‘May Face Honor Killing If Returned’

Friday, August 21, 2009

Lao Soldiers Decapitate Two-Month-Old Girl Ahead of Senator Webb’s Visit
Infant used as target practice during military attacks that leave 26 civilians dead

WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 20, 2009) - International Christian Concern (ICC) has just learned that Lao soldiers captured, mutilated and decapitated a two-month-old girl during recent military attacks against Hmong and Laotian civilians. Survivors of the attack said the infant was used for target practice.

“We are told, by some of the Lao Hmong survivors of the recent military attacks in Laos, that the LPDR (Lao Peoples Democratic Republic) soldiers of the LPA (Lao Peoples Army) used the … Lao Hmong girl, while she was still alive, for target practice … once she was captured and tied up; they mutilated her little body and continued to fire their weapons, over and over … until her head just eventually came off after so many bullets severed her head,” recalled Mr. Vaughn Vang, the Director of the Lao Hmong Human Rights Council.

The Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) reported the incidents, claiming that 8 children were captured and 26 Hmong and Laotian civilians were murdered during a series of four major attacks over the past month apparently designed to stifle “religious and political dissidents” ahead of a visit by U.S. Senator Jim Webb. Christian Hmong were mostly certainly among those attacked as they are often targeted specifically by the regime.

Ranging from two months to eight years old, the captured children remain a concern to Mr. Vang, who said that their whereabouts were unknown and that they would likely be tortured and killed by the soldiers. The decapitated child’s body was found next to her mother, who had also been tortured and killed by Lao soldiers. A number of the female victims were raped and tortured before they were killed. The most recent attack occurred last Thursday, August 13.

Unfortunately, this level of brutality against women and children is not uncommon for Lao soldiers. It is standard procedure for soldiers to surround and isolate pockets of Hmong people and starve them out to be killed when they venture out to forage. Philip Smith, the Executive Director of CPPA, told ICC of video footage smuggled out of Laos in 2004 that documents the aftermath of the killing and brutalization of five Hmong children, four of them girls, on May 19th of that year. That footage was used in an extremely graphic documentary, “Hunted Like Animals,” by Rebecca Sommer. Clips from the documentary can be viewed at rebeccasommer.org, but please be advised that the clips contain highly graphic content.

Natalia Rain, ICC’s Regional Manager for East Asia, said, “Rights groups have rightly called the acts the Lao military commits against children and civilians war crimes. Let the international community not be guilty of the same by its silence in the face of a regime who has already been allowed so much room that it has reached the heights of sadism in the torture and decapitation of a two-month-old little girl.”
ICC Calls On Florida Social Services (DCF) to
Not Return Christian Girl to Ohio
May Face Honor Killing If Returned

WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 20, 2009) - International Christian Concern (ICC) is calling upon officials in Florida to retain custody of a Rifqa Barry, a Christian girl who has alleged that her fundamentalist Muslim Father in Ohio threatened to kill her upon finding out about her conversion to Christianity. Rifqa faces a jurisdictional hearing Friday at 3:15 pm from Florida’s Department of Children and Family (DCF) to decide if she should be sent back to Ohio Social Services or her parents. ICC has extensive experience with fundamentalist Islam and is warning Florida officials that they must take these allegations seriously.

While most Americans cannot fathom how a father could kill his daughter over her religious choices, this is a common practice among fundamentalist Muslims overseas who follow Quran and Hadith injunctions against apostasy. Parents murder their own children if they feel dishonored by any number of acts, especially when it comes to apostasy. Honor killings have even happened here in the United States. On January 1, 2008, a Muslim father killed his own daughters in Irving, Texas in an honor killing (link). On January 26, 2009, Chaudry Rashid, a Pakistani born Muslim, killed his own daughter in Georgia because she wanted to leave a marriage arranged by her family. According to estimates by the United Nations Population Fund, there may be up to 5,000 female victims of honor killings annually.

Rifqa and her family came to the United States from Sri Lanka eight years ago. Four years ago she converted to Christianity. She kept her faith hidden until officials from her father’s mosque, the Noor Islamic Cultural Center, confronted her father with the fact that his daughter was an apostate from Islam. Following pressure from the Islamic community, her father became increasingly agitated. Rifqa told WFTV that her father took her laptop “and waved it in the air and he was about to beat me with it, and he said, ‘If you have this Jesus in your heart, you’re dead to me. You’re not my daughter.’ And I refused to speak but he said, ‘I will kill you. Tell me the truth.’ In these words, bad words, cuss words. So I knew that I had to get away.”

There are several reasons ICC has concerns over this case besides Rifqa’s allegations.

-Sgt. Jerry Cupp, the police officer from Columbus that did the investigation into Rifqa’s case gave a statement to the press saying Mohamed Bary (Rifqa’s father) “comes across to me as a loving, caring, worried father about the whereabouts and the health of his daughter.” An ICC source that spoke directly with Sgt. Cupp says that Sgt. Cupp reported to him that he had spoken with 20 different people who warned him that Rifqa’s life was in danger.

-Florida’s DCF has a long history of incompetence, including turning back children to parents who end up killing the child under investigation.

-According to ICC sources, Rifqa, upon leaving home, left a note explaining her decision to run away was because she would never be forced to go back to Islam.

-It is ICC’s understanding that Rifqa’s friends urged her to go to her school counselor to report parental abuse after she repeatedly came to school with bruises. ICC sources said there had been a culture and history of violence in the family.

-Statements have been made by those connected with the family that Rifqa was brainwashed and kidnapped. Kidnap victims don’t typically get on a bus alone and ride across country.

-The Noor Islamic Cultural Center in Columbus where her father attends is known for having ties to radical Islam.

-Taqiyya (pronounced tak-e-ya): is the Muslim practice of disinformation, deception and keeping one’s convictions secret. Taqiyya is widely practiced by Islamists like those connected with the Noor Islamic Cultural Center. Statements from those connected with Noor or groups like CAIR in regards to an inflammatory case like this need to be evaluated carefully.

Jeff King, ICC’s President, says, “We are extremely concerned about Rifqa. As of today, DCF has not filed any petition to keep Rifqa in Florida. This lack of a petition seems to indicate that DCF intends to turn her over to either her parents or Ohio officials. DCF has a long history of making the wrong decision in child endangerment cases. In fact, in some cases DCF has returned children to their parents who ended up killing the child. Will this happen again? Based on our extensive international experience with fundamentalist Islam, we strongly believe that Rifqa’s life will be in danger if FDCF decides to send her back to Ohio. We call upon authorities in Florida to retain custody of Rifqa.”Source: www.persecution.org / Email: icc@persecution.org


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