(CNN) — A runaway teen who said her father threatened to kill her for converting from Islam to Christianity will be returned to Ohio once her immigration status has been clarified, a Florida judge ruled Tuesday.
Rifqa Bary, 17, says a mosque told her family to “deal with the situation” of her Christian conversion.
The ruling was a victory for parents Mohamed and Aysha Bary, who had requested that their daughter’s custody be transferred to Ohio while other issues in the case are settled. The teen’s attorney, John Stemburger, who leads a Christian advocacy organization, opposed the move.
Seventeen-year-old Rifqa Bary left her family in Columbus, Ohio, in July and took refuge in the home of a minister in Orlando, Florida. The girl was later moved into foster care after she said in an affidavit that her Muslim father had threatened her after finding out about her conversion. Her father has denied the allegation.
In Tuesday’s ruling, Judge Daniel Dawson said it was in Bary’s best interest for her emergency custody continue in Ohio.
The transfer will not happen until the teen’s immigration status is determined, however, the judge said.
Attorneys for the parents, who are from Sri Lanka, said required immigration documents will be submitted to the court within two weeks. A status hearing has been set for October 23 in case the paperwork has not been filed.
The ruling follows months of legal wrangling, including the affidavit from the teenager claiming that her father was pressured by the family’s mosque in Ohio to “deal with the situation,” referring to her conversion. In an earlier court filing, Rifqa Bary alleged that her father said, “If you have this Jesus in your heart, you are dead to me!” The teenager claims her father added, “I will kill you!” Mohamed Bary, 47, has denied the accusations.
An old Marine buddy of mine used to say “there’s something not quite clear about the milk yet” similar to the famous “clear as mud” commentary often stated to explain situations where something just seems a little too good to be true. That’s exactly how I felt when news of this story started making it’s rounds a month ago or so on the “conservative” and/or “Christian” blogs and message boards. I said it then on some of these boards and I say it now, it’s a shame that in it’s war against Muslims and Islam that certain elements within the so-called “evangelical”, “conservative”, “Christian”, community would use a child to further their agenda in this way.
I’m convinced we are yet to get to the bottom of this story, but with a critical eye, it appears to me that this teen was lured by these “ministers” online through facebook and then aided/persuaded possibly to runaway from home to their “protection” in Florida. Now some may ask why couldn’t exactly as reported? Some may even state that I’m just taking the parents side because they are Muslim. To those questions I would like to state that if this father did in fact threaten to kill his daughter than I pray that he is indeed locked away and this child protected. I can in no way condone this behavior as it is unIslamic (contrary to the propaganda out there). My suspicions arise out of the way it was done. If this had been any other group who lured a teen into running away from home across America to be with strange adults, these “ministers” would have been locked up. However, once you through in “Christianity” against the “evil” Islam, the rules are bent and of course the Muslims are guilty until proven innocent while no one bats an eye at the actions of these “Christians”. When have we ever tolerated luring minors away from home in this manner in our legal system?
The whole thing just seems odd to me. They helped fund this operation to seek this minor away from her home and even had their very own legal team ready upon her arrival. If this entire thing is legit, why were they at the ready to parade this child through the “Christian” gauntlet ready to use her and her “plight” as much as possible to encourage the “faithful” and rally them to further “expose” the “enemy” Islam?
I know Christians, I have lived with them all my life, I enjoy their company, family ties, and services on occasion. Those Christians I know and love, if they truly felt they were acting in this teens best interest would have gone to Ohio and set up shop there discretely and to the best of their ability worked within the law and even with the parents as concerned members in the body of Christ. I couldn’t imagine them parading this girl around as a token example in their “war” on television, radio, and church meetings. None outside the concerned would even know.
This is yet another reason, why the whole thing wreaks of a propaganda game using this child to gain exposure. It’s disgusting and I pray that the law looks into this angle as well as discussions of this child’s welfare is brought up. If my soon to be teenage son for some crazy teen reason decided to convert to Christianity, God forbid, I would be blood curdling angry, I may even say a few choice words in my anger (possibly) and if I threatened him I would get what I deserved for not controlling my loose and crazy tongue, however, more likely than not, I would still love him no less and move on as a good parent should when their child makes decisions they don’t like. However, I would be even angrier if I knew some random group had not only influenced my child’s decision but also orchestrated sneaking my child out of my house across state lines into their “protection” I would want to see nothing less than this group being put behind bars. It would be one thing that my child made a decision that I didn’t agree with (as all children will do at some point) but it would be an entirely different matter if I found out that my child was influenced and manipulated by strangers and coerced the entire time and then used as a tool as propaganda not only against me but against my entire faith group!
It’s just sickening when you think of it as a parent. Imagine if the roles were reversed. Imagine if your “typical” southern, white, conservative, evangelical, christian had doubts about the religion they were raised in, met a Muslim group on facebook, decided to convert to Islam in secret, and then was aided by an Imam in said group to runaway from home to another state lets say Illinois 🙂 and “protected” by a local Mosque in Chicago. Could you imagine the outrage? Could you imagine not only what would be said or have been rumored to be said? Oh my God it would be a national crisis!
In the end, I pray for the physical and mental safety of this child. The game that is being played by these “christians” is saddening at best an affront to human decency. They can pretend that they are playing the role of the “good Samaritan” however, as their very own scripture will note, the Samaritan was not of those who claim to follow a religious tradition, he was a stranger who wouldn’t indulge in the foolishness in religious communities that would exploit the weak and the helpless or outright ignore them unless there was something to gain, the good Samaritan came to uplift and aid these people because it was the right thing to do. There should be a lesson in all this for those who would use reason.
Exploitation of children should be a crime regardless of the religious implications and sensibilities. This child is a minor, yet she has been paraded around by these “christians” for one reason only: To Bash Islam and Muslims in general. Stand by and wait for the book, movie deals, and speaking engagements as her “harrowing” story is recounted as she is made to look like a saint for seeking Jesus (as) leaving the “cult” of her family, the “evil” Islam. They may even compare her to the hemorrhaging woman who touched the hem of Jesus (as) garment! Watch how these “ministers” and their group are elevated to hero status by supporting her, so that everyone in the flock, supporters, and well wishers can feel a little bit better by looking like religious zealots playing with Christ to gain notoriety and a buck in their string-pulled “war” against a made up enemy.
Pray for this child…she will need it