UPDATE: NOTE RIFQA'S ADDRESS CHANGED!!!! Rifqa Bary c/o Angela Lloyd 255C Drinko Hall 55 West 12th Avenue Columbus, OH 43210
The Franklin county Ohio Juvenile Detention Center allows inmates to receive mail. Therefore...Rifqa should be able to receive Christmas cards from well wishers, starting now. You just have to have your return address on the letter and follow a few simple rules HERE.
Send her a Christmas card and email others to do the same. Show her she is not alone.
Artwork: Much thanks to BigFurhat
Send the card - you can download here: Download final Rifqa card (53.7K)
NOTE ADDRESS CHANGE:
c/o Angela Lloyd
255C Drinko Hall
55 West 12th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
UPDATE: I will find out if gifts can be sent.
UPDATE 1:48 pm: Here's a wonderful idea Atlas reader in the UK, Davod. Righteous! What a great idea. Be fruitful and multiply it:
Sunday afternoon, 22 Nov, 2009
The idea occurred to me only today, Sunday, to approach local church leaders here in the UK, tell them about Rifqa, and ask them to ask their congregants to send her a Christmas card with message or greeting, by way of support.
When I thought of this idea, it was the eleventh hour (literally, it was 11am!) by which time, of course, many churches are already well into their services. Nonetheless, I hastened to draft and print a document, written with “newbies” in mind, an overview, telling about Rifqa’s predicament, and providing the reader with the details and conditions for sending her a card as directed on Atlas (c/o Franklin County Child Services).
I then went to a local church where I knew Sunday afternoon services are held, and asked to speak with the pastor before services began. He kindly met with me. After explaining the case, I gave him the document I had prepared. I even offered to speak before his congregation (something that would have been entirely impromptu) but that idea did not fit in with his plans!
As evidence, I had even downloaded off the internet and taken with me (on my mp3 player) a recording of Rifqa’s eloquent testimony when she was 16, and of her heart-rending appeal from Florida when she was first interviewed by the press. As it turned out, I did not use these recordings, but I they could be useful in other situations.
The pastor, a seasoned professional, listened to my description with a sympathetic ear and even seemed to be familiar with the problems of apostacy and the difficulties faced by young persons like Rifqa. He had not heard of Rifqa, but said he’d like to help, and would speak about the case with his own members, and even with his church elders.
To my delight, he said: "I guarantee you, at least 50 cards will be sent!"
I was so gratified. Later, I went back to sit in on some of the service and singing, so as to hear him in action and be better acquainted with the type of congregation. (He was good, and the music and singing were elevating).
Now, Pamela, having returned from that service, I hasten to write to you, so you can let others know of this idea, which resonated with the pastor and therefore can be said to have had a successful result. I will stay in contact with him to track the follow-up.
As you know, London is full of churches, and so I intend to approach others immediately, even with my “rough-hewn” idea. I am also working on rolling out a more refined approach in the next few days, but in the meantime I wanted to let you know about this right away, for time is of the essence, and action-oriented readers of Atlas will hopefully pick up on this idea and apply it in their own individuals ways and locales.
For those Atlas readers who do follow through, I hope they will report to you with an indication of where, and how many, people responded, so you can keep track, sort of.
Pamela -- first you held that marvellous RALLY FOR RIFQA. Now I feel we need to get this CARDS FOR RIFQA campaign off the ground, make it gain momentum and go viral!
Any and everyone can participate. I am not Christian, in fact I am a traditionally observant Jew, with attachment to my faith and people. Nevertheless, I totally identify with Rifqa’s struggle and want to see her prevail, for – as they say about Israel – she is the canary in the coalmine, and whither she goeth, there go many more.
In fact, I intend to also send her a Hannukah card, for the story of Hannukah – of courage and action in the face of the odds, and of miracles that ensued -- is in many ways the story of Rifqa – only Hannuakh is behind us while she is still in the midst of her struggle and needs our support.
The document I wrote and used -- which I attach in case you or any of your readers may find it useful, but note the spellings are English -- is only my first draft, as it was written in haste, and needs further editing: it is too lengthy and repetitive, for example. However, it contains the essential details of her story, and of where to send a card, and so is a starting point for anyone wanting to become informed about Rifqa. I think it would be especially useful if given as backup to a personal presentation – whether that presentation is made in person or by phone. Please feel free to change it in any way you deem suitable.
Pamela, I greatly admire Rifqa, and respect her faith and spirit, and am outraged at her treatment by the authorities. I will do my utmost to defend her right to choose and practice her own belief and especially her right to express herself freely. At the age of 17+, at which in many jurisdictions she would be considered an adult, she deserves to be allowed to make her own choices. She is so obviously the victim of political correctness, and worse. It is a travesty that she has been deprived of communication and effectively isolated, and that the court and authorities have seen fit to treat her and her case with such draconian secrecy.
I was delighted to read that she can receive Christmas cards. Sending a card to Rifqa is an easy and inexpensive gesture which will have impact far out of proportion to the effort involved. I urge all your readers not only to do this themselves but to to approach their local communities and churches to participate, and to ask all their friends to join in the campaign.
Ans finally, a personal message to all Atlas readers: As you sit down to your Thanksgiving Dinners, wherever you are, expressing thanks for the freedoms you enjoy, please give thought to Rifqa Bary who struggles to regain hers in “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” Brave she certainly is, but – outrageously -- free she is not!
G-d Bless America and G-d Bless Rifqa and all those who support this worthy cause – in particular you, Pamela, for the wonderful advocacy work you do.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!
UPDATE: Someone just sent in this remix on the Rifqa rally: You can view it here.