The Fate of Rifqa Bary

Fathima Rifqa Bary may not be a household name to most Americans, but she may soon be the international symbol of society’s willful blindness to the dangers of Islamic radicalism already present.

Bary, a seventeen year-old high school student who previously lived in the Columbus, Ohio area, is of Sri Lankan decent and was raised in a Muslim home with her family in Ohio.  Over the last few years, Rifqa, as she is known among friends, was introduced to and chose to secretly convert to Christianity.  

During this summer, she saw growing threats to her safety developing within her family and within the local Muslim community of Columbus, and she fled Ohio to Florida, taking refuge with a pastor and his wife.  Rifqa Bary is a minor who continues to reside in Florida following the ruling of a Florida judge until further investigations can be conducted.  

This case has become a significant matter for both Ohio and Florida officials who are required to uphold the law and promote justice within the legal systems of the respective states.  In doing so, all parties involved are required to take an unconstrained look at the facts of the matter in order to make objective and lawful decisions about the fate of this young American girl.  

The facts are these:  (1) Rifqa Bary left Islam and converted to Christianity; (2) Ms. Bary has provided statements to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE)  that her parents and others have threatened her life because she left Islam; (3) Ms. Bary claims there are requirements in Islamic Law calling for her killing as an apostate; (4) a due diligence search reveals authoritative English translations of Islamic Law are available to investigators seeking to review  it; (5) a review of Islamic Law reveals there are requirements and rules as to how apostates from Islam are to be dealt with (for instance, see The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, "Umdat al-Salik" also known as "Reliance of the Traveller" — publicly available in English); and (6) Rifqa Bary’s parents appear to adhere to Islamic Law — which is considered the “law of the land” in Islamic communities.   

An objective and fact-based analysis of this information logically and necessarily will lead to the conclusion that further investigation into this matter is required.  However, no such reviews or investigations have been conducted to date into the facts of the matter as described above.  Since these facts are ascertainable and knowable, the question must be asked: “Why do law enforcement entities and prosecutors in Florida not understand this?”

Have they, and we as a society, lost the ability to take an unconstrained look at objective facts and make decisions based on these facts?

Rifqa Bary’s parents directly told FDLE officials investigating the threat allegations there are no provisions in Islamic Law for “honor killings” for apostasy.  This statement seems to have been taken at face value without a due diligence effort to discover the knowable facts about this matter.  

The issues of “honor killings” and apostates — those who leave Islam — are discussed in detail within Islamic Law, and are two different subjects that should not be confused.  While it appears the phrase “honor killing” has been most prevalent in media and web reports on this matter, Rifqa Bary’s issue revolves around her decision to leave Islam, which has now been publicly declared — making her an apostate under Islamic Law, which prescribes the penalty of death.  “Honor killings” — a different Islamic concept — applies to the public misbehavior of women.  So Bary’s family is correct: there are no “honor killings” of apostates: their death penalty is separately imposed and automatically so.

Further complicating this matter is the fact that the Executive Director of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)-Columbus (Ohio) and the Staff Attorney for CAIR were present during the interview of Mr. Bary by FDLE Investigators.  This raises serious questions since the FDLE report was silent on the fact that CAIR is a known Muslim Brotherhood entity and an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism financing trial in U.S. history – the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) trial, which proved HLF is a Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood front in the United States.  The Muslim Brotherhood’s (MB) creed is  "Allah is our goal; the Messenger is our guide: the Koran is our constitution; Jihad is our means; and martyrdom in the way of Allah is our highest inspiration," and their stated objective in America is a "Civilization-Jihad" to destroy the United States from within in order to implement Islamic Law here.

All of these material facts are relevant for two critical reasons.  First, they should be made known to all officials involved in this case as a matter of course. Secondly, it raises the question as to why law enforcement officials would allow the CAIR officials into the interview at all, in light of the fact they represent an organization objectively known to be hostile towards to the United States and unindicted co-conspirators in the largest terrorism financing trial in U.S. history.  A review of the Muslim Brotherhood writings and approved Islamic legal texts also reveals the MB has strong positions on how apostates from Islam should be dealt with, and the requirements of Islam in these matters.  

Apostasy is specifically addressed in Peace and the Limits of War, written by Louay Safi, the Executive Director of the Islamic Society of North America’s (ISNA) Leadership Development Council.  ISNA is a known Muslim Brotherhood entity and is an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism financing trial in U.S. history – HLF.  Safi is also the former Executive Director of IIIT (Malaysia) and the Association of Muslim Social Scientists — both known Muslim Brotherhood entities.   The book was published by IIIT and was approved by the Secretary General  of ISNA.  In it, Mr. Safi notes that individual apostates cannot be killed for a "quiet desertion of personal Islamic duties," but can be put to death as "just punishment" when the apostate deserts Islam publicly (p. 31).

As a matter of professional responsibility, anyone investigating this matter must seek out and understand these facts, and must remain open-minded in conducting an unconstrained analysis of these facts.  That is the professional responsibility of all men and women who are charged with the duties within the ranks of law enforcement, as well as those charged with prosecuting violations of U.S. and state law.  We take an oath to the Constitution which binds us to these duties, and we must be faithful to this oath.  Truth must prevail.