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ICC Calls On Florida Social Services (DCF) To Not Return Christian Girl to Ohio

ICC Calls On Florida Social Services (DCF) To
Not Return Christian Girl to Ohio

May Face Honor Killing If Returned

Washington, D.C. (August 20, 2009) – International Christian Concern (ICC) is calling upon officials in Florida to retain custody of a Rifqa Barry, a Christian girl who has alleged that her fundamentalist Muslim Father in Ohio threatened to kill her upon finding out about her conversion to Christianity. Rifqa faces a jurisdictional hearing Friday at 3:15 pm from Florida ’s Department of Children and Family (DCF) to decide if she should be sent back to Ohio Social Services or her parents. ICC has extensive experience with fundamentalist Islam and is warning Florida officials that they must take these allegations seriously.
While most Americans cannot fathom how a father could kill his daughter over her religious choices, this is a common practice among fundamentalist Muslims overseas who follow Quran and Hadith injunctions against apostasy. Parents murder their own children if they feel dishonored by any number of acts, especially when it comes to apostasy. Honor killings have even happened here in the United States . On January 1, 2008, a Muslim father killed his own daughters in Irving , Texas in an honor killing (
link). On January 26, 2009, Chaudry Rashid, a Pakistani born Muslim, killed his own daughter in Georgia because she wanted to leave a marriage arranged by her family. According to estimates by the United Nations Population Fund, there may be up to 5,000 female victims of honor killings annually.

Rifqa and her family came to the United States from Sri Lanka eight years ago. Four years ago she converted to Christianity. She kept her faith hidden until officials from her father’s mosque, the Noor Islamic Cultural Center, confronted her father with the fact that his daughter was an apostate from Islam. Following pressure from the Islamic community, her father became increasingly agitated. Rifqa told WFTV that her father took her laptop “and waved it in the air and he was about to beat me with it, and he said, ‘If you have this Jesus in your heart, you’re dead to me. You’re not my daughter.’ And I refused to speak but he said, ‘I will kill you. Tell me the truth.’ In these words, bad words, cuss words. So I knew that I had to get away.

There are several reasons ICC has concerns over this case besides Rifqa’s allegations.

-Sgt. Jerry Cupp, the police officer from Columbus that did the investigation into Rifqa’s case gave a statement to the press saying Mohamed Bary (Rifqa’s father) "comes across to me as a loving, caring, worried father about the whereabouts and the health of his daughter." An ICC source that spoke directly with Sgt. Cupp says that Sgt. Cupp reported to him that he had spoken with 20 different people who warned him that Rifqa’s life was in danger.

- Florida’s DCF has a long history of incompetence, including turning back children to parents who end up killing the child under investigation.

-According to ICC sources, Rifqa, upon leaving home, left a note explaining her decision to run away was because she would never be forced to go back to Islam.

-It is ICC’s understanding that Rifqa’s friends urged her to go to her school counselor to report parental abuse after she repeatedly came to school with bruises. ICC sources said there had been a culture and history of violence in the family.

-Statements have been made by those connected with the family that Rifqa was brainwashed and kidnapped. Kidnap victims don’t typically get on a bus alone and ride across country.

-The Noor Islamic Cultural Center in Columbus where her father attends is known for having ties to radical Islam.

-Taqiyya (pronounced tak-e-ya): is the Muslim practice of disinformation, deception and keeping one's convictions secret. Taqiyya is widely practiced by Islamists like those connected with the Noor Islamic Cultural Center. Statements from those connected with Noor or groups like CAIR in regards to an inflammatory case like this need to be evaluated carefully.

Jeff King, ICC’s President, says, “We are extremely concerned about Rifqa. As of today, DCF has not filed any petition to keep Rifqa in Florida . This lack of a petition seems to indicate that DCF intends to turn her over to either her parents or Ohio officials. DCF has a long history of making the wrong decision in child endangerment cases. In fact, in some cases DCF has returned children to their parents who ended up killing the child. Will this happen again? Based on our extensive international experience with fundamentalist Islam, we strongly believe that Rifqa’s life will be in danger if FDCF decides to send her back to Ohio . We call upon authorities in Florida to retain custody of Rifqa.”

Please contact officials in Florida and express your concern for the life and safety of Rifqa.

Here is the contact information for the officials in Florida :

Governor Charlie Crist’s office:

Phone: (850) 488-4441, (850) 488-7146

Fax: (850) 487-0801

Email: Charlie.Crist@MyFlorida.com

Florida Department of Children and Family:

George H. Sheldon, Secretary
1317 Winewood Blvd.
Building 1, Room 202
Tallahassee, Florida

Phone: (850) 487-1111

Fax: (850) 922-2993

You are free to disseminate this news story. We request that you reference ICC (International Christian Concern) and include our web address, www.www.persecution.org. ICC is a Washington-DC based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC provides Awareness, Advocacy, and Assistance to the worldwide persecuted Church. For additional information or for an interview, contact ICC at 800-422-5441.

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