We have been keeping track of the Fathima Rifqa Bary case which the anti-Muslim blogsphere has invested a lot in; attempting to further their agenda of demonizing Islam and Muslims. The fact that they don’t care much about this young girl or her family is obvious, they just want to score points in their tireless crusade against Muslims.
It seems slowly but surely the case is being resolved and more and more facts are coming out. The anti-Muslim blogsphere lead by the wacky Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer have been casting the family as fanatical, abusive, wanting to kill their daughter. They have cast unsubstantiated allegations on the local Mosque in Columbus, Ohio saying it is a haven for terrorists, even when it has been proved a bastion of moderation.
Now Mike Kruse of the St. Petersburg Times reports that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) have reported that there is “no evidence whatsoever of alleged abuse or threats of death made by the girl’s parents.”
ORLANDO — The attorney for the mother of Ohio religious runaway Rifqa Bary said in court here Thursday that results of a critical investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement had come back “very favorable” and “with no evidence whatsoever” of alleged abuse or threats of death made by the girl’s parents.
Attorney Roger Weeden’s statement was the most contentious part of a hearing that was tense throughout. It came before the judge imposed gag orders in an attempt to restore some order to this controversial custody case turned culture war.
In addition to the gag order for the attorneys, Judge Daniel P. Dawson gave them 10 days to read the FDLE report — no more talking about that, either — and gave them 30 days to schedule the start of mediation for the Bary family.
“Let’s concentrate on getting this case resolved,” Dawson said. He set a pretrial hearing for Sept. 29.
Bary, 17, ran away last month from her family’s home near Columbus because she believes her Muslim parents have to kill her because of her conversion to Christianity. She traveled to Orlando by bus and stayed in the home of evangelical pastors Blake and Beverly Lorenz of the Global Revolution Church for more than two weeks before authorities knew where she was.
She’s been living with a Christian foster family since Aug. 10. At a hearing Aug. 21, Dawson, the judge, decided to keep her in Florida as custody issues get settled.
She was in court Thursday, wearing a brown sweater, a white dress and dark red nail polish. She said nothing, but did blow an occasional kiss to people she knew in the courtroom when she wasn’t reading her Bible.
The FDLE report was finished late Thursday morning. It includes a two-hour, 45-minute interview with Bary. The results of the report, based on what Weeden said in court, mirror the results of a recently completed abuse investigation done by Franklin County Children Services in Ohio. The conclusion up there: “unsubstantiated.”
Thursday, the state Department of Children Families asked that Bary no longer be allowed to visit with Blake and Beverly Lorenz. The judge agreed, although he let her continue to visit with the Lorenzes’ three children, who are in their 20s, and whom Bary considers “dear friends and spiritual advisers,” according to John Stemberger, her attorney.
In court, Krista Bartholomew, Bary’s guardian ad litem, said this case was “not a holy war,” but that’s what this has become over the last month.
Before the hearing on Thursday, outside in front of the courthouse, Tom Trento held a news conference, as he did before the first hearing. He’s from the Florida Security Council, an organization with the slogan of “Securing Florida Against Terror.” This time, though, he brought a pastor from Ohio and a pair of anti-Islam bloggers.
Jamal Jivanjee, the Ohio pastor, compared Rifqa Bary to Anne Frank, the Jewish girl who was killed by Nazis in World War II and whose diary became what many consider one of the most important books of the 20th century.
Robert Spencer, who writes on a blog called Jihad Watch, told reporters Islam was here to take over America. Pam Geller of the Atlas Shrugs blog dismissed the results of the Franklin County investigation by saying things were “corrupt in Ohio.”
“Forget your political correctness!” she said.
Muslim businessman Mohammad Lutfi of Orlando yelled that Trento, Spencer and Geller were “conservative, right-wing militants” and “crusaders.”
Later, after the hearing, the attorneys made hasty exists, citing the new gag order. They hurried past the TV trucks, the reporters, the cameras, the shouting, red-faced, finger-pointing scrum.
Out in the busy, rain-slicked street in front of the courthouse, an appropriate metaphor for the day: a silver sedan screeched, skidded and slammed into the back of a navy blue Jeep.
Michael Kruse can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8751.
One should thank Michael Kruse for his excellent reporting as well as accurately describing just who Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer are; true agenda driven fanatics with an immeasurable amount of hate for Islam and Muslims.