Fellow Christian Gretchen Carlson Cheerleads For Rifqa Bary – Again!
Reported by Priscilla - December 22, 2009 -
Rifqa Bary has become quite the cause celebre in conservative Christian, anti-Muslim circles. And as the mouthpiece for conservative Christians, who aren't all that fond of Islam, the professional Christians at Fox & Friends are always willing to lend a sympathetic ear to any fellow professional Christian who is advocating for Rifqa’s cause. Bary is the Muslim American girl, from Ohio, who converted to Christianity via a sermon that she heard on the internet. After connecting with some Florida Christian cultists (whoops, evangelical Christians) she ran away to Florida to live with these folks. The state of Florida got involved and to make a long story short, Bary is now in foster care in Ohio with the hope of family reunification. Her professional Christian friends are not happy about the arrangement. According to professional Christian Gretchen Carlson’s guest on yesterday's Fox & Friends, Bary is being prohibited from receiving Christmas cards from her supporters. Carlson allowed Pastor Jamal Jivanjee, an ex Muslim with a definite bias, a platform from which to promote the “Christian” side of the Bary story.
That Fox & Friends has been following this story isn’t surprising given their frequent promotion of “persecuted Christians." This is a simple "wayward" child custody issue which has been turned into a crusade (jihad?) by evangelical Christians and anti-Muslim extremists that goes beyond concern for Rifqa into screeds about creeping Sharia in the US. Anti Muslim neo-con Frank Gaffney was allowed to rant, unopposed, about this on Fox & Friends. Gretchen Carlson used the Bary controversy to preach her fear about “how this could possibly happening in America” during an interview which consisted of testimony mainly from Bary’s conservative Christian (not court appointed) attorney and short comment from an attorney representing the other side. The segment also provided an opportunity for the Florida lawyer to infer that Rifqa’s parents mosque was connected to terrorism. Carlson, in a subsequent segment, interviewed the Florida pastor who befriended Bary and his lawyer, Matt Staver from Liberty Counsel. Naturally, they all feared for Rifqa if she were returned home.
So to remind her audience that poor Rifqa is still being persecuted by evil Muslims, Gretchen Carlson interviewed Bary’s “friend,” Pastor Jivanjee whose sermon prompted Bary to convert to Christianity. They later met at the local Starbucks and the rest is history. He talked about today’s court hearing regarding Bary’s petition for “dependency” which would keep her in foster placement until she is a legal adult of 18. He said that he was praying for her. In citing “stiff opposition,” he referenced how her parent’s “CAIR” (Islamic group reviled by right wing conservatives) filed a motion to prevent her from receiving Christmas cards. The Cavuto marked chyrons read “Teen Fears Honor Killing, Will There Be Peace For Rifqa Bary?” and “Fighting For Her Life, Christian Convert Hopes For New Outcome.” Good Christian Gretchen referenced the Christmas card thing by saying that she knew that “a lot of people around the world want to reach out to her.” Another Cavuto marked chyron which had a strange past tense: “Killed For Converting, Christian Girl Feels Threatened By Family.” Jivanjee claimed that there is a “level of hostility” by her parents and their attorneys because Bary “accepted the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus” and the only reason that it is being discussed is because “she made a faith change.” (And anti Muslim politics have nothing to do with it. Give me a break!) He cited his conversion to Christianity (love those apostate Muslims) and also his father’s rejection of Shia Islam in favor of Christianity. Carlson nailed the propaganda lesson for the day: “You believe what she believes that they could possibly harm her if she’s ordered back with her family.” He, not surprisingly, agreed. He then alleged that she had gone through a “lot of abuse growing up” and that everybody who knew her would say the same thing” – something not substantiated by the court. While there was a small Fox visual which alluded to the court finding of no basis to Rifqa’s charges, neither Carlson nor Jivanjee mentioned it. Jivenjee's credibility is dubious as he claimed that Bary's parents didn't know that she was a cheerleader because she supposedly wore a warmup suit when she before and after school. However, the ABC interview with Bary's parents, at their home, shows a framed photo of Bary in her cheerleader garb.
Comment: Good thing that Fox & Friends is “opinion” because if it were “news,” it wouldn’t be “fair and balanced.” Because nobody from CAIR was interviewed, the audience is left with the impression that the Christmas card “controversy” is due to mere “hostility” over Bary’s conversion. CAIR’s court motion was based on the fact that rabid anti Islamic website are urging their readers to send the cards and that the cards are a guise to send other messages which would serve to work against the Ohio Family Court’s effort to reunify the family. CAIR even quotes some of the hate filled rants against Islam. The original request that Bary’s Christmas cards to be sent to her lawyer was made by uber right wing Pam Geller of the arguably anti-Islamic and xenophobic "Atlas Shrugs." Jivanjee, a “Liberty University” grad, is pastor of an internet church called “Illuminate” which is very focused on the Bary situation. He and a group of like minded anti-Islamic folks (including Pam Geller) recently held a rally outside the Ohio courthouse where a Rifqa Bary hearing was taking place. It was an opportunity for them to accuse Ohio of all sorts of outrages against Bary while, at the same time, bashing Islam. So it’s not a surprise that Jivanjee, a friend of Bary’s, would be a friend of Fox & Friends – “opinion” news which, in this case, is very, very obvious.
Addendun: At today’s court hearing Rifqa’s parents withdrew the motion to prohibit her from getting Christmas cards.
Note: Second video is the rally outside the Ohio courthouse where you can see Jivangee and Geller.