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The Revelation of Rifqa
by Faith J.H. McDonnell
The most well publicized honor killing in America is one that did not take place. Seventeen year old Rifqa Bary disappeared from her home in New Albany, Ohio in mid July, and surfaced in Florida on August 10, 2009. The teenager, who comes from a Sri Lankan Muslim family, sought refuge in Orlando with a pastor and his wife whom she had met through a Facebook prayer group. At a jurisdiction hearing in an Orlando juvenile court on August 21, Rifqa testified that she had fled because her father threatened to kill her for shaming the family by leaving Islam and becoming a Christian. "My life is at stake," Rifqa said in an earlier interview. "My dad threatened me. I was ready to die, these were my thoughts, that I'll be a martyr for Christ, let it be so! But the Lord led me here somehow through His grace . . . . . it's been God's hand protecting me the entire time. But I'm fighting for my life."
Rifqa is far more fortunate than Amina and Sarah Said of Dallas, who were shot to death in an Islamic honor killing by their father, Yaser Abdel Said, an Egyptian-born cab driver. No one has had the opportunity to strangle Rifqa, as was done to Aqsa Parvez, a sixteen year old in Ontario whose father killed her for refusing to wear a hijab. Rifqa is the one who got away, and whose photograph, thank God, is not found in the tragic gallery of honor killing victims from all over North America and Europe put together by advocate and activist Pamela Geller on her Atlas Shrugs blog. Another difference between Rifqa and the other bright, beautiful young women killed by their Islamist fathers, brothers, and husbands is that her testimony to her faith in Jesus Christ is now reverberating around the world. At the August 21 hearing, Rifqa told Circuit Judge Daniel Dawson, "I've been a Christian for four years of my life. . . . I assure your Honor, Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior." Because of this, says author Brigitte Gabriel, the danger for Rifqa Bary is "far beyond honor killing."
"This girl has committed apostasy," Gabriel said on Fox News, "She has committed a crime against the Ummah, or nation state of Islam." Gabriel went on to explain that apostasy was punishable by death according to all four schools of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence, as well as the Koran, the Hadith – the words of Mohammed himself, and particularly the Shafi'i school of Islamic jurisprudence which guides Islam in Sri Lanka. "She is in dire danger not only from her family because she has soiled the honor of the family, but from the Islamic community in Columbus, Ohio who feel it is their duty to kill her according to their religion," Gabriel explained.
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