Archive for Rev. Blake Lorenz

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

 

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?

Robert Spencer: Self-declared Scholar v. Real Scholar on the Fatimah Rifqa Bary Case

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2009 by loonwatch
Andrew Bostom and "Islamic Scholar" Robert Spencer

Andrew Bostom and “Islamic Scholar” Robert Spencer

Read full story here.

The Right-Wing anti-Muslim loonocracy and its minions in the blogosphere have secured a new cause to rally around, ironically enough it once again involves a Muslim minor, and in this regard, the anti-Muslim blogosphere really doesn’t have a good track record.  As recent history has proved, the last time the anti-Muslim blogosphere got this riled up about Muslim minors they turned up with egg on their faces.

After viewing a picture online of a wedding in Gaza, with grooms holding the hands of their young female cousins and nieces, the Islamophobia hit epic proportions with accusations of pedophilia being flung about wily-nily without nary a fact check. Tim Marshall, who reported on the wedding wrote about the Islamophobic response to the wedding,

Our report on this put it into context saying that it took place just a mile from the Israeli border and was a message from Hamas about its strength confidence and future fighters. Oh and that the brides were elsewhere. Pretty straightforward.

It never struck me for a moment that the little girls might later be described in the bloggersphere as the brides! How naive I am.

Dozens, and I mean dozens, of websites took the video of the event and wrote lurid stories about Hamas mass paedophilia with headlines about ‘450 child brides’, and endless copy about how disgusting this was, how it showed how depraved Islam is, et al, ad infinitum. Site after site jumped on the story, linking from one totally wrong load of rubbish to the next.

Robert Spencer was amongst the bloggers that falsely reported the incident as an instance of pedophilia.

The Fatimah Rifqa Bary Case

This time the case involves 17 year old Fatimah Rifqa Bary the daughter of Sri Lankan immigrants who came to America in 2000 seeking treatment for her vision problems. And before you could say “expediency,” the typical hordes of vultures started cycling, not so much out of interest for the girl’s welfare or the facts of the story, but as what they saw as a golden opportunity to reaffirm their caricature of Islam and Muslims as a dangerous cancer lurking within an otherwise good and pure Western civilization. Continue reading