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Diana
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There are issues between Pamela Geller and John Stemberger. Tarazi is probably counting on exploiting these differences so that any shared legal defence will fail. I will say here that I wished Pamela had expressed herself more gently towards Stemberger. However, Pamela's criticism of the legal team was based on the assumption that the SJIS application would fail, leaving Rifqa to be deported. In fact (at the very last minute) it succeeded, and Rifqa secured residency. In that sense, "we" (everyone who cares about Rifqa) did indeed win. There were some good reasons why Stemberger did not pursue other strategies more vigorously. Now that Rifqa has the green card, I wish he would explain these reasons, rather than abuse the people who questioned him. In addition, people have also raised nearly-identical questions about how Stemberger and Tarazi used money. Both lawyers claimed to be representing their respective clients pro bono, yet both went on fundraising missions for "legal expenses". The lawyers did not necessarily do anything wrong here. However, it is not surprising that people questioned their behaviour! Again, I think an explanation of how the money was spent would be more appropriate than yelling at and abusing the people who raised the question. However, none of this secondary wrangling alters the basic issue. Pamela and Stemberger were in the business of saving Rifqa. Tarazi was in the business of destroying her. Now he has transferred his malice to Rifqa's allies. So Pamela and Stemberger will be sitting on the same side of the courtroom. And they both look pretty good when compared with someone like Tarazi.
There are issues between Pamela Geller and John Stemberger. Tarazi is probably counting on exploiting these differences so that any shared legal defence would fail. I will say here that I wished Pamela had expressed herself more gently towards Stemberger. However, Pamela's criticism of the legal team was based on the assumption that the SJIS application would fail, leaving Rifqa to be deported. In fact (at the very last minute) it succeeded, and Rifqa secured residency. In that sense, "we" (everyone who cares about Rifqa) did indeed win. There were some good reasons why Stemberger did not pursue other strategies more vigorously. Now that Rifqa has the green card, I wish he would explain these reasons, rather than abuse the people who questioned him. In addition, people have also raised nearly-identical questions about how Stemberger and Tarazi used money. Both lawyers claimed to be representing their respective clients pro bono, yet both went on fundraising missions for "legal expenses". The lawyers did not necessarily do anything wrong here. However, it is not surprising that people questioned their behaviour! Again, I think an explanation of how the money was spent would be more appropriate than yelling at and abusing the people who raised the question. However, none of this secondary wrangling alters the basic issue. Pamela and Stemberger were in the business of saving Rifqa. Tarazi was in the business of destroying her. Now he has transferred his malice to Rifqa's allies. So Pamela and Stemberger will be sitting on the same side of the courtroom. And they both look pretty good when compared with someone like Tarazi.
I doubt it. Rifqa was not an attractive marriage partner, in that she had no American citizenship to share with a hopeful migrant. Back in July 2009, she was in fact worried about the possibility of a forced marriage in Sri Lanka; but I can't imagine that any Muslim who reads the newspapers would still be interested in her. By declaring her apostasy so publicly, she probably did free herself from that particular horror. Her parents were still desperately trying to send her back to Sri Lanka, but the plan seemed to be incarceration in a psychiatric asylum until she recanted.
No, the parents have filed an application for immigration. They cannot be deported while it is pending. I thought I heard they were being investigated for tax evasion. (This is not necessarily because there is any reason to believe they did anything wrong - only because their name is known to the authorities and the tax inspectors have to choose someone to inspect.) If this is true, they cannot be deported until the inspection is finished. Of course, the result of this inspection may well be either a quick deportation or a quick green card! To answer your main point: the authorities are now well and truly aware of this family.
Canasia, Gatterdam was playing to an audience of Rifqa's supporters, which he knows to be largely Christian. That's why he said that he was "a religious sort of person" - he was angling for Christian sympathy. I ask you, what real Christian ever says, "I am religious"? He also said that Rifqa was "the nicest client I have ever represented." I hope he was sincere, but he had just admitted that 90% of his clients were convicted criminals! The Lorenzes were fired by the board of their church only a few weeks after they sheltered Rifqa, ostensibly because they had lied. (They said Rifqa had "hitchhiked" to the coach station, but omitted to mention that the driver with whom she hitched was actually a person whom she knew very well. They said they were just trying to protect this man from possible trouble...) However, the procedure was of questionable legality. The real reason three members of the board ganged up on the Lorenzes was that the Lorenzes had asked them some embarrassing questions about their handling of church finances. And the truth there was that the church treasurer had stolen $35,000 that people had donated to help Rifqa. There are legal reasons why he can't be prosecuted for this crime; suffice that the money ended up financing the Bary parents' case against Rifqa! Anyway, Pamela has this story if you scroll back through the Rifqa archives. So, on paper, the Lorenzes were fired, and their church was disbanded. But 46 families (over half the congregation) continued to support them. In a matter of days, the Lorenzes re-established their church under a new name, and now it's pretty much business as usual.
I think the claim was that they were prepared to present the evidence of abuse, apostasy, etc. at the trial scheduled for 28 January 2010. This trial never took place, because the hearing of 19 January, which was originally intended only as a preliminary hearing, became the case plan deal that sabotaged everything. What Gatterdam is claiming is that he agreed to this deal because, at some point before 19 January 2010, the Judge disallowed all his evidence. She had set him up so that he could not win the case. Therefore he backed down and agreed to the case plan. I want to know a great deal more about this. Why did the Judge disallow essential evidence? Were there any possible alternative options for Rifqa's lawyers? If the Barys were that desperate to eliminate evidence and avoid a trial, why were they still calling the shots and forcing Rifqa into the Guilty plea? I don't understand how American law works. I do know that there is a lot of information still missing from this story.
Jamal, the truth is all-important here, and thank you for standing for it. What bothers me at the moment is not what we know, but what we don't know. Omar Tarazi filed two motions in January. One was that the court would not accept any evidence of anything that had happened in the Bary home more than 24 hours before Rifqa ran away. The other rwas that Islam would not be discussed in the courtroom. Both were ridiculous motions. Yet Goodrich granted both, without giving a reason. I'd really like to know why. Was she stupid? partisan? bribed? or intimidated? Yes, maybe the lawyers should have played the hero and insisted on introducing their evidence anyway, even if they had to go for jail to it. But maybe Judge Goodrich is the one who needs to answer a few questions. Another thing we know is that the witnesses were intimidated. Pamela has known about one case right from the beginning - and I suspect she may know more than she's letting on. More recently, Jawa has unearthed evidence that Mohamed Bary in person threatened a different witness. Isn't it time someone took responsibility for looking into that? Jamal, I think you, JJ and Pamela were asking fair questions, and in return you have been most unfairly castigated. However, if our goal is to expose the truth, there are wise and unwise ways of asking for it. How you respond to this injustice will be the acid test of Whose servants you really are.
I choked back a tear as I read Neda's story. Nothing will bring back her mother, but nobody has a right to laugh over her grave. I hope they scrap the mosque and build a park full of yellow flowers.
It's on TUESDAY. 10 August; five days away. I hope Pamela will set up a forum so we can all wish her a happy birthday. Rifqa will be allowed to use the internet again on her birthday, so she will be able to read our good wishes in person.
Not so, mk750. Rifqa is in the U.S.A. legally as long as she is a dependant of the state of Ohio. The minute she turns eighteen, she becomes an illegal immigrant. "Applying for citizenship as an independent adult" depends on being allowed to stay in the U.S.A. at all rather than being immediately deported. This could easily happen, given the number of C.A.I.R. spies who have infiltrated Immigration. If she sorts it all out before she is eighteen, the spies will find it much harder to expel her. For example, if she is declared a permanent dependant of the state today, and she applies for S.J.I.S. status before Tuesday, she has a guaranteed right to stay in the U.S.A. until she is 21. So, no, Rifqa's lawyers are not trying to "run out the clock" - it is her parents who are doing that. Rifqa's lawyers are desperately racing the clock, because that three-year reprieve needs to be granted TODAY.
Telly, I doubt it. All her parents' relations are still in Sri Lanka, and they all have telephones and internet. Rifqa has already received one death threat from Sri Lanka. I'm sure there are plenty of people there willing to finish her off. Yes, she was offered significant financial assistance to study at an American college, which she might have accepted if cancer had not intervened. If this had worked out, she would easily have found herself a lawyer who could have helped her convert her study visa to a religious asylum or other immigration application. As to why her parents can stay when she can't... Well, it usually takes years to sort out an illegal immigrant. If anyone is to be processed faster or slower than the average, that might be related to the large number of C.A.I.R. agents who work for the Immigration Department. Tomorrow is the day. Rifqa MUST win this case.
Western medicine? Actually the Barys' game is quite clear if you reflect for a moment. They filed a motion to the effect that Rifqa's stupid foster parents took her to a faith-healing quack-fest, as a result of which they allowed Rifqa to abandon conventional medicine and risk death. Therefore they can present themselves as the sensible, mainstream, loving parents who are now insisting on normal medical procedures. The next move would probably have been to demand power of medical attorney, so that Rifqa fell into their hands on her eighteenth birthday next week. Fortunately Gatterdam was able to demonstrate that the "healing conference" was actually two months ago (it ended on 22 May), and that Rifqa had had surgery and chemo therapy for several weeks afterwards. The immediate cause of her decision to discontinue chemotherapy was her doctor's assurance that the cancer had gone, but she was still consulting with her doctor in case it came back and chemo would be needed again after all. This has possibly backfired on the Barys rather badly. It has given Rifqa what her own lawyers were unable to obtain for her - a court hearing on her immigration status. If the judge makes the right decision tomorrow, we could still be JUST in time for S.J.I.S. after all. Let us pray that the truth is exposed and the judge will be just.
Pamela, doesn't it now become much simpler? It's no longer about tactless Muslims demanding their freedom of religion without concern for the people whose feelings they are hurting. It's about the same terrorists who destroyed the area now constructing a terrorist-operations HQ. Perhaps you suspected this all along, but what you have here is close to proof. Surely it isn't legal in the U.S.A. to allow any project underwritten by Al-Qaeda? Have you spread the word?
AuntieMadder, I can think of only two reasons why Sean might have made such an ignorant comment. (1) He dislikes all religions equally, and is therefore trying to demonstrate that all religions are equally bad by scaring us to believe that politicians will, in the near future, start taking the violent parts literally. But most of us know that politicians are more pragmantic than that, and that all religions are different from each other. (2) He is a Muslim or a pro-Islam person who is trying to make Islam look good by claiming that it's no different from Judaism or Christianity. However, he chose a singularly unconvincing argument. I answered your post more directly a few minutes ago, but I clicked the wrong "reply" button, so it appears at the bottom of the forum, and not here, where it would be in better context.
I agree - the Jews probably stopped executing apostates originally as an act of disobedience, almost as soon as they arrived in Palestine. A more pertinent question is: When did they stop executing apostates as an act of obedience, realising that this wasn't what God wanted? I'm guessing, though I have no evidence, that this dates from the time of Ezra. Ezra was big on the positives - building up the community of the faithful - rather than worrying how to punish the faithless. Ezra's community was a band of volunteers who numbered only about 2-3% of the total number of Jews in the Diaspora. That percentage suggests to me that most of them were pretty serious about their faith. In Britain, where most people are free to adopt any belief or unbelief they like, the Christians now number around 2-3%. That seems to be the natural size of a "remnant" when the community is not enforced externally.
That's the point, isn't it, lilredbird? I would like to see some of America's peaceful Muslims post a messge here, something along the lines of: "I condemn this attack on Pamela Geller. Death-threats are immoral. I hope Pamela is safe." But all we have so far is justifications for why Islam is not really violent and these death-threats should not be taken seriously or not taken as typical. It's hollow when the writers fail to condemn the violence. It won't be convincing until they condemn it unconditionally, without pleading for the reputation of Islam in the same message.
Dennis, at the risk of contributing a frivolous thought to this very serious topic... Geneticist calculate that every living person of European ancestry is a biological descendant of Charlemagne. The statistical chance of having missed out on those genes is so tiny that it need not be considered. So you can definitely claim to be a descendant of Charles Martel.
I seriously doubt that the politicians have sufficient knowledge of the religions to desire the murder of apostates. Their line is rather that "no religion permits killing." If they were aware of your above citations, they would plead that the American Constitution was above religion, etc., etc. Anyone who knows the Bible well enough to think of Matthew 5:17-18 will also know exactly why you have quoted it out of context and why it does NOT mean apostates should be murdered. (Clue to the correct interpretation: read Matthew 18:15-17.) I don't know the precise reason why Jews no longer obey Deuteronomy 17:3-5. I will only make the historical observation that they HAVE NOT obeyed it for about 25 centuries. I think it very unlikely they will start re-implementing any century soon.
This threat tells me everything about the Islamic mindset. It is a hate-rant. They have evidently fogotten that one of the prophets taught: "Whoever insults another person has already committed murder in his heart." But what is the murder-plan? They are going to pray down Pamela's doom. I doubt the American legal system will consider that a "plan". Something tells me that the U.S.A. will take about as much notice of their prayers as God will.
Thanks for taking the trouble to track the survey, RalphB. I was staggered that "high familiarity with Islam" meant knowing the words "Allah" and "Qur'an" and being acquainted with a Muslim. I would call this "low familiarity", as opposed to the "zero familiarity" of those who could not answer the questions at all. Christian Scientists are not big on facts or empirical evidence. Strictly speaking, they do not believe in sin or illness/disability, although by now there may be moderates who accept that these imperfections do in fact trouble us at some level. Regarding the facts of Islam, I have read the Qur'an. Fortunately, there are many Muslims who have not read it and do not live according to its precepts.
I had to laugh at this. Islam is "misunderstood" because "38% believe it is more likely to encourage violence than other religions"? Well, it is! Most other religions encourage peace. Their adherents become violent out of disobedience, especially if they mix religion with politics. Islam actively encourages violence. Its adherents become violent out of obedience, most especially when they mix religion with politics (which Islam also requires). Congratulations to the 38% who understood this! I'm not surprised to hear woolly thinking from Christian Science (which can be briefly summarised as "neither Christian nor scientific"). These people intend to be nice, but they don't seem to be good at logic. I agree that the "Leaving Islam?" adverts are not encouraging people to abandon Islam, but only offering help to those who are already considering it. But even if someone did stick up posters proclaiming, "Leave Islam!" ... Why would that be a big deal? People can advertise incitements to leave and/or enter Atheism, Christianity, Buddhism and who knows what else. If there is freedom of religion, why can't people advise one another to leave Islam?
It's as you say, EmJay. Correlation is not causation. Poverty does not cause crime, but it is correlated with crime. The teaching of the Qur'an is one cause of crime. It may also be a cause of poverty, although I think you have not yet established this empirically. But "they have to go"? Where are you going to send a third-generation German? What if he doesn't have another nationality? I suspect the problem is here in Europe, that it cannot be shunted off elsewhere, and that it needs to be tackled from within. No idea how. But educating people about the Qur'an might be a good start.
David Yerushalemi, you'll be glad to know that the English Common Law has been changed. Marital rape has been illegal at least since 1978. Better late than never.
Robert said... Diana, if you cannot blame piety because many observant Muslims have not read the Quran how can you blame the Quran if those pious Muslims have not read it? Robert, I'm sorry I wasn't clear, and I'm sorry to have started an argument. I'll try to be clearer. First, "piety" and knowledge of the Qur'an are not the same thing. A Muslim can observe all the rituals without having much knowledge of the Qur'an. A Muslim can study the Qur'an but not bother with the rituals. Or a Muslim can both study the Qur'an (or listen to his imam) AND observe the rituals. So when I say the Qur'an is to blame, I do not mean that NO Muslims have read it. I mean that some Muslims have read it, and those are the ones most likely to be violent. Those who don't read it or don't take it seriously are less likely to be violent. This is in fact suggested by Pfeiffer's study. He found that female Muslims are not violent. Well, females are very often not accommodated at the mosque. That is why Pfeiffer thought of blaming the imams, who mainly influence the males. More importantly, however, even if women do study the Qur'an, they learn there that the call to jihad is for the men. A woman's role is to stay in the house and obey her menfolk. The Qur'an was not designed to produce violent women. Pfeiffer's study did not make this distinction, but Terry did. I was suggesting that Terry is probably right, and this distinction would be a good question to ask in the next study. That is how research is done. You summarise your findings, then you discover what you still don't know, and that question becomes the next research project. Yes, a book is "just a book" until people start taking it seriously. But people do take the Qur'an seriously. Muslims have been threatened with horrible punishments if they fail to take the Qur'an seriously. I suppose you could say that the problem is "taking the Qur'an seriously" rather than the Qur'an itself. (I have read it, and it didn't make me violent!) But if the Qur'an had never been written, nobody would be taking it seriously. So the author of the book has to take some responsibility for the problem he has created.
Terry, your comments do not surprise me at all. You cannot blame poverty. The study controlled for poverty. You cannot blame education (or lack thereof). The study controlled for education. You cannot blame being male. The study controlled for gender. You cannot blame discimination against immigrants. Other studies show that this is only a small factor in Europe, and it doesn't make other migrant groups violent. You cannot even blame "piety" or whatever you'd like to call it. Many observant Muslims have never read the Qur'an, and many Qur'anic scholars choose not to observe. Common sense would suggest that regular prayer, avoiding pork and alcohol, fasting in Ramadan and wearing a veil do not cause violence. Let people do those things if it makes them happy. But you can blame the Qur'an. The Qur'an is a violent book. Studying the Qur'an and deciding to obey it is highly likely to cause male violence. (It is written in such a way that it would only rarely create a violent female. It's not surprising that Pfeiffer didn't find violent girls.) The problem with those violent imams is not that they preach in Turkish (a remark that would be racist if taken literally!), but what they say in Turkish. The problem is not that the message comes from "a backward culture" but that it comes from the Qur'an.