Thursday, December 10, 2009

Rifqa Refuses Parents – Seeks Emancipation

John R. Houk
© December 10, 2009

Do you recall the story of Rifqa Bary?

In short: Rifqa converted to Christianity around age 14 or 15. Rifqa’s discovered her conversion away from Islam at about age 16. Rifqa’s father became violently upset with his daughter so she fled to a Church in Florida. She had communication with the Florida Church via Facebook which enabled her to feel safe from her father in Ohio. The Florida and Ohio Court system did not discover a threat from Rifqa’s father so she was forced to return to Ohio. The last post I made of Rifqa’s plight at SlantRight is entitled, “Rifqa Bary: Does America Prefer She Just Die?

Commenter Jim Phelan sent this random notification concerning a rally Rifqa Bary on December 22, 2009:

    December 22 Rally for Rifqa Bary DORRIAN COMMONS PARK, ACROSS THE STREET FROM FRANKLIN COUNTY JUVENILE COURT 11AM - 2PM, December 22 Franklin County courthouse, Franklin County juvenile court,4th floor 373 S. High Street; Columbus, Ohio 43215 Source:

When I went to the website for confirmation on Jim’s information I failed to find the information. I felt there had to be some confirmation some place so I checked out the Rifqa Bary website which is kind of tracking her journey. I discovered a link to Pam Geller’s Atlas Shrugs who seems to be the premier person keeping Rifqa’s plight in the public eye as well as diffusing the seeming pro-dad version of events. Here is a detailed description of the Rifqa Bary rally to be held in Columbus, Ohio:



    11AM - 2PM
    Franklin County courthouse
    Franklin County juvenile court
    4th floor
    373 S. High street
    Columbus, Ohio 43215
    Simon Deng
    Ex-Slave Sudan
    Babu Suseelan
    The Indian Experience with Jihad
    Jamal Jivanajee
    Pastor, Fellow Apostate and Rifqa's friend
    Geller, Spencer, Bostom


    Directions to the Franklin County Courthouse & Rally: Franklin County Juvenile Court, 373 South High Street, Columbus (Ohio).

    Rally Site. The Rally will be held at the Dorrian Commons Park, lying East and immediately adjacent to the Franklin County Courthouse, where Rifqa Bary’s Juvenile Court Hearings will be held later in the day. For those wishing to attend that public hearing, assuming room in the Courtroom, hearings are scheduled to begin at __.__ _.m.

    Courthouse Address. The Franklin County Courthouse is located at 373 South High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215.

    By Automobile. The Franklin County Courthouse lies just East of the intersection of Interstate highways I-70 and I-71, off of exit 100A on I-70 (near the confluence of the Scioto and Olentangy Rivers). Exit the freeway North, just a block until W. Mound Street, and turn East, to your right onto W. Mound. Drive East on W. Mound for just 4 blocks until you reach South High Street. Turn South, to your right, and you will see the Courthouse and rally site.

    High Street, by the way, is the dividing line between E. & W. Columbus, so don’t be alarmed if you see streets with E. & W. designations: things are literally just “across the street” from each other, in relation to all of the events described herein.

    Event Parking. The Courthouse is served by several large parking lots immediately to the North across W. Mound Street. The parking lot is bound on the West by S. Front Street, to the North by Main Street (which appears to be Ohio Highway 62), and to the East by S. High Street, upon which the Franklin County Courthouse fronts.

    Another major parking lot lies to the North of the event, north and south between E. Main Street and E. Rich Street, and east and west on South High and South 3rd.

    Hotel Accommodations. Here's a link to help you look for travel accommodations. Less than a block North of the Courthouse, and immediately to the South of the large parking lot described above, there is the Westin Columbus Hotel on the Southeast corner of the intersection of South High and East Main.

    By Air. Port Columbus International Airport (CMH) is just 6 or 7 miles Northeast of downtown. At the link below, the map also has off to the left margin an interactive service for securing flights in and out of Port Columbus.

It appears the Rifqa Bary rally serves two purposes: 1. an education on the nature of Islam. 2. Garner support for emancipating Rifqa since the dates corresponds to a Court date for that purpose. Rifqa becomes 18 on August 10, 2010.

Rifqa Bary’s website links to an AP release posted in the Columbus Dispatch dated December 1, 2010. The article starts out neutral but finishes giving a pro-dad version.

    Plan says runaway teen convert and family should talk

    By Andrew Welsh-Huggins
    Tuesday, December 1, 2009 11:52 AM
    Updated: Tuesday, December 1, 2009 01:05 PM
    Columbus Dispatch

    COLUMBUS -- A runaway Christian convert and her Muslim family must listen to each other's views about religion if they are to reunite, a possibility that appears in jeopardy since the girl continues to refuse any contact with her parents or siblings, a caseworker says.

    A case-management plan filed yesterday said Rifqa Bary and her parents should hear what each has to say about Islam and Christianity as a step toward a possible reunification. But the plan, written by a government caseworker, also said "severe differences" exist between the 17-year-old girl and her parents over what led Rifqa to run away to Florida over the summer.

    The girl has said she feared her father would harm or kill her for leaving Islam. Her father has denied the claim.

    "Parents concern is that Rifqa has a false perception of their religious beliefs and that her understanding creates a barrier to reunification," wrote Margaret Shirk, a Franklin County Children Services Board caseworker. "Rifqa's concern is that her parents do not understand her practice of Christianity."

    Bary's parents, Mohamed and Aysha Bary, agree with their daughter being in foster care for the moment, but are concerned about her and would like a family relationship with her again, according to the plan.

    Shirk's plan says Rifqa Bary has made it clear she wants no contact with her parents or her brothers. The girl talked to her brothers on the phone while she was in Florida but since then decided she wants no contact with them either, the plan said.

    "Rifqa has been insistent about not having any contact with her parents and now with her siblings for what she has expressed for healing purposes," the plan said. "Rifqa continues to express fear about returning home."

    The plan also calls for finding other relatives or nonrelatives that Rifqa could be placed with if reunification with her parents isn't a possibility. The goal is to bring them together by Aug. 10, when the girl turns 18, after which she would be on her own and could leave foster care.

    The girl's family is originally from Sri Lanka and emigrated in 2000 to seek medical help for Rifqa, who had lost sight in her right eye when she fell and struck a toy airplane at home.

    Rifqa disappeared July 19 and apparently stayed with friends of a minister she knew in Columbus for two days, according to court documents.

    The minister, Brian Williams, drove Rifqa to the Columbus bus station, where she took a bus to Florida and was met by "Christian associates" she met on Facebook, according to an Oct. 15 complaint filed by her father seeking her return from Florida.

    Police used phone and computer records to track the girl to the Rev. Blake Lorenz, pastor of Orlando, Fla.-based Global Revolution Church. Authorities said the teen had met him through an online Facebook prayer group.

    A Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation found no credible threats to the girl.

Here is an article also dated December 1 by Pam Geller posted at Human Events that gives a better picture of Rifqa’s plight:

    Rifqa Bary In Solitary Confinement

    By Pamela Geller
    Human Events

    The vise is tightening further on Rifqa Bary, the teenage girl who converted to Christianity from Islam and then fled to Florida from her Ohio home in fear for her life. Now she is in foster care in Ohio, in imminent danger of being returned to her family, and the Ohio authorities, at the command of the Barys’ lawyer, continue to isolate her.

    Rifqa Bary has been in Ohio for well over a month and still there is no “approved visitation” list of friends who are allowed to see her. How can this be? How can it be that friends who request a visit, and whom Rifqa requests to visit, are repeatedly told that “there is no approved visitation list”? Is it not the very mission by objective of children’s services to protect the health and welfare of a child? Why has this one child in particular been denied visits from friends?

    Rifqa has also been deprived of access to the phone and Internet. She has also been denied “pastoral guidance.” Convicts, murderers, rapists, and pedophiles all have access to “pastoral guidance.” Rifqa’s close friend and fellow ex-Muslim, Christian pastor Jamal Jivanjee, explains: “If you are incarcerated in an American prison today, you have the right to have a visit from a Pastor. Rifqa Bary does not have this most basic right that most criminals have today.” Is that how powerful and influential Islamic supremacists have become in the state of Ohio -- that one young girl is starved of spiritual nourishment so as not to insult Islam?

    Jivanjee experienced this firsthand when he was in Columbus and learned that Rifqa wanted to see him. Jivanjee notes that this young girl is under unique pressure: “Unlike most girls her age, Rifqa wonders how long she’ll be in a safe home, or how long before the Ohio court system extradites her back to her parents custody that she fled from out of fear for her life. Many expect that she’ll be taken back to Sri Lanka immediately if that is the case. Because of Rifqa’s apostasy from Islam and conversion to Christianity, a woman’s prison, forced marriage, or even a death sentence await her back in her native land.” Yet despite her obvious need for encouragement and support, Rifqa was denied the opportunity to see Jivanjee. “It seems,” he said, “that Ohio has effectively put her into solitary confinement.”

    Jivanjee asks the basic questions that every American should be asking: “How can this be good for Rifqa? On what grounds can they keep her from the most basic of privileges that are afforded to common criminals? Why has Rifqa Bary been in Ohio for almost one month, and they have still yet to approve a visitor’s list for her? Is this not an outrage?”

    Has everyone gone mad?

    No phone. No net. No friends. No religious succor.

    This is why I so fiercely fought her return to Ohio. Columbus, Ohio, is home to one of the largest Somali Muslim populations in the United States: 70,000 and growing. This is the group, Somali Muslims, that has been at the epicenter of myriad busts for jihad activity in recent weeks. Is Rifqa safe in this devout Muslim community?

    Ohio Governor Ted Strickland thinks so. Strickland issued a statement back on September 14th, on why Rifqa Bary should be returned to Ohio: “Child welfare agencies and authorities in Ohio and Franklin County are fully capable of providing for the security and well-being of Ohio’s children. The governor believes this is a family matter and therefore would most appropriately be handled here in Ohio with the assistance of the child welfare and foster care system.” He concluded: “We have no reason to believe that she would be unsafe in Ohio.”

    Yet Ohio child services continues to earn its infamous reputation as one of the country’s worst places for children in foster care. The Columbus Dispatch reported in December 2008 that “an alarming number of children being watched by child services because they were at risk have died of abuse and criminal neglect, twice the national average (having a national average for such deaths is deplorable in itself).”

    Even worse, investigative reporter Patrick Poole has recently discovered that the imam of Rifqa’s parents’ mosque, Salah Sultan, led a Hajj trip to Mecca in 2002 with Anwar al-Awlaki, the jihadist imam with whom Fort Hood murderer Nidal Hasan was in close contact.

    Rifqa: isolated, alone, and in danger of being returned to Islamic jihadists who believe apostates from Islam should be killed.

    What has happened to America?

Don’t forget Rifqa Bary! If you are able to attend the Columbus, Ohio rally for Rifqa attend. If not, Rifqa’s website provides an address to send a Christmas card to let her know she has supporters and that she is not alone.

1 comment:

  1. I think the court date is for declaring Rifqa "unruly" -- sort of a juvenile delinquent -- per the request of her parents. I do not think Ohio laws allow the emancipation of Rifqa.