UPDATE | Islamophobia in Perspective: The Curious Case of Fathima Rifqa Bary

Co-Authored by Amad


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.”

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.

Hat-tip: Loonwatch


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The case of Fathima Rifqa Bary is interesting to say the least. The 17-year old, who arrived with her family from Sri Lanka less than a decade ago, ran away from home in Ohio to Florida, allegedly because she was afraid of being killed by her father after her decision to leave Islam for Christianity. Fathima, a cheerleader in her high-school, took a bus to Florida right after a fight with her mother. Conveniently the ticket was already purchased for her and paid for by a Blake Lorenz, a Florida pastor (and wife Beverly Lorenzo), who Fathima met on Facebook, and who was quoted as saying, “Christians are at war with Islam and that Islam is evil”.

Question: How can a minor have her inter-state travel arranged without her parents’ consent and with the aid of a total stranger, who might have as well been a pedophile? Isn’t this illegal? If Blake Lorenz was such a Good Samaritan, and was so concerned about Fathima’s life, why did he not just do the “normal” thing and contact the local authorities in Ohio (CPS and/or police)?  Blake’s intervention, especially based on his views about Islam and Muslims, can easily be seen as carrying an agenda beyond the “kind pastor” shtick.

Fathima’s claim about her father’s murderous appetite was also flatly dismissed by the Ohio authorities.  In an article in the The Columbus Dispatch, Sgt. Jerry Cupp of the missing-persons unit of the Columbus police special-victims bureau, disputes Fathima’s allegation saying

[H]er father, Mohamed Bary, appears to be a loving parent who knew about her conversion to Christianity months ago.

Wait, did he just say knew about her conversion to Christianity months ago?! Why wait till now to threaten to kill her? And if he threatened to kill her for some time, why wait until this point?  So many questions and very few answers in this curious story.

Back to our story then, like any concerned parent would do, Fathima’s parents contacted the local police department to file a missing persons report. Except that Fathima was already on her way to Florida, where  Lorenz was assisting in having a case filed in the State of Florida to gain custody of the Fathima.

One of the beautiful things that is advertised about living in the United States is that the same law is applied to everyone, regardless of who they are or what they do. But not apparently in the case of Muslims anymore, as we see time and time again. As Mike Thomas reports in an excellent and objective piece in the Orlando Sentinel, aptly entitled, “Anti-Muslim bias obvious in Fathima Rifqa Bary case”,

The case went to court last week. And in a rather surprising twist, rather than send Rifqa back to Ohio, Circuit Judge Daniel Dawson decided to investigate Ohio. And so the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is off to determine her survival chances there.

What jurisdiction does Florida have in this case at all? Is the girl from Florida? No. Are her parents from Florida? No. Was any crime committed in Florida in this case? No. Is there a case for using tort law? No.

So, what is this case doing in Florida? As Mike Thomas’s piece highlights,

Left unanswered is what business Florida has involving itself in this matter. The people best suited to determine the threat level to Rifqa are the cops and social workers in Ohio familiar with the Bary family and the Muslim community. It appeared they had worked out a good compromise plan, allowing Rifqa to go into foster care while they ensured her safety.

Thus, on Monday August 10th, a judge in the 9th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida placed the girl in the custody of the state’s Department of Children and Families. To add salt to injury, the court also ruled that Rev. Blake and his wife are allowed visitation to the daughter along with her biological father. What legal custody does this Pastor have over this minor? If anything Blake should be charged with arranging for illegal inter-state transportation of a minor, not be rewarded for his role!

One can’t help but consider Governor Charlie Crist’s intervention in the Florida court’s decision to keep Fathima in the state. Again Mike Thomas doesn’t let the politics slip by, noting that Gov. Crist is facing a strong challenge from Marco Rubio in the Republican U.S. Senate primary. Forget the relationship between this minor and her parents, forget civil and constitutional rights, as long as Crist can use his intervention to gain a few brownie points on election day. Of course Crist’s challenger couldn’t be left behind. Rubio also issued a statement in support of Fathima and spammed it all over the net. What happened to the America that I once knew?!

Imagine, for a second, if an Imam was in the same position as the pastor, god forbid. Not only would he be crucified in the media, but it would not come as a surprise if he were accused of brainwashing, along with child abuse, and, if not a citizen, be deported! Such double standards are quashing all attempts by sincere people on both sides to close the gap between the minority Muslim Americans and majority non-Muslims.

I am having a hard time believing that devoted Muslim parents with “claimed” ties to radical Islam allowed their 17-year old daughter to wear short-skirts, jumping up and down, cheerleading in her school. Putting this aside, there is no history, claim or knowledge of any physical abuse by her parents. These are the very same parents who were interviewed on their local news channel saying that their daughter was coached by this Evangelic Pastor to broadcast a violent image of Islam and her family.

Everything about this case has been nothing more than drama, at least this is how I see it. Watch this video of Fathima, as she tries to cry but tears don’t cooperate! The cross that she shows off around her neck, the bible that she reads in the court, the claims that she was abused, and pretty much all of the rest, appear to be nothing but synchronized by the pastor-coach. Even her own brother makes the same judgment about her.

And what irony, that her life was in no danger until the pastor decided to make her into a media spectacle, fronting her in front on national and international television.  In my opinion, the safety of the girl is the last thing this Pastor had in mind; rather his goal was to use the girl as a way to defame Islam and Muslims.

What bothers me the most is that Mohamed Bary, the girl’s father, is seen not as an individual, but somehow as a representative of a religion. I personally don’t really care much for the girl, she has made her decision, and she will be bear the consequences for such decision, but the loss of a child for the parents, who came to America to live the American dream, and the public humiliation that the parents have had to endure is indeed heart breaking.

What a story, don’t you think? It also provides a glimpse of a sad reality of some born-Muslims who leave their religion. We, as Muslims, are facing a great challenge as those before us, from the Irish, to the Italians, and even the Jews faced. That is how to keep our identity as Muslims while raising our children in this country. Lectures and programs have discussed this issue, and yet we fail to put together a compelling solution.

Also, this should serve as a reminder for those who want to live in the United States or in the West in general: take care of your children! There appears to have been something seriously wrong within the family of Fathima, in how she would raise such a battle-cry against her own kin. It would seem that there was a communication breakdown and possibly lack of proper religious learning, wallahualam.

Many a time, Muslims, especially new immigrants, who are trying to establish the American dream, get so caught up in this dream that they forget the very reason that they grabbed on to that dream in the first place: for the sake of their families’ betterment. And betterment has to include not just materialistic issues, but spiritual and religious betterment. Otherwise, what good is the duniya when it forces you to give up on the akhira?

So, talk to your children, teach them, and be role models for them. If you need to learn how, then take a class about raising your children, read a book on the subject, listen to some audio, but do something. I am not talking to my parent’s generation, rather I am talking to my generation. You are educated, you grew up here or spent substantial amount of years here, you already know the system… all what is missing is for you to own up to the challenge.  I can’t help it but remember the hadith of the prophet, peace and blessings be upon him where he said, “You are all shepherds and you are responsible for your flock”.  Our parents already decided for us to live in this country, hence it is time for us to face the challenge of practicing our religion and keeping our heritage, while living the American way of life.

Finally, about honor killings (the oxymoron it is), there is no sane Muslim who knows anything about his/her own religion, who doesn’t also know that individual members of the society cannot take matters of life and death in their own hands. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find one undisputed example of a Muslim-turned-non-Muslim being killed by a  family member in the West. And since indisputably, there are a few “apostates” every year, it can mean only one thing: this whole issue about fearing one’s own family is a joke, just like how the judiciary in Fathima’s case has acted thus far. It is primarily and significantly motivated by Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bias.

Matters of hadd (Islamic penal code) can only be applied by a state authority in an Islamic state, which certainly doesn’t exist for Muslims residing in the West, and one could argue doesn’t exist anywhere around the globe. Even the entire issue of apostasy and its punishment is complicated but suffice to say, it has absolutely ZERO relevance to the case of Fathima or any other apostate from Islam in the West.

44 / View Comments

44 responses to “UPDATE | Islamophobia in Perspective: The Curious Case of Fathima Rifqa Bary”

  1. Karen Schell says:

    Americans just aren’t as willing to allow a girl to turned over to the Islamic practice of human sacrifice for such violations as wearing pants, laughing, speaking up or for deciding the sick, barbaric treatment of females by Islam just isn’t for them. We’ve already seen enough Muslim “honor killings” of women and little girls, thank you. The bottom line is that Americans disagree with you – there is no “honor” involved at all in murdering young girls as a sacrifice to some regional desert moon god.

    • MR says:

      Whoever worships a desert moon god is not a Muslim. :-D We woship God. The God of Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon them all).

    • Ali says:

      Karen, did you bother to read anything in the article?

    • HouseMBA says:

      karen ..are you kidding me ? Seriously, moon god? let me guess…you stay informed about your health by visiting a mechanic who likes to play doctor. Right?

      Also what’s all the fuss about human sacrifice? I thought Jesus (man god) was a human sacrifice !

      So man sacrifice okay but not okay. Which one is it?

      As for Ms. Bary, I don’t understand why she is afraid of her own fantastic imagination of getting slaughtered. She might be suffering from a “Don Quixote” episode, ie. she is simply “titlling at windmills”.

      • Naima says:

        I don’t get it, where do they get this moon God from? I’ve seen many Americans that think we worship the “moon God”. Who is this moon God?

        • Peter says:

          Sorry folks, she’s right. Moon god. More in the traditional, early Sumerian stuff. All you religious people are funny, you purposefully ignore history or change it just so you don’t have to face it. Truth is truth, sorry. Go pray and worship and whatever… doesn’t change the truth. All you’re doing is ensuring that one day people are going to look back and say “Wow… they actually believed that?’

          MA in Mythology.

          • SID says:

             Lolz, well Mr. “MA in Mythology.”
            You are extremely bigoted to think that a God who created the entire universe or the Multiverse is a “Moon God.” He should then be the “Multiverse God” you fool…

  2. Muslimah says:

    Karen, I think you may be confusing Islam with something else. I suggest you read more about Islam before saying something that doesn’t fit the facts. There are plenty of Muslim females who wear the headscarf but wear pants as well. One does not automatically cancel out the other. We laugh, we speak up, we are more liberated by being Muslim than you can imagine. There is a reason why most Islamic converts within the U.S. are females.

    Also take a look at this article. http://thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=174676

  3. Haytham says:

    Hi Karen,

    I can attempt to convince you that you are wrong and that Islam doesnt allow honor killing… but instead.. I will ask of you to be a little more open minded, look at the facts, be objective…. and hopefully you can see the truth for what it is….

    and if you dont… o well, its all good. Just please attempt to be fair…..


  4. Abu Yunus says:

    Karen, quote one verse from the Qur’an or the Hadeeth of the Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him) to prove that Islam indeed prescribes the so-called “honor killings”. If you can’t please shut your mouth and don’t speak without knowledge. You are still buying that “moon god” myth which has been refuted time and again. Why don’t you ask the Arab christians why they worship a “moon god” because obviously they call the God “Allah”. Also, why does the christian bible have the word “Allah” in it. Is Christianity preaching your oft-refuted “moon god” theory?

  5. SubhanAllah. A family fallen into darkness, their daughter befriended by those in even more darkness, who use her to create more shame for all of them and for their communities. Darkness upon darkness.

    Allah’s deen is a pure light which dispels all darknesses. Whoever holds fast to Allah’s deen with patience for what comes in this dunya, know that the people of Jannat will praise Allah. Consider verses 27-38 of Surah al-Ahzab (English meaning from Sahih International), and in particular verse 34.

    أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ أَنزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَأَخْرَجْنَا بِهِ ثَمَرَاتٍ مُّخْتَلِفاً أَلْوَانُهَا وَمِنَ الْجِبَالِ جُدَدٌ بِيضٌ وَحُمْرٌ مُّخْتَلِفٌ أَلْوَانُهَا وَغَرَابِيبُ سُودٌ
    Sahih International: Do you not see that Allah sends down rain from the sky, and We produce thereby fruits of varying colors? And in the mountains are tracts, white and red of varying shades and [some] extremely black.

    وَمِنَ النَّاسِ وَالدَّوَابِّ وَالْأَنْعَامِ مُخْتَلِفٌ أَلْوَانُهُ كَذَلِكَ إِنَّمَا يَخْشَى اللَّهَ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ الْعُلَمَاء إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ غَفُورٌ
    Sahih International: And among people and moving creatures and grazing livestock are various colors similarly. Only those fear Allah , from among His servants, who have knowledge. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Forgiving.

    إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَتْلُونَ كِتَابَ اللَّهِ وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَأَنفَقُوا مِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ سِرّاً وَعَلَانِيَةً يَرْجُونَ تِجَارَةً لَّن تَبُورَ
    Sahih International: Indeed, those who recite the Book of Allah and establish prayer and spend [in His cause] out of what We have provided them, secretly and publicly, [can] expect a profit that will never perish –

    لِيُوَفِّيَهُمْ أُجُورَهُمْ وَيَزِيدَهُم مِّن فَضْلِهِ إِنَّهُ غَفُورٌ شَكُورٌ
    Sahih International: That He may give them in full their rewards and increase for them of His bounty. Indeed, He is Forgiving and Appreciative.

    وَالَّذِي أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ هُوَ الْحَقُّ مُصَدِّقاً لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بِعِبَادِهِ لَخَبِيرٌ بَصِيرٌ
    Sahih International: And that which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], of the Book is the truth, confirming what was before it. Indeed, Allah , of His servants, is Acquainted and Seeing.

    ثُمَّ أَوْرَثْنَا الْكِتَابَ الَّذِينَ اصْطَفَيْنَا مِنْ عِبَادِنَا فَمِنْهُمْ ظَالِمٌ لِّنَفْسِهِ وَمِنْهُم مُّقْتَصِدٌ وَمِنْهُمْ سَابِقٌ بِالْخَيْرَاتِ بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ ذَلِكَ هُوَ الْفَضْلُ الْكَبِيرُ
    Sahih International: Then we caused to inherit the Book those We have chosen of Our servants; and among them is he who wrongs himself, and among them is he who is moderate, and among them is he who is foremost in good deeds by permission of Allah . That [inheritance] is what is the great bounty.

    جَنَّاتُ عَدْنٍ يَدْخُلُونَهَا يُحَلَّوْنَ فِيهَا مِنْ أَسَاوِرَ مِن ذَهَبٍ وَلُؤْلُؤاً وَلِبَاسُهُمْ فِيهَا حَرِيرٌ
    Sahih International: [For them are] gardens of perpetual residence which they will enter. They will be adorned therein with bracelets of gold and pearls, and their garments therein will be silk.

    وَقَالُوا الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي أَذْهَبَ عَنَّا الْحَزَنَ إِنَّ رَبَّنَا لَغَفُورٌ شَكُورٌ
    Sahih International: And they will say, “Praise to Allah , who has removed from us [all] sorrow. Indeed, our Lord is Forgiving and Appreciative –

    الَّذِي أَحَلَّنَا دَارَ الْمُقَامَةِ مِن فَضْلِهِ لَا يَمَسُّنَا فِيهَا نَصَبٌ وَلَا يَمَسُّنَا فِيهَا لُغُوبٌ
    Sahih International: He who has settled us in the home of duration out of His bounty. There touches us not in it any fatigue, and there touches us not in it weariness [of mind].”

    وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لَهُمْ نَارُ جَهَنَّمَ لَا يُقْضَى عَلَيْهِمْ فَيَمُوتُوا وَلَا يُخَفَّفُ عَنْهُم مِّنْ عَذَابِهَا كَذَلِكَ نَجْزِي كُلَّ كَفُورٍ
    Sahih International: And for those who disbelieve will be the fire of Hell. [Death] is not decreed for them so they may die, nor will its torment be lightened for them. Thus do we recompense every ungrateful one.

    وَهُمْ يَصْطَرِخُونَ فِيهَا رَبَّنَا أَخْرِجْنَا نَعْمَلْ صَالِحاً غَيْرَ الَّذِي كُنَّا نَعْمَلُ أَوَلَمْ نُعَمِّرْكُم مَّا يَتَذَكَّرُ فِيهِ مَن تَذَكَّرَ وَجَاءكُمُ النَّذِيرُ فَذُوقُوا فَمَا لِلظَّالِمِينَ مِن نَّصِيرٍ
    Sahih International: And they will cry out therein, “Our Lord, remove us; we will do righteousness – other than what we were doing!” But did We not grant you life enough for whoever would remember therein to remember, and the warner had come to you? So taste [the punishment], for there is not for the wrongdoers any helper.

    إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَالِمُ غَيْبِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ إِنَّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ
    Sahih International: Indeed, Allah is Knower of the unseen [aspects] of the heavens and earth. Indeed, He is Knowing of that within the breasts.

  6. Amar says:

    What does the Bible says about non-Christians, stoning, and religious tolerance? When should you stone your family to death?

    Deuteronomy 13:8

    13:6 If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;

    13:7 Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth;

    13:8 Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him:

    13:9 But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.

    13:10 And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

    …. It gets better if you continue reading.

  7. Amad says:

    Please let’s ignore Karen and her ilk. If it weren’t for the replies, her comment would have been just deleted. Regardless, she has also been placed on the comment blacklist. She wasn’t here to discuss, but just to inflame.

    Bottomline: don’t feed the troll!

  8. Haytham says:

    When I wrote this article, I didn’t mean for it be a competition between Islam and Christianity. Rather, it was to show some facts of this issue….as well as show the second generation Muslims in the West what they are up against with their children.

    Like a wise person once said, a dumb person is the one who doesnt learn from his/her mistakes, and the smart one is the one who learn from their mistakes… while the the wise one… is the one who learn from others mistakes. (or something like that)

    I hope you all get the message.


  9. Amar says:

    as Salamu Alaykum Haytham,

    JazakAllahu Khayr for the article. I’m sure you knew this would be read by members of different faiths. You already mentioned a comparison when you mentioned the double-standard an bias that was being shown to the Muslims.

    I think it would have been worth while to mention that (briefly) that the Bible mentions similar verses, but we do not ascribe every letter of the Bible to everyone who reads it in faith. It would serve as a reminder to those of different faiths that, in case they weren’t aware (and I’m sure they aren’t) that there is a major propaganda war against Islam.

    It can be mentioned without it having to become a competition. Rather, I am sure many Westerners, even those who do not actively practice the Religion of their parents (who are likely Christian) are unaware that the Bible has passages that mentions stoning to death a person who leaves their faith. The Orlando Sentinel piece you alluded to mentioned it as well.

    Anyone can take a series of verses and paint any picture he wants. This includes the Qur’an, the Bible, the Talmud etc.

  10. Abu Sauleh says:

    Jazaak Allaah khayr brother Haytham for an excellent, well researched post. My first reaction when I heard of this story, without knowing any details, was here we go again, another person selling their akhirah to gain some fifteen minutes of fame. May Allaah guide this girl back to the deen and save her from eternal damnation.

  11. bintwadee3 says:

    I too wrote a nice little reply to Ms Karen, but due to sudden internet issues, it was not posted. WAllaahu ala kulli shay’in qadeer.

    JazaakAllaahu Khayr Br Haytham for this piece. There’s no doubt that there’s a major *lacking* in parenting these days.

    For the parents out there, please don’t pounce. This isn’t everyone. (Even if your children are the perfect angels you think they are, please continue reading). When I, and others, see Muslim children – who should be foremost in their adab – running amok in the masjid, screaming, pushing tables and furniture, banging on the machine to get free candy, getting law enforcement called because they’re throwing stones at cars and getting into fights… I’m embarrassed. That behavior is ridiculous and absolutely un-excusable. *Especially* in the masjid. I understand, kids will be kids. But for how long?

    We always preach on and on about how “Islam isn’t just a religion, its a way of life.” All of us, married, unmarried, children or no children, need to stop fantasizing about the life we think we’re living and truly start living it. But how will we live it if we don’t know how we’re to live it? Learnnn it. Implement it. And spread it the same way you would spread your coupons, information on the biggest and baddest store sales, and (na’oodhu billaah) the latest gossip.

    I truly mean no offense to anyone. This is a serious issue that is rampant in Muslim communities – I know it is not only my community because I’ve heard complaints from the east coast to the west – and it needs to be addressed. Its the elephant in the room. Everyone knows its there, but no one wants to talk about it.

    I’m sorry for the long rant. Once again, jazaak Allaahu khayr for bringing up the questions that are on everyone’s minds, and that no one is coming up with answers for.

    And Allaah knows Best.

  12. I have added some discussion of the Bary Case to my blog.

    [Bartholomew] Fathima Rifqa Bary Custody Case Becomes Anti-Muslim Circus

    I noticed the Rifqa Bary case because I have been studying the involvement of Tom Trento and friends in Islamophobic incitement in Europe. These people tend to leave a lot of ruined lives in their wake. I am reminded of the 19th century Jewish child convert Edgardo Mortara. Just as that case was not really about Edgardo, this case is not really about Rifqa.

    For more info about apostasy and Islam see Executing Apostates: Christianity, Islam, Judaism.

    Fathima Rifqa Bary Custody Case Becomes Anti-Muslim Circus provides a good summary.

  13. John Abdallah says:

    There is no law in Sharia in favour of Honor Killing. Unlike christianity, killing an innocent person is prohibited in Islam.

    That being said,

    Honor Killings are a cultural practice. Most Islamic countries have laws prohibiting it. Honor Killings are a world wide phenomina.

    Here are some news stories, read and be enlightened:

    This is the islamic stand on Honor Killings,

    Islamic Court: Those Who Committ Honour Killings Are Murderers

    Christian Honor Killings

    Man shoots at Muslim convert sister

    European Beheads Wife In “Honour Killing”

    Hindu Honor Killings

    Indian village proud after double honor killing | Reuters

    In short, Honor Killing is a Judeo-Christian ritual, that crept into other societies and cultures.

  14. Farhan says:

    This is an email I wrote to my friends a few days ago:


    as-salaam ‘alaykum wa rahmat Allahi wa baraktahu,

    I want your guy’s input on this. In the past few years, there have been a lot of negative news stories that are just outrageous. By that, I mean they’re SO negative, one wonders how anyone with a mind could realistically do such a thing. Examples:

    The woman who was raped and then punished by the court in Saudi
    The woman who was beaten in public in SWAT for some crime, I forgot what
    The young girl in Canada who was killed by her father for not being Hijabi
    Et al

    The thing is, only after the fact do news agencies publish that these stories were BS. For example, the Saudi woman was not punished for being raped, she was punished for having a boyfriend and committing zinnah with him- and all the rapists were punished, and her boyfriend was punished more than her. The Canadian girl, Aqsa Parvez, didn’t even come from a religious family, none of her sisters were hijabi, and news organizations even said it was domestic abuse, but the hijab rumor picked up. The SWAT case was some kinda tribal village thing, I forgot the fully details behind that.

    Now, at the surface, all of these stories are TERRIBLE. We as Muslims should be against it. But, they all turn out to be false. There’s a new one about a girl named Rifqa Bary. She converted to Christianity and then ran away from home because her father was going to kill her. Based on experience, I have a tendency to doubt what the media is saying about her. Then I read this article:


    The ending of it reminded me of that movie “A Time to Kill”. It seems suspicious that a man who sacrificed so much for his daughter and had a very good life, and let her join the cheerleading team (which isn’t exactly the most islamic behavior to begin with) would want to end her life now. Based on what I know about our culture, it just doesn’t make sense.

    What do you think. Is my skepticism of her tearful testimony legitimate or am I guilty of a pro-Muslim bias?

  15. Hidaya says:

    Nice article, but it doesn’t sound like it has been written by Br Haytham.
    Havent been watching news/tv, so didn’t know anything about this until now.

  16. Farhan says:

    One of the main things that gets me about this case is that she was a cheerleader. Now, I’m not psychologist, but I am VERY hard-pressed to believe that a radical-devout-terrorist-bearded-whatever Muslim Man (not woman- as we all know, all of us men oppress and all Muslim women are the oppressed) who wants to kill his daughter…would let her be a cheerleader to begin with.

    I’m sorry, that’s extremely inconsistent.

  17. AMS says:

    The truth will prevail inshallah.

  18. muslimah4lyfe says:

    Upon ignoring all of the Islam vs. Christianity mumbo jumbu that’s going on… all we’re left with are the facts.

    And the fact of the matter is, that the facts don’t really add up.

    I am from the Ohio muslim community which this girl says her parents were a part of. In a movement filed by her lawyer, it was stated that upon finding out that his daughter had converted, Rifqa’s father forced her to go to Islamic class after class after class for months, sometimes they were even 5 hours long… at the NICC (Masjid Noor). The problem is, the more this girl speaks, the more credibility she is losing… There’s NO 5 hour long Islamic class going on in Columbus, OH… I mean we barely have people attend 1 hour lectures, who’s gonna stick around for 5 hrs???

    I’m convinced, the more this girl opens her mouth (whether it be coached or whatever) in the end nothing will add up and I hope someone has the brains to realize that… Someone in the American Judicial system that is, so far it seems like us in the audience are the ones with the brains!!!

  19. Sami says:

    JazakAllahu khayran Haytham for the great article.

    You mentioned, “There appears to have been something seriously wrong within the family of Fathima, in how she would raise such a battle-cry against her own kin. It would seem that there was a communication breakdown and possibly lack of proper religious learning, wallahualam.”

    How do we understand your comment in the light of people like the son of prophet nuh (or his wife) and other family members of our Prophets whom went astray although the Prophets themselves obviously taught their family correclty?

    You are most probably correct about a lack of proper religious learning, but I belive without solid evidence, 7usn al dhann should come into play here.

    Wallahu a3lam. JAK Again for the great article!

  20. Umar Farooq says:

    Assalamu alaikum , all praise be to Allah to the most gracious most merciful

    What can we expect from a Masonic Slandering propaganda machine , an ignorant Sarah Palin worshipping American Crusader and a ‘Muslim’ Cheerleader from a muslim family who was about as muslim as Turkish Delight ?

    We shouldn’t take stories like this to heart as a matter of fact we should intentionally ridicule the people who write them because of their ignorance. Listen to this , my wifes auntie is married to an asian(indian/malay) man . They like to holiday out in Florida. He likes to keep a beard so whenever he goes through customs in the States they single him out for harassment and interrogation, the only things is … hes not even a muslim , far from it . I don’t even think he likes muslims but to a redneck, whip-cracking, Muslim-Hatin’ customs crusader “They ‘re all ragheads”.

    This is something me and my wife always laugh about, ridicule is one of the best weapons against sly antagonism.

  21. Man says:

    Debates like this in the mainstream media usually have the undertone that all religions are the same at best, and that Islam is barbaric at worst.

    I suggest the study of both Christianity and Islam to everyone to get past the hype. Then you will truly realize that no intelligent, well-informed, sincere human being could possibly pick Christianity over Islam.

  22. […] What am I talking about? Read the Muslim Matters article here. […]

  23. Naima says:

    Thank you for posting this. I am from the same Masjid she use to go to. Her parents seemed really nice. It’s really sad our religion is under attack. There is this website atlasshrugged by this lady Pamela Geller and they sure are putting Islam down like there is no other.

    And now the Florida authorities said the parents are not what she’s making them to be. So her attorney came up with another idea, he says well it’s the whole community. He’s saying the masjid she use to go to is radical and extreme and the community will kill her. So sad though, the funny thing is the masjid in question is the most liberal masjid in Ohio. They have inter faith dinners, elections and soo many other things some masjid wouldn’t do. I am just upset over the negative attention my hometown is getting. They’re making us to be killers and radicals and it’s sad.

    Rifqa made her parents to be monsters and killers and I pray that Allah guides her. Her parents came from Sri Lanka to get her medical attention after losing her right eye. Her parents were very wealthy but gave up everything for her. It makes you cry listening to their story. I also blame her parents for some of this because they didn’t teach her enough about Islam.

    I pray for her and I hope our kids are safe from this kind of thing.

  24. Amad says:

    Ohio governor standing up for his state… this is a state matter, send Fathima back to Ohio. Florida needs to stop acting on behalf of Christian cults.

    Fathima Rifqa Bary: Ohio governor says send Rifqa Bary back

    The office of Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland has issued a statement, saying the teenage girl who ran away from her Muslim home in Columbus, Ohio, to evangelical Christians in Orlando, should be returned.

    “Child welfare agencies and authorities in Ohio and Franklin County are fully capable of providing for the security and well-being of Ohio’s children,” said the statement. “The governor believes this is a family matter and therefore would most appropriately be handled here in Ohio with the assistance of the child welfare and foster care system.”

    Fathima Rifqa Bary, 17, is currently living with a foster family in the Orlando area. She fled Columbus aboard a Greyhound bus in July, saying her father had threatened to kill her because she had abandoned his faith — Islam — and become a Christian.

    Her father, Mohamed Bary, a jeweler and Amway distributor, says that never happened. A Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation supports his claim. So does Franklin County Children’s Services, the child welfare agency serving Columbus.

    Amanda Wurst, a spokeswoman for Strickland, who is an ordained Methodist minister, first issued the statement yesterday. It puts Strickland at odds with Florida’s Gov. Charlie Crist.

    • shahgul says:

      I think FBI should get involved at this time. This case reminds me of the Elian Gonzalez case. In that case, a group with vested interest tried to exploit a minor in the name of Freedom.

      FBI should free the girl and deliver her in the custody of her parents under the supervision of the State of Ohio.

  25. Amad says:

    Why Lorenz should be charged with a crime:

    Back to the real issue of contention: on their part, investigators from Florida have completed their interstate investigation. Their findings are believed to being in agreement with previous investigations done in Ohio . Their report was turned to Circuit Judge Daniel Dawson, who, instead of sending Rifqa back to her parents, decided to grant a motion filed by Mr. Stemberger in which he requested the evidence to be sealed- an evidence that could very well vindicated the parents.

    The Florida statute dealing with Juvenile Justice and Interstate Compact on Juveniles is clear “A person may not knowingly provide aid to an unmarried minor who has run away from home without first contacting the minor’s parent or guardian or notifying a law enforcement officer.” Mr. Lorenz hid the runaway girl for two weeks; however, no one is after him, so far. He is currently “reorganizing” his church to protect it from future lawsuits.

    [Middle East Online]

  26. Naima says:

    Gov. Strict got a lot of support from the Muslim community during his election, mostly the Somalis that dominate Ohio, so he has to make sure to stand by us when we’re being wronged which we are or else he might not get the help he got. Plus the state of Ohio can take care of Rifqa.

  27. Haytham says:

    and the truth comes out…http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/09/14/florida.muslim.convert/index.html

    Let the haters know… let the haters know

  28. Naima says:

    I’ve been going to that Masjid they’re talking about for 4 years and never seen this girl. She’s saying the community is after her. No one even knows who she is. Her parents are not really practicing. She was a cheerleader before she left Ohio and her parents had no problem with that so come on. Everyone is hating on muslims and the community. I would leave her alone if I were her parents.

  29. amad says:

    Our endangered convert to Christianity is seeing her story falling apart (in your face, right-wingers!) [CNN]:

    “Our investigation has provided no clear evidence of criminal activity,” said the state report.

    Also someone mentioned the story of Noah and his son, I think the following quote from the story suggests Bary was hardly Noah (AS):

    The girl had told investigators her father never saw her in her school cheerleading outfit because she feared his disapproval. But investigators stated in the report they saw pictures of the girl in her cheerleading uniform prominently displayed in the living room of the Bary’s Ohio home.

  30. […] thing to do would be to call police and child services. I hope he gets charged with something. Muslimmatters.org said it the best, "Imagine, for a second, if an Imam was in the same position as the pastor, […]

  31. […] The Curious Case of Fathima Rifqa Bary Filed under: Islam — WhyIslam @ 2:02 pm via MuslimMatters The case of Fathima Rifqa Bary is interesting to say the least. The 17-year old, who arrived with […]

  32. marshmallow says:

    Assalamu alaykum

    I have no doubt that this girl will one day come to regret all of this. She may or may not come back to Islam, but she will most definitely come to regret this slander as she matures and finds herself. Right now she is just like a parrot, repeating everything that is taught to her and made to sound “cool” and “acceptable”. I am sure she simply had a hard time being a young Muslim girl in this society, and surely despite having already been “integrated” into the American way of life, she must have had some restrictions as a Muslim, regardless of the level of Islam practiced in her household, that were bothering her and which she wanted to get rid of to “fully” feel like an “American”. Trust me, I have known born Muslims whose parents did not teach them much of Islam. These were girls who were young and impressionable and wanted to fit in, some even accepting Christianity but not because they believed in it or knew much about it, simply because their friends were Christian (however non-practicing) and it seemed “cool” and “modern” to these girls to be like everyone else around them, in every aspect possible. They later came to regret their choices and some of them are now very devout Muslims masha’Allah.
    Please let us not put the blame on the parents, for a few reasons: Firstly, the girl is a sane adult, according to Islam. Her “choices” are her own burden. Secondly, while I agree that parents must teach their children, we do not know whether or not her parents have or haven’t. yes, they obviously allowed her to be a cheerleader etc, BUT we do not know that they themselves are knowledgeable enough about their religion. Many non-practicing Muslim parents love their deen, the little that they know about it, and many allow their children to participate in unislamic activities but this doesn’t mean they do not dislike it. Sometimes the children are so rebelious and parents, especially here in the West, have a hard time discplining them, so they allow them to do that which is “less harmful” in their eyes, hoping they will pass the stage as they mature. There are many possible scenarios, but we can’t blame people whom we do not know. This girl really makes me upset, yes I’m upset that she is not using her own brain to make her own choices (this is VERY obvious), but what upsets me even more is that this is the type of a teenager that has no limits in pursuing whatever she wishes to achieve. And if it means slander, hurt and pain to her parents, this girl doesn’t care. She is 17, not 7!!! At 17, one knows right from wrong, even if they are an airhead(which is definitely is, just watching her makes me wanna shake her). Ergh.

  33. Rifqa Bary Scams Christian Islamophobes

    After wading through too many articles, listening to the conference call, and numbing my brain with videos, I have the impression that all or some members of the Bary family are undocumented (i.e., illegal immigrants) and that Rifqa came up with a great scam to use the stupidity and ignorance of Christian Islamophobes in order to avoid returning (or being deported) to Sri Lanka.

    Below are some videos and her recent conference call. I have to admit bafflement at the comparisons of Rifqa to Esther unless there is some sort of subconscious awareness among the Christian Islamophobes that Rifqa has consciously plotted to deceive them.

    [To read the entire article, click here.]

  34. Ismail says:

    Assalam Alaikum;

    About the ‘Moon God’ point that has been raised in some of the comments, I’d like to point out that it was started by someone called Robert Morey. Here’s an excellent article which refutes his book , The Moon-god Allah in the Archeology of the Middle East.


    Just proves how ignorant one has to be of our religion to believe such a myth.

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