Rifqa Bary is the 17-year-old girl who converted from Islam to Christianity and fled from her family in fear for her life. For over nine months now, the Islamic machine has been trying to make an example of her, as a warning that even in the U.S., those who try to leave Islam will fail.
Rifqa’s entire legal strategy, meanwhile, has hinged on ignoring the Islamic aspects of the case, although Islam’s death penalty for apostasy is the only thing that makes sense of why she is in danger.
Instead, they’re trying to obtain for her Special Immigration Juvenile Status (SIJS). And in this, yet again, her parents’ aggressive and manipulative attorney, Omar Tarazi, has outfoxed them.
This was her lawyers’ objective, the end run: If they could keep Rifqa out of her dangerous home environment and secure immigration status, then it didn’t matter how they did it, as long as the goal was achieved.
What her legal team did not understand was the nature of the threat and the enemy Rifqa faced. They were playing by a set of rules that were inapplicable to the challenge they faced. By pretending that Shariah was not the elephant in the room, they were out-strategized.
I remember back last September when I spoke to Rifqa’s Florida attorney, John Stemberger, on the phone and asked him why apostasy was not being introduced. It defined the threat to her life.
He insisted that it wasn’t necessary. He said there was no way she would be sent back to Ohio from Florida, where she had fled to get as far away from her father as possible. “No way” would she be made to go back to Ohio, Stemberger said.
In order to get Rifqa sent back to Ohio, he explained, her parents would have to open a court case, and in order to do that they would have to admit to some kind of abuse. And Stemberger said they would never do that.
And yet Rifqa was sent back to Ohio, on Oct. 27, 2009.
My point is, no matter how sure a thing is, there’s no such thing as a sure thing.
Fast forward to February 2010.
Rifqa’s legal strategy has been reactive, not pro-active. They are being kept busy responding to motions Tarazi, who was chosen for the Barys by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a group under suspicion of funding the terrorist group Hamas.
The worst example of how Tarazi fooled Rifqa’s lawyers was that he compelled them to have Rifqa plead guilty to “unruliness” to secure dependency, and then reneged on his part of the deal once the guilty plea had been entered.
The guilty plea continues to have negative ramifications for those who love Rifqa and helped her. Using the “unruly” plea as a pretext, criminal investigations are proceeding and charges are pending against Brian Williams and Blake and Beverly Lorenz, who helped Rifqa when she fled from her home.
Why hasn’t Rifqa’s legal team demanded an investigation by child services into the abuse and death threats in Rifqa’s home? The eligibility requirements for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status demand it. The immigrant minor must not be able to reunite with her parents “due to abuse, neglect, abandonment, or a similar basis found under state law.”
All Rifqa’s lawyers have is a guilty plea to unruliness from Rifqa, and no establishment of abuse at all. In fact, in the stipulation to dependency, the lawyers on both sides were at pains to put on the record before the court the fact that the stipulation was not based upon abuse or neglect.
To support Rifqa’s abuse claim they’d have to get into Islamic apostasy law, and they don’t want to do that.
John Stemberger, who is still directing Rifqa’s legal strategy, recently wrote: “No lawyer who understands dependency law agrees that seeking political Asylum in the US makes any sense.…Rifqa’s immigration status can be resolved as a Dependent of the State of Ohio without any Asylum claims.”
I disagree. Apostasy asylum should have been Rifqa’s safety. They should be applying for it now. They should have applied for it yesterday.
What Tarazi is doing is running out the clock so that Rifqa is without immigration status when she turns 18 this August. Will authorities then deport her?
There is no way of knowing for sure, but CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood have infiltrated senior levels at the State Department so deeply that it is a distinct possibility.
Certainly that new office in the State Department devoted to outreach to the Islamic world and reporting directly to Clinton might deem it “helpful” to send her back.
I think that’s what CAIR and the Barys want: for the whole family to go back to Sri Lanka, which was the plan after members of the Noor mosque spied on Rifqa and told her parents of the conversion. The bags were packed.
And in Sri Lanka, as Rifqa herself has said, she could be killed or institutionalized with no unwelcome scrutiny interfering in the application of Islamic law.
Rifqa is still not eligible for Special Immigration Juvenile Status, and the clock is ticking.
Her only shot now is apostasy asylum — and a new legal team.
Pamela Geller is the editor and publisher of the Atlas Shrugs Web site and is former associate publisher of the New York Observer. Her Op-Eds have appeared in The Washington Times, Newsmax, Human Events, Big Government, WorldNetDaily, the American Thinker, Israel National News, and other publications. She is the author (with Robert Spencer) of the forthcoming book The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America (Simon and Schuster).
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