Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Rifqa Bary Turns 18 and Is Released From State's Child Custody

AP reports that Rifqa Bary, the teenager who ran away from her parents' home in Ohio claiming her father threatened her life for converting from Islam to Christianity, turned 18 yesterday and was released from state children's services custody by an Ohio juvenile court. Angela Lloyd, one of Rifqa's attorneys, said: "She looks forward to preaching the word to all the nations — and those are her words." However, Rifqa's parents, who have denied her claims and sought her return to their custody, said in a statement: "The sad reality is that when our daughter's usefulness has been used for the political agenda of xenophobia and religious bigotry, when they have moved on to other ways of putting Islam and immigrants on trial, then they will not care about Rifqa Bary anymore." Her parents also defended their unsuccessful attempt to get Rifqa to undergo chemotherapy treatment following successful surgery for uterine cancer this summer. (See prior posting.) They said that if Rifqa dies, "the responsibility will fall on her attorneys and all the religious fanatics encouraging her to ignore her doctor's orders." Last week the Ohio court ruled that reconciliation with her parents was not possible before Rifqa turned 18, and permitted her to apply for a special immigration status for underage illegal immigrants in order to avoid deportation to Sri Lanka.

Meanwhile, in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel yesterday, Rifqa's father said of his daughter: "We love her. We want the best for her." He says two weeks ago Rifqa sent her parents a video, along with candy and music, telling her parents she loved them. She has also sent them letters.