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Former lawyer for Rifqa Bary could face sanctions

Fathima Rifqa Bary

Pamela Geller made the Rifqa Bary case her raison d’etre in 2009, but it died out with a whimper. Now her ex-lawyer could face sanctions for his Islamophobic tirades.

Former lawyer for Rifqa Bary could face sanctions


The former lawyer for an Ohio teenager who ran away to Florida after converting to Christianity could face sanctions from the Florida Supreme Court.

Now, his response to hearing that news is angering his former legal adversary.

John Stemberger, the Orlando attorney who had formerly represented Rifqa Bary, has been basically accused of slander in a misconduct complaint filed by the lawyer who represented Bary’s parents in Ohio when the case was removed from Florida.

That lawyer, Omar Tarazi, said Stemberger continued to go on television as Rifqa’s attorney, even though he had stopped representing her.

When The Associated Press reached Stemberger for comment on the complaint, he called it “a frivolous motion by a disgruntled opposing lawyer.”

The complaint came after Stemberger allegedly accused Tarazi of being paid by groups with terrorist ties, a claim the AP said was based solely on information from Facebook and a blog.

Stemberger then told an AP reporter: “Muslims in the U.S. have become a protected class that institutions are bending over backward to accommodate.”

“For him to pick on somebody, another lawyer who is Muslim, is unacceptable,” said Shayan Elahi, who represented Rifqa’s father in Orlando. “If anyone has issues with another attorney or another individual, they have a right to complain, and there is a process that’s followed. What should be avoided is getting personal about people’s religions.”

During Rifqa’s hearing in Orlando, Elahi recalled how Stemberger would repeatedly make statements he felt were insensitive of the Muslim religion.

“He never attacked non-Muslim lawyers who were representing the parents ever, and that’s a clear case of Islamophobia,” said Elahi.

The Bary family said there is still no resolution with their daughter, according to Elahi.

“They don’t know where she is,” he said. “They haven’t heard from her since she turned 18. They just hope she is doing well, wherever she is, and maybe at some point, they will reconcile.”

Rifqa Bary said she ran away to Florida because she feared her family would try to kill her for becoming a Christian.

Stemberger told the AP reporter he believes the complaint will ultimately be dismissed.

Possible penalties range from a reprimand to disbarment, but legal experts said the latter was highly unlikely.

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  • Defend the Prophet

    Omar Tarazi is a good man.

  • Pingback: Former lawyer for Rifqa Bary could face sanctions | Islamophobia Today eNewspaper()

  • AJ

    Pammy and Spency did their best to not let Rifqa reconcile with her parents. They did their best to oust Barys from USA and to keep Rifqa away from them. Now I hope that the fatso Spency and girlfriend Pammy don’t gobble up the money they got for Rifqa from the website they created for her. Somebody got to pay for college for her now that she is 18, right?? Hey Pammy and Spency you listening? Where’s your love and compassion and where’s the money?

  • marco

    Right about now, Pam Geller is probably shrieking about Litigation Jihad being waged against the champions of human rights and free speech like herself and Robert Spencer.

    Rifqa was a troubled girl with issues, and was further taken advantage of by that church and the pastor who filled her head with these lies. Menawhile Pam & co tried to portray them as devout radical muslim jihadis who want to murder her in the name of Allah because she left her religion, and yet not a single shred of evidence was ever found. So what do they do? Thats right, they start bitching about how the courts have capitulated to Shariah Law and they don’t know the situation like them.

    Its Jihad. Stupid.

  • Jack

    What swayed me was her father had pictures of her in her cheerleader-outfit and he proudly showed them to the press too. But all of a sudden we are to believe he’s going to kill his daughter for converting to Christianity? Yeah, that really makes sense.

    Plus, she was all hysterical: “They’re going to kill me. If they send me back, it’s a death sentence, because it’s their religion. They have to kill me.”, with some creepy pastor grasping her shoulder. It seemed a big cry for attention, like she wanted the spotlight so she could play the martyr.

  • Rosy

    @NassirH: Thanks – hope they succeed! It is unbelievable how these obscene people like Geller and Spencer have so far got away with their slanderous statements.

  • Muslim Zionists

    There was a time when Geller used to shamelessly use Rifka Barry as a promotional tool, and then all of a sudden she stopped.

    Whilst we have heard from Omar Tarazi who is sueing her, and Geller’s version, I havn’t seen anything to confirm what Rifka herself has said. Is it possible that Rifka asked Geller not to use her as an example of an “apostate” under death threat? This is what Geller was doing then suddenly stopped.

    I feel there is more to this story than we know.

  • NassirH
  • Rosy

    I hope somebody is suing Geller and Spencer too for the preposterous claims and for unashamedly using Rifqa for their lunatic crusade.

  • thewhigs

    When the truth comes out the likes of PG and her ilk run typical.

  • Daniel

    I hope in all of this, Rifqa and her parents can reconcile–whether or not she wants to be a Christian. Hopefully, not too many years will pass before Rifqa gains perspective and sees how she was used in an Islamophobic crusade.

    I also hope & pray that her cancer does not return, and if it does, she will seek immediate medical attention.

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