At FrontPageMagazine.com this morning I discuss the Rifqa Bary case and Islamic apostasy law.
A seventeen-year-old girl from Ohio, Rifqa Bary, fears for her life today. She is afraid that her own parents will murder her. Her father, she explains, “said he would kill me. Or he”d have me sent back to Sri Lanka where they”d put me in the asylum.” Her crime in their eyes? She has converted to Christianity from Islam — bringing to the fore once again the prevalence within Islamic communities in the West of attitudes and beliefs that foster honor killings and the murder of apostates from Islam.
Rifqa has fled to Florida, where she has become the center of a bitter custody battle with her parents — and she herself is adamant that if she is forced to return to her parents, her life will be in danger: “if I had stayed in Ohio,” she says flatly, “I wouldn’t be alive.” If she is made to return, she says, “I will die within a week. My life is at stake. My dad threatened me.” Rifqa is under threat both because of Islam’s apostasy law and because, as she herself explains, by converting to Christianity she has besmirched the family”s honor: “in 150 generations of my family no one has known Jesus. I am the first one. Imagine the honor in killing me. There is great honor in that.”
Rifqa appeared to be aware that many Westerners would be surprised to hear that she considers herself under the threat of death because of Islam’s stance toward those who leave the faith: “Islam,” she explained, “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.”
She might have had in mind the smooth deceptions that Imam Hatim Hamidullah of the Islamic Society of Central Florida spread Monday during his appearance at her custody hearing in Orange Circuit Court in Florida. “It is not Islam,” said Hamidullah, “for the father to bring harm upon his blood daughter or any other human being because of anger. Our position is to exhaust all measures that would bring peace and harmony back to the family. Being angry and threatening the life of someone is not one of those methods.” Hamidullah chose his words carefully: he didn’t actually say that Islam doesn’t prescribe the death penalty for apostasy. He just said that the father shouldn’t harm his daughter because he is angry with her. This leaves the door open for the father to murder his daughter for apostasy or honor, as long as he does it dispassionately….