An Iraqi woman who recently converted from Islam to Christianity was found murdered on March 7 after she posted a TikTok video about her new faith, according to a religious liberty watchdog.
The 20-year-old woman, Iman Sami – also known as Maria – was the daughter of a Muslim cleric, according to International Christian Concern (ICC). The murder took place after she posted a TikTok video showing herself singing Christian songs.
ICC believes the murder likely was retaliation by her family. Her body was found in northern Iraq.One of her friends – whose name is withheld to protect her safety – said Maria was given a Bible last month by a member of a Bible study group.
“[S]he turned to Christianity, and her family knew because of this video she posted on TikTok,” the friend said.
The Christian news site Ankawa Today reported that Maria “suffered in her life because of her early marriage” at age 12.
“After separation from her husband, she lived alone,” Ankawa Today reported. “She was an activist in the field of women’s rights and a brave woman. She has videos on the TikTok app that reached hundreds of thousands of views.”
Jeff King, president of International Christian Concern, said Muslims who convert to Christianity are often shunned and threatened.
“For someone born as a Muslim to be open about exploring Christianity is a tremendous act of bravery, as most Muslim Background Believers (MBBs) in the region face intense pressure from both their families and communities,” King said. “Maria’s Tik Tok post should not have ended with her death. Iraq is just emerging from a very difficult time when Christians experienced a horrific genocide. It is an important step toward healing for Iraq to pursue an investigation of due process into issues related to freedom of speech and religion.”