Archive for Fathima Rifqa Bary

Former lawyer for Rifqa Bary could face sanctions

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2011 by loonwatch
Fathima Rifqa Bary

Pamela Geller made the Rifqa Bary case her raison d’etre in 2009, but it died out with a whimper. Now her ex-lawyer could face sanctions for his Islamophobic tirades.

Former lawyer for Rifqa Bary could face sanctions

(CFNews)
ORLANDO —

The former lawyer for an Ohio teenager who ran away to Florida after converting to Christianity could face sanctions from the Florida Supreme Court.

Now, his response to hearing that news is angering his former legal adversary.

John Stemberger, the Orlando attorney who had formerly represented Rifqa Bary, has been basically accused of slander in a misconduct complaint filed by the lawyer who represented Bary’s parents in Ohio when the case was removed from Florida.

That lawyer, Omar Tarazi, said Stemberger continued to go on television as Rifqa’s attorney, even though he had stopped representing her.

When The Associated Press reached Stemberger for comment on the complaint, he called it “a frivolous motion by a disgruntled opposing lawyer.”

The complaint came after Stemberger allegedly accused Tarazi of being paid by groups with terrorist ties, a claim the AP said was based solely on information from Facebook and a blog.

Stemberger then told an AP reporter: “Muslims in the U.S. have become a protected class that institutions are bending over backward to accommodate.”

“For him to pick on somebody, another lawyer who is Muslim, is unacceptable,” said Shayan Elahi, who represented Rifqa’s father in Orlando. ”If anyone has issues with another attorney or another individual, they have a right to complain, and there is a process that’s followed. What should be avoided is getting personal about people’s religions.”

During Rifqa’s hearing in Orlando, Elahi recalled how Stemberger would repeatedly make statements he felt were insensitive of the Muslim religion.

“He never attacked non-Muslim lawyers who were representing the parents ever, and that’s a clear case of Islamophobia,” said Elahi.

The Bary family said there is still no resolution with their daughter, according to Elahi.

“They don’t know where she is,” he said. “They haven’t heard from her since she turned 18. They just hope she is doing well, wherever she is, and maybe at some point, they will reconcile.”

Rifqa Bary said she ran away to Florida because she feared her family would try to kill her for becoming a Christian.

Stemberger told the AP reporter he believes the complaint will ultimately be dismissed.

Possible penalties range from a reprimand to disbarment, but legal experts said the latter was highly unlikely.

 

Pamela Geller is Getting Sued for $10 Million Dollars for Defamation

Posted in Loon Blogs, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on September 8, 2010 by loonwatch

Omar Tarazi, the attorney for the parents of Rifqa Bary is suing Rifqa’s former attorney and Pamela Geller for defamation. Yes, Pamela you regularly defame Muslims and claim they are terrorists or terrorist supporters/sympathizers. Watch Pamela play the victim soon. (hat tip: Marco, via. LGF)

$10 Million Defamation Suit Filed Against Pamela Geller

Last year Pamela Geller injected herself into the case of Rifqa Bary, a teenage runaway and Christian convert who claimed her Muslim parents were planning to kill her. (The Florida Department of Law Enforcement subsequently investigated these claims and found “no evidence whatsoever of alleged abuse or threats of death made by the girl’s parents.”)

As part of her usual hateful rabble-rousing, Geller repeatedly labeled the attorney for Bary’s parents as a terrorist sympathizer who was “appointed by CAIR.”

Now attorney Omar Tarazi is suing Geller and an activist Christian attorney in federal court for $10 million.

A Muslim attorney on one side of the Rifqa Bary dispute has filed a $10 million defamation lawsuit against Orlando attorney John Stemberger, an activist Christian attorney who worked for the other side.

The suit was filed by Omar Tarazi in federal court in Columbus, Ohio, Friday. It names John Stemberger of the conservative Florida Family Policy Council.

Also being sued is a blogger from elsewhere, Pamela Oshry, who writes under the name Pamela Geller at the website atlasshrugged2000 and penned scathing anti-Muslim posts after Rifqa ran away from home in July 2009, saying she was afraid her Muslim parents would kill her for converting to Christianity. …

In the suit, Tarazi accuses Stemberger of falsely claiming on Fox News that Tarazi was associated with a Columbus-area mosque that had ties to terrorists. It also says Stemberger defamed Tarazi by saying Rifqa’s parents fired qualified court-appointed Ohio attorneys to use only one – Tarazi – who was paid by a pro-Muslim group in Ohio, the Council on American-Islamic Relations or CAIR.

Tarazi was paid by no one, according to the suit. …

Oshry [Geller] published web posts that falsely said Tarazi had joined Hamas, a Palestinian terrorist organization, and received payments from ” ‘criminal’ organizations with ‘ties’ to terrorists,” according to the suit.

The attorney being sued, John Stemberger, is apparently also under investigation by the Florida Bar for possible ethics violations in the case:

Stemberger on Tuesday called the suit “ridiculous and frivolous.”

“This is just an attempt at grandstanding after a loss,” he said.

Stemberger acknowledged but would not discuss an investigation by the Florida Bar into possible ethics violations by him for statements he made about the case.

 

Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer Team Up for CPAC Hate Fest

Posted in Feature, Loon Sites with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 18, 2010 by loonwatch
Robert Spencer with loon Pamela GellerRobert Spencer with loon Pamela Geller

Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer are joining forces (a regular occurrence) and holding an “event” at the  Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) slated for February 19 from 10 am until noon. CPAC is billed as the “preeminent yearly conservative gathering” and will have such worthies as Glenn Beck (who will be the keynote speaker), Andrew BreitbartJohn AshcroftRush Limbaugh, Rick Santorum and many others. The sponsors include such far right-wing organizations as the David Horowitz Freedom Center, the John Birch Society, Focus on the Family, the Heritage Foundation and others.

I imagine there will be a cadre of undercover liberals and documentarians, the Max Blumenthal’s of the world who will cover all the craziness that we are accustomed to from right-wingers. If he is there, I am sure one of his exposes will be covering the anti-Muslim loonacy sure to be on display at the Geller-Spencer event.

Pamela Geller brought to our attention the event over on her website Atlas Drugs, oh excuse me Atlas Shrugs in which she practically begs for donations because she complains that she is not funded by big right wing groups or persons (just ask your buddy Spencer he gets paid a pretty penny by the David Horowitz Freedom Foundation). We can’t confirm whether Geller gets funded but it is a little hard to believe she doesn’t have her hand deep into the pockets of the right-wing hate racket.

Here is the hilarious post from Pam replete with her usual over the top verbiage and endless hyperbole:

Last year in an unprecedented event at CPAC, Geert Wilders met Joe Sixpack, and it was good.

This year, Atlas does not disappoint. We are ratcheting it up a few notches. Robert Spencer and I are organizing a joint venture to educate, elucidate and scare the bejeezus outta ya. (emphasis added)

Pam sums up in one sentence what her and her friends’ agenda is with regards to “Mooslims” and “Islam,” “to scare the bejeezus outta ya!” Can it be any clearer they are using the buffoons on their site, manipulating them with fear mongering, but don’t expect the zombies who are deluded into following her to budge because it seems they love a good horror show.

THIS IS A NOT A CPAC EVENT – THIS IS A GELLER-SPENCER EVENT.

Jihad: The Political Third Rail
What they’re not telling us about the war on America

It’s Friday, February 19th from 10 am until Noon.

We are still firming our speakers up, but here is a list of the invited:

Wafa Sultan [confirmed]
Doctor, author, “A God Who Hates

Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff [confirmed]
Criminal complaint filed for  “hate speech” under Austrian law
Human Rights Activist

Steve Coughlin [confirmed]
Leading Islamic Specialist at the Pentagon, who was fired by Islamic infiltrators

Simon Deng
Former Slave in Sudan, leading human rights activist against jihad

Lt. Colonel Allen West [confirmed]
Running for Congress, Future Leadership

Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer

Invited:

Rifqa Bary [invited]
teenage apostate

Kurt Westergaard [invited]
Danish cartoonist targeted for death by axe-wielding Muslim

The latest assassination attempt on Kurt Westergaard’s life by an axe-wielding Muslim (in his home with his five year old granddaughter present) has thrown an axea wrench into this …………

Rifqa Bary is a free American. She should be free to speak anywhere she wants. Should she not?

Plan to be at CPAC this year, or at least in DC, and set aside Friday, February 19th from 10 am to noon. I need your help getting it off the ground. I will not be charging for attendance, but it costs.

No one underwrites me. No one. Not a penny.

All of these right wing organizations have donors, big donors, small donors …. andfund raising arms. They are, by their very nature, fund raising machines. Not Atlas.

Huge thanks to BigFurHat for the killer art ………. he’s da best!

If you can contribute, please do (and those who have — G-d bless you).

The woman is after money! Does she have any self-respect at all?

Look at the all stars on the list of confirmed speakers, they include Wafa Sultan (bettter known as Wafa Stalin) who we exposed as a hateful, lying poseur playing off the ignorance of her audience and also an advocate for Nuking Muslims.  There is the Austrian, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff whose claim to fame is that she has been charged with hate speech for saying “Muslims rape children” and believes that Austria’s culture is in danger because of Islam. There is Steve Coughlin who we are supposed to believe was an Islam specialist and was “fired from the Pentagon” by so-called “Islamic infiltrators.” Maybe these infiltrators were also the Islamic congressional interns who were “spying” on America for the world-wide Khaliphate? There is Simon Deng who seems to have taken his horrible experience in the Sudan into an all out crusade against Muslims, and of course there is the Biblical Literalist Allen West, the near court-martialed former lieutenant running for Congress on the platform that Palestine should not exist and that all Palestinians should move to Jordan.

Seems like a swell bunch doesn’t it? Well it doesn’t end there, they also “invited” Fathima Rifqa Bary, the poor girl whose life they have constantly intefered in and labeled as the “apostate.” Throughout the whole saga involving Rifqa Bary it is instructional to note that it is only Pam’s group that have been eager to label her an “apostate,” none of those evil Mooslim organizations, ISNA, CAIR, MPAC, ICNA, MAS, Muslim Advocates, etc. have ever called her “apostate.”

So if you want to get together to see a group of flunkies, bigots, charlatan’s and clowns then don’t miss out on this show February 19th that will “scare the beejuzus outta ya!”

 

Top 10 Most Popular LoonWatch Pieces Of 2009

Posted in Feature, Loon Flashback with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2009 by loonwatch

top10

It has been a crazy 2009, we began our little adventure here at Loonwatch about eight months ago to monitor and expose the comical and disgusting world of Islamophobia. In that time we have gathered a pretty formidable team: Emperor, Garibaldi, Mooneye, Danios, Zingel, Darter and the sporadic contributors American Sole and Barbel.

The year has been wacky and sad, we witnessed Islamophobic murders, violence, and incitement, the continuing repitition of the double standard of castigating all Islam for the crimes of a few Muslims in the media, we saw crazy conspiracy theories revolving around Barack Obama’s supposed “Mooslimness” increase, and much more and Loonwatch has been in the middle of it all, documenting and breaking it down.

We have taken on Robert Spencer and JihadWatch, for the past few years he had been either mostly ignored or left unscathed but through our exposes such as Zingel’s devastating revelation that Spencer’s site was connected to “F***Islam.com” and Danios’ thorough and explosive dissections of Spencer’s arguments he has been exposed for the hateful fraud that he is. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that Spencer is scared of Loonwatch, when there was an open challenge for him to rebut our refutations he slithered into silence.

We have documented the Blog Wars in the anti-Muslim blogosphere, the humiliation they had to deal with when we exposed how they had fallen for one conspiracy theory after another such as the insane Gaza mass wedding pedophilia conspiracy. From the Fathima Rifqa Bary case all the way to the Swiss minaret ban we have covered it all, and we can only promise that with the continued participation and support of our indefatigable readers we will keep bringing explosive exposes and incisive commentary on the loony world of Islamophobia!

Without further ado these are the top ten most popular pieces of 2009 from Loonwatch (we tallied this by posting those pieces that had the most traffic on the site):

1.)Pamela Geller: The Looniest Blogger Ever

pamela_gellar11

Pam Geller is the looniest blogger ever. Quite a distinction, but she has earned it through her vigilant anti-Muslimism, constant Islamophobia and hatred of Obama.

2.)Fathima Rifqa Bary Needs to Read Her Bible; Final Word on Islam and Apostasy

apostasy

Fathima Rifqa Bary’s pastor has convinced her that the Quran commands her to be killed for converting. In this expose we deal with the veracity of the claim.

3.)Anti-Muslim Blogosphere Runs Amuck: Forced to Eat Crow

gaza_wedding

The anti-Muslim, Islamophobic Blogosphere was riled up and accusing the world of turning a blind eye to Pedophilia but then they had to eat crow. See why.

4.)Geert Wilders Wants to Tax Women who Wear the Hijab

geert_wilders1

Geert Wilders, friend of Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller calls for a tax on Muslim women who wear the hijab. Where are the condemnations against this attack on the values of “Western Civilization?”

5.)Wafa Sultan is Better Known as Wafa Stalin

Wafa SultanWafa Sultan

Wafa Sultan advocates the nuking of Islamic countries whose religion she likens to Nazism. She also seconds Geert Wilders call to ban the Quran.

6.)The Church’s Doctrine of “Perpetual Servitude” was Worse than “Dhimmitude”

Robert Spencer next to his Perpetual Serf Pamela GellerRobert Spencer next to his Perpetual Serf Pamela Geller

Robert Spencer can’t stop talking about “dhimmitude.” In this mini-book, we neutralize the argument by examining the Church’s doctrine of “Perpetual Servitude.”

7.)Temple University Rejects Geert Wilders

Temple University Rejects Geert WildersTemple University Rejects Geert Wilders

Temple University administrators allow Geert Wilders hate speech over the unanimous objection and rejection of the student body and faculty. (Updated)

8.)Muslim Americans Must Obey U.S. Laws; Nidal Hasan Disobeyed Islamic Doctrine

Major Nidal Malik HasanMajor Nidal Malik Hasan

Islam enjoins believers to obey the laws of the land, which is why millions of Muslims seek to be upstanding and loyal Americans.

9.)Loonwatch Exclusive: Robert Spencer’s “f**kallah.com” & “f**kislam.com”

"Islam Scholar" Robert Spencer Exposed“Islam Scholar” Robert Spencer Exposed

A LoonWatch Exclusive takes a look at the latest scandal associated with the internet’s premiere anti-Muslim bigot.

10.)Debbie Schlussel and the Great Blog Wars

Debbie SchlusselDebbie Schlussel

Debbie Schlussel has been described by the LATimes as a trigger happy anti-Muslim zealot, she is also a pioneer in the Great (Civil) Blog War.

 

Fathima Rifqa Bary: Pastors Knew they Broke the Law, ex-church official says

Posted in Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , , on December 24, 2009 by loonwatch
Fathima Rifqa BaryFathima Rifqa Bary

It has now been revealed that the pastors of the Florida Church, Beverly and Blake Lorenz had knowledge of what they were doing before hand, and they also knew that they were breaking the law.

Fathima Rifqa Bary: Pastors knew they were breaking the law

A former administrator at an Orlando church told investigators that the church’s pastors who took in a teenage runaway this summer knew that they were doing something unlawful.

In a sworn statement filed this week in Ohio, Brian Smith stated that “many lawyers” told pastor Blake Lorenz he was “breaking the law” by aiding the teen, Fathima Rifqa Bary.

Smith is a former administrator of Global Revolution Church, a church founded by husband and wife pastors Blake and Beverly Lorenz.

Rifqa, then 16, ran away from her home outside Columbus, Ohio, in mid-July and hopped a Greyhound bus to Orlando.

She sought shelter with the Lorenzes, whom she met through an online prayer group.

Rifqa said she feared her Muslim family would harm her or kill her because she converted to Christianity. Her parents have denied the teen’s claim, and investigators found no proof of it.

According to the affidavit, Blake Lorenz told Smith that Lorenz and another church member went to the Orlando bus station and bought Rifqa a ticket under a false name. Before she arrived in Orlando, Lorenz also asked Smith for church money to pay some of her expenses, including the cost of a bed and a disposable cell phone.

Also in his affidavit, Smith said Blake Lorenz refused to call Florida’s Department of Children and Families when he was advised by police and others to report that Rifqa was living with them. Rifqa’s parents had reported her missing to Ohio authorities.

Prosecutors to make charging decision

Florida law says people cannot shelter an unmarried minor for more than 24 hours without the consent of their parent or guardian, or without notifying a law-enforcement officer of the child’s name.

A Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation into the pastors’ role is complete, Assistant Special Agent in Charge Danny Banks said.

In upcoming weeks, FDLE will submit its case to the State Attorney’s Office, which will review the file and soon will make a charging decision, Banks said.

“I wish I could respond,” Blake Lorenz said Wednesday of Smith’s sworn statement. “The truth’s going to prevail. I’m not worried.”

He referred questions to lawyer Mat Staver, who was critical of Smith’s statement.

“There’s a lot of allegations in that affidavit that I know personally are not factual,” Staver said. “I’ve known the Lorenzes for 20 years. The last thing they would do is intentionally violate the law.”

Staver did not point to any specific charges that are incorrect but called Smith a disgruntled former employee.

Reached Wednesday, Smith said his sworn statement is truthful based on the information he had been told. And he said he “absolutely” is not a disgruntled former employee.

In an earlier interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Lorenz said he did call DCF. A DCF spokeswoman earlier confirmed the agency received four calls related to Rifqa’s case, but wouldn’t say who made those calls. The calls were received July 29, Aug. 6, and two on Aug. 7.

Rifqa’s story turned international

Rifqa stayed with the Lorenzes for more than two weeks before she was ordered into DCF custody by an Orange County judge.

Fearful that Rifqa would be sent back to her parents in Ohio, the Lorenzes in August alerted the Orlando media about a custody hearing.

Rifq’a story then turned into one of international intrigue with religious factions lining up against each other before and after custody hearings in Orlando.

Rifwa eventually was sent back to Ohio to live with a foster family.

The Lorenzes reorganized Global Revolution Church after their role in the Rifqa affair was disclosed. They now lead a congregation under another name.

In Smith’s sworn statement, he said he told Lorenz he was “very uncomfortable” with the Rifqa situation and spoke to his personal lawyer.

“My lawyer explained to me that they were in violation of several laws and to immediately hang up, call Blake and tell him to call DCF immediately,” Smith said in his statement. “She quoted several laws to me and the seriousness of them.”

“I called Blake and informed him of what the lawyer said. I implored him to call DCF immediately. He said he wouldn’t because they would just return her to her parents.”

Rene Stutzman of the Sentinel staff contributed to this report. Amy L. Edwards can be reached at aledwards@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5735.

Copyright © 2009, Orlando Sentinel

 

Debbie Schlussel Hits out Against “Pseudo-Warrior” Pamela Geller

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 16, 2009 by loonwatch

Debbie Schlussel Slams fellow Islamophobe Pamela Geller

Debbie Schlussel
Debbie Schlussel

This is what we expected all along, for the ravenous loons to eat each other up. There may still be a salvageable relationship between Debbie Schlussel and Pamela Geller, they might bury the hatchet to continue with the profitable business of Islamophobia but it does not seem likely.

Of course we couldn’t care less if they remain buddies or not, in fact we hope that we can sit back with a bag of popcorn and watch the preceding blog brawl escalate. Again the starter of this fire is Debbie Schlussel who writes that she regrettably has to call out Pamela Geller who unlike her is not a true warrior but a “pseudo-warrior.” All we can do is laugh.

Some choice cuts from the most recent oeuvre served by Schlussel (hat tip: enaater):

How do you go from–less than two months ago–rightfully condemning a mother for sending her daughters to what she knew would be their murder by their Muslim father  . . . to making her a featured speaker at your anti-honor killing rally?! That’s a question you’ll have to ask Pamela Geller, who–as is her recent SOP with me–ignored my e-mails to her, including two asking her why she invited Patricia Said…

This is all over ignored emails. Ha. Priceless.

It boggles the mind that any sane, principled person truly against honor killings would invite this woman, Patricia Said, to speak at such a rally.  If she was Rifqa Bary’s mother, the Bary teen would be dead by now, with her help.

Schlussel, herself an insane loon pretty much calls her old friend Pam insane here as well.

Instead of answering my question, Pamela ignored it and covered her ass–choosing to deceive readers of her Atlas Shrugs website with creative editing and removing Patricia Said’s name and changing it to “honor killing victims’ family members.” (It should have read “co-conspirators in honor killings.) But Said will be there, courtesy of Pamela, who organized the rally and paid for Tissie Said’s travel to and lodging for the event.

Tsk, tsk. Schlussel is really bringing the hammer out now. Shocking revelations: Pam Geller is paying people to come out for the anti-Muslim “rally.”

Pamela preferred symbolism over substance, and this isn’t the first time.

Ouch.

It pains me to write this because I’ve done much to help Pamela–some of it at her request and much of it because it was the right thing to do–over the years.

We hear your anguish Debbie, you helped Pam be a bigot and now she screws it up by not answering her email.

Some people say “not on my watch,” but not only don’t they really mean it, they enable the perpetrators.  There are warriors, and then there are pseudo-warriors, who casually throw principle to the wind whenever it’s convenient.

This is the cherry on top, Debbie pretty much calls out Pam’s credentials (if there ever were any) and labels her what we all know her to be: “an opportunist.” Also notice the vanity and self-adulation, Debbie proclaiming herself a “warrior.” If you’re drinking milk, I sure hope it didn’t start gushing from your nose due to an obscene amount of laughter.

All I can imagine now is the precarious position that this puts Robert Spencer in, who dubbed Debbie Schlussel and Pamela Geller “freedom fighters.” He will have to choose sides or attempt to reconcile these “warriors” as he increasingly stands a top a pile of crumbling Islamophobic alliances. An alliance undone by the very hatred that fuels it.

Breaking News: Fathima Rifqa Bary to be Returned to Ohio

Posted in Loon Blogs, Loon Pastors, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2009 by loonwatch

Breaking News: Rifqa Bary to be returned to Ohio

Fathima Rifqa Bary
Fathima Rifqa Bary

Judge Daniel Dawson who has been presiding over the Fathima Rifqa Bary case in Florida has ruled that she should return home to Ohio where she will be staying with a foster family. No doubt the fanatical anti-Muslim bloggers and right-wing nuts will be labeling the judge a dhimmi for following the law. They tried their hardest to smear this family and Muslims with everything they could, including lies, today it finally seems that this case which should have been decided from the very beginning is finally drawing to a close.

Fathima Rifqa Bary is likely coming home to Ohio, the state she fled nearly three months ago, saying she feared death for her conversion to Christianity.

But she’ll be staying in a foster home, not her parents’ Northeast Side apartment.

Jurisdiction in the 17-year-old’s case should be transferred from Florida to Ohio, judges in both states decided via conference call yesterday.

Dependency cases were filed in both states to determine whether the girl should be returned to her parents, who she says would harm her for leaving Islam.

“I believe this is the home state and the most convenient forum with respect to the issues as I understand them,” said Franklin County Juvenile Judge Elizabeth Gill.

Judge Daniel P. Dawson of the 9th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida agreed, but he required certain steps be taken before she is returned.

Rifqa ran away in July, saying her father threatened to kill her for becoming a Christian. Mohamed Bary denied her accusations, and a Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation found no credible threats to her safety.

She could be back in Ohio by Oct. 27, when a hearing is scheduled in Franklin County Juvenile Court, said Dawson, speaking from Orlando.

But before ordering her into the care of Franklin County Children Services, Dawson wanted two issues settled.

He asked for documented assurance that Rifqa’s online schooling can continue in Ohio. Dawson also asked that Rifqa’s parents provide all paperwork related to her immigration status before she crosses state lines.

The immigration status of Rifqa, a native of Sri Lanka, is unclear. Her guardian ad litem in Florida said she may not be in the United States legally.

It isn’t yet clear exactly when Rifqa will return, or how she will be transported. She will receive a psychological evaluation when she gets here.

Dawson asked whether the Barys could simply dismiss the Ohio dependency case because they filed it themselves in an attempt to transfer jurisdiction.

Assistant Franklin County Prosecutor Chris Julian said they would not agree to dismiss the case. A Children Services official added that it would not be in Rifqa’s or her family’s best interest for her to live at home at this time.

In Gill’s courtroom yesterday, Mohamed Bary and his wife, Aysha, sat calmly between their attorneys. They laughed when they heard Rifqa’s Florida attorney, John Stemberger, say that she was in danger of being sent back to Sri Lanka where she could be killed or institutionalized.

Stemberger also said Rifqa wants to stay in Florida.

After the hearing, the Barys and their 18-year-old son, Rilvan, said they were told not to comment. Rifqa’s Ohio attorney, Kort Gatterdam, cited a gag order in declining to comment.

Dawson expressed frustration during the hearing that the Barys had not provided Rifqa’s immigration paperwork after repeated requests.

He gave them 10 business days to comply, under threat of being found in contempt of court.

He also ordered the release of the 110-page transcript of a nearly three-hour interview with Rifqa that was conducted by Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigators. But some information must be redacted first, he said, not specifying an exact release date.

mheagney@dispatch.com

Pamela Geller, who has invested so much in this case, even making up lies whole cloth and trying to pass it on as “investigative journalism” is not pleased. In her usual shrill and radically bigoted style she writes that this is a “slow motion execution, shariah style.” Practically that the American system of law is Shariah. The woman is nuts. At the same time Robert Spencer takes his talking points from Pam and writes that “US court capitulates to shariah.” What fantasy land are they living in? My guess is when this case is over, as it soon will be, you will see Spencer distance himself from the case by remaining silent on it, or as per his practice declare victory.

Michael Kruse: How Real are Runaway’s Fears of Being Killed

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 24, 2009 by loonwatch
kruse_michael_wp_10347a
Michael Kruse

This is another excellent article by Michael Kruse on the Fathima Rifqa Bary case. It explores the charges made by anti-Islam bloggers as well as Rifqa herself. He also gets the opinions of various Islamic scholars on the issues that have been raised by the case, separating truth from fiction.

How Real Are Runaway’s Fears of Being Killed for Becoming Christian?

Will religious runaway Rifqa Bary be killed if she’s sent home to Ohio?

Bary is the 17-year-old girl who fled to Florida in July because she’s terrified that her Muslim family has to murder her due to her conversion to Christianity.

Authorities in both states say there’s no “credible” threat against her. Investigators from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement say her fear is “subjective and speculative.” Her parents say they don’t want to hurt her and just want her back.

She’s living with a foster family as a court in Orlando tries to decide what to do with her. The next hearing is Monday afternoon. Attorneys for her parents are expected to argue that the case should be shifted to Ohio.

This is a good time to pause for a bit and take another look at her Aug. 10 interview with local TV. It remains this ongoing story’s primary source.

“I’m fighting for my life!” she said in her nearly seven-minute interview with Orlando’s WFTV. “You guys don’t understand!”

Let’s understand then.

• • •

“Imagine the honor in killing me,” she said. “It’s in the Koran.”

It’s not. Here’s what is.

One verse: “If any of you turn back from their faith and die in unbelief, their works will bear no fruit in this life and in the Hereafter; they will be companions of the Fire and will abide therein.”

Another verse: “If they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them.”

Those are parts of the two verses Robert Spencer cites to support his belief that Bary will be killed because Islam says she must be killed.

Spencer blogs at JihadWatch.org. He’s written nine books, with titles like Stealth Jihad, The Truth About Muhammad and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades). Two of them have been New York Times bestsellers. In Stealth Jihad, published last year, he writes of the coming “Islamic conquest of North America” and urges this country’s schools to stop “the empty rhetoric of inclusion and multiculturalism.”

Here are some other things the Koran says.

One verse: “Let there be no compulsion in religion.”

Another verse: “Show kindness to parents, and to family.”

The Koran, like many other holy texts, is long, complicated and at times contradictory, and over centuries different people have had and continue to have different interpretations.

Bary has committed apostasy. That means she was a Muslim and now she’s not.

“The Koran condemns apostasy,” said Jonathan Berkey, a professor of Islamic studies at Davidson College in North Carolina, “but the verses about seizing and slaying ‘renegades’ concerned enemies of the prophet Muhammad’s state, people who posed a political or even military threat.

“For others,” he said, “the Koran implies that apostasy is something that God will punish.”

Not people. Not in this life.

• • •

“They have to kill me,” she said.

Let’s acknowledge this right here: There’s no way to know for sure if her parents, or anyone else for that matter, will kill her.

But this can be said with certainty: They don’t have to.

This idea, though, comes from sharia, or Islamic law. There is one Koran but there is no single sharia. It comes from many sources, including the Koran, and is “more like a discussion by Muslim scholars concerning the duties a Muslim should perform,” said Valerie Hoffman, a professor of Islamic studies at the University of Illinois.

Most Muslim jurists say apostasy is punishable by death — but not all of them. It is “the heart of a burning debate among modern Muslims,” said Sherman Jackson, a professor of Islamic studies at the University of Michigan.

“There are lots of liberal Muslims today who feel that there should never be any execution of people who convert from Islam to another religion,” Hoffman said. “You can’t say Islam says this or Islam says that.”

Also important is the fact that sharia is law only to the extent that specific governments choose to enforce it as such. Some governments in the Muslim world do. Most don’t. Indonesia is the largest Muslim-majority country in the world. Its government does not.

“Sharia is just not applied very often, particularly in the modern world,” Berkey said. “There are few places in the Muslim world where much at all of sharia is applied with the force of law.”

Apostasy executions are rare.

An official at the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom told the New York Times in 2006 that he knew of four: one in Sudan, in 1985; two in Iran, in 1989 and 1998; and one in Saudi Arabia, in 1992.

In the case of Bary, which government would order her execution for apostasy — Ohio, Florida, the United States?

“The allegation that Muslim parents would be required to kill an apostate daughter is absurd,” said Carl Ernst, a professor of Islamic studies at the University of North Carolina, “particularly if there is no evidence to back this up besides the daughter’s statement.”

• • •

“I don’t know if you know about honor killings,” she said.

Honor killings are real. The United Nations Population Fund says there could be as many as 5,000 a year worldwide.

Honor killings are usually when a man in a family kills a woman in that family because of some shame the man believes she brought on the family. It typically involves some sort of perceived sexual impropriety, anything from promiscuity to adultery to dating the wrong guy or dressing too “Western.” Sometimes, women are killed after they’re raped.

Honor killings happen mostly in the Muslim world. In the last couple of years, though, there was a double murder some called an honor killing in Texas, there was one in Georgia, there was another in upstate New York.

But honor killings and apostasy executions are not the same thing.

“This is a basic mistake of conflating two things,” said Brett Wilson, a professor of Islamic studies at Macalester College in Minnesota.

Ernst, the professor from UNC, called honor killings “a local or tribal custom,” having far more to do with culture than religion — “more or less equivalent,” he wrote in an e-mail, “to the so-called ‘unwritten law,’ honored by judges in Texas at least through the 1950s, which considered it legitimate for a husband to kill his wife and her lover if he discovered them in a compromising situation.”

• • •

To believe absolutely that the girl from Ohio will be killed if she’s sent home, you have to believe that there’s no variation in the interpretation of Islam — no Sunni, no Shia, no Sufism — among the approximately billion and a half Muslims worldwide, stretching from Southeast Asia to Africa to the Middle East to Europe to Florida and Ohio. Saying all Muslims have exactly the same rigid and literal beliefs and act on those beliefs in exactly the same ways is like saying the same thing about Christians.

Times news researchers Shirl Kennedy and Will Short Gorham contributed to this report. Michael Kruse can be reached at mkruse@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8751.

Andrew Bostom Takes on Mike Kruse–Loses

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs, Loon Sites, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2009 by loonwatch
Andrew Bostom and Robert Spencer
Andrew Bostom and Robert Spencer

Andrew Bostom (well over due for a LoonWatch piece), a close friend of Robert Spencer’s, and another self-proclaimed “Islamic scholar” is lauded on JihadWatch as having “taken on and crushed” Mike Kruse, the St.Petersburg Times reporter who has been covering the Fathima Rifqa Bary case.

It’s a popular tactic amongst Islamophobes, especially Robert Spencer to try and twist what is clearly a negative outcome for themselves into a self-declared victory with a peppering of congratulatory self-adulation. This was the case with Spencer in his confrontation with Professor M. Cherif Bassiouni, when his alter-ego Hugh Fitzgerald proclaimed “victory” for Spencer and “defeat” for Bassiouni.

The truth is Spencer and company are ever more becoming isolated on the fringes of an increasingly radicalized segment of the Right-Wing, the company he keeps consists of neo-fascists, birthers, conspiracy theorists, Glenn Beck types, etc.

kruse_michael_wp_10347a
Michael Kruse

In this recent episode Bostom says that Kruse was wrong for stating that Spencer believes that “Muslims are in America to take over,” which from the body of Spencer’s work and the company he keeps is more than likely an accurate presumption, in context it is also the impression that he was trying to give at the press conference outside the courtroom of the Fathima Rifqa Bary case.

A case which is proving to be very embarrassing for Spencer, as evidence after evidence keeps coming out that the charges made by bloggers such as him and Pamela Geller that Rifqa’s life was/had to be in danger and that she was abused by her parents turn out to be bogus. Spencer’s reputation has taken a big hit and he is doing everything in his power to try to salvage some face. Continue reading

Fathima Rifqa Bary Update: No Abuse Found

Posted in Loon Blogs, Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 5, 2009 by loonwatch
Fathima Rifqa Bary
Fathima Rifqa Bary

Fathima Rifqa Bary Update: No Abuse Found

We have been keeping track of the Fathima Rifqa Bary case which the anti-Muslim blogsphere has invested a lot in;  attempting to further their agenda of demonizing Islam and Muslims. The fact that they don’t care much about this young girl or her family is obvious, they just want to score points in their tireless crusade against Muslims.

It seems slowly but surely the case is being resolved and more and more facts are coming out. The anti-Muslim blogsphere lead by the wacky Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer have been casting the family as fanatical, abusive, wanting to kill their daughter. They have cast unsubstantiated allegations on the local Mosque in Columbus, Ohio saying it is a haven for terrorists, even when it has been proved a bastion of moderation.

Now Mike Kruse of the St. Petersburg Times reports that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) have reported that there is “no evidence whatsoever of alleged abuse or threats of death made by the girl’s parents.” Continue reading

Fathima Rifqa Bary Update: Mike Thomas on the Noor Mosque

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 2, 2009 by loonwatch
Fathima Rifqa Bary

Fathima Rifqa Bary

Mike Thomas is a journalist with the Orlando Sentinel which has been following and reporting on the Fathima Rifqa Bary case. The case of the young runaway has garnered much attention and many of the Islamophobes and anti-Muslims have much invested in it. Recently, conservative attorney John Stemberger who volunteered to represent Rifqa is now claiming that the real danger to the girl comes from the Mosque that her father attends.

Mike Thomas wanted to check if these sentiments were truly held by the neighbors of the Mosque or those who knew it, in a blog titled This is a Terrorist Mosque?, Thomas writes,

Attorney John Stemberger, who volunteered to represent Rifaq Bary, now claims that the real danger to the girl is her father’s mosque – the Noor Islamic Cultural Center – which he says is radical and has ties to terrorism.

I checked that with Rabbi Misha Zinkow, of Temple Israel, who spoke at the Noor center earlier this year at an inter-faith gathering.

“Their presence in the community is a positive one,” he said. “My interaction with the Muslim community has been very positive.”

I then asked the Rabbi if Columbus was a hotbed of Islamic extremism, another charge I frequently hear.

“I don’t think I would echo those sentiments,” he said.

The Noor Islamic Cultural Center also is a member of B.R.E.A.D., a social justice organization that includes a number of Protestant churches (Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, etc) , Catholic churches, Episcopalian churches, Temples and even the Unitarians.

Earlier this month, the Center had an interfaith session on homeland security.

Here is a promo the Center put out on Youtube. You can see all those middle-aged, crazy terrorists flipping burgers and hot dogs on the grill.

Mike Thomas shows that this Mosque is far from the “terrorist Mosque” that it is being painted as by Rifqa’s attorney, but will it be enough for those who are using the Fathima Rifqa Bary case for their own agenda to stop their crusade to paint the Mosque as a haven for terrorism whose members will kill Rifqa if returned?

LoonWatchers might have noticed that the anti-Muslim blogsphere with the likes of Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer have been reporting on this case constantly and have invested a lot in it, pushing full throttle to see to it that Fathima R. Bary does not end up with her parents and instead stays in Florida. Just today Robert Spencer posted a blog requesting his supporters to contact (pressure) the Florida court to keep Rifqa there. For them it is a high stakes game in the war against Muslims, so if Fathima is returned to her parents and the courts find that her life  is not in threat they will end up with major egg on their faces.

Fairfield County Weekly: Fathima Rifqa Bary Case Doesn’t Add Up

Posted in Loon Blogs, Loon Pastors, Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 26, 2009 by loonwatch
Fathima Rifqa Bary
Fathima Rifqa Bary

There is a great editorial in the Fairfield County Weekly that highlights some of the obfuscation and outright prejudice that has resulted from the Fathima Rifqa Bary case. The girl who ran away from her house in Ohio and joined a Christian pastor’s family in Florida and is now being held in foster care until a judge can ascertain whether or not she should be returned home. She has made serious allegations against her family that they will kill her if she is returned to them.

The article points out some logical fallacies that many in the right wing propaganda media have been perpetuating such as the one from loony blogger Pamela Geller who says that according to a secret “source” of hers, she knows that Fathima’s father has forced her to wear hijab. How does this jibe with the fact that her father also allowed her to be a cheerleader? Or the fact that there isn’t one picture of her on the internet when she is with family or not where she is wearing a hijab?

You Don’t Have to Act like a Refugee

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Comments (2),By FCW Editorial

Rifqa Bary says that if she’s sent back to Ohio her father Mohamed will kill her. The 17-year-old, whose family immigrated from Sri Lanka, says she converted to Christianity from Islam four years ago, having picked up the religion from friends at school where she’s an honors student and cheerleader. This led to four years of beatings from her father and brothers, according the right-wing blogs salivating over Rifqa’s story.

“Beatings were random, violent, unprovoked,” writes Pamela Geller, the “citizen journalist, citizen soldier” who runs the site Atlas Shrugs. “Take, for example, when Rifqa and her father Mohammad [sic] were driving in the car. He would force her to wear the hijab, which she hated. In her discomfort she would slouch down, embarrassed, and her father would haul off and sock her in the face so that she never forgot to sit up straight in her costume.” Finally, her father told her he’d kill her for shaming the family, the teen says.

So Rifqa met a husband-and-wife Christian ministry team on Facebook, ran away from home and rode a Greyhound to their doorstep. Luckily, they live in Florida, a state where no dispute can ever be handled quickly or sensibly. (Elián González, Terry Schiavo, the 2000 recount.) She is now in foster care and a Florida juvenile court is deciding whether or not to send her back to Ohio.

Newsmax, WorldNetDaily and other conservative news sources have dedicated a lot of bandwidth to this story. Faux News is the most reliable national news source to more than glimpse at it, and only the Columbus Dispatch and Orlando Sentinel are dealing out real information.

This may be why no one has realized this story is full of holes. (Most of these people haven’t even noticed the Book of Genesis is full of holes.)

Mohamed Bary, a jeweler, beats his daughter for being embarrassed at wearing a hijab but also lets her prance around in a cheerleading uniform before a crowd every Friday night? We’ve never even seen a picture of Rifqa Bary in a hijab; in the myriad pictures floating around the Internet, she’s in typical Gap-ish clothing. She also had very unrestricted Facebook access for someone living in tyranny. She says she was at the bottom of a family dogpile for four years, but neither school officials in Ohio or the DCF agents in Florida have found as much as a bruise. The chief of the Columbus police missing persons bureau said Mr. Bary “comes across to me a loving, caring, worried father about the whereabouts and the health of his daughter.”

Christian crusaders haven’t dug up any dirt on Mr. Bary. They note a radical cleric and members of a terrorist cell have passed through Columbus area mosques and that a similar “honor killing” happened in Dallas — in other words, They’re all the same! They cite not the Koran but interpretations of Islamic law saying Bary would have to kill his daughter. Good thing she is not coming back to a family of Christians; their holy book says rebellious teens should be stoned (Deut. 21:18-21).

Clearly, this is not about Mohamed Bary; it’s about Islam and continuing irrational prejudice against it.

Rifqa Bary may not be lying exactly — the repressed memory fad proved confused people can come to believe terrible things about their families — but her story only adds up if you assume all Muslim men are secretly savages sworn to kill the infidel.

This is how the rabid right operates. Disregarding evidence or common sense, they follow the story line that makes sense to them — be it that Democrats are overhauling health care to implement “death panels” or that an ethnically complicated liberal in the White House must be a Kenyan citizen at the heart of a Dan Brown–sized conspiracy.

Here’s where this kind of thinking (of lack thereof) can lead us: The law-abiding Bary family is worried, reunion or no, it may have to return to Sri Lanka because of all the negative attention. So because of right-wing paranoia, a family may actually leave the U.S. because of religious persecution.

I wonder if Pamela Geller or her friends Sheikyermami and Robert Spencer have an answer to this?