Anglican Samizdat

January 19, 2010

Rifqa Bary and parents end dispute

Filed under: Islam — David Jenkins @ 11:39 pm

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Which on the face of it seems like good news – too good; but perhaps I am just naturally suspicious:

The long legal dispute over runaway teen convert Fathima Rifqa Bary apparently ended in Franklin County Juvenile Court late this afternoon when the girl and her parents agreed that she’ll stay in the custody of Children Services and the family will try to resolve their issues with counseling.
That leaves two options for Rifqa, who is in foster care: She could eventually reconcile with her parents and go home or stay in foster care until her 18th birthday on Aug. 10.

Rifqa admitted she was unruly when she fled her parents’ home last July to live with a Christian pastor and his family in Florida. She said at the time that her father, Mohamed, had threatened to kill her for abandoning the family’s Muslim faith, although authorities say they never found credible evidence that that was true.

Mohamed and Aysha Bary and their daughter all agreed today not to continue with the Juvenile Court dependency case. The next hearing, besides a minor hearing regarding a gag order on Monday, is set for her birthday.



  1. But do the legal settlements allow (or forbid) a trip by Rifqa, however in intention brief, to a country outside the US (ie. a journey to Pakistan, which she may not choose to take, and her parents might plan for her, or be thought to be planning)? The report here states: “authorities say they never found credible evidence that that [a plan to kill her]was true”. Maybe they’re right, and there was no such plan, or maybe the “authorities” were too dhimmified to see/wish to see any evidence.

    Comment by John Thomas — January 20, 2010 @ 5:49 am

  2. It sounds like a victory, but what does she do when she turns 18? At that point, the foster parents can kick her out, and she is on her own.

    Comment by Kate — January 20, 2010 @ 7:01 am

  3. I cannot imagine why her parents would want to take her to Pakistan of all places (their family having come from Sri Lanka). But, she is not in their custody. She will remain in the custody of FCCS (living in foster care) until her 18th birthday. This essentially places her parents in the role of having ceded their parental rights. Typically even taking foster children out of state requires a sign-off from the agency.

    Comment by Christian from Columbus — January 20, 2010 @ 3:09 pm

  4. Having been a foster parent of 17 teens through the years (children’s aid and community youth programs) I can’t imagine a family “kicking her out” at 18. If she is in school, there are supportive agency funds (Canada) to assist. If schooling is not an option, she goes to work like any of us to pay our way in life. Most of my kids spread their wings after high school or college, but often came back when things fell through – not unlike our own kids. I count it an honour and a blessing that they return. God’s spirit touched them!!

    Comment by Jennifer — January 20, 2010 @ 10:16 pm

  5. Sorry, I meant Sri Lanka – I got confused with other cases where young converts have been taken, or induced to go, to Pakistan, and not seen again (sadly, there are several such cases; it’s quite common in Britain).

    Comment by John Thomas — January 21, 2010 @ 7:33 am

  6. Well–OK, but Sri Lanka is a very different place from Pakistan. While there are a number of very ugly and anti-female practices there, there is no more evidence of such things happening in Sri Lanka than in the US. This is one of the puzzling things about this case. What is the need to assume that what happens in Pakistan or Iraq is a unversal practice of Muslims everywhere–despite all evidence to the contrary.

    Comment by Christian from Columbus — January 26, 2010 @ 11:28 am

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