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JISHOU, HUNAN — I was too tired last night to fill in some of the details about Rifqa Bary, the runaway Muslim teenager from Ohio now living in Florida. It’s morning now, and I have some more interesting background on that conference call.

According to Right Wing Watch, the National Day of Prayer Task Force, a Christian group, organized the conference call to counter the Muslim prayer rally in Washington, D.C., last Friday. It seems the task force was quaking in its boots about the possibility of 50,000 Muslims gathering near the Capitol Building.

(Actually, only about 3,000 showed up. They had to put up with Christian hecklers. Welcome to America.)

Part of their fears stems from their mistaken impression that President Barack Obama is secretly Muslim, and his friendly and conciliatory gestures to the world’s Muslims signal a Muslim takeover of the USA. (Incidentally, in case you missed it, the new America will also be simultaneously Marxist, communist, socialist and fascist, as well as an Islamic state. Just so we’re clear.)

From OneNewsNow.com, a wingnut website:

Associated Press says Christian leaders in last night's conference call were unconvinced the gathering will be a time for Muslims to pray together, read the Quran, and celebrate America's religious freedom -- as its organizers insist. Family Research Council president Tony Perkins wondered if the Muslims would be "praying for the well-being of our nation."

Perkins called the Muslim gathering "a wake-up call for the church" and a warning that if Christians do not "fill the void that's in this nation with the truth, it will be filled with something else."

It was Perkins and Shirley Dobson, the head of the task force, who were on the conference call with Bary I highlighted in the last post. As a presumed convert from Islam to Christianity, she was a convenient and suitable “prayer warrior” to inspire the Christians on the conference call to pray against the horrible scourge of 50,000 3,000 Muslims converging on Capitol Hill.

The poor girl is a puppet in the religious right’s campaign against Islam.

Bary was supposed to be under the protection of her foster parents in Orlando, and presumably kept separate from the church people who apparently orchestrated her trip to Florida. According to law enforcement investigations, a pastor, Brian Williams, drove her to the Greyhound bus station in Columbus, Ohio, despite Bary’s own testimony she hitchhiked there. The bus ticket was bought in Orlando under a false name by someone. Bary said she bought the ticket herself. When she arrived in Orlando, she lived in the home of Blake and Beverley Lorenz for two weeks before authorities finally removed her into foster care.

Blake Lorenz is pastor of Global Revolution Church, an independent fundamentalist church in Orlando.

This whole story makes me sick to my stomach. It smacks of fundamentalist Christians using a confused teenage girl as a figurehead for their bigoted campaign against Islam. Despite Bary’s testimony in court that she would be killed if she is sent back home, the Bary family seems to be far from the extremist Muslims the wingnuts allege they are. Her father attended a Catholic school in his native Sri Lanka, and the family attends a mosque in Columbus that is as part of the local community as the local synagogues and churches.

There are also suggestions that Bary’s understanding of honor killings is flawed, that she is parroting an incorrect definition of the practice fed to her by her captors Christian benefactors.

Right Wing Watch has more commentary about what Bary means to the fundies here.. This writer, a Muslim, has even more disturbing background about the Christian group Bary fell in with in Columbus a few years ago — the Xenos Christian Fellowship. Even Christians think Xenos is a cult, apparently.

Further background: there is a small, but influential group of conservative Christians who believe the only way Christ will come again is to convert everyone on Earth to Christianity. This motivation is what drives groups like Youth With A Mission, Campus Crusade for Christ and others, and convinces US servicemen and servicewomen to proselytize Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan — against orders. Talk to Action has a lot of information about this movement (of which Sarah Palin is part). Go visit their site and be suitably aghast.

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