Fathima Rifqa Bary: Runaway Teen Fears Honor Killing (VIDEO)
Friday, August 21, 2009
By Andrea, posted in News
Fathima Rifqa Bary, a 17-year-old honor student and cheerleader who fled her family home in Ohio because she feared her family would murder her in what is known as “honor killing,” is at the center of a controversy sparking nationwide debate.
Honor killing, which occurs predominantly in Muslim countries, is the killing of a person believed to have brought dishonor upon his or her family.
Bary’s family moved to the United States from Sri Lanka to get her medical care after an accident left her blind in one eye. Rifqa, a Christian convert, left her Muslim parents’ home in July, seeking refuge with the Global Revolution Church in Florida. The teenager claims her father threatened her with honor killing after discovering she had been baptized.
According to sources, Rifqa was accompanied by friends to the counselor at the Columbus area middle school she attended, after beatings by her father and brother resulted in bruises covering her arms and legs.
“The middle school, in a serious dereliction of duty, did not report these beatings to child welfare services,” reports Pamela Geller on Atlas Shrugs. “Beatings were random, violent, unprovoked. Take, for example, when Rifqa and her father Mohamed were driving in the car. He would force her to wear the hijab (head covering), which she hated. In her discomfort she would slouch down, embarrassed, and her father would haul off and sock her in the face so that she never forgot to sit up straight in her costume. The beatings were regular and so much a part of the landscape of Rifqa’s life, she became inured to them …”
Rifqa contacted Blake and Beverly Lorenz, pastors of the Florida church whom she met on a Facebook prayer group. She then took a Greyhound bus to Orlando, seeking refuge with the couple.
The girl’s father, Mohamed Bary, denies her allegations, and claims the teen has been brainwashed by Lorenz, and has asked that the Florida courts send her home.
Bary’s father calls the Global Revolution Church a “cult” who kidnapped his daughter, and Pakistan Daily reported that Rifqa was pregnant and “into drugs, promiscuous behavior and raunchy messages on Facebook. She was discussing sex with multiple older married men. When the parents tried to control her behavior she refused to do so. On her return to the home she conjured up a story of conversion to Christianity. There are serious accusations against the church on holding a minor girl in custody against the will of her guardians and parents. How many more girls will the church kidnap?”
A Florida judge determined today that Rifqa will not be immediately returned to her parents’ home, as they wished. The judge set a hearing for September 3, at which time a dependency petition will be argued.
“What occurred today was an amazing victory for Rifqa and an amazing victory for religious liberty and freedom in America,” said John Stemberg, an attorney representing the teen.
“The court is going to allow at least for the time period, for Rifqa to stay in Florida and not be returned to her home in Ohio,” he said.
This story is sure to be a hotbed of controversy in the months to come — one we will be watching closely.
View video of Rifqa Bary and the media storm below.