Scriptures reveal Dajjal will have one eye. Rifqa Bary has one eye. You be the judge.
COLUMBUS, Ohio: At only age 17, Fathima Rifqa Bary has already managed to create one of the most controversial national news stories in the United States. Her heinous allegations have tried to give Islam a bad name and taint the reputation of Noor Islamic Cultural Center (NICC), one of the most prominent mosques of Columbus, Ohio.
She and her family left their Sri Lankan hometown in 2000. Bary, who had lost sight in one eye, hoped to find a cure in the United States. What she found, instead, was religion. Bary left Islam four years ago and secretly converted to Christianity. According to her testimony, her father recently learned of her conversion and threatened to kill her, prompting her to run away from home.
An openly declared Christian on Facebook, Bary corresponded with Florida pastor Blake Lorenz of the Global Revolution Church in Orlando. Accepting his offer of help, she boarded a Greyhound bus and fled to the pastor’s home. Bary’s parents not knowing the whereabouts of their daughter, filed a missing person’s report. As three weeks passed and police involvement intensified, Lorenz finally admitted to sheltering the runaway teen. Bary has currently been placed in foster care and her case awaits hearing in the Florida family courts.
Rifqa’s father, Mohammad Bary, has repeatedly denied ever threatening to kill his daughter. He claims to have known of her conversion for quite awhile. “When she was 14 ... when she wanted to do some babysitting, she put (on the application) I’m Christian. And that was the first time. Then one year ago, my son came and told me that she was going around school with a bible, trying to convince other kids.”
Muhammad Bary states that he accepted her conversion. He claims to be a liberal father who allowed Rifqa to be a cheerleader and wear clothes outside of the Islamic dress code. He himself had gone to a Christian school and his best friend was a Christian. He said that this whole matter was the result of a family argument blown out of proportion. “My daughter is a minor. She has been kidnapped by the pastor. Somebody came to Ohio and took her. The Evangelicals have brainwashed and have coached her what to say. They are using her and she is a victim. I just want her to stay at home and be part of the family.”
Her mother added tearfully: “She is my only daughter, I want her home.”
The local news channels poured forth images of Rifqa. Her 5’ 2”, 90 pound stature shook vigorously as she cried:” They love God more than they love me. It is an honor to kill me. I am fighting for my life here you don’t understand, I cannot go back to Ohio.” Rifqa sobbed uncontrollably on pastor Lorenz’s shoulder. Christian right-wingers in the media sympathized with her attacking the “Islamic Shariah” which they said prescribed the death penalty for apostates.
The Columbus police have said they do not see Mohammad Bary as a threat to his daughter. As Bary’s lawyer demanded that the case be moved from Florida to Ohio, Rifqa immediately changed her tone and started making statements against NICC. She claimed that her parents attended the mosque and adhered to its teachings, which supported and promoted terrorist activities and encouraged honor killing.
Her lawyer John Steinberger issued a 35-page memorandum, highlighting how Bary’s life would be in “clear and present danger” if returned to Ohio due to her parents’ affiliation with NICC. He attacked everyone from the mosque’s director Hani Saqr to its other active members. Local radio and television stations promptly shifted their focus to the mosque and its alleged ties to terrorism. A Fox News truck was seen outside the mosque during taraweeh prayers. The mosque consequently began receiving concerned phone calls and even hate mail from those who were convinced that Bary would be killed due to her conversion.
In an effort to set the facts straight, NICC invited major television networks such as CBS, ABC and Fox to visit the Noor premises. They were also given a press release that said: “NICC categorically denies all allegations made against its community — NICC records indicate that Rifqa attended only three Sunday classes in 2007.” This confirms Muhammad Bary’s claims of belonging to a different mosque.
The press release further stated: “This is a family law issue that is currently being handled by the Florida family courts. NICC believes that attempts to draw the Muslim community into this conflict are a smokescreen hiding an effort to exploit Rifqa and her family. Unfortunately, hate groups appear to be using this family matter as an attempt to further their religious and political goals.”
When contacted by Arab News, an NICC official, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “This is nothing new, right-wing Christians have always attacked active mosques. Noor is a very prominent mosque. It caters to 10,000 Muslims in central Ohio. We have very successful interfaith programs. We have prominent visitors like congressmen, and the president of Bangladesh visited us. We have even been invited to the White House.”
Is NICC considering any legal action for this defamation? Adnan Mirza, an NICC spokesperson, said that at this time they are not. He said NICC felt that the case was already in court and the legal process would show that those accusations were not true.
Muslims, who attend the NICC, were outraged. “I have been coming to this mosque since it opened. I have never heard one extremist, terroristic sermon. They only tell us to be better parents, neighbors and be exemplary in our behavior to non-Muslims.” said a taraweeh prayer attendee.
Members of other faith groups have also supported NICC. Talking to Arab News, at a recent event, Rev. Tim Ahrens said that he was ashamed by the accusations of pastor Lorenz. That it was not based on Jesus’ teachings. “It is not news but a smear campaign. I have known Hani Saqr for the last 20 years. I am ashamed to see people smear Noor. We stand with you shoulder to shoulder. This center has blessed central Ohio.”
Ahrens also said people made statements against Islam and NICC because of “fear and hate and lack of knowledge. That it is coming from elements who call themselves Christians is troubling to me as it does not reflect the values of Christ. I have only ever found graciousness and kindness in my dealings with Muslims.”
Must be a Copt talking.
UPDATE: Spencer has more, much more.