Pamela Geller is organizing a Rally for Rifqa Bary, the girl who fled from her home in Ohio because, she says, her father threatened to kill her for converting from Islam to Christianity. Although there is a great deal of evidence of various kinds to back up her claim, Rifqa has been sent back to Ohio, restricted in her phone and Internet use, and is in danger of being sent back to her family. Hence the Rally, which I’m honored to be helping out with as well.
However, in The Iconoclast today, the ordinarily perceptive and sensible Jerry Gordon casts a jaundiced eye on the proceedings:
[…] But then Geller whips up the passions by citing “Rifqa’s imprisonment”:
Rifqa Bary’s civil rights are being violated. She is being held prisoner: no phone, no internet, and no public school. Why? What is her crime? She is being held under house arrest in accord with Sharia law, which stipulates that female apostates are to be imprisoned until they recant. Ohio is effectively practicing Sharia law.
In the run-up to the Rifqa Bary rally it is important to keep in mind the conditions of her current foster care as regards her ability to communicate with outsiders.
First, restrictions on her ability to communicate:
Â· Her cell phone is not tapped, and she can phone whomever she chooses.
He Her [sic] internet access is not restricted to approved sites, or officially monitored by anyone.
Sources inform us that the large Muslim community in Columbus, estimated at over 70,000, including a large Somali contingent, may be prepared to come out in force to counter demonstrate against “outsiders.” Then there are the extremists at the Noor Mosque, which the Bary family attended. The Protest Rally for Rifqa might trigger something more than the ‘stealth jihad’ aimed at reunifying Rifqa with her parents, ready to flee the US for their native Sri Lanka. That flight could be imminent if the Franklin County Juvenile Court Magistrate Hearing overturns the petition for dependency on the grounds of abuse by her family, and immigration authorities encourage their departure.
The other concern is whether this proceeding in Franklin County Juvenile court is simply ‘pro forma’. That is the re-unification deal is a foregone conclusion and would occur on the hearing date, November 16th. Sources close to the legal team indicate that even if that occurs, there will still be appeals and other legal filings that would cause a delay of up to sixty days before that might happen….
The petition before the court is for dependency, because Rifqa fears being sent home to her family. Her fears reflect a history of abuse, of being taken back to Sri Lanka and the distinct possibility of her being fatally punished under Sharia law for her apostasy as a Muslim who converted to Christianity. If the dependency petition filing is approved then Rifqa would become a ward (dependent) of the State of Ohio. She would then be automatically eligible to be on the fast track to obtain a Green Card under US immigration rules, regardless of the immigration status of her parents.
What messages should the Rifqa protest rally appropriately convey?
The message at the protest rally should be to support the dependency petition so that Rifqa can remain in this country and become a US citizen.
Andrew Bostom, editor of The Legacy of Jihad and The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism, responded to Jerry this morning in his characteristically passionate way:
This is the sheerest and most dangerous stupidity you’ve ever written.
How do you know this information? Have YOU spoken to Rifqa? You’re now one of her intimate friends whom she reaches out to?
Unlike you, Pamela Geller has been in touch with many of Rifqa’s closest friends for weeks now, and it appears that NONE of them who were able to communicate with her in the past–like Jamal Jivanjee—are able to presently. You don’t have a problem with that? Is she the criminal here??
You don’t have a problem with the fact that Rifqa’s Florida legal team prevented independent efforts by Judge Einhorn’s Pepperdine Clinic (they reached out to Rifqa’s legal team weeks before I contacted them) to begin proceedings for asylum in parallel with other legal efforts to protect her, and Rifqa’s Florida lawyer John Stemberger et al ignored a SUCCESSFUL team of volunteer lawyers well versed in apostasy law and passed them on to her current legal team?
You also don’t seem to have a problem with the fact that the current “legal eagles” have yet to invite a lawyer well versed in apostasy law, like David Yerushalmi, onto their team. Nor have they filed countersuits against Rifqa’s odious father–an abusive, perjuring tax cheat and illegal alien, whose legal downfall would help her case immensely.
No, instead you endorse a one track (with no failsafe–no Einhorn team collaboration; no Yerushalmi legal attacks on the parents) approach for “dependency” which could easily be trumped by her odious parents “reunification (read–license to honor kill)” efforts, while witlessly castigating the MAIN person trying to protect Rifqa–Pamela Geller.
Who advised you to write this?
And John Jay, an attorney who is familiar with the legal tangles of this case, added these perceptive remarks later in ee cummings fashion:
if i understand your post correctly, you criticize pamela geller’s efforts to broaden the scope of the bary case via the rally to be held in columbus on 16 november, and suggest that people more cautiously just back the legal team’s efforts to obtain a ruling from the court that rifqa bary is a dependent child, so that more appropriate remedies to secure her safety, and permanent separation from her parents, might be sought by the child obtaining a certain immigration status, e.g., the “green card”, and thereby gain that separation.
i think your criticism of ms. geller’s aims unwarranted, and believe it to be based on a fundamental misunderstanding of certain aspects of dependency law. if i may explain my perspective after 25 years of law practice, 10 or 12 of which were spent in juvenile courts and more specifically in juvenile courts.–
the simplest question before the franklin county (ohio) juvenile court is whether rifqa bary is in fact and under the law a dependent child, e.g., is she a child whose parents cannot adequately provide for and protect whether because they are neglectful, abusive or simply unwilling to perform the minimum tasks of parenting. it would appear to me that rifqa bary makes a colorable assertion of parental abuse, by her allegations of the threats to do her harm issuing from her father, and by the fact that the court records so far sustain a parental confirmation of the circumstances in which rifqa asserts those threats to have occurred.
it is likely that the ohio court will find rifqa to be a dependent child.
the matter does not end there. the matter simply starts there. and, the remedies that the court issues & orders while the case is pending until its conclusion will determine the extent to which rifqa bary’s life is protected and supervised by the state, or, on the other hand, the extent to which she is exposed to abuse, assault and the very probable exposure to death by the hands of family because of her apostasy.
a dependency court has the jurisdiction to order a child returned to home even in the face of find[ing: sic] dependency.
a dependency court, on the other hand, has the authority to order a child into a custodial situation outside the home, which would be closely supervised by the court, and by the appropriate child protections service either in the county or as provided by the state. a dependency court has the authority to prohibit visitation by parents and family, or to limit it to a matter of hours per episode and in the company of a social worker, or to limit it to daylight hours of a limited frequency. a dependency court can order an extremely thorough and detailed home study, can order parents to undergo psychiatric evaluation, and to comply with any treatment recommendations issuing from such evaluation: the court can task the appropriate social agencies to measure and report upon parental compliance.
to the point of this letter.–
imagine, if you will, a case in which a child of christian fundamentalist parents is abused by those parents. imagine, further, that a source of the strain in family relations is a child’s refusal to take part in religious ceremonies involving the handling of rattlesnakes, fully loaded with venom and fangs intact.
would competent counsel simply seek a determination of “dependency” from a court, and not resist the child’s return to the home.
would competent counsel not seek to introduce the facts and circumstances of parental efforts to compel a child to take part in the rattlesnake handling portions of the parent’s religious ceremonies.
competent counsel would not hold the scope of the hearing to just the barest issues of dependency, but would seek to get the evidence of these ceremonies in, so that the appropriate temporary orders securing the safety of the child would be ensured. in short, competent counsel would seek to broaden the examination of the court to include a thorough review of all such relevant facts and circumstances.
i believe, therefore, your criticisms of ms. geller to be entirely misplaced, both because you do not understand why she seeks to make sure the courts examine the issues of apostasy in the islamic religion, and to make sure that the courts understand the very true extent of the physical danger presented to her by any association with her family.
those speakers invited to the rally are designed to do exactly that, and to make the public aware of these issues.
the very real danger presented to rifqa bary is not that the ohio court will not find that she is a dependent child, but, that the ohio court, being and remaining ignorant of the facts and circumstances of apostasy killings and murders, will not fashion those intermediate remedies necessary during the pendency of the case to adequately protect rifqa bary.
the court must be educated about islamic and koranic penalties to be imposed upon apostates who do not reaffirm their adherence to islam.
the court must be educated and understand that if rifqa bary is returned to her family or placed in their immediate company, that she faces the fate of an apostate, and that she is exposed to the risk that she will be spirited out of the country with them to sri lanka, a place where her “justice” might be “meted” out by islam and her family without intervention on the part of the civil and criminal authorities.
this is the function of this rally. and, if it “invites” the intervention of the islamic community, … , well, good sirs, if we are to stand for our heritage and our beliefs, how is that to be avoided from time to time. would you see us abandon our beliefs, abandon the field to islam, at the mere risk of risk, as it were. that is a callow position.
finally, pamela geller is as aware as you of the “green card” situation with immigration services. but, in and of itself, it is absolutely no panacea for rifqa bary, and presents absolutely no protection to her if she is in the presence of her family. it is a remedy to be sought in conjunction with the other protections sought for her in a dependency proceeding, but the only underlying protection to her is that derived from being separate from her family.
john jay, milton freewater, oregon usa