Tom McFeely is the National Catholic Register’s News Editor. He lives in British Columbia.
According to Fox News, it’s almost certain that a 17-year-old Ohio girl who converted from Islam to Christianity will be sent home from Florida to her parents — despite the girl’s fears that her father intends to kill her because of her apostasy from Islam.
Fathima Riqfa Bary, who fled to Florida in late July to obtain sanctuary in the home of a Christian pastor, is not a U.S. citizen or a resident of Florida.
Rifqa Bary, who hitchhiked to an Ohio bus station earlier this month and took a charter bus to Orlando, remains in protective custody with Florida’s Department of Children and Families. A judge is expected to rule Friday on the jurisdiction of the case, but several legal experts contacted by FOXNews.com say the girl is bound to be sent back to Ohio.
“She’ll be returned to the original jurisdiction,” said Katherine Hunt Federle, professor of law and director of the Justice for Children Project at Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law.
“She probably doesn’t have a lot of options other than to return home.”
A psychologist interviewed by Fox News said Bary’s fears that she could be killed for her apostasy are well founded.
Dr. Phyllis Chesler, an author and professor of psychology at the Richmond College of the City University of New York, said she believes Bary will be in danger if she is sent back to her parents.
“Anyone who converts from Islam is considered an apostate, and apostasy is a capital crime,” Chesler wrote FOXNews.com. “If she is returned to her family, if she is lucky, they will isolate her, beat her, threaten her, and if she is not ‘persuaded’ to return to Islam, they will kill her. They have no choice.”
Chesler, who wrote “Are Honor Killings Simply Domestic Violence?” for Middle East Quarterly, said the tradition of such slayings is not fully understood by most Americans, including those in law enforcement.
“She escaped from her family’s brutal tyranny and shamed her family further through public exposure,” Chesler said. “Muslim girls and women are killed for far less.”