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Support grows for teen girl who fled Islam

Fathima Rifqa Bary, 17 (Facebook photo)

On the day an Ohio judge could decide the fate of a Christian teenager who fled her Muslim family – out of fear of becoming the victim of an “honor killing” – her supporters plan on being right outside, rallying for her cause.

Popular blogger Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs is spearheading the Rally for Rifqa’s November 16th, inviting others to come on that date and “stand with this girl,” Rifqa Bary, who Geller says “represents America in the fight against encroaching Shariah law.”

“It’s not just Rifqa’s battle,” Geller said in an interview with Frontpage Magazine editor and author of “United in Hate,” Jamie Glazov. “She is our proxy in the battle for freedom of religion and individual rights. Rifqa Bary’s case is the landmark case in the civil rights battle of this new century.”

As WND reported, Fathima Rifqa Bary, 17, an honor student and cheerleader, was raised in a Muslim family in Columbus, Ohio. She became a Christian as a result of her interactions with children at school.

On July 19, Bary, a native of Sri Lanka, hitchhiked to a bus station and ran away, eventually arriving in Florida, because she says her family will murder her in what is known as an honor killing. In Islamic tradition, an honor killing is the customary slaughter of a person who is believed to have brought dishonor upon his or her family.

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Despite claims that she was beaten and threatened by her Muslim father, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement found “no clear evidence of criminal activity,” and a Florida judge ordered her returned to Ohio, where she has remained in foster care pending her Nov. 16 dependency hearing before the Franklin County Juvenile Court in Columbus.

Asked why she ran away, Bary said, “I was threatened by my dad. When my dad found out – I had a Facebook, that’s how he found out – and phone calls from the Muslim community started coming in with e-mails that confronted me. And I had a laptop and he took that laptop and waved it in the air, and he was about to beat me with it, and he said, ‘If you have this Jesus in your heart, you’re dead to me. You’re not my daughter.’ And I refused to speak but he said, ‘I will kill you. Tell me the truth.’ In these words, bad words, cuss words. So I knew that I had to get away.”

Her father, Mohamed Bary, has denied the accusations.

Currently, under foster care in Ohio, the girl’s phone and Internet usage has been supervised by the Franklin County Children Service Agency under a judge’s order.

The Associated Press reports the children’s services agency blamed Bary’s use of Facebook for her troubles, saying she fled to Orlando, Fla., after talking to Florida pastor Blake Lorenz of Global Revolution Church through the popular social network site.

“What we want to restrict is the other people, the other organizations, the other forces, that have interjected themselves into this case inappropriately, and has caused the additional problems that we’ve seen,” said Jim Zorn, a children’s services attorney.

But Geller objects to the restrictions, claiming the state is effectively enforcing Muslim punishment on a wayward child.

“Rifqa Bary’s civil rights are being violated,” Geller said in her interview with Glazov. “She is being held prisoner: no phone, no Internet, no public school. Why? What is her crime? She is being held under house arrest in accord with Shariah law, which stipulates that female apostates are to be imprisoned until they recant. Ohio is effectively practicing Shariah law.”

Geller, who has been following the case closely on her website, reported earlier, “Clash of human systems. That’s what we have here. Shariah law vs. rule of law.”

“While countries around the world (like the U.K. and Italy) are moving to protect the innocents in cases like these, people around the U.S. (including the Governor Strickland of Ohio) want to turn the perpetrators into the victims in the name of political correctness,” she wrote. “Rifqa may be prepared to be a martyr for Jesus but not for someone’s re-election campaign.”

Jamal Jivanjee, an Ohio pastor who knew of the teen’s conversion to Christianity from Islam in the face of opposition from her family, also wrote on Geller’s website, pleading for protection for the teenager:

I come to you with a heavy heart regarding my friend Rifqa Bary. As you might be aware, Rifqa has endured much hardship in her life, and was raised in a strict Muslim family. Growing up in this environment, she knew the cost she was facing when she became a follower of Jesus Christ four years ago and entered the kingdom of God. Up until just a few months ago, she lived the Christian life in secrecy from her parents. She literally survived, and actually thrived, in her love and devotion to Jesus by meditating on Scripture and praying in the middle of the night so that her family would not catch her.

As you may know, Rifqa’s parents discovered that she was a Christian and her worst fear came true. In addition to threats of physical violence and death, Rifqa’s parents threatened to take her back to Sri Lanka and place her in an asylum to ‘convince’ her to convert back to Islam because apostasy in Islam is a very serious offense, and brings shame on the family.

Jivanjee is scheduled to appear at The Rally for Rifqa’s November 16th, which will be held at the Dorrian Commons Park, immediately adjacent to the Franklin County Courthouse at 373 S. High St., Columbus, Ohio.

The day’s events, which are still at a time to be determined, are being organized in cooperation with Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch, and Dr. Andrew Bostom, former Muslim and author of “The Legacy of Jihad.” Geller has announced speakers are scheduled and appearances planned by Simon Deng, an ex-slave from Sudan; Nonie Darwish, executive director of Former Muslims United; James Lafferty, chairman of the Virginia Anti-Shariah Task Force; Joyce Kaufman, radio talk show host; Jivanjee, and others.