JISHOU, HUNAN — You would think Fathima Rifqa Bary, 17, was some kind of political prisoner, or a modern day Joan of Arc, instead of a runaway in foster care.
People held signs that said “Free Rifqa” and “Sharia sucks. Free Rifqa Bari. (sic)” There was a large poster that showed violence done to Muslims who have converted to Christianity, as Bary said she did four years ago. People prayed, and people spoke, and people made a controversy where none exists.
Hence, a manufactroversy.
Bary ran away from her Columbus home back in September. She and her family are Muslims from Sri Lanka, and according to newspaper accounts, her parents were perfectly OK with her reading the Bible, hanging out with Christian kids, and being a cheerleader.
But her many “supporters” — most of whom are fervent Christians — fervently believe her family, or the middle-of-the-road mosque to which they belong, will put the girl to death if she is sent back to her family. Law enforcement officers discount that likelihood, but since when do True Believers™ believe John Law?
The rally “crowd” was also upset that a family court judge has closed to the public the hearings being held to decide whether Bary is an unruly teenager, as her parents allege, and whether she can leave foster care. They also have their underwear in knots about court orders restricting the girl’s access to the Internet, email and her cellphone.
To them, it’s all some kind of sinister Islamic plot to subvert the American justice system and wage war on Christians, right there in the newly formed Islamic Republic of Ohio. If they didn’t have their heads on backwards, they might realize that closing custody issue hearings and limiting a minors’ access to possibly harmful influences are pretty routine stuff, nothing to see here, folks, just move along.
Bary took off from her home after meeting some Christians on Facebook and spending time with a pastor in Columbus. Her Christian friends helped her take a bus to Orlando, Florida, where she stayed with a rather dodgy sounding Baptist minister and his wife for nearly two weeks before anyone notified Florida’s child welfare office of her whereabouts.
Meanwhile, her worried parents had no idea where she was. But, hey, it’s OK to keep them in the dark, because they’re “evil, murdering Muslims.”
You think I exaggerate? The Dispatch says some folks at the rally were wearing T-shirts that said “Islam is of the devil.” Such warm hearted folks.