Friday, August 21, 2009

Pray for Rifqa Bary

I've seen a few links and mentions of this case here and there, but until last night was not able to watch this short video of Rifqa Bary. In a nutshell, she ran away from her parents house in Ohio to a church she first learned of through Facebook, because her Muslim father discovered she had left Islam and converted to Christianity, and he confronted her about it. According to Rifqa Bary, her father told her he would kill her if she didn't convert back to Islam. Fearing for her life, she ran away.

Last evening I spent some time reading many news articles and blog posts about this case, and from all the information I could gather and from what I know about Islam, there is every reason for this girl to believe that her father will do exactly as he threatened, if she does not deny Christ and embrace Islam.

A couple of things really stood out to me as I read more and more about this case. Rifqa Bary has been placed in a foster home in Florida while she goes through the court system there. There will be a hearing this afternoon to determine if she should be sent back to her parents in Ohio, or allowed to stay in the Florida system. Due to several factors in play there is every reason to believe the judge will hand jurisdiction over to the state of Ohio and the girl will be sent home.

If any other kid came forwar to the authorities and said "my dad threatened to kill me if I didn't do X" one would think that kid would be taken AWAY from the parents and placed in foster care, for thier protection and an immediate investigation into the family would begin. Even if the kid was making it up, even if the department of children's services had no evidence except the child's word, one might think threat of death would be enough to place the child in temporary foster care and launch an investigation. I don't know the laws governing the departments of child and family services in Ohio and Florida so I don't know what criteria they both follow when it comes to something like this, but logic dictates the threat of death by a parent toward a kid would be enough to move quickly to protect the kid.

In this case, it appears that this is not going to happen and I have to honestly wonder if it is because Islam is at the heart of the matter and no one wants to be accused of being politically incorrect and upsetting local Muslim communities. Since 9/11 there has been a gigantic push in the states to embrace and accept Islam (while most North Americans still do not realize that what this girl says is not only true about honor killings, but that they do in fact take place in North America and not by "extremists" but by devout Muslims that adhere strictly to this teaching), and legally stepping in to intervene in a Muslim family would be considered a step backwards in the movement to accept Islam.

It seems to me that if this girl was from any other kind of religious family that threatened death to their members if they left the religious movement, it would be a no-brainer for authorities to step in and protect the kid who left the religion. So it does make me wonder if this is all just a political play not to upset anyone in the Muslim community.

As a Christian in North America, I am free to go to the church of my choice, worship openly and freely, carry my Bible, meet with other Christians publicly, and live my faith without fear of death. This is not the case for Rifqa Bary, even though she also lives in North America. There is something very, very wrong with this.

Pray for her today. Pray for the judge in Florida who will make a pivotal decision in Rifqa's life, that may bring very serious consequences for her. Pray for wisdom and boldness for all involved the step up and do the right thing, political correctness aside.

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