Our favorite French expat and regular Atlas contributor, Nidra Poller, has a clear, biting oped piece on Rifqa Bary in the Wall Street Journal:
Sharia-Sanctioned Death Vs. Western Toleration
Five thousand honor killings testify to the danger Nidra Poller, Wall Street Journal
Miss Bary affirms in a sworn affidavit that her father said, "in a fit of anger that I had never seen before in my life…'If you have this Jesus in your heart, you are dead to me! You are no longer my daughter…I will kill you!'"
Can an outside observer weigh the measure of truth in each of these assertions and dismiss Ms. Bary's fears as adolescent histrionics? Five thousand victims of honor killings annually world-wide, according to a conservative U.N. estimate, bear witness against Mr. Thomas's placid supposition. Women in Muslim countries and immigrant communities everywhere fall prey to an elaborate legal code enforced by torture and murder that deprives them of their civil rights, their human rights, their right to exist.
Sharia-sanctioned death for apostasy was recently confirmed by Harvard chaplain Taha Abdul-Basser, who sparked controversy in April when a private e-mail discussing punishment for leaving Islam was made public. Mr. Abdul-Basser notes, "There is great wisdom (hikma) associated with the established and preserved position (capital punishment) and so, even if it makes some uncomfortable in the face of the hegemonic modern human rights discourse, one should not dismiss it out of hand."
As for human rights, the 1990 Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam, affirmed by 54 Muslim countries, notes these can be restricted for "Sharia-prescribed reasons," including forced marriage and death for apostasy.
European awareness of honor killings contrasts with the artificial ignorance surrounding Ms. Bary's case in the U.S. Europeans can't ignore the specificity of savage murders of "wayward" girls who want the freedoms of their adopted countries. Stories of runaways enticed to come home and let all be forgiven, only to be met by their executioners, abound on the continent. Banaz Mahmod, a 20-year-old Iraqi refugee in London, was murdered by her father and uncle in 2006 after police dismissed her requests for protection. In 2002, 17-year-old Sohane Benziane was burned alive in a Paris suburb by a fellow teenager. In April, a 20-year-old Turkish man was jailed for allegedly strangling, beating and ultimately killing his twin sister, Gulsum Semin, after learning of her abortion, Agence France-Presse reported.
Europeans cannot escape the headlines. European police met in The Hague in 2004 to confer on a strategy to combat honor killings. The Council of Europe published a report in June warning the practice is increasingly common in France, Sweden, the Netherlands, the U.K. and Turkey.
A nationwide safety net against this form of oppression has developed in France, which hosts Europe's largest Muslim population. There, a minor like Ms. Bary who feels threatened by her family can find associations offering counseling and asylum, from Voix de Femmes (Voice of Women) formed by an Algerian victim of a forced marriage, to a safe house association in Montpellier, to Ni Putes Ni Soumises (Neither Whores Nor Doormats), created in the wake of Ms. Benziane's immolation. Young women railroaded into marriage while on vacation in their parents' home country can turn to French consular officials for help.
No one would doubt Miss Bary's story.
"Do you really think that this is true, or do you think this is just a threat?" the journalist asks in the WFTV video.
Miss Bary, doubled up in anguish, begs not for mercy but for lucidity.
"How many more cases do you want? There's case after case, there's hundreds of them, I am one—I am one of hundreds."
How many more must die?