19 December 2009

Incommunicado in Ohio

Rifqa Bary is an American girl of 17 whose parents immigrated from Sri Lanka and now live in Ohio. Her parents are Muslim and raised her as a Muslim. Several years ago she secretly converted to Christianity; in July of this year she ran away from home, ultimately surfacing in Florida where she took refuge with a pastor, claiming that her life would be in danger if she were sent back to her parents.

It's a baffling situation -- to those who are unfamiliar with the reality of Islam.

Islamic law mandates death as the penalty for any Muslim who leaves Islam. This injunction is found in both the Koran and the Had├Čth, the two most authoritative source documents of Islamic law. It is not a meaningless anachronism like the various death penalties sprinkled through the Old Testament which few modern Christians advocate enforcing; Islam takes its laws very seriously in the twenty-first century. "Honor killings" -- murders mostly of women and girls, usually by their own families, for transgressions (often sexual) against Islamic law -- are shockingly widespread in the Islamic world and have become such a major problem among Muslims in Europe that in 2004 police forces from across Europe launched an international cooperative effort to crack down on them. In Italy, a judge recently ruled that referring to a Muslim woman as a Christian was equivalent to a death threat due to the Islamic injunction that "apostates" must be killed. Protection from the threat of murder for apostasy is a priority for ex-Muslims even in the United States.

Rifqa Bary has consistently claimed that her parents threatened her life after discovering her conversion. Her parents deny this and the allegation is impossible to verify. The real risk is that some Muslim fanatic unconnected with her family might feel entitled to execute the Islamic death penalty; this is why, for example, Ayaan Hirsi Ali has had to live under almost constant security since she went public with her renunciation of Islam.

Rifqa's parents, supported by the Islamist group CAIR, have taken legal action to have her returned to their custody, resulting in a legal battle which is still continuing. Her main supporters are Christian activists and, apparently, Pamela Geller -- a fact which I consider an indictment not of her case but of those on the secular left who, while they would not hesitate to support a 17-year-old who had similarly fled from a fundamentalist Christian family, are reluctant to cross swords with Islam, whether due to nervousness or political correctness.

In October, Rifqa was forced to return to Ohio and was placed under the custody of child protective services, where she is reportedly being denied almost all contact with supporters, a CAIR attorney having even filed a motion to prevent her from receiving Christmas cards.

Ohio law has no provision for emancipation of minors, and Rifqa will not turn 18 until August 2010. If she were returned to her parents before that, it is conceivable that she could be removed from the United States against her will.

Given Islam's track record, she deserves the benefit of the doubt.

Rifqa Bary supporters' website


Blogger (O)CT(O)PUS said...

I delayed my trip to Washington DC this weekend on account of blizzard conditions. My intention was to stay away from blogging and such, but your article, and Rocky's new post, link here, have compelled me to reengage.

More later ...

20 December, 2009 10:46  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

I'll be checking out Rocky's post.

20 December, 2009 11:03  
Blogger Leslie Parsley said...

I heard about this several months ago. Thanks for the update, as sad as it is.

20 December, 2009 18:24  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

I have a bad feeling about how this is going to turn out. Most American judges simply don't have the necessary background knowledge to evaluate the situation. I don't think her family is going to kill her, but another Muslim might, or she could be removed from our country and forced into a kind of living death in Sri Lanka or worse. Let's hope that doesn't happen.

20 December, 2009 18:49  
Anonymous Hugo Grinebiter said...

The Sri Lankan Muslims are not, as far as I know, rigorist. They function in Sri Lanka as an ethnic group, the green stripe in the flag is for them. Though of course particular individuals might nevertheless be rigorist, and as you say, some passing Salafi might decide to poke his nose in.

24 February, 2010 03:17  

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