Friday, August 21, 2009

Rifqa Bary

The troubling case of Rifqa Bary.

I don't know if Rifqa's father actually threatened to kill her, or if she really has been brainwashed by Pastor Lorenz to lie against her family. Neither would surprise me. There exists no shortage of bigoted Muslim fathers or creepy wingnut Christan pastors in the world to make either story implausible. For all we know, both narratives may carry some element of truth.

Some parts of her story make sense, and some do not - the argument, for instance, that Islam mandates the death penalty for those who forsake it, is based on a particular reading of hadith (collections of narrations from the Prophet Muhammad's life), and not upon the Qur'an, the fundamental document of Islam. It is clearly a line she has been fed. Sri Lanka has a 7.6% Muslim population with the rest being Buddhists (the majority), Christians, and Hindus; hardly the environment for Muslims to be setting up insane asylums for the religiously wayward. "Honour killings" are called that because they are committed to preserve family honour, not because the murderer feels somehow honoured to have been involved - and they are a mostly South Asian phenomenon, and not restricted to Muslims.

The anti-Islam brigades are meanwhile exploiting the story to the hilt to demonstrate that misogyny and religious intolerance on the part of some Muslims is attributable to Islam itself.

Half of me does not want Rifqa Bary's story to be true, but the fact that it is so plausible is itself troubling. If this is a conceivable thing for a Muslim father anywhere to do - be it in Pakistan, Iraq, or in Canada - then the Ummah has failed; we are not the enlightened nation that we make ourselves out to be.

The other half of me wants it to be true - because if Rifqa Bary has fled her home, taken refuge with a Christian Pastor, and levelled these kinds of allegations against her own family, then I sincerely hope she has done it for good reasons. If she hasn't, then how can her family ever recover?

For now, though, the wise will wait for the truth to come out, because eventually it always does.

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1 comment:

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