The story of Rifqa Bary, a convert from Islam to Christianity who fled her Muslim father’s deadly wrath, is well known. The story is far from over. Rifqa’s life hangs in the balance.
The Rifqa story started when this 17 year old fled her parents’ home in Columbus, Ohio to seek shelter with a Christian family in Florida. She testified that her father had threatened her with death for her apostasy, for the dishonor she had brought to their Muslim family.
The Florida court took jurisdiction and held hearings. All parties got lawyers. Rifqa’s parents denied they had threatened their daughter and sought family reunification. Florida child protective officials met with counterparts in Ohio. These officials found that there was nothing wrong with this normal, Muslim family. The father had a good job as a jeweler and loved his daughter and just wanted her back home.
One of the troubling questions that arose in the Florida court concerned the immigration status of the family, who admitted they were all natives of Sri Lanka. Questioned under oath in the Florida hearing, Rifqa’s father failed to produce documentation that the family was legally in the United States.
After repeatedly promising, and not producing any immigration documentation, the Florida judge issued a criminal contempt of court complaint against the Bary couple. That order gave the judge grounds to keep Rifqa in a foster home in Florida, and appoint Krista Bartholomew as her Guardian Ad Litem (GAL).
The GAL reviewed the case. She found that Rifqa would turn 18 on August 10, 2010 and be emancipated on that date. What to do in the meantime?
The lawyers for Rifqa and her family agreed on a deal and presented it to the GAL. Rifqa would return to Ohio as a ward of that state and be assigned to a foster home until she was 18. In return, Florida would drop the criminal contempt of court charges.
This week, while most of the media had dropped this story thinking it was over, things got really nasty for Rifqa.
As Rifqa was transported back to Ohio, the father’s Muslim attorney asked the GAL to consider dropping the contempt charge. This was a crucial tactical move. Florida had assumed emergency jurisdiction over this teen runaway in July. But once she arrived back in Ohio, that state assumed jurisdiction and the Florida court lost jurisdiction and the criminal charge against Rifqa’s father was dropped.
In Florida, Rifqa had filed a civil suit against her parents, providing yet another ground for the Florida court to continue to keep Rifqa in a foster home.
This past week, Rifqa was placed in a foster home in Ohio. But Rifqa has no civil suit against her parents in Ohio and, with the dropping of the criminal charge in Florida, there may be no grounds in Ohio to keep the parents from demanding their daughter back.
The Bary parents have filed an “incorrigible child” case against Rifqa in Ohio. This case could result in a court ordered “counseling” which, under Ohio law encouraging family reunification, could lead to Rifqa ordered to return to her parents.
The new, Muslim lawyers in the case, reportedly linked to CAIR (Council on Islamic-American Relations), have determined to work American law designed to protect children from abusive parents to confirm the father’s right to punish his daughter according to Sharia Law for her apostasy.
If Rifqa is ordered to return to her father’s house, will these (illegal?) immigrants flee to Sri Lanka, taking Rifqa with them to be killed for her apostasy? This story is about saving Rifqa and also about the imposition of Sharia Law in the United States. And it’s not over.
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