Jewish World Review August 11, 2010 / 1 Elul 5770
Muslim-turned-infidel, now 18, is ready to begin life anew
By Rene Stutzman
"We're a family," said
Rifqa turned 18 Tuesday, and the case pitting her against her parents — and symbolically Christianity vs. Islam — formally ended on the order of a
She is now free to live where she chooses and practice the religion of her choice.
The end of the case also made moot a gag order that had kept both sides from talking to reporters.
Her father and mother disclosed Tuesday that their daughter two weeks ago sent them a video, along with candy and music, saying she loved them.
She also has sent them letters. In one, she thanked them for helping her be a successful student. She graduated recently from a
" 'I'm here because of you guys,' " her father said she wrote them.
He also does not know what she plans for the future, but he hopes it includes him, her mother and two brothers.
"She wants to preach the gospel to the nations. That's what she says all the time," he said.
One of her
Law said Tuesday that the date of Rifqa's visit here had not yet been set but that it likely would not be this week or weekend.
In a prepared statement released Tuesday, her parents criticized her attorneys for defending her right to stop chemotherapy. Rifqa has had three operations and a limited amount of chemotherapy because of uterine cancer. She is now cancer-free and decided to stop chemotherapy.
That has upset her parents, who say they fear the cancer will come back.
Rifqa disappeared from her suburban
According to Rifqa, her father had threatened to kill her for converting to Christianity. Authorities found no evidence to support that claim or that members of the family's mosque would harm her.
The case set off a firestorm of reaction, particularly from conservative Christians, who flooded Gov.
In October, an
Although her parents said they would allow her to practice Christianity if she would just come home, they and their lawyers failed to win her back.
They have not had a private face-to-face conversation, even in the presence OF a family counselor, since she ran away, the parents'
He said with the court case finished, he hoped that within a short time, the family could privately reconcile.
Said her father, "We would like to be with her, like to be with our daughter. Unfortunately, our family has been ripped apart."
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