Archive for Michael Kruse

Fathima Rifqa Bary Under the Influence of a Christian Cult

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs, Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2009 by loonwatch

Fathima Rifqa Bary: Under the Influence

Fathima Rifqa Bary, has claimed that her parents are “radical Muslims,” yet the reality seems to be that it is actually she herself who has fallen into the ranks of radicals.  We’re already very familiar with the extremist church she is involved with, the Global Revolution Church, which preaches that there is today an Armageddon between good (the Christians) and evil (the Muslims).

Now, let’s look into a different group she has associated herself with, namely The Call, another End of Times Armageddon invoking group. Here she is on a conference call with Lou Engle, the fanatical leader of the cult:

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRhCIxiY5OA&feature=player_embedded 300 250]

Up until about four minutes into the video she sounds fairly sane,  but at about 4:20, suddenly she becomes possessed by what we can only assume is the Holy Spirit.  She enters a trance-like state that to us normal human beings seems bizarre, to say the least.  I’ve seen some preachers, Imams, and Rabbis have some crazy highs and lows in their speeches, but usually they build up to it.  On the other hand, Fathima Rifqa just turned on the crazy from the very start; one second she’s talking like a normal human being and the next she starts yelling in a crazed delirium, reaffirming the view that she’s been brainwashed by fundamentalists. Continue reading

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.

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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