by Jamal Jivanjee, Illuminate, October 30, 2009
To All Concerned,
Let me begin this article by saying THANK YOU! From the beginning of Rifqa Bary’s situation, many people from around the country have rallied to stand with her in prayer, and support in numerous ways. When a request for funding was needed, you responded in miraculous ways. When you were asked to email the Governor’s office in Florida, you responded in miraculous ways. As you know, she was sent back to Ohio last week. After the unfortunate ‘back room’ deal (that I mentioned in my last article) to protect Rifqa fell through because of Rifqa’s parents deception, you were asked to respond by contacting the Ohio Governor’soffice and Franklin County Children’s services. The response was AMAZING! They stated that they were inundated with a tremendous amount of phone calls and emails. They now know that many people are watching this case very closely, and care about her survival and well being.
Upon her return to Ohio, the Ohio authorities put restrictions on her communication abilities by monitoring her cell phone and internet usage as if she has done something wrong. This sounds more like Communist China, Saddam’s Iraq ,or Iran. It should not be happening in Ohio. The reasons they stated as to why they were putting those restrictions on her were even more troubling and revealing regarding their thinking about the case.If you have not read my last article about this situation, I would encourage you to do so.
I write to you today because there seems to be a very important question that some are asking today that I cannot be silent about. I will state this question to you, and I will tell you what I believe about this question from the bottom of my heart. You must answer this question yourselves and decide where the truth lies.
IS RIFQA BARY IN GRAVE DANGER, OR JUST ELEVATED DANGER?
My assertion that Rifqa Bary was in grave danger upon her return to Ohio was immediately challenged after I released my last article. The challenge was made that she is not in actuality in grave danger, but just a more elevated state of danger than she was in Florida.The question has greatly perplexed me. I do believe that this is an important question because it will radically affect our response to her situation. Personally speaking, in the past I tried to convince myself that Rifqa Bary was only in slight danger, but I now wholeheartedly believe that she has been, and continues to be in GRAVE DANGER. Let me explain to you my personal journey with this situation, and why I am saying this now.
I first met Rifqa Bary in August of 2008 in Ohio after she contacted me through Facebook. She listened to a sermon I gave at a local church and learned that we have similar backgrounds. She wanted to hear my story and my experience with Islam. I have to be honest, I normally would not meet up with a 16 year old that I do not know, but this was different. Deep down in my soul, I knew that I had to meet her. My family and I met her for coffee in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio. Rifqa was at this time still living a secret Christian life. What I witnessed in her from that first meeting radically changed my life. I witnessed an incredible love for God that I have honestly never witnessed before.
In addition to hearing and seeing her incredible love for God, I also heard and saw the affects of abuse and tremendous suffering. Rifqa has suffered greatly. At that first meeting I asked Rifqa if she would ever openly tell her parents of her faith in Jesus as the Messiah, the lamb of God who paid for the sins of the world on the cross. She told me very directly that the day her parents found out about her faith in Jesus would be the day that she would have to be prepared to die.
Coming from an Islamic background, I am very aware of what Islam teaches about this. That did not surprise me. This happens all over the world. I have traveled to Muslim countries and have met with former Muslims who became followers of Jesus, and I know of their sacrifice and the real threat to their lives. I just did not expect to see it in Columbus, Ohio . I have never seen such courage and joy from such a little girl who was not allowed to be a part of any church community, and who put her life on the line every day because of her love for Jesus.
After our meeting, I got in the car and wept. I knew she was going right back into a very difficult and abusive family. What was I supposed to do? Should I report this family? What if it backfires, the authorities don’t believe her,and her family then decides to kill her or take her out of the country? I did not know what to do with those questions. You know what I did? NOTHING! Out of fear, I convinced myself that she would be ok, and I would just pray for her. I could never forget her however, and each time we would meet with her was a life changing experience for me. In the back of my mind however, I knew that she needed more, but I could not give her what she needed. She needed a loving family to protect her and to nurture her young and profound faith. That sense of guilt never left me. I wanted to do more and protect her, but I couldn’t.
When the Mosque began to put pressure on her parents regarding her suspected faith, and things got bad at home, I knew about it, but I convinced myself that while she was in danger, it was still manageable. I was wrong. Without rehashing all the details for time’s sake, she was forced to flee to Florida out of fear for her life. It was then that I came to grips with what I knew from the beginning…HER LIFE IS IN GRAVE DANGER. Now that her parents knew about her faith in Jesus, there was nothing left to lose. I had to admit it, and that admission prepared me to act and do whatever the Lord laid on my heart to do.
As you know, the Lorenz family in Florida LITERALLY laid down their lives and reputations, and saved her life. They began to provide her with the very thing that she lacked. I knew then that God is a God who answers prayers. He led her where He wanted her to go to receive what she greatly needed. She was filled with joy at her new, yet short lived freedom in Florida . The love that she received from the Lorenz family in that short period of time, in my opinion, brought her much needed healing and encouragement that she now needs for the fight that she finds herself in.
Was she is grave danger then? YES!
That is why her legal team fought tooth and nail to keep her there out of the public eye, far away from her parents and the Islamic community in Ohio that were the very ones who put pressure on her family to ‘deal’ with her. During this time, a Facebook page was even created entitled ‘Kill Rifqa Bary’. The Facebook page had over 100 members in only an hour before Facebook shut it down.
Does that sound like grave danger to you? You decide.
It was also realized during that time that before Rifqa fled her home in Ohio, her family was actively planning to take her out of the country to have her ‘dealt’ with for being an ‘apostate’. Does that sound like grave danger to you? You decide.
Because of this grave danger while she was in Florida ,it was suggested that people should write and call the Florida governor’s office demanding her protection in the State of Florida. That is what happened, and let me assure you it made a HUGE difference. Nobody objected to that.
Just this week, Rifqa’s parents betrayed the “behind the scenes” deal in which the Florida court agreed to drop the contempt of court issue regarding their immigration situation in exchange for an assurance that they would leave Rifqa alone and let her stay in foster care for the next 9 months until she is 18. We can be assured that this betrayal means Rifqa’s parents and their C.A.I.R. influenced attorneys have every intention of pursuing her to be reunited to the same family that she fled from now that she is back in Ohio.
Does that sound like grave danger to you? You decide.
Now that she is in Ohio ,there is a dependency case in the Franklin County Juvenile court system. If she becomes a dependent of the State of Ohio , she gets permanent residency status and can be a dependent of the State of Ohio until she is 18. I hope and pray for this. If this fails, her legal team does have a plan B.
There is something we all need to know, however. If her dependency case fails, she gets sent back IMMEDIATELY to the very same family she fled from. She will be there until her legal team can put plan B in action and get the proper paperwork filed. That could be 5 hours, 5 days, etc… During this time between plan A & plan B, I expect that her family would attempt to take her out ofthe country. Proceedings would then have to be put into place quickly to prevent them from getting on a flight out of the country.
Does that sound like grave danger to you? You decide.
With what we have all heard from the Ohio authorities so far, I don’t have a lot of confidence in them. They seem to be reading from the C.A.I.R. play book and only hearing one side. Who will remedy that? If she was in grave danger in Florida, which is why the public was urged to get involved and contact the Florida authorities, is she in less danger in Ohio, or more? You decide.
Let me also assure you that I have never heard of a situation in which silence ever produced justice. We must speak up in our cry to God, and our cry to the world.
Was it silence that freed the slaves in the British empire, or America?
Was it silence that produced justice in Nazi Germany?
Was it silence that overturned Roe vs. Wade?
Was it silence that prevented the massacre in Rwanda?
Will it be silence that rescues Rifqa Bary and millions of Muslims seeking freedom like her? You decide.
I am convinced that her victory will be accomplished first and foremost through prayer, and from action that is birthed in prayer.
My mind is made up, and I will not make the same mistake twice. Rifqa Bary was in grave danger in Florida , and moving to Ohio has not lessened that. It has increased it. Let me say this, I know God will ultimately provide His victory, but I cannot in the meantime ignore the truth out of fear facing a difficult reality. Before we all become passive and quiet, consider the words of a man named John Jay. John is a former prosecutor from the State of Washington . Here is what Jay said about Rifqa’s situation in Ohio :
“…I do not share the opinion that she is not in danger in Ohio , mainly due to the proximity of family and the mosque. if her idiot brother would circulate notice of her whereabouts in Florida to a website hostile to Rifqa’s apostasy, he would have no compunction about doing the same thing in Ohio …
“I do not share the view that having the Franklin County courts and the Franklin County Child Services in the light of public notice harms Rifqa in any sense…this public notice assures, in my opinion, that the various authorites will do as their legal charge demands. I think only publicity prevents Rifqa from being railroaded. Finally, we have done nothing other than advocate that she is a dependent child, at risk from her parents, her brother and the Mosque.we have advocated only that she be declared a dependent child, and that the appropriate remedy is to prevent her from being placed in the “care”of her parents.”