Is Rifqa Bary Unintentionally Igniting A Holy Skirmish of Potentially Big Proportions?

HopeTracker| The Rifqa Bary case is one of the diciest custody cases in recent American memory. It was born five minutes by car from my home in Columbus, Ohio.

Family torn apart: Aysha and Mohamed Bary (left) speak to reporters in Columbus, Ohio, on Aug. 13. Rifqa Bary gets a hug from her caseworker Maxine Kisimbi (right) during a hearing in Orlando on Sept. 3.Rifqa Bary is described in all press reports as intensely devout and deeply inquisitive. Still a teenager, Bary converted from her Muslim faith to Christianity. The young woman, now 17, has fled Ohio to Orlando, Florida, insisting that she will be killed in Ohio.

Bary’s parents say they want their daughter back and have no problem with her conversion. Columbus authorities have launched two invesigations and Orlando one, each finding no evidence that Rifqa Bary is in danger.

The court proceedings of the Rifqa Bary case have spread far beyond courtroom walls, escalating into a virulent clash. Conservative Christian lawyer John Stemberger and various right-wing groups have unleashed a barrage of allegations against both the parents and their mosque in Columbus, Ohio.

Bary’s court-appointed guardian in Orlando, Krista Bartholomew, said in a hearing last Thursday, “This is not a holy war. This is a case about a frightened little girl and a broken family.”

Bottom line: what are the parental rights in this case? Is Rifqa Bary’s life now in danger at home in Columbus, Ohio? Is Rifqa Bary’s life in danger anywhere in the US, as media fuels a storm of religious controversy around her case, by covering it at all? via Newsweek: Custody Case Becomes Holy War.