Friday, August 21, 2009

When Your Parents Want You Back “In The Worst Way”…

*** UPDATE ***

Andrea Shea King, who blogs at The Radio Patriot, lives in Florida, where this story is happening. She says to forget about finding information anywhere else other than blogs, in particular at Atlas Shrugs, who has been leading on this story:

Don’t bother relying on our Central Florida media for the facts surrounding a seventeen-year old Ohio teen who fled to Orlando from her Islamic family in fear of her life.

At best it is misinformation and yet another example of lazy reporting…

For that matter, don’t bother looking to the cable news channels to give you all the facts, either.

Andrea is right. I signed up with Google News to get any breaking information on this story and all I got was that report from the little jounalette at the Orlando Sentinel who’s been avoiding Pamela’s calls while she touts for the devout Muslim parents from Ohio. Oh, and in addition, Google somehow thought a story about Michelle Obama's shorts was part of my search. Go figure.

So now Atlas Shrugs has a new, even more frustrating story about this mess:

Yesterday I called Amy Edwards at The Orlando Sentinel to understand why she would shill for Muslim fundamentalists. She is not alone, just more pathetic than most of the shills.

Has anyone else noticed that the only narrative being propagated by the media on the slow motion honor killing case are the lies and deception of Rifqa Bary’s devout Muslim family and their lawyers? The only opportunity Americans had to hear Rifqa Bary’s story was on a youtube video I pulled off a raw news feed.

Amy Edwards, the latest subjugated sycophant at the now notorious Orlando Sentinel, “broke”“ this Christian smear. Did she fact check? Did she vet it?

Atlas then explains to this “journalist” what investigation of a story means, and how to follow up on the details:

The reporter, Amy Edwards, from the Orlando Sentinel finally returned my call after I posted that my calls were not being returned (someone at the Sentinel is reading Atlas). Mind you, she returned my call after she posted an ad looking for Islamic apologists to shill for (see below).

I asked her why the Sentinel was only printing the fallacious narrative of the devout, abusive parents. Why were they acting as a printing press for the parents’ press releases without vetting the lies?

I asked where was the investigative journalism? Why hadn’t she interviewed Rifqa’s friends? Where was the investigation into the Noor Mosque and the danger it posed to Rifqa’s life? Why no background on the victims of honor killings in the US and Canada?

Edwards could not answer me. She said she got Rifqa’s story from Rifqa’s parents. Huh? Edwards said that they tried to speak to the Pastor but he was out of the country. So I asked why run a story based on the “possible” involvement of the Pastor in Rifqa’s escape from terror? She said it was in a DCF document. I said, So what? Why that? It doesn’t advance the story (and it’s wrong). Why pick up that singular fact of all the overwhelming evidence that what Rifqa is saying is true? What has that got to do with Rifqa? This is about Rifqa. Reporters like Edwards will have a hand in this girl’s fate. How flippant, cavalier, evil she is with human life. Edwards and those like her have a responsibility to report what actually happened. Is that asking too much?

Edwards defended her paper’s position. I said it was not at all balanced. She thought that it was and recommended I “write a letter to the editor”. I recommended that she do some investigation and not be the mouthpiece for a devout and violent ideology.

Think of all the other stories that careless people like this reporteress simply repeat by rote, never bothering to investigate below the surface, taking the word of the “devout” parents against the “evil” Christian fundies who are breaking up this happy home.

As Pamela pointed out, the least they could have done was begin with interviews of Rifqa Bary’s friends back in Ohio. That’s a bare minimum. Be sure to check back in at Atlas periodically. The story will spread virally via the blogs, but the momentum is at Atlas Shrugs. Having four daughters of her own, she is a momma bear about Rifqa’s plight. It’s good to know someone this determined cares about another.

Remember what I said about resilient children finding mentors? Here you go: a casebook example with Pamela and Rifqa.

Meanwhile this jounalette, Amy Edwards, is being paid to do a job. And by MSM or government standards, she’s probably performing up to par. By any reasonable, adult standard of integrity, however, she ought to be given her notice and a strong suggestion to seek another line of work.

Teaching, maybe.

Frank Gaffney at The Center for Security Policy is publicizing a distressing case that exemplifies what is wrong with American departments of Social Services, who are federally mandated to re-unite children with their abusive, negligent parents. The federal mandates are only partially funded, and boy, you’d better have the paperwork in order, even if the child isn’t.

Here is the case that Mr. Gaffney has taken up, which he calls “Dead Girl, Walking”. The story is a three-fer: Muslim immigrants, runaway daughter fleeing an honor-killing for her apostasy, and questions about whether the family are legally here in the first place.

Here are the bare bones:

A sixteen year-old girl from a Sri Lankan Muslim family in Ohio converted to Christianity. Her father discovered this (when, oh when will teenagers stop putting up their whole lives on Facebook??) and threatened to kill her, telling his child that she was “dead” to him.

According to some of the You Tube videos I saw, Rifqa Bary was already being physically abused by someone.

At any rate, this young woman gets on the bus, gus, and heads to Florida where there is a Christian pastor she met online. His congregation has offered her refuge.

We’re arriving a bit late in the story for any advocacy. The governor of Florida is supposed to have decided by 3:00 p.m. today whether or not to return her to Ohio, where authorities there have said they will “reunite her” with her family.

This bone-headed decision has evidently not swayed the Florida governor’s decision but I trust that the citizens of Florida will lean on him hard enough to get her into foster care in his state rather than remand her to Ohio and her certain fate.

Pamela, at Atlas Shrugs, has been on top of this story for a while. She is liveblogging the hearing in Florida right now. As usual, it is done in her riveting Atlas style. Pamela Geller would make a wonderful lawyer: she has the energy, brains and motivation to be a great crusading attorney…(aside: can a good Jewish girl be called a “crusader”?):

Atlas operative inside the courtroom texting me:

“heavy Media coverage”
“maybe 75 people”
“A handful of demonstrators outside”
“No recording allowed”

Others milling around the courthouse and inside the lobby said they were praying for the judge to keep her away from her parents.

Usama Dakdok, an ex-Muslim, was one of them. He came from an organization in Venice that tries to help Muslims who convert to Christianity.

“We have people all over the country praying for this,” he said in the parking lot.


Rifqa wants to make a statement before the hearing begins.

The attorneys are huddling before the judge for a decision on whether he will allow that.

UPDATE: Judge Dawson has decided to let her speak, saying it his policy to let anyone speak in open court.

- - - - - - - - -
This case is about jurisdiction, whether she can stay in the care of the Florida Department of Children and Families, or whether she has to be turned over to Ohio authorities.

A representative from DCF has told the court that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has agreed to investigate the matter, because DCF fears she is in danger.

An attorney for Rifqa’s parents said Ohio has investigated this matter and if there’s any question about her safety, then Ohio is the place for that to be determined.

“There is no basis,” the attorney said, for her to stay in Florida since her life is in Ohio.

McCarthy said it would “enormous prejudice” to try this matter in Florida.

They want to get her back there in the worst way. The fact is Rifqa is dead to her devout parents. Now its about honor.

A legal representative for Rifqa says since Ohio has no prior legal proceeding in this case, then Florida can claim jurisdiction.

Staying in Florida, her legal team argues, would keep her safe.

Judge Dawson said he has had no contact with Ohio courts, so he doesn’t know if Ohio wants jurisdiction in this case.

“Rifqa wants to be here,” said one of her lawyers.

He told the court the teen’s safety would be compromised back in Ohio, referring to some ‘terrorist activity’ in the region where she lived. He did not elaborate…

I’m with Pamela: “They want to get her back there in the worst way”.

I hope that the Department of Social Services in Florida, known there as the Florida Department of Children and Families (DFC) really goes aggressive on this. Lord knows they’ve messed up so often in negligent foster care situations. This is their opportunity to do a little karmic reparation.

The fact is this “child” is sixteen. In many states, a young person of this age can present to the court his or her plea for emancipation as an adult. I helped one boy do just that. The court is strict in such cases. The teenager must be cleaner than Mrs. Murphy’s cat: no legal problems, no drugs, no truancy from school, proof of suitable living arrangements and employment. It helps to have a minister or rabbi on board, and proof of involvement in community volunteer work is an added advantage.

But when a child needs to seek emancipation, it’s because his family of origin is so dysfunctional as to have damaged him in the process of raising him. So it’s rare that a young person in this situation isn’t clinically depressed already, not to mention truant from school and drug-dependent.

The resilient kids - the ones who know they have to get away to survive - usually don’t ask permission. Especially the boys; for girls it’s much harder. The boys, though, they just take off and begin to make their way in the world. In today’s world, where there are few cheap places to live, making your way is much harder than it was even twenty years ago. But resilience brings with it a special kind of intelligence and an ability to roll with the punches. These kids don’t look back, they don’t waste energy on anger at things “not being fair”.

What they do have in their skill set, however, is good intuition about people.That's how they've survived a less-than-optimal environment. They seek out mentors, helpful adults who are willing to lend a hand in their project of growing up. Inevitably, they find them because there are many such people in the world if you know where to look.

That’s what this young woman did, by the way. Whether or not you agree with her choice of religion or pastor, that was her path to freedom. This is especially so for a girl. She’s obviously smart, even if she is stressed and hysterical. You would be, too, if you were staring at death across the courtroom at age sixteen - no, she’s seventeen, according to Atlas’ latest:

update: Rafqa is making her statement to the court. “I’ve been a Christian for 4 years of my life. I love my parents but I am in fear of my life because of the past abuse. I assure your honor Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. I am a Christian, a believer.”

Her mother cried, “I need my daughter back.”

He father said “I love my daughter, I have no problem in her practicing another religion.”

She is free to come and practice what she likes in my home,” he said.

Rifqa will spend some time with her younger brothers, but does not want to meet with her parents at this time.

The court will allow it.

update: Rifqa is staying in a foster home. Her foster parents are not willing to allow supervised visitation of Rifqa’s family or friends right now. The judge is recommending DCF take charge of the issue and hold these meetings in an outside location where it can be videotaped…

Interesting. This girl made her religious switch at age 13 or so. You can see why many religions have rites of passage for children around that age. I remember my own Confirmation at age 14 quite vividly. In the Catholic Church, you get to choose a new name for yourself from one of the saints on the approved list. Out of loyalty to my mother, I chose “Bernadette” because that was the name she’d chosen.

Of course, one doesn’t get called by this new name. It’s kind a deal between you and The One Who Sent You. I still don’t know much detail about Bernadette. If Dymphna had been in the book of saints I consulted, I’d definitely have chosen her, even over family loyalty. How synchronous that life gave me a second chance to choose when it came time to start our blog. How interesting that I found out about Dymphna when a card dedicated to her fell out of a used book I’d ordered from ABE.

I wish this young woman a safe refuge in which to recover. I wish her foster-parents wisdom and patience to deal with her mood swings. These ups-and-downs are among the inevitable sequelae of Rifqa’s years of secrecy, abuse, and her flight.

Dymphna took flight, too, but her father caught up with her. Too bad there wasn’t a sympathetic judge for her back then.

Sail on, Rifqa. You’re in safe waters for the moment.


Findalis said...

She got a temporary reprieve, she doesn't go back to Ohio right now, the court will look at the case again in September.

PatriotUSA said...

She is safe for the time being. A victory that must be grown upon. This girl has spoken from her heart in the courtroom. If she is forced to go back to Ohio we can imagine what horrors might await her from her dear, beloved family.
Thanks to all for getting HER story out as the MSM are playing the true dhimmi stooges and fools that they truly are.

las said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
las said...

I have also been following Geller's reporting on this story and contrasting it with the Canadian MSM. FOX in the US is the only one I know of covering the story from the honour killing angle- the truthful angle actually. A search on Canada’s CBC and CTV produced absolutely nothing. MSNBC has a headline which blares, "Parents Say Local Runaway Was Brainwashed". Those pathetic folks at "Talk to Action" (you know the ones in their apoplectic crusade to expunge Christianity from the US military like Chris Rodda’s Military Religious Freedom Foundation and her book “Liars for Jesus”) in their wild anti-Christian spasms also do the same. Richard Bartholomew at "Talk to Action", in a story titled “Apocalyptic Pastor Claims to be Protecting ex-Muslim Teenage Runaway”, scribbles, ”The girl gives a rather strange interpretation of what an "honour killing" is for". How revealing, Bartholomew seems to believe an honour killing has a legitimate purpose. He continues... "rather than being the remedy for a perceived dishonour suffered by a family, she tells the journalist that to kill her would be an especially "great honour" because she is the first Christian in her family for "150 generations" and it would show her family's love for Allah (Lorenz concurs with a "yes" at 5:03). This seems to me to be a garbled "Christianized" understanding of the phenomenon, making it into something like a human sacrifice.” He continues on to take an obligatory slap at Robert Spencer. In Bartholomew’s fevered thinking, a Muslim girl marinated in devout Islamic pieties since birth could not possibly know what a real honour killing is. From a Canadian perspective the only possible avenue for discussion of this story is on CTS TV’s Michael Coren Show. He has yet to include the story in his line-up. The silence on this story is truly deafening.

WAKE UP said...

While it is clear that this girl is in real danger and must be protected, there is no doubt that the saddest aspect of all this is that ALL the people involved in this family (including the girl) are operating from belief systems that have no basis in a reality that they could ACTUALLY LIVE IN TOGETHER, if they but had the wit to see it.

WAKE UP said...

...and it's a fair bet that the girl is confusing religious rebellion (unneccessary) with teenage rebellion (normal) as well - and all because of what's only in their heads.