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Good news for Rifqa Bary!

At (virtually) the last possible moment, the Ohio judge in Rifqa Bary's case gave the rulings that Rifqa's lawyers have been asking for--a) that reconciliation with her parents is not possible and b) that it is not in her interests (!) to be sent back to Sri Lanka. With these rulings in hand from a local judge, Rifqa's lawyers will be able to apply for a special juvenile visa for her. Even the fact that she has applied should protect her from deportation, and that visa program is applicable until she is twenty-one years old. (But it appears that the judge needed to rule before she turned eighteen, which occurs next Tuesday, because otherwise the judge would not have authority to make the ruling, or something of that sort.)

Rifqa's parents, ever the control freaks, had also attempted to have her forced to undergo chemotherapy, though apparently (I infer from the news story) Rifqa does not want this and considers that the medical situation makes it unnecessary. The story states (amazing news) that Rifqa's doctors say cancer is not detectable in her body.The judge ruled on the 4th that Rifqa would not be forced to undergo chemo. (I should add that this entry leads me to believe that this may be the last news we get for a long time on Rifqa's health, as she evidently wants to keep that information private. The parents' motion to have chemotherapy forced upon her brought the present apparently good news about her health into the open.)

There will no doubt be many post mortems on the legal strategy of Rifqa's lawyers. One camp is of the opinion that they took too many risks and should have concomitantly applied for religious asylum. The judge certainly did keep everyone guessing until the last minute and could hardly have been called friendly to Rifqa. On the other hand, there is something to be said for being justified by the event. The fact that the lawyers' strategy for dealing with Rifqa's immigration situation did apparently work out has got to count for something along the lines of "maybe they knew what they were doing all along." I trust, though I do not know, that if Rifqa has applied for a special juvenile visa she can legally work and earn money in the United States. I assume this will be important given that she is about to age out of the Ohio foster care system.

All indications are that she has had a greater measure of freedom during the past several months than she had previously had, and she should, Lord willing, be free to go where she wishes and to accept the help of her friends when she turns eighteen. I hope that we will hear something of how she is doing, though it is understandable that she wants privacy and also that she will have security concerns about revealing her location. It's not as though the danger of her being killed for being a convert to Christianity from Islam will be magically removed by her birthday.

We should pray for her safety from would-be killers, for her health situation (and in particular that her parents would not be able to gain control of her, even as an adult, should she become incapacitated by her health), and for her future. She will have many decisions to make and many challenges. These decisions and challenges will be made more difficult by the fallings-out among those who love her and in particular between her lawyers on the one hand and her friends Jamal Jivanjee and Pamela Geller on the other. There is little doubt in my mind that Rifqa will have many conflicting pieces of advice given to her, all of them from people who truly care about her and for whom she has affection, about what course her future should take, and for someone as young and in an important sense alone as she is this will be very difficult.

HT: Atlas Shrugs

Comments (9)

Thanks for keeping us updated. A reason to smile and to keep hope.

Wonderful, wonderful news! May the Lord continue to grant her wisdom, in choosing her mentors and friends as much as in making other choices.


I'm really curious about the disappearance of her cancer.

Miraculous healing? Misdiagnosis? False diagnosis? The conspiracy theorist in me could come up with a few reasons . . . :)

It's funny you should say that, Beth, because when she was first diagnosed there were plenty of people with wild theories at Atlas Shrugs. Probably what triggered them were the twin facts that uterine cancer in a girl her age is quite rare and the fact that there really _were_ people "out to get her." The thing is, I find it hard to come up with an scenario whereby those two facts could plausibly influence the doctors on her case. And the fact that the doctors resisted a hysterectomy also (in my opinion though not in other people's) speaks in their favor--they were trying to treat conservatively.

Well, I guess we don't really know who gave out that information in the first place, do we? I mean, did Rifqa give that information to the public? It could simply be that it was over-stated in the first place -- because if it had been as bad as it sounded like it was, it would have been foolish not to do the surgery. So the doctors must have thought -- with good reason -- that she would be okay without it, and that suggests it wasn't as advanced or aggressive as we were given to think.

(My mother-in-law died from ovarian cancer, so I know a little about this. Ovarian cancer is the worst killer of women, with an outside survival rate of 5 years; you wouldn't take the risk of uterine cancer metastasizing into the ovaries if you didn't have really good reason to think it wouldn't. Just my $.02 worth from limited experience.)

"The judge certainly did keep everyone guessing until the last minute and could hardly have been called friendly to Rifqa."

Perhaps the judge figured that a ruling this close to her 18th birthday would make any appeals impossible - he could hardly wink from the bench. She still appears to have options; and I believe the denial of an asylum request is unappealable. Her lawyers' duty was to her not to folks interested in using her as ideological cannon fodder. They seem to have played this right. Let us hope she recovers and is able to enjoy many years of freedom.

Amen on that last, Al.

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