Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Judge Keeps Rifqa Bary in Florida, Temporarily, Again (UPDATED)

Yesterday, Rifqa Bary returned to an Orlando court in her ongoing effort to remain in Florida foster care where she can practice her Christian faith in safety. In July, when the 17-year-old's conversion to Christianity was disclosed to her Sri Lankan parents by members of their Ohio mosque, Rifqa fled, saying that she feared her father might take her life. In Western terms, Rifqa is a convert to Christianity exercising a basic right but, in Islamic terms, she is an "apostate" guilty of a capital offense under Sharia law if she does not recant and return to Islam. [link added 9 a.m., 9/22/09]

Yesterday saw Rifqa's third court hearing since she left Ohio, and the presiding judge, Daniel P. Dawson, ruled for the third time that Rifqa stay with a Florida foster family temporarily as the case develops.

Most recent among the developments is a dependency petition filed in Columbus, Ohio by Rifqa's parents, who would like Ohio courts to oversee Rifqa's return to their home. However, Rifqa's guardian ad litem in Florida, a lawyer, fears that Rifqa might lose state protection in Ohio, for example, if her parents dropped their dependency petition as soon as Rifqa was returned to them.

Now that the Ohio courts have entered the picture, interstate agreements require that Judge Dawson converse with the Ohio judge. Among the topics to be discussed: Which state has jurisdiction in the case, Florida or Ohio? Is the case a dependency case, a criminal case, or a truancy case?

Upcoming court dates in the Bary case are October 13 (Florida) and October 27 (Ohio).

Hat tip: Atlas Shrugs

UPDATE from Atlas Shrugs:

WASHINGTON, DC (September 21, 2009) - Prominent former Muslims-- apostates from Islam-- will hold a press conference Thursday, September 24 to announce the launch of a new civil liberties organization, Former Muslims United, and the start of a national campaign to educate the American public and policymakers about the threat from authoritative Shariah-- Islamic law-- to the religious freedom and safety of former Muslims.

At the press conference, Former Muslims United founders Nonie Darwish and Ibn Warraq (both internationally-respected authors and scholars) will release letters calling on the Department of Justice and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to investigate possible hate crimes and civil rights violations against apostates from Islam, including the circumstances of the current Florida case of 17-year old Rifqa Bary, a former Muslim. The letters are also signed by Former Muslims United co-founders Mohammad Asghar, Wafa Sultan and Amil Imani.

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