// Poor poor Rifqa Bary
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« on: Sep 01, 2009 03:16 PM »


Attorney: Fear of mosque drove Muslim girl to run away
Rene Stutzman

Sentinel Staff Writer

September 1, 2009

 The attorney for an Ohio runaway who said her Muslim father would kill her for converting to Christianity said Monday that the real danger is her father's mosque.

John Stemberger, attorney, conservative Christian activist and leader of the Florida Policy Council, said the mosque, Noor Islamic Cultural Center, has ties to terrorists.

It is a home to radical Muslims, he said, and Fathima Rifqa Bary's father is a member and subject to its influence. Rifqa ran away, Stemberger said, after other mosque members contacted the girl's father and pressured him "to deal with this matter immediately."

That "matter" was Rifqa's conversion to Christianity.

She ran away July 19, saying her father, Mohamed Bary, 47, had threatened to kill her.

The Barys do pray at Noor, the girl's father said, but it's not clear that Noor is a threat to Rifqa.

It is one of the most liberal mosques in the city, according to Columbus-area Muslims. It sponsors blood drives, a food pantry and next month, a health clinic.

Earlier this month, it hosted a day-long interfaith session on homeland security that was sponsored by the Ohio Department of Public Safety.

A hearing is scheduled Thursday in Orlando about what to do with the girl. Stemberger said he wants her to stay with a Christian foster family here until next August, when she turns 18.

When asked Monday to name people at Noor who want Rifqa dead, Stemberger did not, saying "the totality of circumstances present a danger to her."

There were radical Muslims in Columbus, including three who are serving federal prison terms for conspiring with suspected terrorists to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge, a Columbus-area shopping mall, and unspecified targets in the U.S. and Europe.

Those men — Iyman Faris, Nuradin Abdi and Christopher Paul — worshipped at another Columbus mosque near Ohio State University, according to Fred Alverson, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Columbus.

Neither he nor FBI Special Agent Harry Trombitas would say whether Noor, its members or leaders are under investigation for terrorist-related activities.

In a sworn affidavit, Rifqa alleges her father demanded to know what her religious beliefs were in an angry confrontation.

"If you have this Jesus in your heart, you are dead to me! You are no longer my daughter. ... I will kill you! Tell me the truth!" the affidavit reads.

Bary says he did not threaten his daughter. He says he loves her, wants her to return and will allow her to practice whatever religion she likes.

Police and child-welfare workers in Columbus who have talked to the girl's family say they seem to be reasonable people whose chief concern is the safety of a runaway child.

Hany Saqr, a physician and chairman of Noor, said last week that he did not know the Bary family, but when he searched mosque records, he found that Rifqa had attended classes there two years ago for about three weeks. What has happened to the family, he said, "is really very sad."

Stemberger, in a 35-page pleading he said he filed Monday, alleged that Saqr was listed in the 1992 phone directory that ties him to the Muslim Brotherhood, a group Stemberger described as "responsible for birthing virtually every terrorist organization in the world, including al-Qaida."

Rene Stutzman can be reached at 407-650-6394 or


Copyright © 2009, Orlando Sentinel


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« Reply #1 on: Sep 01, 2009 06:32 PM »

Peace be on the followers of guidance,

I invite the author of this article and all non-Muslims to visit the mosques and see for themselves the kind and friendly people there.  In fact, you are welcome to come enjoy a Ramadan meal with us.  Our religion teaches us to show kindness to non-Muslims, and to welcome them so that they may see the true message of Islam.

As for the sad situation mentioned in this story, let it be a lesson for us to educate our children about Tawheed and the truth, and at the same time be kind with them, and show them love so that they are attracted to the religion and stick to the truth.  There will always be those calling them away, but if you equip your child with knowledge, they will never be led astray, or even if they are misled, they will come back, for Allah Most High is Most Loving and is always ready to accept the repentant, no matter how much they have sinned.

Oh Allah, guide our youth, and let them hold on the the Straight Path and stay Muslim their whole lives, and for many generations to come.  Oh Allah, do not let them apostate from the truth.  Ameen.

And Allah knows best.

Be merciful to those on earth, and the One in the Heavens will be merciful to you.
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« Reply #2 on: Sep 04, 2009 05:54 AM »

Local authorities say runaway teen would be safe in parents' home
Hearing on allegations in Rifqa Bary's case begins in Orlando today
Thursday,  September 3, 2009 10:12 AM
By Meredith Heagney

Fathima Rifqa Bary, 17, enters a Florida courtroom in this Aug. 21 photo.
Read Fathima Rifqa Bary's affidavit, filed in Florida's Ninth District Circuit Court
Read attorney John Stemberger's affidavit, filed in the same court
Read the Noor Islamic Cultural Center's statement

The head of Franklin County Children Services said the agency has "no reason to believe" Fathima Rifqa Bary would not be safe living in her parents' home.

The 17-year-old Northeast Side girl ran away to Florida in July, claiming her father will kill her for converting from Islam to Christianity.

Eric Fenner, executive director of Franklin County Children Services, would not say whether the agency investigated the girl's parents, Mohamed and Aysha Bary.

The agency never confirms investigations, he said.

Story continues belowAdvertisement

A hearing will be held today in Orlando for the Barys to respond to the allegations.

The Barys have portrayed Rifqa as a sweet but gullible girl who genuinely believes she is in danger because of how others portrayed Islam to her.

She met fellow Christians online and eventually made contact with at least one of the leaders of Global Revolution Church in Orlando, Beverly Lorenz.

Lorenz and her husband, Blake, are pastors of the church and housed Rifqa when she arrived in Florida after a long bus ride. The teen is now in foster care in Florida.

Fenner did say the family has agreed to a voluntary partnership with the agency that would provide them with a case worker and therapist if their daughter, who goes by Rifqa, is returned home.

The plan to work with the Barys was established "a couple of weeks ago," he said, and calls for Rifqa to stay in foster care in Columbus for as long as 30 days.

The agreement would allow the agency to monitor the girl's safety, but as of now, Fenner said, "We have no reason to believe the child is not safe with them."

The family could terminate the agreement at any time, he said, but the agency could go to court if it determined the girl was at risk.

"We are of the opinion they are adamant in their desire to have the child back with them," Fenner said.

John Cooper, a Florida Department of Children and Families regional director, said Franklin County has conducted a "fair assessment" of the case

Still, he's not sure a voluntary agreement should be pursued until all the facts are known in the case.

He's still waiting to see the results of an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The department investigated Rifqa's abuse claims, and the Barys said the agency visited them in Columbus.

The report was sealed after Rifqa's attorney, John Stemberger, filed an emergency motion to do so yesterday, said Susie Murphy, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

She said she was unsure when the report would be unsealed.

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« Reply #3 on: Sep 04, 2009 06:18 AM »

Wow the headline in this case is ridiculous. Why doesn't the headline read: Christian cult brainwashes Muslim Girl

The girl sounds pretty confused and messed up. I'm sure she has no idea that group is using her and the so called death threat sounds/is ridiculous especially because it comes from the same "conservative christian cult leader" who happens to be her LAWYER,that goes on to say all the mosques in Columbus are terrorists and adds in groups like Muslim Brotherhood for aftereffect. The parents should fight to get her away from those people and into an independent supportive place where she can get her life back.

Here is a video of the parents in their own words on youtube.... sooooooooooo sad. I can't believe these people target innocent Muslim kids...poor poor parents.

Rifqa Bary is a 17-year-old girl who was coached to leave her home in Columbus, OH, on July 19, 2009. A church group helped her going to Florida. Pastor Blake Lorenz and his wife illegally kept her at their home for 2 and a half week and did not inform authorities of Florida. On August 8, 2009, the pastor called DCF and finally informed that he had this girl. DCF did not take any action and left her with this couple for 2 more days. On August 10th before handing over Rifqa to DCF, coached her to give statement against her father on video. According to Florida law, nobody can keep a minor for more than 24 hours without having custody rights. To this date, no actions have been taken against this pastor Lorenz and his wife for their alleged crime. Instead the father has been drilled for a crime that he never even imagined.

Several false allegations are made against the father, but so far he has been clear by all authorities and police department.

Bary's are desperately waiting to get united with their beloved daughter. Please help them by spreading this message. Please keep them in your prayer.

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« Reply #4 on: Sep 04, 2009 03:31 PM »

No abuse found, says attorney for Muslim family of runaway Christian teen

By Michael Kruse, Times Staff Writer

ORLANDO — The attorney for the mother of Ohio religious runaway Rifqa Bary said in court here Thursday that results of a critical investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement had come back "very favorable" and "with no evidence whatsoever" of alleged abuse or threats of death made by the girl's parents.

Attorney Roger Weeden's statement was the most contentious part of a hearing that was tense throughout. It came before the judge imposed gag orders in an attempt to restore some order to this controversial custody case turned culture war.

In addition to the gag order for the attorneys, Judge Daniel P. Dawson gave them 10 days to read the FDLE report — no more talking about that, either — and gave them 30 days to schedule the start of mediation for the Bary family.

"Let's concentrate on getting this case resolved," Dawson said. He set a pretrial hearing for Sept. 29.

Bary, 17, ran away last month from her family's home near Columbus because she believes her Muslim parents have to kill her because of her conversion to Christianity. She traveled to Orlando by bus and stayed in the home of evangelical pastors Blake and Beverly Lorenz of the Global Revolution Church for more than two weeks before authorities knew where she was.

She's been living with a Christian foster family since Aug. 10. At a hearing Aug. 21, Dawson, the judge, decided to keep her in Florida as custody issues get settled.

She was in court Thursday, wearing a brown sweater, a white dress and dark red nail polish. She said nothing, but did blow an occasional kiss to people she knew in the courtroom when she wasn't reading her Bible.

The FDLE report was finished late Thursday morning. It includes a two-hour, 45-minute interview with Bary. The results of the report, based on what Weeden said in court, mirror the results of a recently completed abuse investigation done by Franklin County Children Services in Ohio. The conclusion up there: "unsubstantiated."

Thursday, the state Department of Children Families asked that Bary no longer be allowed to visit with Blake and Beverly Lorenz. The judge agreed, although he let her continue to visit with the Lorenzes' three children, who are in their 20s, and whom Bary considers "dear friends and spiritual advisers," according to John Stemberger, her attorney.

In court, Krista Bartholomew, Bary's guardian ad litem, said this case was "not a holy war," but that's what this has become over the last month.

Before the hearing on Thursday, outside in front of the courthouse, Tom Trento held a news conference, as he did before the first hearing. He's from the Florida Security Council, an organization with the slogan of "Securing Florida Against Terror." This time, though, he brought a pastor from Ohio and a pair of anti-Islam bloggers.

Jamal Jivanjee, the Ohio pastor, compared Rifqa Bary to Anne Frank, the Jewish girl who was killed by Nazis in World War II and whose diary became what many consider one of the most important books of the 20th century.

Robert Spencer, who writes on a blog called Jihad Watch, told reporters Islam was here to take over America. Pam Geller of the Atlas Shrugs blog dismissed the results of the Franklin County investigation by saying things were "corrupt in Ohio."

"Forget your political correctness!" she said.

Muslim businessman Mohammad Lutfi of Orlando yelled that Trento, Spencer and Geller were "conservative, right-wing militants" and "crusaders."

Later, after the hearing, the attorneys made hasty exists, citing the new gag order. They hurried past the TV trucks, the reporters, the cameras, the shouting, red-faced, finger-pointing scrum.

Out in the busy, rain-slicked street in front of the courthouse, an appropriate metaphor for the day: a silver sedan screeched, skidded and slammed into the back of a navy blue Jeep.

Michael Kruse can be reached at mkruse@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8751.

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« Reply #5 on: Sep 19, 2009 09:50 PM »

Wow how do people get like this?? She's definitely terribly young and immature for a 17 year old and as her father said if she wanted to be a Christian I'm sure he would still be her father and protect her. She could have been mature and handled it well, instead of 'running away' cross country, getting involved with a cult and making international headlines promoting Islamophobic ideas. It's not like Muslims haven't turned Christian before, there's many of them, usually stars of the media and anti-Islam forums. Some people, including her brother, said she is a drama-queen. I mean sitting in court at the hearing that's deciding her ENTIRE LIFE and making a show of 'carrying and reading the bible' uh huh melodrama. No wonder anti-Muslim bloggers are frothing at the mouth attending court hearings of this girl. The problem is all these people seem to have been in her life influencing her and yes brainwashing her. What kind of Muslim girl would say "her parents have to kill her", that's ridiculous. She doesn't seem to know anything about Islam at all?

She claimed her father sent her to classes for 5 hours a day and every mosque and school in Ohio says she didn't and knows nothing about her. No such classes. She claimed her father would kill her if he saw her in her cheerleading outfit. And yet there she is displayed proudly in the living room in framed multiple pictures wearing it. The parents came to America only to help her with an eye operation and make a better life for their kids, they specifically moved to that place in Ohio because the schools were good. They let their kids do whatever they want. He's obviously been a lenient (too lenient) parent letting her wear whatever, hang out with whoever, unlimited internet access. Other people have definitely put wack ideas into her head. Along with all these 'so called' abuse charges. I guess the pastor who is ALSO HER LAWYER thought it would a good thing to add in there.

Secondly why are there no charges against this pastor who paid for this girl to cross state lines and hid her in his house and lied to the authorities. Why isn't he charged as a pedophile? Why are they not sending her back to her home state and if they feel she is in 'danger' keep her in child protective services in Ohio.

I just feel sorry for her. Seems like she is being manipulated by many people. One day she might wake up and realize how messed up she is, but maybe not. She will probably get a book-deal and be feted by the media the rest of her life. The people I feel most sorry for are her parents. May Allah protect us from having kids like this.


Fathima Rifqa Bary: Rifqa's personal writings indicate she wants to be a prophet

A Muslim girl who gave her heart to Jesus and then ran away to Christian evangelists in Orlando is not just any Christian. She is driven to save souls and prays that God will make her a prophet.

That's according to writings she left behind when she fled.

"Lord is preparing me and He has me hidden ... until the time is right," Fathima Rifqa Bary wrote in a computer entry obtained by the Orlando Sentinel. "I am called to the nations. Send me to the deepest darkest places into the pagan land."

Rifqa, 17, lives with a foster family in the Orlando area. She fled here, she insists, because her father threatened to kill her for abandoning Islam.

There's no evidence of that, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and child-welfare officials in Columbus, but her claim and her wrenching, tearful YouTube video have prompted a firestorm of response. Thousands of people have weighed in, most insisting that if Florida officials send her back to Ohio, she'll face certain death.

After Rifqa disappeared July 19, family members searched for clues about why she left. They found a computer flash drive and were stunned by what they read.

Contents of the flash drive were given by her father, Mohamed Bary, to the Council on American-Islamic Relations of Columbus, which shared parts of it with the Sentinel. Bary authorized publication.

Facebook preaching
The writings reveal a young woman who has embraced fundamentalist Christianity, who has stood outside an abortion clinic, duct tape across her mouth, alongside other protesters, and who has dreamed about Armageddon.

She must convert her family to Christianity, she wrote, including her older brother, Rilvan, 18, who worships "demonic music." She must approach strangers and talk about Jesus. She saved a list of tips on how to do that:

"Do NOT be sneaky," she wrote. "Sit down ... get to know them ... [Ask] would you mind for 5min if I share the gospel with you."

She compared herself to the Old Testament heroine Esther and wrote out or saved religious pep talks.

"What does it take to be a prophet?" she wrote. "If I am a friend of God I can be prophetic. ... You have to want it. Everyday pray for prophesy."

Also on the flash drive are 250 pages of Facebook preaching and blogging by a young Columbus evangelist, Brian Michael Williams, 23, a former Ohio State University sociology student and Rifqa's religious mentor, according to Bary.

Those are the writings Bary said troubled him most.

Williams prays with people by "laying my hands on the [computer] monitor and prophesying," Williams wrote. He calls Planned Parenthood's founder a racist Nazi, does not believe in evolution, speaks in tongues and criticizes mainstream Christians as following a "demonic doctrine" for being spiritually lethargic and failing to evangelize.

Williams baptized Rifqa in a creek near her home in June, he said, and helped her run away — unwittingly, he insists — by driving her to the Greyhound bus station in downtown Columbus.

To Rifqa's father, Williams is a Christian extremist who turned Rifqa against her family and put lies in her head.

'An inspiration to me'
Williams said that's not true. Rifqa, he said, is the one who convinced him that because her father was a Muslim, Bary must kill her to preserve the family's honor.

"I really appreciate Rifqa's courage, and she's been an inspiration to me," Williams said in a phone interview.

Rifqa's attorney, John Stemberger, and her guardian ad litem, Krista Bartholomew, were prohibited from commenting on the writings because of a gag order issued by Orange Circuit Judge Daniel Dawson.

In the past week, Rifqa's parents have launched a new strategy to get their daughter returned to Ohio and placed in its foster-care system. There are now two juvenile-court cases pending in Columbus. Last week, her father filed one, asking a judge to declare his daughter incorrigible for repeatedly being disobedient.

Someone else on Monday filed a separate petition naming Rifqa, something that could give a Franklin County judge the authority to determine where and with whom she lives. The Franklin County, Ohio, Clerk of Courts Office would not identify the petitioner.

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« Reply #6 on: Nov 17, 2009 06:10 PM »

Rifqa Bary timeline
Wednesday,  October 14, 2009 6:14 AM

Researched by The Columbus Dispatch Library staff
Fathima Rifqa Bary, 17, smiles at supporters in the crowd in the courtroom of circuit judge Daniel Dawson for her hearing at the Thomas S. Kirk Juvenile Justice Center, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2009 in Orlando, Fla.
Runaway who converted from Islam likely to return to Ohio
July 19, 2009: Rifqa Bary disappears. It is later determined that she had taken a bus to Orlando, Fla., where she met Beverly Lorenz. Mrs. Lorenz met the girl through a Facebook prayer group. Rifqa has since been assigned to a foster family approved by the Florida Department of Children and Families.

July 29, 2009: The first call about Rifqa to the Florida Department of Children and Families is made. Officials wouldn't say whether it was a member of the Lorenz family who called.
Aug. 13, 2009: Rifqa's Muslim parents say their daughter has been brainwashed and that she was free to be a Christian.
Aug. 21, 2009: A judge rules that Rifqa will stay in Florida while custody issues are being settled. Mohamed Bary, Rifqa's father, told the judge that his daughter would be able to practice Christianity if she returned home.
Aug. 31, 2009: An attorney for Rifqa alleges in court documents that her family's mosque in Dublin, Ohio, has terrorist ties, a charge disputed by the Islamic center's leader. Rifqa said in a sworn statement that her family regularly attended gatherings at the Noor Islamic Cultural Center in Hilliard, and her attorney said in a memo that the mosque hosted extremist speakers and supported a scholar with ties to the militant group Hamas.
Sept. 2, 2009:  Dr. Asma Mobin-Uddin, a Columbus pediatrician, is among the members of the Noor Islamic Culture Center who invited reporters to the facility for a tour and to distance themselves from the legal battle between Rifqa and her family.
Sept. 3, 2009:
Christian supporters of Rifqa, some of them from out of state, hold Bibles and try to crowd into the 9th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida alongside an army of newspaper and TV reporters and bloggers. Activists hold a news conference outside to rally against their view of Islam, exchanging shouts with an angry Muslim man from the area. Inside the 9th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, Judge Daniel P. Dawson was given the task of looking past the culture war to the issue of what to do with Rifqa.
A pretrial-hearing date is set for Sept. 29. The two sides were ordered by Dawson into mediation in the next 30 days. Dawson issues a gag order.
Eric Fenner, executive director of Franklin County Children Services, says that the agency has "no reason to believe" that Rifqa wouldn't be safe with her parents.
Sept. 8, 2009: The parents of Fathima Rifqa file a complaint in Franklin County Juvenile Court accusing their daughter of being incorrigible. The filing further states that Rifqa is "habitually disobedient," comes and goes as she pleases, defies her parents and their rules, and is truant at home and school.
Sept. 14, 2009: The summary of a report by investigators with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement says that no evidence has been found that Fathima Rifqa Bary was threatened with death by her Muslim father for converting to Christianity. The report further states that there is no credible evidence of abuse and that Rifqa had help getting to Orlando. Rifqa's case is now in dependency court in Orlando, where a judge is to decide whether she will live with her parents or in foster care. A pretrial hearing is set for Sept. 29; Rifqa and her parents are to attempt mediation before then.
Sept. 21, 2009:
Rifqa's father steps up a strategy to bring his daughter back to Columbus. Mohamed Bary files a criminal complaint against the Orlando pastors who helped shelter Rifqa for more than two weeks before the state intervened.
In a hearing, Orange County, Fla. Circuit Judge Daniel Dawson does nothing to change the custody of the 17-year-old, who is living with a foster family near Orlando, and says he plans to talk to the Franklin County judge handling the case to find out whether there is a legitimate custody action in Ohio.
Sept. 22, 2009: The legal battle over Rifqa continues in a Franklin County Juvenile Court.
Oct. 13, 2009: A Florida judge orders Rifqa back to Ohio. Orange County, Fla., Circuit Judge Daniel Dawson said that Bary, 17, who has been staying in Orlando, should return to her family. Franklin County Children Services has accepted the case and has a foster family for Bary.
Oct. 15, 2009: Franklin County magistrate Mary Goodrich awards temporary custody of Rifqa to the county Childrens' Services department. It is still unclear when the 17-year-old Muslim girl will return to Columbus. The custody order takes effect when one of two things happen: her immigration status is determined or she is transferred back from Florida, where she is staying in a foster home.
Oct. 22, 2009: Authorities release a transcript and audiotape of a two-hour interview with Rifqa. In the interview, a giggly and sometimes tearful Rifqa talks about her family, her faith, her fear of Islam and who helped her run away to Orlando, Fla., in July.
Oct. 23, 2009: Judge Daniel P. Dawson of the 9th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida orders Rifqa be transferred into the care of Franklin County Children Services. Once she returns to Ohio, Rifqa will live with a foster family.
Oct. 27, 2009: The Florida Department of Children and Families announces that Rifqa is back in Columbus. The 17-year-old runaway is in the custody of Franklin County Children Services. She will live in a foster home, rather than immediately returning to her parents' Northeast Side apartment. Further, a Columbus judge ordered that Children Services monitor Rifqa's Internet and cell phone use.

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