Andrew Bostom illuminates the reason the media is blind to the significance and potential consequences of the Riqfa Bary story at the American Thinker today: why, as he puts it, "Rifqa Bary faces death for her apostasy from Islam, while the media ignores the solid religious and institutional grounding for the practice."
The story of the 17-year-old apostate from Islam who says she ran away from home in Ohio and sought refuge with a Florida church group to avoid becoming a victim of an "honor killing" at the hands of her Sri Lankan Muslim family has largely played out online at such blogs as Atlas Shrugs and Jawa Report. Big Media have ignored the story -- Fox News excepted. But, as Andy notes, Fox's "coverage has been devoid of the critical Islamic context -- in legal theory and practice -- regarding apostasy." He continues:
Fox News legal analysts -- with the exception of one who hosted a pellucid 4-minute discussion by security expert Frank Gaffney -- have endlessly spoken about "jurisdiction," Florida versus Ohio, yet they appear incurious about the corpus of germane Islamic jurisprudence -- which remains applicable in our era -- sanctioning the killing of apostates.
Andy kindly links media incuriousity about Islamic law on apostasy to my own See-No-Islam theory, explained here. As well as "incurious," I would add the word "inured" to describe attitudes toward Islam of mass media and other elites. It is as though they have been vaccinated against contracting even minimal interest in the germane Islamic jurisprudence, maintaining their resistance with booster shots of apologetics.
Time magazine's coverage of the story today is further evidence of journalism successfully immunized against curiosity about Islam, and, in this dramatic case, even curiosity about honor killings. Time writes:
[Riqfa Bary] said her death would be a Muslim "honor killing," the kind of murder that women in deeply conservative Muslim societies are sometimes victims of when they're deemed to have shamed their families.
"Deeply conservative Muslim societies." The qualifier makes honor killings sound as far off as Pakistan's Swat Valley, certainly not in London, Holland, Berlin, ... Dallas, Scottsville, NY, Clayton, Georgia .... Time adds, parenthetically:
(The United Nations Population Fund estimates as many as 5,000 worldwide each year.)
Subliminal message: as many as only 5,000 worldwide.
Rifqa said her father, upon discovering her Facebook profile and its declarations of her Christian faith, told her, "If you have this Jesus in your heart, you're dead to me, you're not my daughter." She added, almost hysterically, "They have to kill me...I want to worship Jesus freely. I don't want to die!"
It's a serious charge that any law enforcement or social services official would have to look into, particularly since there have in fact been some extremely rare instances of "honor killings" in the U.S.
"In fact," huh? "Extremely rare"? But only in "deeply conservative" Muslim socities? I can't imagine why Time even bothered with the story. Now for Time's idea of factual background:
Most recently two Dallas-area sisters were murdered last year, allegedly by their Egyptian-born Muslim father, who relatives say was enraged that his daughters, 18 and 17 years old, were dating non-Muslim boys. (The father is still at large and believed to have fled the country.)
No. The Dallas girls were murdered back in January 2008. In July 2008, another extremely rare honor kiling took place in Georgia, with an attempted extremely rare honor killing taking place a few weeks earlier in upstate New York. In February 2009, also in upstate New York (Buffalo), yet another extremely rare honor killing took place. This month, Phyllis Chesler has identified what appears to be another extremely rare honor killing, this time on Long Island on August 7.
Folks, I'm reporting this from my breakfast table and don't even pretend to have produced a complete list of E.R. honor killings -- but you get the idea. Back to Time:
But Mohamed Bary and his wife Aysha adamantly insist it is "completely false" that they ever threatened to kill Rifqa over her conversion. "We love her, we want her back, she is free to practice her religion, whatever she believes in, that's OK," Mohamed told the Associated Press last week.
Columbus police tell TIME they're watching the case closely, and are in contact with the courts and social services agencies in Ohio and Florida; but they have so far found no evidence or other information themselves to support Rifqa's accusation.
Time has failed not only to provide factual background on the extent of honor killings in the US, but now succombs to depicting the Bary story as a he said/she said dispute, ignoring, as Andy Bostom notes, the body of applicable Islamic law on apostasy. Now, Times cites a Florida attorney as an expert on the Ohio family:
Craig McCarthy, one of two Orlando attorneys appointed to represent the Barys in Florida, says that while they may have been dismayed at first by Rifqa's conversion, as devout parents of any faith would be, they are hardly the kind of fundamentalist Muslims who would declare a medieval fatwa, or death sentence, on their daughter. "There is a vast, vast difference between not being pleased that your child has not chosen your faith and wanting to kill your child," says McCarthy. "This is a family with westernized kids. Their daughter is a cheerleader."
For Time, the case is not only closed, it was never open. The magazine continues:
If Rifqa's claims are indeed false, that raises the question of whether she might have been prodded by her new friends at Global Revolution Church to make the death-threat accusations ...
As a result, says McCarthy, "you wonder if people have been stoking this fear in her head, telling her, 'This is what the Koran says will happen to you'."
The implication left hanging by Orlando lawyer McCarthy is -- and how absurd is that?! Too tragically bad no one is bothering to investigate what Islam says -- and does -- about apostates like this girl whose case is unique, of course, because we are hearing about it now, before anything "extremely rare" happens to her.