husband and the father to her children.

In the eyes of her family, he was contaminated.

Despite the risk, he went to the home where no one spoke to him or ate at the same table with him, as it was haram ac­cording to Islam. Murat wanted his wife and children home, so he met with his father-in-law to tell him how he came to know Christ and how his life was changed. He declared he would not give up on Christ, but he would also not give up on his family.

Leyla expresses what happened between her father and her husband, “Thank God, the Lord heard my pleas. My father agreed to this on one condition: my husband would never take me and my children to church. My father said to my husband, ‘If I hear such a thing, I will sacrifice you with one bullet.’ Even that was a great miracle for us because I knew my father very well. I knew I would never come home again.”

Murat accepted his father-in-law’s request, but he knew they could no longer live in peace where they were living.

“If we had stayed with my family, we would never have been able to get together. My children would never see their fa­ther again, and they would brand my children as ‘children of the infidel,’” said Leyla. “If I had stayed with my family, they would have married me to someone else after I divorced my husband. This is unfortunately a common occur­rence in our culture. This was going to be a very diffi­cult and heavy situation for me.”

Before they were released from Leyla’s father, he warned his grandchildren, “If your father takes you to the church among the infidels again, you will in­form me immediately. I’ll come and get you, and you’ll never see your father again.”

Leyla’s father threatened to kill his son-in-law with­out caring about his daughter’s future or feelings. He believes he is justified simply because his faith allows him to do so. And as long as Murat was breathing, he would never be safe from his father-in-law’s threat.

One of their children, who is afraid of what her grand­father said, cried and begged on the way home, say­ing, “Please let’s not go to church, mom.”

Word spread throughout Leyla’s radical Islamic family, and the pressure to stay in the Islamic faith mounted. “My family is constantly video calling me to check where I am. And when they don’t call, my sister sends my nephews to our house,” Leyla said. “Since we cannot go to church on Sunday, we want­ed to attend our meeting online, but we cannot do that because my family is constantly following us.”

Leyla and Murat considered moving to another city to be safe, but moving would not protect them from danger. Wherever they go throughout Turkey, Leyla’s family has the power to find them.

They made the decision, despite the danger, to move out of the country. Leyla and Murat desire to raise their children with the love of Christ. They plan to move somewhere where the language and culture are different. This move will be painful, and their lives will never be the same again, but it’s worth it for the chance to publicly practice their faith and attend church without fear.

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