Fathima Rifqa Bary, 17 (Facebook photo)
A Florida judge has concluded a 17-year-old girl who fled her Muslim family after she turned to Christianity, explaining she feared she would be the victim of an “honor killing,” should be returned to Ohio where her family lives.
Judge Daniel Dawson said Rifqa Bary can be returned to Ohio in the coming week or two after he reviews her immigration status in the U.S. and obtains verification that she can continue her virtual schooling from the state of Florida.
The results of today’s hearing in a courtroom in Florida, which was linked to a courtroom in Ohio, are that she likely will be placed in foster care in Ohio, where the family is expected to be given psychiatric evaluations.
Blogger Pamela Geller at Atlas Shrugs, who has been following the case closely, reported, “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.”
On the website, Jamal Jivanjee, an Ohio pastor who knew of the teen’s conversion to Christianity from Islam in the face of opposition from her family, had pleaded for protection for her.
“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 4 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.”
Investigators, however, have said they could document no physical threat to the teen, even though Geller posted screen captures of an alleged threat to the teen’s life that was available on the Internet.
“I have said from the very first that Rifqa Bary is the highest value target in America,” Geller wrote. “Apostasy is the most egregious crime against Islam. Her crime is not just against the family. It is against Islam.”
She cited a pro-Islamic site on Facebook where the terse threat “we need to kill her” appeared.
Robert Spencer, the terror expert who posts at JihadWatch.org, noted that as soon as Geller posted information about the threat, the Facebook site on which it appeared was taken down.
WND reported earlier that the Muslim parents are devout members of a mosque with ties to numerous terrorist leaders, according to reports from her attorney, John Stemberger, who spoke before a gag order was imposed.
Fathima Rifqa Bary, an honor student and cheerleader, was raised in a Muslim family in Columbus, Ohio. She became a Christian four years ago as a result of her interactions with children at school.
But Bary, a native of Sri Lanka, hitchhiked to a bus station and ran away from home July 19 because she says her family will murder her in what is known as an “honor killing” for converting to Christianity. In Islamic tradition, an honor killing is the killing of a person believed to have brought dishonor upon his or her family. The United Nations tabulates about 5,000 such “honor killings” annually around the world, and they have been documented even in the United States.
Bary’s attorney confirmed that the teen had been a victim of beatings at the hands of her father.
“Her father has slapped her with such force that it has knocked her over,” Stemberger said. “Her father asked her to wear the official headdress of Islam. Because she lowered her body down in the car so she couldn’t be seen, he punched her on the side of her face with great force because she was ashamed of that.”
The Christian teen turned to pastors Blake and Beverly Lorenz of Global Revolution Church in Orlando, Fla., whom she met through Facebook, but eventually was put in the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families.