Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Rifqa Stripped of All Civil Rights.-Her Crime Apostasy-

CRUSHING CLAMPDOWN ON CHRISTIAN RIFQA: No "Approved Visitation" List for Teenage Apostate


The vise tightens further on Rifqa. The authorities, at the command of the Barys' lawyer Omar, continue to isolate Rifqa. She has been in Ohio for well over a month and still there is no "approved visitation" list. How can this be? How can it be that friends who request a visit, and whom Rifqa requests to visit, are repeatedly told "there is no approved visitation list"? Is it not the very mission by objective of children's services to protect the health and welfare of a child? Why has Rifqa been denied "pastoral guidance"? Convicts, murderers, rapists, and pedophiles have access to "pastoral guidance". Is that how powerful and influential Islamic jihad has become in the state of Ohio -- that one young girl is starved of spiritual nourishment so as not to insult Islam? Has everyone gone mad?

No phone. No net. No religious succor.

This is why I so fiercely fought her return to Ohio. Columbus is home to one of the largest Somali Muslim populations in the United States, 70,000 and growing. This is the group, Somali Muslims, that has been at the epicenter of myriad busts for jihad in recent weeks (and one coming today). Is she safe in a devout Muslim community?

The office of Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (recipient of buko Islamo-bucks) issued a statement back on September 14th, on why Rifqa Bary should be returned to Ohio.

"Child welfare agencies and authorities in Ohio and Franklin County are fully capable of providing for the security and well-being of Ohio's children," the statement said. "The governor believes this is a family matter and therefore would most appropriately be handled here in Ohio with the assistance of the child welfare and foster care system."

"We have no reason to believe that she would be unsafe in Ohio," his statement said.

There is a dependency hearing on December 22 in Columbus. I know it's awfully close to Christmas. I know you are busy. My kids are in from school too. We must rally for Rifqa the day of her hearing, a day she could be sent back to a devout Muslim household. How frightening for her.

Ohio child services continues to earn its infamous reputation as one of the country's worst places for children in foster care. Funny how Meredith "hijabed" Heagney at the Dispatch never cited this article from her own publication:

System fails, kids die Agency workers' bad decisions leave children in hands of abusers Sunday, December 21, 2008 3:40 AM By Randy Ludlow THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

A Columbus Dispatch investigation reveals that an alarming number of children being watched by child services because they were at risk have died of abuse and criminal neglect, twice the national average (having a national average for such deaths is deplorable in itself). The article, which includes statistics assembled by the newspaper with unprocessed data from the agencies involved, shows "the child-welfare system is broke. And it has been broke for years."

UPDATE: Jamal Jivanjee tells first hand what happened:


If you are incarcerated in an American prison today, you have the right to have a visit from a Pastor. Rifqa Bary does not have this most basic right that most criminals have today. During the week of November 16-21, I was in Columbus Ohio for the rally for Rifqa, as well as the hearing that eventually was cancelled. It came to my attention that Rifqa was requesting a visit. While most 17 year old girls worry about their social lives, or what colleges they will attend, Rifqa’s worries are quite unique. Unlike most girls her age, Rifqa wonders how long she’ll be in a safe home, or how long before the Ohio court system extradites her back to her parents custody that she fled from out of fear for her life. Many expect that she’ll be taken back to Sri-Lanka immediately if that is the case. Because of Rifqa’s apostasy from Islam and conversion to Christianity, a woman’s prison, forced marriage, or even a death sentence await her back in her native land. Obviously, this would be a heavy burden for any of us to carry, let alone a 17 year old girl. In light of this, Rifqa needs all the encouragement and support that she can get. As you can imagine, visits are a crucial way for Rifqa to receive the needed emotional and spiritual support that she needs.

So in light of these facts, why has Rifqa Bary been cut off from the people she is requesting to see? After learning of her need of a visit, I approached Rifqa’s attorneys requesting the proper procedure to schedule a visit with her. When she was in Florida, it was a matter of a simple phone call. Not so in Ohio. It seems that Ohio has effectively put her into solitary confinement. Her attorneys told me that I would have to contact her case worker with Franklin County Children’s services to attempt to schedule a visit with her. I left her social worker a detailed message indicating that I was a friend of Rifqa, that I needed to schedule a Pastoral visit with her, and that my time in the city would only be a few days. I never heard back from her. Finally after repeated phone calls, I decided to take most of the day on Wednesday to track someone down at Children’s services to attempt to schedule a visit. This was an incredibly difficult task as no one seemed to answer their phones, and no one would return my calls. Finally, a director from children’s services contacted me to let me know that they would not be able to accommodate my request to visit Rifqa Bary.

I reminded the director of the utmost importance that Rifqa Bary not be isolated from her friends and supporters. He agreed, but said that in light of a meeting with her attorneys, her attorneys would need to put together an approved visitors list for her. Until then, I was not allowed to visit her, even if she requested a visit from me. As a result of this conversation, I then contacted her attorneys who told me that they were now putting together a visitor’s list, and that the ultimate authority to approve or deny potential visits would rest with Franklin County Children’s services. When I asked how long it would take to get this potential list approved, no one had an answer for me. Because of this bureaucracy, Rifqa is now effectively in solitary confinement.

How can this be good for Rifqa? On what grounds can they keep her from the most basic of privileges that are afforded to common criminals? Why has Rifqa Bary been in Ohio for almost one month, and they have still yet to approve a visitor’s list for her? Is this not an outrage?

We need to contact Rifqa Bary’s attorneys, Kourt Gatterdam, and Angie Lloyd and let them know that Rifqa Bary’s visitors list needs to be completed ASAP and it must include the specific people that Rifqa has requested! We also need to contact Rifqa’s case worker at Franklin County Children’s services and let her know that this visitor’s list needs to be approved in its entirety with no further delay.

Attorney Kourt W. Gatterdam can be reached at: gatterdam@carpenterlipps.com

Attorney Angie Lloyd can be reached at: Lloyd.148@osu.edu

Rifqa’s Franklin County Children’s Services Case worker Margaret Shirk can be reached at 614-575-3514 .

Thanks so much,

Jamal Jivanjee

Rifqa christmas promo

Send her a Christmas card. And please join us on December 22 for Rifqa's hearing. Let the authorities know she is not alone. Be there on the 22nd.

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