Rifqa Bary - A Case of Conflicting Values
ORLANDO, Fla. -- An Ohio girl ran away to Orlando because she said her family threatened to kill her for converting to Christianity.
Remove the religious aspects and other angles of the story and the case of Rifqa Bary seems pretty clear cut. A minor ran away from home, has now been found and should be returned to her family. However, dig deeper and the case is not what it seemed at first. A few facts are not in dispute: She is a minor and she did run away from home. Some allegations are disputed: She was raised a Muslim and her father has threatened to kill her for converting to Christianity. She claims her father made the threat and her father denies making the threat. Normally, I'd say a runaway child should be returned to their family. Normally, I'd take the claims of a child with a grain of salt. However, this is not a normal situation. Yes, she is a minor, but she is 17 years old (older than I was when I left home) meaning she won't be a minor much longer. I don't know when her birthday is, but she will reach 18 sometime in the next 12 months. Teenagers are exceptionally emotional and do stretch the truth at times. Problem with that assumption is there have been more than a few cases of honor killings of women by male relatives among Muslims. Bottom line: The risk of harm is too great to force her return to the family. At some point safety has to trump parental rights.