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Fairfield County Weekly: Fathima Rifqa Bary Case Doesn’t Add Up

Fathima Rifqa Bary

There is a great editorial in the Fairfield County Weekly that highlights some of the obfuscation and outright prejudice that has resulted from the Fathima Rifqa Bary case. The girl who ran away from her house in Ohio and joined a Christian pastor’s family in Florida and is now being held in foster care until a judge can ascertain whether or not she should be returned home. She has made serious allegations against her family that they will kill her if she is returned to them.

The article points out some logical fallacies that many in the right wing propaganda media have been perpetuating such as the one from loony blogger Pamela Geller who says that according to a secret “source” of hers, she knows that Fathima’s father has forced her to wear hijab. How does this jibe with the fact that her father also allowed her to be a cheerleader? Or the fact that there isn’t one picture of her on the internet when she is with family or not where she is wearing a hijab?

You Don’t Have to Act like a Refugee

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Comments (2),

Rifqa Bary says that if she’s sent back to Ohio her father Mohamed will kill her. The 17-year-old, whose family immigrated from Sri Lanka, says she converted to Christianity from Islam four years ago, having picked up the religion from friends at school where she’s an honors student and cheerleader. This led to four years of beatings from her father and brothers, according the right-wing blogs salivating over Rifqa’s story.

“Beatings were random, violent, unprovoked,” writes Pamela Geller, the “citizen journalist, citizen soldier” who runs the site Atlas Shrugs. “Take, for example, when Rifqa and her father Mohammad [sic] were driving in the car. He would force her to wear the hijab, 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.” Finally, her father told her he’d kill her for shaming the family, the teen says.

So Rifqa met a husband-and-wife Christian ministry team on Facebook, ran away from home and rode a Greyhound to their doorstep. Luckily, they live in Florida, a state where no dispute can ever be handled quickly or sensibly. (Elián González, Terry Schiavo, the 2000 recount.) She is now in foster care and a Florida juvenile court is deciding whether or not to send her back to Ohio.

Newsmax, WorldNetDaily and other conservative news sources have dedicated a lot of bandwidth to this story. Faux News is the most reliable national news source to more than glimpse at it, and only the Columbus Dispatch and Orlando Sentinel are dealing out real information.

This may be why no one has realized this story is full of holes. (Most of these people haven’t even noticed the Book of Genesis is full of holes.)

Mohamed Bary, a jeweler, beats his daughter for being embarrassed at wearing a hijab but also lets her prance around in a cheerleading uniform before a crowd every Friday night? We’ve never even seen a picture of Rifqa Bary in a hijab; in the myriad pictures floating around the Internet, she’s in typical Gap-ish clothing. She also had very unrestricted Facebook access for someone living in tyranny. She says she was at the bottom of a family dogpile for four years, but neither school officials in Ohio or the DCF agents in Florida have found as much as a bruise. The chief of the Columbus police missing persons bureau said Mr. Bary “comes across to me a loving, caring, worried father about the whereabouts and the health of his daughter.”

Christian crusaders haven’t dug up any dirt on Mr. Bary. They note a radical cleric and members of a terrorist cell have passed through Columbus area mosques and that a similar “honor killing” happened in Dallas — in other words, They’re all the same! They cite not the Koran but interpretations of Islamic law saying Bary would have to kill his daughter. Good thing she is not coming back to a family of Christians; their holy book says rebellious teens should be stoned (Deut. 21:18-21).

Clearly, this is not about Mohamed Bary; it’s about Islam and continuing irrational prejudice against it.

Rifqa Bary may not be lying exactly — the repressed memory fad proved confused people can come to believe terrible things about their families — but her story only adds up if you assume all Muslim men are secretly savages sworn to kill the infidel.

This is how the rabid right operates. Disregarding evidence or common sense, they follow the story line that makes sense to them — be it that Democrats are overhauling health care to implement “death panels” or that an ethnically complicated liberal in the White House must be a Kenyan citizen at the heart of a Dan Brown–sized conspiracy.

Here’s where this kind of thinking (of lack thereof) can lead us: The law-abiding Bary family is worried, reunion or no, it may have to return to Sri Lanka because of all the negative attention. So because of right-wing paranoia, a family may actually leave the U.S. because of religious persecution.

I wonder if Pamela Geller or her friends Sheikyermami and Robert Spencer have an answer to this?

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  • seena

    i think the girl was probably saying the truth otherwise which girl would lie about their family and try yo run away…rather it says to kill or not…that shudn’t be allowed to do so…its like a crime..taking away someone’s life no one has that right besides god…and family always lie just so the reputation doesn’t go down according to the muslims society..but the not muslims/islamic are like this…there is a difference between each type muslims they fall in many different catogry!!!..look at a point of view of a muslims girls to know what happens to them with living in a muslim family!!

  • Danios

    This is an excellent article by Fairfield County Weekly.

  • raird

    You gotta larf! A leftist retarded LOON overseering a kool-aid loon website.

    You look a damn fool from where I sit.

    At least those of whom YOU (the loony anon one) so often condemn and denigrate (you waste of space) have the guts to NOT hide behind an anonymous website, like yourself.

    It is so easy being all brave and denigrating behind your wall of anonymity, chicken. I reckon you would poo your pants if you were confronted in real life with all this dire crap you write, wimmpo! BOO!

  • Nissa

    Wow…please misconstrue another story completely to suit your own creepy purpose!
    Its not about honour killing…for it to have even been an honour killing someone from the boy’s family/clan/community would have had to do it.
    The story is about Moses and his quest for wisdom from Al-Khidr (a messenger, by some accounts Idris, another Prophet).
    He is not a mere man but on a mission from God, it doesn’t at any point suggest anyone has a right to kill anyone else…Also Moses is a Christian and Jewish Prophet whose actions have been criticised a lot…why not mention the passages relating to him in the Bible or Torah call for genocide?!! Because most people won’t jump to ‘I must kill’ when they read it and actually can read their Holy texts with an understanding of life then and now, or that many things are metaphors and allegories…

    How many Muslim experts do you know exactly? and no…you can’t abrogate verses in the Quran…it has primacy.

    Death for apostasy is one of those subjects that brings up issues about loyalty and fearing loss of control of the masses etc. so religious figures are more likely to be harsh in times of stress…but actually there is a difference of opinion (always has been) and most of the scholars I have actually taken the time to listen to when they lecture don’t agree with the death penalty for changing religion.

    Of course they must be lying because all Muslims lie, even when talking to a Muslim audience (we secretly communicate through decoder rings about killing infidels…oops, I let the secret out!)

  • Maturin


    There is a story in the Koran that is HONOR KILLING.Jack Ashton you are right.I hope Rifqa isn’t forced to go back,it is best and most moral to err on the side of caution.


    Moses is traveling with an excentric fellow in SURA 18.Read it all DrM.It is not too long.This man does a few excentric things in Moses’ presence.In SURA 18:74-81 he KILLS a LITTLE BOY,an innocent being.Moses PROTESTS.Later the excentric traveler JUSTIFIES his action by saying that in the FUTURE the child would be EVIL to his parents.


    So in the future the boy would be DISHONORABLE,bring shame on his parents.In essence it is an HONOR KILLING.


    Maybe you do not know this but MOST Muslim experts consider the famous “there is not compulsion in religion” verse in the Koran to have been ABROGATED.So that justifies death for changing religion.That is against HUMAN RIGHTS.And I know you are for human rights,as a liberal and libertarian,correct?

  • DrM

    Jack Ashton clearly is high on the kool aid. Show us the figures, big boy. There’s nothing Islamic about honor killings, ask the Hindus and Sikhs about that. It’s a crime of passion and possession. There are far more of non-Muslim Americans who commit “honor killings” eg. guy in Texas who killed and ate his girlfriend late last year, after she left him for another man. As for apostasy, quit lying already. Islam legislates the death penalty only when apostasy is linked to betraying the state eg. high treason, something which gets you face front with a firing squad in the good ol’ USA.
    Some evangelical nutjob comes out spouting rubbish and you disingenuous morons take the bait every time. Whats sickening is how these staged performances are being believed without any critical inquiry.

  • WDSF

    So true. The right-wing media outlets are skewing the facts.

  • jonahwasright

    The real sick thing is how the loon elements on the right are exploiting the living daylights out of this girl’s plight and making it into an apocalyptic clash of civilizations. They are projecting their feverish hatred and demonization of all things Muslim on Rifqa’s parents and the Ohio Muslim community. They could care less about the well being of Rifqa. If that was really the motivation they’d speak up for the well being of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian and Iraqi kids who face certain danger at the hands of Christian, Muslim, and Jew, but alas these kids are on the wrong side of their civilizational divide. Sick, sick, sick.

  • Emperor

    Such killings are horrific, but I don’t believe it is as prevalent as you imply nor is it pandemic or epidemic. The truth is most Muslims who convert do so without any threat to their lives. Take Indonesia for example where only 20 years ago the population was 95% Muslim and today is 85%. Also with the exceptions of Saudi Arabia and Iran, most Muslim countries do not legislate the death penalty for apostasy.

    Also honor killings are a cultural phenomena and occur amongst Christians and Jews as well. In America honor killings are known by a different name, “crimes of passion.” So it is hypocritical to point out Muslims or Islam as the driving force behind this. What really seems is that the Christian right is trying to play football with the lives of the Bary family and their daughter.

  • Jack Ashton

    Firstly, like it or not, honour killings and killings of apostates are carried out in Muslim communities throughout the world. It is part of the culture of these societies and it is part of Islam itself.

    Secondly, did you watch the video of Rifqa Bary. She was clearly terrified. Someone commented about what a good actress she is – that sickened me.

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