The Columbus Dispatch reports that two judges, one in Ohio and one in Florida, the state to which Rifqa fled, decided that returning to Ohio is the best way to resolve the dispute with her parents. For the time being, she will stay in a foster home.
Rifqa’s defenders believe she may well face imprisonment and possibly death in her native Sri Lanka if she reunites with her parents.
Rifqa’s fled her home on July 19 because she feared her father, a devout Muslim, was plotting to kill her. Rifqa converted to Christianity in 2005. “If you have this Jesus in your heart, you’re dead to me,” Rifqa says her father warned. “You’re not my daughter.... I will kill you.” Rifqa went to school with signs of obvious physical abuse.
In a compelling video posted on YouTube, Rifqa explains why she fled her parents home: In Islam, apostasy is punishable by death.
They’ve threatened to kill me. I don’t know if you know about honor killing.… You guys don’t understand. Islam is very different than you guys think. They have to kill me. My blood is now halal, which means that because I am now a Christian, I’m from a Muslim background, it’s an honor. If they love God more than me, they have to do this. And I’m fighting for my life, you guys don’t understand. You don’t understand.
Her parents denied the allegations of abuse, and their Muslim allies claimed she was kidnapped by a cult.
Florida Says Rifqa Must Leave ... But Not Right Away
Once in Orlando, Florida, she landed in the home of a Christian pastor and his wife she met through a prayer group on Facebook. She then lived with a Christian home-schooling family. She has been awaiting word from the court on whether she must return. Yesterday, a conference call between judges settled the matter: Rifqa will live in foster care while she and her family undergo psychiatric examination.
Pamela Geller, who runs the Atlas Shrugs blog and has tracked the case from the beginning, says Rifqa may well be doomed but not just because her father might kill her for “honor.” Geller believes the family will pack her off to Sri Lanka and commit her to an asylum. And she believes that for a good reason: The family, she reports, are illegal immigrants. The family has refused multiple requests from the judge to produce their immigration papers. Geller has posted federal documents that show the Barys are subject to deportation.
“The Bary family is here illegally,” Geller wrote at her blog. “If Rifqa is sent back to Sri Lanka because of her illegal status (something, I think, the family, desperately wants), the danger is very near fatal.” Geller also says “the state must intercede and declare asylum for Rifqa or an emergency green card.”
The judge in Florida delayed Rifqa’s return to Ohio until her parents provide their immigration papers and ensure she can continue schooling through Florida’s on-line program.
Photo of Rifqa Bary: AP Images