An Orlando Sentinel reporter (Daryl) recently published the following request for insights on several subjects relating to the runaway Columbus, OH teen escaping from her Muslim parents.
Here is his request:
I'm seeking expert insight (e-mail observations are welcome) regarding an Ohio teenager who ran away to Florida, saying she was afraid her father would kill her for converting from Islam to Christianity. She had been living with a husband/wife pastor team, whom she met through a prayer group on Facebook. They took her in after she ran away, rode a bus from Ohio and popped up unannounced in Orlando. I'm looking to discuss the prevailing issues of sanctuary, religious freedom, anti-Muslim bias, honor killings, jurisdiction, propriety of clergy housing a teenage runaway, etc. The full story is found at: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/orange/orl-bk-rifqa-bary-ohio-teen-runaway-082109,0,2812365.story
Contact: Darryl Owens, email@example.com
Here you go, Daryl, from a mainstream American who is paying attention.
He said “I'm looking to discuss the prevailing issues of:”
(My responses follow each topic heading)
Sanctuary: Just as our various states establish wildlife sanctuaries for animals threatened by predators and excessive hunting, humans should have no less opportunity to find a sanctuary, a safe place where they are not threatened by predators, whatever the religious motive the predator might have. The duration of such sanctuary needs to be for at least the period of time necessary to assure the individual’s safety if she should return – even if that quest takes years. A life is at stake – Muslims who change their faith are not blowing smoke when they express concerns for their life.
Religious freedom: This is what this nation is all about. Liberty is what they call it. The liberty to choose one’s own faith and life path. The concept is complicated when the individual choosing to exercise her religious freedom – separate and apart from the influence of her parents - is a minor. But remember, in 99.999999% of the cases in this country, minors who decided they wanted to “change religions” have not changed from Islam to another religion. In such cases, the child is not in jeopardy of being terminated when possession and control is maintained by the parents.
Things get dicey when Islam is involved. There needs to be a whole new set of considerations. Islam is relatively new to this country. With its recent surge in numbers, there is a renewed boldness to invoke the more radical practices (from an American and Western European perspective) of fundamentalist Islam. It just so happens that one of those fundamentalist practices, clearly taught in the Quran, is killing the apostate family member. This places a whole new twist on the scenario where a minor (a late teen, in this case) overtly expresses her belief in a religion other than Islam and embarrasses her family. She clearly feels her life is threatened – and with legitimate reason. When threatened with death, religious freedom for a teen becomes very significant – a matter of life and death – the same as it was in 16th century England.
Anti-Muslim bias: You need to make a distinction between a judgment based on fact and experience, and one based on misinformed fear or hatred. Those of us who have been paying attention to the resurgence of fundamentalist Islam – both in the middle east and in this nation – have made this distinction. Those who remain relatively ignorant of this resurgence view those who bring these radical Islamic teachings and practices to light as harboring an “anti-Muslim bias.” That is a dangerous accusation because it dismisses the truth. I personally do not understand how so many Americans can remain so blind to the literally thousands of malicious and inhumane actions against those with whom Muslims disagree. See this web site for examples that occur every day. How else do you explain the psychotic intolerance at the depiction of Muhammad cartoons, or toward an author critical of another’s religion (Rushdie) by Muslims. Sharia Law is not just another political party. It is a form of fascist suppression of the freedom and liberty that has been the basis of this nation’s founding and most of the wars we have fought. You need to know that a large majority of those practicing Islam in this nation would like to impose Sharia throughout this nation someday – the sooner the better.
Honor killings: See above and here and here. Granted, Pakistan is an Islamic nation and the practice of honor killings is much more common there. But wherever there is a concentration of Muslim population in this nation, such as in and around Columbus, OH, those folks are emboldened by their peers and numbers to practice the purer form of Islam, which includes honor killings. Where is the “moderate Muslim”, this article asks?
Jurisdiction: Consult your legal counsel who specializes in such matters.
Propriety of clergy housing a teenage runaway: If that teenager appeared on my doorstep, knowing what I know about the facts of this case thus far, she would have a place in our spare room. What would you do? One would be a perverse idiot to do otherwise. Because her protector happens to be “Christian clergy” somehow makes his actions suspect? Give me a break!
Etc: I am glad you are seeking an understanding of these issues. Hopefully you will not be deceived by the common Islamic practice of Taqiyya: The Islamic practice of lying and deceit for the sake of Allah. Muslim ”insight” will have this tendency.