Rifqa Bary In Solitary Confinement

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?