Iraqi Woman Faces House Arrest and Forced Marriage

When she became a Christian, Sara* experienced a miraculous escape after her father put her under house arrest and arranged a forced marriage

IRAQ — When she became a Christian, Sara* experienced a miraculous escape after her father put her under house arrest and arranged a forced marriage to a Muslim man for her. Thanks to support from Open Doors, Sara knows her true value in Christ as she serves others.

Open Doors’ vision is that every persecuted woman is seen, valued and empowered to live out their God-given potential.

The charity’s UK and Ireland CEO Henrietta Blyth shares her story.

Sara from Iraq grew up in a Muslim home but her dad wasn’t particularly religious. So when a friend invited Sara to go to church she jumped at the chance. Sara became a Christian and had some heated discussions with her family.

Then one night at dinner it all came to a head. She burst out, “God loves you and he wants you to come to him. But then her dad lost his temper. He stood up and flipped the dinner table. “All this time you’re asking about Christianity, I thought it was just some teenage phase!” he shouted. “But apparently I didn’t raise you right.” Sara’s dad locked her in her bedroom and took her phone. “Let’s see how your God will get you out,” he said.

Sara’s father effectively placed her under house arrest. But many people in the Middle East wouldn’t question a father’s right to force his daughter to stay at home.

After ten days, her father gave Sara horrible news. He told her she was to marry her stepmother’s nephew, a Muslim man. No one she knew would think to prevent this wedding or step in to save her. No one except Jesus.

“Someone came like a light, held my hand and dragged me out of my locked room,” she says. “He put me in a silver car. That morning I woke up in a hotel room in the city in North Iraq, hours away from where I lived. Her dad tracked her down, but Sara confronted him, telling him that God had rescued her and he eventually left without her.

Sara found out later that he’d completely erased her from the family records. Sara’s father didn’t want her anymore, but she has a heavenly father. He led her to a new family, her brothers and sisters in Christ, and nothing will make her give him up.

Sara says, “Before knowing Christ my life was empty. After I found Christ my life transformed completely. I started to know love. I’m grateful for all the bad things and experiences I’ve been through. I have never regretted the decision I made. We can’t show you Sara’s real face or hear her real voice, but as her sisters and brothers in Christ, we can make sure that Sara knows she is seen and loved.

About Open Doors UK

For over 60 years, Open Doors has worked in the world’s most oppressive countries, empowering Christians who are persecuted for their beliefs. Open Doors equips persecuted Christians in more than 60 countries through programs like Bible & Gospel Development, Women & Children Advancement, and Christian Community Restoration.

Read more news on Non-Profit / Faith-Based Organizations, and Christian Persecution.


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