She became involved in the Young Conservatives as a teenager, and served as a member of Oslo city council from 1995 to 2001. In 2001 she was elected to the Norwegian Parliament from Oslo, as the first minority person elected to the Norwegian Parliament. Pakistan-born Athar Ali had served earlier, but as a deputy representative. Rafiq was not re-elected in 2005. Instead, she served in the position of deputy representative during the term 2005–2009.