President Obama made some videotaped remarks concerning the Muslim holy month of Ramadan which begins today.
I was struck by this particular passage:
Ramadan is a time of intense devotion and reflection. A time when Muslims fast during the day and perform Taraweeh prayers at night, reciting and listening to the entire Koran over the course of the month. These rituals remind us of the principles we hold in common and Islam's role in advancing justice, progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.
President Obama's statement is ironic in light of the case of Rifka Bary. She is a 17-year-old Muslim girl who ran away from home in Ohio and made her way to Florida where she converted to Christianity. Unlike Christianity and Judaism, those raised in Islam are not free to convert. If a Muslim converts to another religion he or she is considered an apostate and the sanction is punishment by death.
Naturally, Rifka fears for her life if she is compelled to return to Ohio. In an interview with an Orlando TV station she said:
If I had stayed in Ohio, I wouldn't be alive. In 150 generations in family, no one has known Jesus. I am the first — imagine the honor in killing me. There is great honor in that, because if they love Allah more than me, they have to do it. It's in the Koran.
Thankfully, a judge has granted Rifka a temporary reprieve and she will be allowed to remain in foster care until a hearing which has been scheduled for September 3rd.
Can President Obama tell us how killing people who choose to convert from Islam advances justice, progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings?
Does President Obama think Rifka should be returned to her parents?