The plight of an Ohio teen who fled her Muslim family for fear that her father would kill her for becoming a Christian should be a wake-up call to those folks with the naïve "Coexist" bumper stickers.
In fact, it should be a smack upside the head to those who insist America's liberties are unrelated to our heritage as a Christian nation.
Rifqa Bary, 17, who took a bus to Orlando in late July, is awaiting a Sept. 3 custody hearing that might send her back to her family, or to Sri Lanka, either of which she says would be a death sentence. In some Muslim circles, the penalty for leaving the faith or dallying with the wrong man is an "honor killing."
The girl took shelter with a pastor and his wife and was then moved to a foster home. She is being represented by an attorney working through the public defender's office. On Aug. 21, a Florida judge ordered that the girl could stay in Florida until Florida officials investigate whether returning her to Ohio would endanger her. The cops report that the dad, Mohamed Bary, who came down from Ohio, seems to be a good guy who wouldn't hurt a fly. Maybe he wouldn't.
Before we go further, let's be clear what this case is not about. It's not about parental rights, which pro-family groups like Coral Ridge Ministries strongly support. Parental rights is about protecting minor children. Parents should be notified about medical procedures and abortions because these threaten the health and well-being of minors. Abortion takes the life of a child, and can cause physical and emotional harm to a young woman struggling with the decision. Only the most perverse logic would attempt to apply the subject to parents who might want to kill their child; there is no parental right to "honor killing."
Some might dismiss Rifqa's claim as a teen exaggerating to justify a rash act, which may still be the case. But her situation must be weighed carefully in light of what has happened to other young women.
In July 2008, a Pakistani man living near Atlanta was charged with beating his 25-year-old daughter to death for declining to go along with an arranged marriage to a cousin twice her age.
In Irving, Texas, on New Year's Day 2008, Amina Said, 18, and her sister Sarah, 17, were shot to death by their father for having unsanctioned boyfriends.
In Canada, where hate speech laws are strangling public discussion of any unpleasant aspects of militant Islam, certain segments of the growing Muslim population are applying Sharia law to wayward females. About a dozen cases have arisen, according to Amin Muhammad, a professor at Memorial University in Newfoundland. A much-cited 2001 stat from the United Nations Population Fund estimates the worldwide number of "honor killings" at 5,000 annually.
In Kingston, Ontario, the Shafia sisters — Zainab, 19, Sahar, 17, and Geeti, 13 — were found dead in a submerged car on June 30, 2009, with their father's first wife, Rona Mohammed, 50. The sisters' parents and 18-year-old brother have been charged with four counts of first-degree murder in what police suspect is an honor killing.
In May, an Ottawa jury convicted an Indian native born to Afghan parents of gunning down his 20-year-old sister and her fiancé in 2006 because the couple had moved in together before their wedding.
On Dec. 10, 2007, Aqsa Parvez, a 16-year-old Ontario girl who fought with her parents over not wearing a hajib, was stabbed to death by her father in an honor killing while her mother held her down.
In St. John's, Newfoundland, a 14-year-old girl who had been a rape victim was strangled in 2004 by her father and brother in order to restore the family's honor.
In England, which is struggling with an aggressive Muslim minority demanding that the British legal system incorporates Sharia, a father and uncle were convicted on July 29, 2007 of arranging the torture, rape and murder of a 20-year-old Kurdish immigrant woman who had walked out of a marriage arranged when she was 17 and had fallen in love with another man.
The killings are hauntingly similar to events taking place in largely Muslim countries.
The Jordan Times reports that a man in Amman was charged on August 11 with shooting his niece, a rape victim, nine times. The 16-year-old girl had been raped by two relatives and had given birth to a child. Although the girl's father had taken her to the hospital and supported her, the uncle killed his niece "to cleanse his family's honor," a source told the paper.
In Pakistan, an attorney shocked lawmakers a year ago by defending the honor killing of five women who were beaten, shot and then buried alive because some of them wanted to choose which man to marry.
"These are centuries-old traditions and I will continue to defend them," Israr Ullah Zehri, who represents Baluchistan province, said to Pakistan's parliament, according to the AP. "Only those who indulge in immoral acts should be afraid."
Got that? Burying women alive is not immoral. To be fair, Zehri caught flak from some of the other Muslim parliamentarians that day. Numerous Muslim authorities have said that the Koran does not justify "honor killings." But the killings continue. As does Islamic-inspired terrorism.
Over in Gaza, which is now being governed by the terrorist group Hamas, a divorced Palestinian mother of five was beaten to death on July 23 with an iron chain by her father after he discovered her talking on the phone with a man.
Although Muslim authorities dismiss such cases as domestic violence unrelated to Islamic teaching, there is evidence that Islamic communities are functioning as codependents.
JihadWatch's Robert Spencer, notes: "In 2003, the Jordanian Parliament voted down on Islamic grounds a provision designed to stiffen penalties for honor killings. In a sadly typical consequence of this [in 2007], a Jordanian man who murdered his sister because he thought she had a lover was given a three-month sentence, which was suspended for time served, allowing him to walk free. The Yemen Times … published an article insisting that violence against women is necessary for the stability of the family and the society, and invoking Islam to support this view."
The founding principles of our laws come from Judeo-Christian values. Our founders knew, and often stated, that a free, democratic republic could work only with moral assumptions common to Christianity -- even if citizens were not Christians. We see the truth of this more and more as the application of sharia cracks the surface of our society.
In Florida, where Rifqa awaits the Sept. 3 hearing as to her fate, it will come down to whether they believe her or her father, who says he has no intention of hurting her.
We can only pray they get this one right.
Publication date: August 27, 2009