The conservative movement in America today has taken a descent into the deceit and lies it claims it abhors. Some of its major icons are leading the way with this decit and winning respect and admiration of many of the followers of the movement. Conservatism has become a corrupt political ideology in America based on fear, hatred and racial and ethnic intolerance. Nowhere is that more evident than in the story of the young woman pictured to the left who claims despite all evidence to the contrary, evidence sought after and found by two separate jurisdictions that say her statements are not true, that she is in fear of her life from her parents or family friends because of her conversion to Christianity.
Fathima Rifqa Bary ran away from home because of persecution she imagined would happen to her because of her conversion to Christianity; Fathima was born into a Muslim family that lived in Ohio. Finding her way to evangelical Christians online, Fathima landed in the state of Florida alongside pastors Blake and Beverly Lorenz of the Global Revolution Church. Her case has become cause celebre for the religious and conservative right who just can’t help from putting their feet in their own mouths, first backing Bary’s claim that she has been threatened with death by her parents for her conversion; municipal authorities in the town in Ohio where she lived said there was no credible evidence such threats took place between her and her parents, but it doesn’t stop there. State authorities of both Florida and Ohio have said that the girl has not been threatened by her parents and that they pose no threat to her. Even the governor of Ohio has gone on record saying the girl should be returned to Ohio where Ohio authorities can provide for the security and well being of the young woman in conjunction with her parents who had already agreed to some type of foster parent arrangement for her in the state of Ohio.
The people best suited to determine the threat level to Rifqa are the cops and social workers in Ohio familiar with the Bary family and the Muslim community. It appeared they had worked out a good compromise plan, allowing Rifqa to go into foster care while they ensured her safety.
…….. Rifqa’s father, Mohamed Bary, brought his family to America from Sri Lanka in 2000, at least in part to seek medical treatment for Rifqa after she lost the sight in one eye. He sends her to a top high school, where she has excelled and where she is a cheerleader.
Bary is a middle-class jeweler with no documented history of abuse and no record of radical actions or beliefs. Whatever his disagreements with Rifqa — and what parent of a teen hasn’t had his or her share? — he obviously had invested a lot in her care and upbringing.
Such overwhelming evidence of the lack of a threat to her physical well being was not enough to stop the Islamophobe conservatives who then took the offensive by saying the parents aren’t a threat to young Fathima as much as the place of worship of the parents but that too has been quickly dispelled by the members of that mosque who have said apostasy in Islam is not a punishable offense and which has engaged in interfaith outreach to the satisfaction of Christian and Jewish religious leaders of Columbus. There is a pretty spirited yet civil discussion about that at this link along with the assertion that Fathima had converted and remained in her parents’ home long before her jaunt to Florida. In other places one can read where while the parents knew of Fathima’s conversion and tolerated it, with her remaining in their home, they cautioned her not to become so aggressive in promulgating her new found faith at school and elsewhere, and one would think such advice would be sound, but the young lady refused to listen, perhaps because she thought her pagan parents weren’t to be obeyed? Indeed, in her own words, young Fathima writes
“Lord is preparing me and He has me hidden … until the time is right…..I am called to the nations. Send me to the deepest darkest places into the pagan land.”
She must convert her family to Christianity, she wrote, including her older brother, Rilvan, 18, who worships “demonic music.” She must approach strangers and talk about Jesus. She saved a list of tips on how to do that:
“Do NOT be sneaky,” she wrote. “Sit down … get to know them … [Ask] would you mind for 5min if I share the gospel with you.”
She compared herself to the Old Testament heroine Esther and wrote out or saved religious pep talks.
“What does it take to be a prophet?” she wrote. “If I am a friend of God I can be prophetic. … You have to want it. Everyday pray for prophesy.”
Yet this is the type of person the religious and conservative movement wants to pin their hopes of Armageddon on as they continue their politics of fear, distortion, lies and xenophobia. Under ordinary circumstances, people like Ms. Bary would be heavily sedated and monitored or promptly dismissed for serious flaws in character, intellect and sanity. However, the insane “right” has decided to hitch their wagon to her delusions of prophecy and religious fervor, which makes them, the right, as insane and out of step with reality as Fathima Bary. This association is further evidence the conservative movement in America is unable to represent or propagate the interests of this country as long as they engage in the politics of division, derision and self-destruction of its adherents and its opponents.