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